Unquiet Flows the Don
October 05, 2009

Maurice Bowra: A Life By Leslie Mitchell (Oxford University Press, 385 pp., $50) As warden of Wadham College in Oxford, president of the British Academy, the author of well-known books on ancient Greek literature, and a conversationalist of legendary brilliance, Maurice Bowra seemed, in the middle of the last century, the very embodiment of Oxford life. Enjoying a huge international reputation as a scholar, a wit, and an administrator, he was duly elected into prestigious academies and awarded honorary degrees in both Europe and America. George VI knighted him in 1951.

Mark Lippert, Dedicated Reservist
October 01, 2009

Mark Lippert When I was at the White House reporting a story this summer, I ran into Obama's longtime foreign policy advisor Mark Lippert, a Naval reservist who is leaving his post as chief of staff at the National Security Council to return to active duty. (Lippert also did a tour of duty in Iraq from 2007 to 2008.) Lippert looked a little tired. He had just returned from Obama's whirlwind tour of Russia, Africa, and Europe. I asked whether he'd recovered from the trip yet. Not really, Lippert said. He explained that he'd gotten home well after midnight the previous Saturday.

Yes, There Are Muslim Terrorists In America, No Doubt About It
September 29, 2009

A few years ago The New Republic published an article denying that there were Muslim terrorists in the United States. It explained why the Muslim immigrants were different from those in Europe and also why America was different from Europe. I once heard this piece being quoted in an argument about the perils of Islamic terrorism at a Cambridge restaurant. "Oh my," I said to myself and to the folk with whom I'd been eating. "Magazines can be dangerous, too." There is not too much of this nonsense around these days. And almost everybody has learned the truth.

The Forest and the Trees
September 29, 2009

Understanding the construct we call Nature.

Cutting Carbon's Dirt Cheap--If The Whole World's Involved
September 28, 2009

In The New York Times today, James Kanter checks in on Europe's foray into carbon trading. In particular, he hears Jürgen Thumann, the president of BusinessEurope complain that it's been rather costly for Europe to be the only entity that's put a hard cap on greenhouse gases so far. If the United States, Australia, Japan, and other nations would only join in on the fun, then cutting carbon emissions would be much, much cheaper for everybody. Thumann's actually onto something here.

Aquacalypse Now
September 28, 2009

Our oceans have been the victims of a giant Ponzi scheme, waged with Bernie Madoff–like callousness by the world’s fisheries. Beginning in the 1950s, as their operations became increasingly industrialized--with onboard refrigeration, acoustic fish-finders, and, later, GPS--they first depleted stocks of cod, hake, flounder, sole, and halibut in the Northern Hemisphere.

G20: "In The Medium Run We're All Retired"
September 22, 2009

It looks like the G20 on Friday will emphasize its new “framework” for curing macroeconomic imbalances, rather than any substantive measures to regulate banks, derivatives, or any other primary cause of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. This is appealing to the G20 leaders because their call to “rebalance” global growth will involve no immediate action and no changes in policy--other than in the “medium run” (watch for this phrase in the communiqué). When exactly is the medium run? That’s an easy one: It’s always just around the corner. Not today, of course; that would be short run. And not in 2

U.S. Strategy for the G20: You Cannot Be Serious.
September 21, 2009

According to the WSJ this morning (top of p.A1), the U.S. is pushing hard for the G20 to adopt and implement a “Framework for Sustainable and Balanced Growth,” which would amount to the U.S.

The Stockholm Syndrome
September 18, 2009

When Zvi Mazel was summoned to the Swedish Foreign Ministry back in January 2004, he knew he was in trouble. As Israel’s top diplomat in Stockholm, the 64-year-old had just done something markedly undiplomatic--not exactly rare for Israeli envoys. No, he hadn’t remarked upon the “yellow skin and slanted eyes” of Asians. No, he hadn’t taken part in a child-pornography ring.

This Giant Isn't Sleeping
September 17, 2009

It’s now widely believed that the global recession is coming to an end, but the path out has been far from typical: This time around, China, not the U.S. has led the global recovery. With its $600 billion stimulus package and with banks lending with abandon, China has become the engine of global manufacturing and industrial activity.