First, Do No Harm
July 12, 2010
This is the most recent item in a debate about humanitarian intervention.
Krugman’s Tales from the Crypt
July 10, 2010
If repetition doesn’t improve the argument, try escalation. Paul Krugman, Princeton’s Nobel laureate-turned-columnist, has been haranguing the Europeans, and the Germans in particular, to drop their fiscal tightwad act: Don’t cut government spending, keep the deficits rolling.
Should We Intervene?
July 09, 2010
This is the most recent item in a debate about humanitarian intervention. Click here to read the previous contributions by David Rieff, Leon Wieseltier, and Michael Kazin. I’m always suspicious of blanket arguments, even—as with David Rieff’s recent post on liberal interventionism—when made by a writer whom I greatly admire. In a nutshell, Rieff has no use for American interventions (either military or non-military) on behalf of idealistic ends.
July 07, 2010
As a candidate for president, George W. Bush famously promised to pursue a “humble” foreign policy. The events of 9/11—for Bush akin to a conversion experience—swept humility by the board. The 43rd president found his true calling: Providence was summoning him to purge the world of evil. When it came to fulfilling this mission, Bush’s subsequent efforts yielded precious little. Recklessness compounded by profound incompetence became the hallmark of his administration.
Hard Lessons in Korengal
July 06, 2010
Nearly four years ago I flew in a Black Hawk helicopter to the Korengal Valley—a remote chasm in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border, where I lived side by side, under near-constant fire, with American troops of the Tenth Mountain Division for nearly a week. At the time, the KOP, as it was called, was just one more obscure outpost in a war that most Americans weren’t paying much attention to. The worsening civil war in Iraq and mounting U.S.
Has Liberal Interventionism Run Its Course?
July 06, 2010
This is part of a debate about humanitarian intervention. Click here to read other contributions by Richard Just, Leon Wieseltier, and Michael Kazin. There is a great deal of debate, not least in both the real and the virtual pages of this magazine, about what the United States should do to further global justice—to use a word that, unlike democracy and human rights, both of which have lost much of their original force by dint of their ideological instrumentalization over the past twenty years, has retained its dignity and its coherence.
How Obama Will Deal With Our Wayward Ally, Turkey
July 01, 2010
It’s a shock to see one of the pillars of American foreign policy start to disintegrate before our very eyes. That’s what seems to be happening to the relationship between the United States and Turkey, which policymakers in both countries have taken for granted for decades. I know it’s often said that formal alliances are losing their central place in international politics. If so, maybe the bad blood between Ankara and Washington is just part of a trend, something we wearily adjust to.
Confessions of an Epistemological Skeptic
July 01, 2010
I’m struck by how quickly some of my fellow Entanglers have brought up the mother of all epistemological quandaries: How can we, the not very well informed, know what is the case in a far-off land of which we know, well, not very much? The difficulty in knowing what is true on the ground in Afghanistan, for example, is massive. And the reason is not that “the liberal media” blight the national climate with pessimism because they’re of a wimpish or Qaeda-loving disposition.
Dismal Perhaps, But Is It A Science?
June 30, 2010
As if there weren’t enough transatlantic rifts already, from the Middle East to the environment, another has opened over economic policy.
The Paradox of Boots on the Ground
June 29, 2010
On a balmy summer’s day in the village of Hiratian in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, locals found the body of eight-year-old Dilawar hanging from a tree of a small fruit farm. Taliban fighters had accused the boy of spying for the American forces and had kidnapped him, strung him up and left his body to sway in the wind for hours for all to see. The murder was horrifying, yet few villagers would come to the defense of anyone charged with spying for the hated foreign forces. But slowly, the details of the story emerged.