Going to Extremes
September 07, 1987
TODAY CHILE IS careening, quietly and in a carefully planned way, toward the greatest political catastrophe of its history. Within the next year or so, its people will be permitted to decide by plebiscite whether or not to accept a president proposed to them by their ruling military junta.
March 09, 1987
The Palace File by Nguyen Tien Hung and Jerrold L. Schecter (Harper & Row, 542 pp., $22.95) The literature on Vietnam, so scant in the 1960s, when it was most needed, is now swelling toward flood tide. Much of what is being produced is either redundant or merely memoiristic; but one can now add The Palace File to the relatively short list of important books on this grim and complicated subject.
Pop Goes Elie Wiesel
November 10, 1986
"I was of course very stunned and grateful, and melancholy," Elie Wiesel told the The New York Times about his initial reaction to winning the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. "I fell back into the mood of Yom Kippur, serious reflection about my parents and grandparents. It me half an hour to get out of it." But when Wiesel finally came to, he told a press conference in New York, "There are no coincidences. If it [winning the prize] happens after Yom Kippur here, then some of my friends and myself have prayed well." Actually, they did a little more than pray.
The Culture of Reaganism
October 25, 1982
Opulent and sheltered, Bohemian Grove may be a fitting symbol for the culture of the present Administration. In private life, several of Ronald Reagan's closest aides—and the President himself—frequented this most exclusive of exclusive clubs, nestled in the redwoods of northern California, and in public life many of them continue to do so. Attorney General William French Smith is a long-time member. Just six days after taking office.
November 11, 1978
Orwell said it about saints, but Nobel peace laureates also should always be judged guilty until they are proven innocent. No doubt it would have appeared more seemly had the authorities in Oslo waited to bestow their decorations till a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt actually had been signed. In any case it is evident, at least in the cases of Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, that the Nobel Peace Prize is not awarded on the basis of either character or personal history. The two have been honored for their last act, and an uncompleted one at that.
A House Built on Sand
September 03, 1977
Jungle Beach at Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard used to be the toniest plage in Massachusetts. A haven for bathers clothed and nude, it derived its name from the thick brush that cut it off from the island's south shore road. Reaching the beach involved hacking through the thicket, but the reward was a beach free of the crowding, vendors and photochemical oxidants of more popular spots. That was until a syndicate led by Robert Strange McNamara won control of Jungle Beach in an estate sale.
May 03, 1975
For at least eight years it seemed reasonable to me to assume that sooner or later, no matter what we did in Vietnam, things would end badly for us. This feeling was not based on any desire to see us humiliated, or any feeling that the other side represented the forces of goodness and light; it just seemed that the only way to stave off an eventual Communist victory was with an open-ended, and therefore endless, application of American firepower in support of the South Vietnamese regime. No matter how much force we were willing to use, this would not end the war, only prevent Saigon's defeat.
White House Watch: Nixon Then and Now
February 22, 1975
A new book and news accounts from San Clemente depict Richard Nixon as he appeared to one of his White House writers before Watergate destroyed his presidency and as he is in exile and nearly total seclusion six months after his resignation. The book is William Safire's Before the Fall (Doubleday; $12.50).
April 13, 1974
Gerald Ford continues to say publicly and in private that he expects to be Vice President and expects Richard Nixon to be President of the United States until January 20, 1977. The Vice President also continues to say that he has no intention of running and no plan to run for the presidency in 1976. But he concluded some weeks ago that it was foolish to go on pretending that there is no possibility that he, the first Vice President who was appointed to the office, may become President by succession before Mr. Nixon’s second term is finished and may be the Republican nominee in 1976.
October 27, 1973
During his US tour last spring Leonid Brezhnev heralded a fresh era in Soviet-American friendship as he embraced Wall Street bankers, hugged Hollywood actors and flattered Richard Nixon. Now, by encouraging and aiding the Arabs against Israel and thereby raising the spectre of renewed superpower confrontation, the Russians have moved from grins to grimaces. Their turnabout, it seems to me, can be explained in a single word—priorities.