Moscow

Obama's World
February 17, 2010

Let’s face it. America’s foreign policy is hardly healthier than its economy. Of course, jobs and taxes still dominate the politics of the day. Republicans will likely be running election campaigns on those matters. But, as foreign policy comes into focus more and more, Democrats may seek refuge from Barack Obama’s grand strategy and its consequences--or lack thereof. For, right now, Obama’s frustrated foreign policy is little more than aimlessness. His biggest decision to date has been Afghanistan.

Let Europe Mind Its Own Business. It Brings Nothing To The Table Save For Mischief.
February 12, 2010

Europe is a mess. Greece is the country on the continent closest to utter wreck. (And, if not for statements yesterday by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, there would literally be no hope for a life raft anywhere near Athens soon. This morning's FT smothers even those wan hopes.) Spain, Portugal and Ireland are not far behind ... or under. Each of these countries has views on how Israel deals with the Palestinians, and they don't like it at all. Neither do the past and present "foreign ministers"—so to speak, but not exactly—of the European Union.

Bombs Away
February 09, 2010

As President Obama begins a push to impose harsher economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, his success will be determined largely by the answer to a single question: Will China and Russia get on board?

Saint and Sinner
February 08, 2010

Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone By Stanislao Pugliese (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 426 pp., $35) In June 1950, Ignazio Silone and Arthur Koestler, two of the most prominent anti-communist writers of that era, attended a convivial dinner party in West Berlin. They had gathered with several other intellectuals to celebrate the founding conference of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an American-sponsored riposte to the Soviet Cominform’s “peace conferences” of the preceding year.

The Elegist
February 01, 2010

All deaths leave a void, but mourners for Avrom Sutzkever, arguably the greatest Yiddish poet of the twentieth century, are feeling an accordingly outsize loss. Remembering the life and reading the work, one is struck once more by how genius and circumstance combine to create a means of expressing the inexpressible--and in a way that seems, considering the circumstances, almost natural.

Kiev Chameleon
January 05, 2010

KIEV–Like many Ukrainian politicians, prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko relies on fortune-tellers and TV psychics to bolster her embattled spirit.

The Foreign Policy Awards
December 29, 2009

BIGGEST TACTICAL BLUNDER: Pushing the Israeli-Arab peace process too hard. Obama took office looking for bold strokes at a time when peace seemed as far away as ever: Israel had just finished its punishing military campaign in Gaza last winter, and the Arab world was inflamed, and deeply uninterested in making offerings to Israel. Obama's squeeze on Israeli settlements, meanwhile, managed to a) tick off a backlash in Israel that enabled the Netanyahu government to stand its ground, without b) shaking loose meaningful Arab support.

Eight Pieces, Really One: Iran, Israel's Military Doctrine, The President And One Dumb Jewish Woman, The Wages of Copenhagen, The Christmas Terrorist, We Should All Stop Talking About The Middle East
December 26, 2009

Jews usually go out to the movies on Christmas ... and then they go out to eat "Chinese." I've spent it writing. Below is my harvest. I wish you all good cheer. Here are the motifs of my writing day. Alas, none of them cheery. 1. THE REAL GRIM REAPER: HOLY DAY VICTIMS IN IRAQ AND PAKISTAN 2. COLD COMMON SENSE ABOUT IRAN FROM, MIRABILI DICTU, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" 3. A WISE EUROPEAN FOREIGN MINISTER: "WE SHOULD SHUT UP ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST" 4. A SOBER "TIMES" PIECE ON ISRAELI MILITARY DOCTRINE 5.

Islamists Claim Russian Bomb
December 04, 2009

The Financial Times reported yesterday that a group loyal to Doku Umarov, a leading Chechen Islamist, confessed to an Islamist website that it was behind the bomb that killed 26 people on the Moscow-St.Petersburg railroad a week ago. Of course, the FT did not label Umarov a terrorist. I don't know how many innocents you have to murder to actually be labeled what you are. Russia inferentially confirmed the Islamists’ boast. According to The Jerusalem Post, it has asked Israel to help in its investigation.

"Train Crash in Russia Caused by Bomb"
November 29, 2009

This was the headline in the Jerusalem Post which, one might think, wouldn't be so finicky about the source of the attack on the Moscow-St. Petersburg railway that left at least 26 dead, about 100 wounded and 18 missing, presumed also gone to their maker. This mass homicide was a massacre, and I assume it was carried out by...well, take your choice.

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