July 11, 2010
Just over 45 years ago, I set foot in the United States for the first time. If you had sat the old Oxford scholarship exam in December and, in Simon Gray’s deathless definition of the pedagogical process, displayed a fluent fraudulence that the examiners could not expose without revealing their own fraudulence, you were able to take the next nine months off before going up as a freshman in October. So, “westward, look, the land is bright!”—a line Churchill liked to quote—and I set off to the New World, more precisely, to Chuck Berry’s ‘Promised Land’ of southern California.
There Will Be Oil
January 27, 2010
Last month marked a turning point in the United States-Iraq relationship. American influence is waning, while Iraq is taking steps to get on its feet economically. We suffered no combat deaths in December, and continue to reduce our presence, expecting to withdraw all combat troops by August. And Iraq concluded a major round of production deals with oil companies. This last development is a big deal.