Russia

Sour Dour Baroness Ashton And The Deeds Of Bibi Netnayahu
March 21, 2010

The Baroness Ashton is a very unhappy woman. You can see it on her face, poor lady. And even the fact that she is now a “peer”--or should one still say “peeress”?--has not visibly altered her look. She is one of those ugly ducklings who has given her life to social causes, a type we all know. Alas, the outcome of such an existence is very rarely happiness. Take her work as treasurer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), seen as a front by the Soviets, who secretly supplied as much as 38% of its budget.

Nuclear Standoff
March 12, 2010

As is often the case with tales of great discovery, the details of how buried treasure came to be found beneath the rolling countryside of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, have grown a little gauzy over the last 30 years. But here is the story as the prospectors tell it. One day, in March 1979, a man named Byrd Berman, a geologist by training, was driving down a road through cattle pastures when the scintillometer sitting on the dashboard of his Hertz rental car began to beep. The device, similar to a Geiger counter, was designed to detect the gamma radiation naturally emitted by uranium.

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?

The Furrows of Algeria
January 27, 2010

The German Mujahid By Boualem Sansal Translated by Frank Wynne (Europa Editions, 240 pp., $15) I. From the terrible Algerian slaughter, and its terrible silence, comes this small tale, told by an officer of the special forces who broke with “Le Pouvoir” of his own country and sought asylum in France. It is the autumn of 1994, deep into the season of killing. An old and simple Algerian woman, accompanied by two of her children, comes to the army barracks, to the very building where the torturers did their grim work, in search of her husband and her son.

Where We Buy Our Oil
January 14, 2010

Here's a map from the Center for American Progress showing most of the "unstable countries" that sell oil to the United States, although Venezuela's oddly left off (you'll have to click to enlarge): That's from a new report titled "Oil Dependence is a Dangerous Habit," which estimates that the United States now spends $1 billion per day on oil imports, with most of that money going to unstable or dangerous regimes (although our two top suppliers are still Mexico and Canada). One thing to note is that, for these purposes, it doesn't really matter where we're buying from.

Manzi Revisionism
January 07, 2010

Jim Manzi and his friends are trying to reframe the argument about Western European social democracy into something other than the one he originally made. To review: Manzi’s essay – which, again, isn’t all bad – hinges upon the premise that the United States must navigate between economic growth-destroying social democracy and social cohesion-destroying Reaganism.

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.

A Conservative Accidentally Makes The Case For Social Democracy
January 05, 2010

Jim Manzi's conservative reform manifesto in National Affairs has attracted all sorts of praise on the right. And Manzi does have some interesting observations and decent proposals. His main premise is that there's an inherent tension between economic dynamism and social cohesion.

The Desperation Of American Universities In Araby
December 30, 2009

I last wrote in this space about American universities in the Arab oil orbit on April 23, 2008. That Spine was called “The New Colonialism, Education Division,” and it focused on the exploits of New York University in Abu Dhabi. Now, in matters like these, N.Y.U. is really in the business of whoring. This is made clear in an intriguing article by Tamar Lewin in the New York Times.  The report actually headlines: “University Branches in Dubai Are Struggling.” But it also covers Abu Dhabi, sort of harking back to its slightly breathless dispatch of nearly two years ago. N.Y.U.

The Beck Supremacy
December 26, 2009

When Vince Flynn recently finished writing his eleventh novel, Pursuit of Honor, he sent an advance copy to Rush Limbaugh, along with some special reading instructions. Upon arriving at Chapter 50, he told the radio host in a note inscribed on the chapter’s first page, “open one of your bottles of Lafite and grab a cigar and savor these words.” Flynn self-published his first political thriller twelve years ago but, today, has a seven-figure contract with an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

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