February 06, 2006
AS THE HELICOPTER crossed the Black Sea coast and began descending toward the airfield in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia, I could see the telltale aftermath of war through the window. Against the incongruous backdrop of lush vegetation and citrus groves were abandoned, burnt-out houses and farms, untouched since Georgians and ethnic Abkhaz fought for dominance of the region in 1992-1993. Since the end of the fighting, the conflict has remained frozen in place. Abkhazia has declared independence from Georgia, but Tbilisi remains intent on reasserting its control. Abkhaz officials and i
August 08, 2005
Existential Crisis DEMOCRACY HAS BECOME George W. Bush's reflexive answer to terrorism. Before the wreckage left by the July 7 bombings in London had even cooled, he broke from the G-8 summit in Scotland to explain how we would defeat the perpetrators of such attacks: "We will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate." Four days later, he elaborated, "Today in the Middle East, freedom is once again contending with an ideology that seeks to sow anger and hatred and despair.
Out of Beijing
November 15, 2004
All summer, the U.N. Security Council debated whether to condemn the Sudanese government for supporting the murderous Janjaweed militias in Darfur. In July, it passed a weak resolution threatening sanctions against Khartoum.
Out of Beijing
November 15, 2004
China's Africa strategy.
September 27, 2004
Jerusalem, Israel--The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, had planned on offering the usual complaints when he visited Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week. There was the stalled road map, Israel's security fence, and the recently announced expansion of West Bank settlements close to the Green Line. But, before he arrived in Jerusalem, something happened that changed Lavrov's agenda: the massacre of Russian children by Chechen Islamist terrorists.
Were We Wrong?
June 28, 2004
This magazine supported the Iraq war for two reasons, one primarily strategic, one primarily moral. The strategic reason was simple: We considered war the only way to ensure that Saddam Hussein never acquired a nuclear weapon. The Bush administration spoke about "weapons of mass destruction"--lumping biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons together and making the former appear more menacing by their association with the latter. But we believed biological weapons constituted a threat only if transferred to Al Qaeda—a scenario for which there was no evidence.
June 28, 2004
In the run-up to the Iraq war, I tried hard not to be partisan. I distrusted the Bush administration and feared it would be politically empowered by the war. But such thoughts felt petty and limited at such an important time. And so I evaluated the arguments for war on their merits, irrespective of my feelings about the people making them.
All Too Human
May 24, 2004
SINCE THE ABU GHRAIB catastrophe broke two weeks ago, Bush officials have struck many of the right notes. But they have struck one wrong one over and over. “This is not America,” President Bush told the Arabic-language network Al Hurra. “This is not who American servicemen are,” added Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Said national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, in an interview with Al Arabiya, “Americans do not do this to other people.” But, of course, Americans did do to this to other people—that’s why Rice was on Arabic television.
Devils in America
February 16, 2004
Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America By Ted Morgan (Random House, 685 pp., $35) NEARLY FIFTY YEARS AGO the United States Senate voted to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy. Within three years of his disgrace, McCarthy was dead, his health destroyed by heavy drinking. His time in the limelight had been brief.
See No Evil
February 09, 2004
IMAGINE THAT THE king has died. Now imagine that every day on television you see a procession of people chanting, “Long live the king!” Imagine it wasn’t always this way: Just a few years ago, if the king’s health became shaky, everyone discussed the problem openly. But no more. And now you have to choose. Either you go along and pretend that a dead man is alive—which isn’t all that difficult, since everyone is doing it—or you insist, unreasonably, that you see what you see, in which case you will be branded a kook. Now imagine you’ve been parachuted into a country like this as a foreign corre