Russia

Crude Joke
February 12, 2007

IF THERE WAS one thing George W. Bush and his clique were supposed to know, it was oil. That, at least, was the widespread consensus back in 2000, when Bush first sought the White House, and it was easy to understand why. Bush’s grandfather was an oilman. His father was an oilman. He himself had worked in oil. His vice presidential nominee, Dick Cheney, was the former CEO of energy giant Halliburton. His campaign’s chairman, Donald Evans, was CEO of the oil company Tom Brown.

Being and Laziness
January 29, 2007

Oblomov By Ivan Goncharov Translated by Stephen Pearl (Bunim & Banigan, 443 pp., $45) I. Anyone with a claim to literacy is familiar with the names of Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky, and can cite some of the titles of their most famous works. But Goncharov and his novel Oblomov, of which a new translation, a snappily colloquial and readable one, has just been published—who ever heard of them? Well, Beckett for one, who was told to read Oblomov by his mistress Peggy Guggenheim, and soon signed some of his letters to her with this cognomen.

Exceptionalist
January 22, 2007

SEYMOUR MARTIN LIPSET, the distinguished political sociologist who died on December 31, 2006, tells the story in a memoir of how he shifted in City College (CCNY) from science—as a prelude to dentistry—to sociology. During the Depression, the only member of his family who prospered was a dentist uncle, and that seemed the road to security.

Crude Awakening
October 02, 2006

Earlier this year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in China—and quickly made himself at home. The occasion was a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional group linking China, Russia, and Central Asia. During the summit, Ahmadinejad seemed to be everywhere. He posed, arms linked, with Russian and Chinese officials, who said nothing as he called for “impartial and independent experts” to investigate whether the Holocaust happened. He delivered a major address broadcast on Chinese state television.

PA Confidential
March 20, 2006

THE AUTHOR SERVED for four and a half years as the head of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. As a thought experiment, he placed himself inside the mind of a Palestinian spymaster to provide a cold assessment of the challenges faced by the new Hamas-led government. The following is a memo to Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian prime minister. Mr. Prime Minister: Your rise to power has been meteoric and unprecedented.

Wilted Rose
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

Moral Hazard
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.

Center Right
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.

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