April 21, 2003
The House of Representatives has not exactly risen to meet our present world-historical moment. After France opposed invading Iraq this winter, congressional Republicans acted like a petulant band of Bill O’Reillys. French fries were replaced in House cafeterias by “freedom fries,” conservatives tried to kill a contract with a French firm to feed U.S. Marines, and a Colorado representative demanded an end to the use of French-made headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. These were largely symbolic, if infantile, gestures.
The 9/10 President
March 10, 2003
It disappeared so quickly that it is easy to forget the bipartisan patriotism and common purpose that existed in Washington immediately after September 11, 2001. Perhaps the most memorable event from that period was the gathering of members of Congress from both parties on the steps of the Capitol to sing "God Bless America." Another such episode--little-noticed, but actually more remarkable--occurred the following month.
September 09, 2002
The United States added a critical ounce of prevention to its war on terrorism last week. One hundred pounds of prevention, actually, in the form of bomb-grade, highly enriched uranium airlifted from Serbia to Russia for safekeeping. The nuclear material had been sitting around for more than a decade at Belgrade's Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences—a decrepit civilian nuclear reactor—in small, low-radiation canisters that would have been easy to carry off without special equipment. The site was protected by little more than a barbed-wire fence and a few lightly armed guards.
Rights of Passage
February 25, 2002
A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Mary Ann Glendon (Random House, 333 pp., $25.95) Are rights universal? Can diverse people, across religious and ethnic differences, agree about what rights people have? Might it be possible to produce agreements about the content of rights among people from different nations--not simply England, America, Germany, and France, but China, Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India, Iran, Kenya, Egypt, Uganda, Cuba, and Japan, too? What would such an agreement look like?
Jerusalem Dispatch: Normalcy
December 17, 2001
Terrorism is the ultimate anti-Zionist weapon. It subverts Israel's promise of normalcy for the Jews. One reason Israelis have learned to live with the recurring image of parents burying their soldier sons is that the death of young people in uniform isn't a violation of what humanity considers normal.
The Undying Swan
November 12, 2001
Stalin's favorite ballerina.
Republic of Fear
October 08, 2001
Looming near the murky Tigris River on the fringes of downtown Baghdad, the Al Rasheed Hotel is the showpiece of Saddam Hussein's global outreach program. A concrete tower best known for the snarling caricature of George Bush Sr. painted on the lobby floor, the Al Rasheed has played host in recent months to a procession of international trade delegations in hot pursuit of lucrative government contracts. On any given day, hundreds of businessmen from China, Russia, Turkey, Malaysia, Italy, and elsewhere--along with dozens of Iraqi security agents--mingle in the hotel lobby and in the outdoor sw
May 22, 2000
The glitz and fanfare surrounding Vladimir Putin's May 7 inauguration led many to compare the event to a czar's coronation. A better analogy would be a shotgun wedding: everyone knew the real reason for the event but was too polite to name it.
An Illusion for our Time
October 20, 1997
This week’s TNR cover story by James Mann deals with the vexing problem that China poses to the community of nations—and to the young Obama administration. Mann observes that, even as China has opened up economically, it has pursued an aggressive foreign policy. Writing in TNR thirteen years ago, Peter Beinart anticipated this situation.
Here We Go Again
August 19, 1996
"G children, and of the United States," the Russian-born political scientist Moisei Ostrogorski remarked in 1902, on the subject of our presidential nominating procedures. Ostrogorski, like many high-minded reformers of the Progressive era, thought America's boss-ridden, coalition- based, two-party system drained the country of responsible and principled leadership.