Homage to Paraguay
June 14, 2010
One of the great things in watching the World Cup is a chance to appreciate a team like Paraguay. From a fan point of view, they're not all that fun to watch, for obvious reason--defensive gritiness, absence of big names, no spectacular plays, mind-numbing discipline. If it wasn't the obvious limits of the team's abilities, you could call them poor people's Germans. No one outside Paraguay rushes home to watch them, but it's hard not to admire the commitment and hard work and the fact they always make it hard for the other team to beat them.
November 09, 2009
Monday marks the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is worth pausing to recall just how momentous, and unanticipated, this event and those that followed were. My students today have no memory of the cold war; to them, Prague and Budapest, just like Paris and Madrid, are simply places to visit or study in Europe.
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.
Saving Lives With Force
July 12, 1999
Was the NATO air campaign against Serbia just a onetime thing, or can the United States and other like-minded countries really stop genocidal wars around the world? Although this war is ending, we might face the question again soon. In recent years, the world has witnessed the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the 1992-1995 Bosnian civil war, and the 1992-1993 war-induced famine in Somalia. Even today, wars that have taken many more lives than the conflict over Kosovo remain unresolved in places such as Angola and Sudan. We certainly cannot settle every conflict in the world.
With God on Their Sides
November 25, 1996
The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia by Michael A. Sells (University of California Press, 244 pp., $19.95) The Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina: Their Historic Development from the Middle Ages to the Dissolution of Yugoslavia edited by Mark Pinson. (Harvard University Press, 207 pp., $14.95) Was it genocide that occurred in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995? Were the Serbs and the Croats who attacked the Muslims motivated mainly by religious nationalism?
October 14, 1996
The price of the September 14 elections in Bosnia was not simply that ethnic cleansers were legitimized; it was, more mundanely, that ethnic cleansers were elected. Though Radovan Karadzic was not voted into office (indicted war criminals were not permitted to run), his ideas were. All three ruling parties--Serb, Croat and Muslim--spent the election "campaign" cracking down on opposition candidates, obstructing the media, stomping out free expression and blocking refugee repatriation. As a result, the vote proved empowering only to those who already held power.