Soviet

Sometimes Michael Kazin’s reasonableness disguises an apologetic lack of argument. His little reflection on my piece is a small anthology of the president’s foreign policy shibboleths. Let us begin with Iran. “They hail the democratic insurgents in Iran but do not propose an intervention that would destroy their movement and many of their lives.” Who, precisely, is proposing such an intervention? Certainly not I.

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This post is from our new In-House Critics blog. Click here to read more about it. Sometimes, Leon Wieseltier’s eloquence disguises a murky argument. “Political conviction cannot be indifferent to events,” he writes in his last Washington Diarist, “but not every event is an occasion for new thinking.” The Iraq war turned certain liberals (unnamed) who once believed “in the responsibility of American power to do good in the world” into Obama-admiring realists. They would be wiser, he counsels, to stick to their “fundamental beliefs.” And to grasp those, “The study of history should suffice.

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The Party Line

Russia and the Arabs: Behind the Scenes in the Middle East from the Cold War to the Present By Yevgeny Primakov Translated by Paul Gould (Basic Books, 418 pp., $29.95) Over the decades, many people in the West, and certainly most Israelis, came to view the Soviet Union and then Russia as a force for ill, if not evil, in the Middle East, and perhaps farther afield as well.

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One afternoon in October, a blue and white jumbo jet flew high above the Pacific Ocean, approaching the international dateline. On board was the secretary of defense, Robert Gates, who was on an around-the-world trip that would end with a summit of NATO defense ministers, where the topic of the day would be Afghanistan. Gates was flying on what is often called “the Doomsday Plane,” a specially outfitted 747 that looks like a bulkier Air Force One and was built to wage retaliatory nuclear war from the skies.

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To describe Roman Polanski's film The Pianist in less than superlatives might get one branded obtuse or hard-hearted. "A powerfully meticulous epic," extolled Richard Corliss in Time. "A remarkable story, handled with an expert lack of sentimentality," the New Statesman's Philip Kerr agreed.

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From Russia, With Hate

Neo-Stalinists of the New Right.

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After the Wall

The Editors: What now?

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A Stillborn Olympics

Robert Herr on Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev's decision to invite the Olympic games to the Soviet Union.

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Since there has been so little detailed consideration, as yet, of the latest Russian disarmament plan, by the press or by responsible political leaders, the New Republic this week dispenses with its Behind-the-Headlines reports in order to present the following analysis and interpretation.   AT THE summit, where Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States are soon to meet, the weather prediction from all sides is cold. The men who are to meet there share one condition: they are shivering.  For its own reasons each government privately fears the encounter.

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Of all the Communist parties, both in the East and West, none is in such a peculiar and paradoxical position as die Austrian. Though backed by Red guns and money, it has been unable to obtain more than a steady five percent of the total vote in a country whose unemployment problem among its youth is phenomenal, and whose living standard during the last twenty years has suffered one of the greatest declines of any nation in Europe. Indeed so inept have Communist Efforts become that during the last elections they could find no better campaign issue than increased pensions for the aged.

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