Wikileaks and the Cyberwars to Come
December 14, 2010

The childish panic that has swept the policy establishment over the past few weeks over the Wikileaks revelations themselves will soon subside.

A Defense of Wikileaks
December 01, 2010

The Obama administration has condemned Wikileaks for its second release within a year of classified foreign policy documents. And some liberal commentators have backed up the administration’s complaints. And I am not going to argue that the administration doesn’t have a case. Governments rely on candid assessments from their diplomats; and if Americans in overseas embassies have to assume that they are writing for the general public and not for their superiors back home, they are not likely to be very candid. But there is also something to be said in defense of Wikileaks.

The Deal
October 20, 2010

Meanwhile, back at the war. “This is how you end these kinds of insurgencies,” General Petraeus said a few weeks ago, referring to the fact that senior officials of the Taliban had “sought to reach out” to senior officials of the Karzai government in Kabul. Pardon the impudence, but this is four-star spin.

Only the U.S. Military Is Hopeful About Afghanistan
October 12, 2010

Arriving in Kabul the first thing that hits you is the aura and aroma of dust. It covers the capital city in a hazy sheen and, more to the point, in a distinct and powerful odor. Considering that Kabul reportedly has one of the highest percentages of atmospheric fecal matter in the world it's the sort of smell that, at least initially, strikes you in the face. It offers a useful preview of the more powerful smack of gloom that seems so evident in Afghanistan today.

The Taliban's Khymer Rouge Strategy
October 10, 2010

"The war on the educated" is what the New York Times called it on Saturday. And the fact is that there is much evidence that there is a relentless stalking of modern intellectuals and moderate Muslim clerics in Pakistan. The Times story by Jane Perlez reports the assassination, one of many, of Farooq Khan, "doctor to the poor, scholar of Islam and friend of America," who represented something the Islamic extremists hated.The assassination of Dr.

The Spine-Chilling Emptiness of Afghanistan's Voting Booths
October 01, 2010

On election day, a pack of bone-thin, restless dogs wandered into the main polling center in Sheikhabad, a town in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province. A pair of Afghan policemen tried to chase them away, but the determined bunch kept returning, looking for a shady redoubt from the morning sun. Eventually the police relented, and the dogs settled down for a nap. The canines were the only visitors there for hours—not a single person had come to vote.

September 20, 2010

The most durable myth in the Middle East is: "It's Palestine, stupid." It lies at the heart of Barack Obama's Middle East diplomacy, which is why the president has been pummeling the Israelis and pushing the Palestinians to resume talks. According to this myth, the most urgent problem is not the Iranian bomb or Syrian ambitions. It is not Egypt, once an anchor of stability and now slipping into precarious irrelevance. It is not Iraq, which is tottering between occupation and anarchy. It is not Al Qaeda in Yemen, the return of the Taliban, or the ticking time bomb that is Pakistan.

Muslims And Conservative Anti-Anti-Discrimination
August 30, 2010

Last week, Jonah Goldberg wrote that, if anybody is facing discrimination in this country, it's non-Muslims: The 70 percent of Americans who oppose what amounts to an Islamic Niketown two blocks from Ground Zero are the real victims of a climate of hate, and the much-ballyhooed anti-Muslim backlash is mostly a myth. ... Why aren’t we talking about the anti-Jewish climate in America? Because there isn’t one. And there isn’t an anti-Muslim climate either. Yes, there’s a lot of heated rhetoric on the Internet. Absolutely, some Americans don’t like Muslims.

Bishkek Blunder
August 28, 2010

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan—Smiling in a conference room of her aging Soviet-era office suite, Roza Otunbayeva appeared confident—possibly for the first time in her short presidency. It was only two weeks after June 10, when ethnic violence had begun engulfing the south of her country, but Kyrgyzstan's diminutive leader, a bespectacled former diplomat with a bob cut and the good-natured manner of a high-school principal, announced that the bloodshed had failed to discourage people from participating in a nationwide referendum.

The Taliban And Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
August 27, 2010

I was for the American involvement in Iraq. And I am for the American involvement in Afghanistan, more or less and so-so, not (I readily admit) a responsible position. Perhaps out of naivete. Perhaps out of nostalgia for the good the United States brought with it in most of its foreign entanglements. Don’t forget World War II in which our troops were decisive in rescuing the world from an ideologically motivated system of cruelty even unto its ultimate form, genocide. And, for that matter, don’t forget Korea where the U.S.