United Nations

Griefbusters
October 21, 1985

We can't prevent earthquakes. But technology and techniques now exist to save lives after such tragedies, and that is why it has been so disturbing to witness trained rescue workers arriving in Mexico City too late to help many trapped in collapsed buildings. Members of a French team complained bitterly that they could have saved dozens, if not hundreds, of additional lives if they had been called to the scene promptly after the disaster struck.

Confessions of a 'Contra'
August 05, 1985

How the CIA masterminded the Nicaraguan insurgency.

Conscience and Catastrophe
July 30, 1984

The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust, and Modern Conscience by William Shawcross (Simon and Schuster, 464 pp, $19.95) Great human disasters, natural or manmade, put bureaucrats to a test not only as public officials but as human beings. Normally insulated from the consequences of their actions by layers of government, and accustomed to the abstractions of statecraft, they suddenly are forced to deal with a problem in which every action (or inaction) can have an immediate effect on whether people will live or die.

Inside Afghanistan
August 28, 1983

He looked like an old man—perhaps seventy, although we had learned during our journey that age comes quickly in Afghanistan. He squatted across the room from us, holding a rifle that had seen other wars. We had traveled ten thousand miles to find out about the war in Afghanistan and the people who fought it. But the old man, learning we were Americans, decided that our own country was to be the subject of discussion. "Why do Americans claim they are friends of the Afghan nation?" he demanded through our translator.

The Case of Honduras
August 15, 1983

A fragile democracy on the edge of a whirlwind.

Revolution Watching
March 29, 1980

Watching the ayatollah, the other ayatollahs, the militants, the demonstrating crowds, the revolutionary council, the foreign minister, the new president…one learns the importance of having a government. Even if the best government is one that governs least, it must at least govern. Thus far, the Iranian revolution has been a people's festival, a school holiday, a vacation from authority. Perhaps we should sympathize with that, for it may well be that the government the Iranians eventually get, like the one they had, will be worse than the present turmoil.

The New Anti-Semitism
September 18, 1976

In those distant days, when General de Gaulle drank a toast to "the state of Israel, our friend and ally," a right wing antisemitic weekly in Paris, which fiercely upheld the idea of "Algerie Franfaise," published a long article under the title "Is it possible to be a friend of Israel and an anti-Semite at the same time?" The author thought that it was.

UNESCO and Israel
December 14, 1974

Last month as the UN General Assembly was passing resolutions in New York conferring legitimacy on the Palestine Liberation Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris, by excluding Israel from its European regional activities, was anticipating and, as Raymond Aron and Jean-Paul Sartre said in a remarkable joint statement, "justifying in advance Israel's physical annihilation." The Arab-inspired resolutions included terminating UNESCO's small aid to Israeli cultural institutions and asked that UNESCO's director general undertake to supervise educ

Torture
December 08, 1973

… I was arrested on May 11, 1970, in Sao Paulo, on my way to dinner with a young lady I had recently met… She had been arrested several days previously and violently tortured and taken to Operacion Bandeirantes… With four armed policemen we went to OBAN headquarters. During the journey [one] ordered the young lady to show me her hands so that I 'could have an idea of what awaited me.' They… were handcuffed… greatly swollen and covered with dark purple hematomas.

Nixon and the World
January 06, 1973

Trying to evaluate the foreign policy of the Nixon administration during its first term, one must, as always in foreign policy, distinguish between rhetoric and policy. Rhetoric and policy may by and large coincide, one reflecting the other, or a wide gap may separate the two. In the latter case, what governments do is more important than what they say they are doing or are going to do.

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