Germany Today, U.S. Tomorrow
July 07, 2010
I’ll take Howard’s bait. I think it is OK to both admire and root for Germany, and I’ve found myself doing both. Yes, my father was the first mate on U.S. Merchant Marine ships running supplies to Normandy, and the Nazis did occupy his native Greece. But that was quite some time ago. In my well-postwar lifetime, personal bias against Germany has involved disdain for the country’s efficient, machine-like, insert-backhandedly-complimentary-adjective-here character (and caricature), and with their soccer.
Sunil Gulati: U.S. Are Creative, Gosh Darnit
June 12, 2010
JOHANNESBURG -- The U.S., of course, gets set to kick off its World Cup campaign tonight against England in Rustenburg. But Sunil Gulati, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, which runs American soccer, was already in town last week, promoting the U.S. bid to host the tournament in either 2018 or 2022. My friend Jonty Mark, a soccer reporter for The Star, a Johannesburg daily, interviewed Gulati, a Columbia University economics professor, in his well-appointed hotel suite, and let me tag along. We asked him about the bid, but also about how far he thinks U.S.
The U.S. Is Not Too Big To Fail
June 09, 2010
As several recent surveys make clear, concern about deficits and debt is rising sharply. An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey conducted in early May showed that the share of individuals rating “the deficit and government spending” as the top priority for the federal government to address has jumped since January from 13 to 20 percent—second only to job creation and economic growth. According to Gallup, “federal government debt” now ties with terrorism for the top spot in perceived threats to our future well-being.
The Congress vs. Barack Obama: The U.S. vs. Iran
May 18, 2010
Barack Obama is fighting hard to be permitted by Congress to throw cotton candy at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran. It is unlikely that he will succeed, and that is because even many Democratic senators are simply mortified by the president’s trifling efforts at getting the mullahs to back down from their nuclear aspirations. He has spent nearly 16 months in what he should have known would be a doomed diplomacy to induce Russia and China to get tough with Tehran. Yes, get tough. The fact is that Obama’s confident vanity in diplomacy no longer commands much respect around the country.
Don’t Be Evil
April 21, 2010
In 1981, Andrei Sakharov wrote an essay titled “The Responsibility of Scientists.” His argument was that scientists, who “form the one real worldwide community which exists today,” had a special obligation to speak out in defense of human rights. In part, his essay was directed to fellow Soviet scientists, whom he implored to take risks on behalf of principle—to “muster sufficient courage and integrity to resist the temptation and the habit of conformity.” Yet Sakharov did not let his colleagues in the free world off the hook.
Administration Policy On Iran Is An Unmitigated Disaster
March 28, 2010
And it has been that since the beginning of the Obama presidency. Obama had started out with the quaintest belief that soft diplomacy would work with a rough tyranny that had even rougher ambitions in its dealings with other countries. This was obvious to everyone except the president himself.
High Speed Rail: A Social Cohesion Strategy for the U.S.?
March 09, 2010
When President Obama unveiled his budget allocation for high-speed rail, he said, “In France, high-speed rail has pulled regions from isolation, ignited growth [and], remade quiet towns into thriving tourist destinations.” His remarks emphasize how high-speed rail is increasing the accessibility of isolated places as an argument for similarly investments.
Our Man in Kabul?
March 09, 2010
“Let’s talk about why you plan to kill me.” It was March 1987, and Milt Bearden was sitting in a spare interview room at the Islamabad headquarters of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Bearden was then the CIA’s station chief in Islamabad, serving as the link between Washington and the U.S.-funded Afghan rebels bleeding the Soviets in Afghanistan. He had come to see the mujahedin’s most lethal warlord, a radical Islamist named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
The U.S. “Continues A Strategic Thaw With Syria.” Syria Does Nothing. What Does Washington Expect? But, Yes, There Are Consequences For Iran, Grim Ones.
February 22, 2010
Continuing my last Spine… The A.P. reports in Sunday’s New York Times that the Obama administration has lifted the travel advisory that warns American not to visit Syria. It’s not too much of a sanction on Damascus, and there is no punishment for American tourists and businessmen who want to see the glories of Damascus, such as they are.
Ominous Arrests in Pakistan
December 09, 2009
The latest installment in a disturbing trend of U.S. citizens found to have connections to radicals in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Five young men who vanished from the Washington area last month are believed to be held in Pakistan while authorities investigate possible links to extremists there. The Pakistani Embassy in Washington says the investigation focuses on whether the U.S. citizens have links to extremist groups in Pakistan. The five men have been arrested but no formal charges have been filed.... U.S.