Even before chemical weapons were used, there was a refugee crisis. Why won't the president act?
In all likelihood, the White House's confirmation on Thursday that chemical weapons have been used in Syria will soon confirm something else: Not all “red lines” are drawn the same. READ MORE >>
Why Asma Al Assad is the perfect dictator’s wife for the twenty-first century
When choosing a spouse, a dictator must take care. Eva Perón proved a great asset; Eva Braun, less so. Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, educated at Wellesley, got grown men to weep when she spoke before a joint session of Congress in 1943 (good), but behind the scenes she was notably high-maintenance, insisting, for example, on silk sheets that had to be changed daily, or twice daily, if she had an afternoon nap (bad). Imelda Marcos started strong (good singer) and went downhill. READ MORE >>
With budget cuts looming, the Pentagon should focus on adaptability—not just technolgy
A debate is raging these days over the future of American national security strategy, and the size and shape of the military force needed to implement it. Nearly everyone agrees that the United States needs a less expensive approach and a smaller military. But what should be cut—and by how much? READ MORE >>
Is peace possible?
Will Afghanistan, which has been at war since 1978—thirty-four years, or a period longer than the two world wars and the intervening years combined—finally see a minimal kind of peace before American forces leave next year? Can the United States focus enough diplomatic energy to help generate a cease-fire and a political deal between Kabul, Islamabad, and the Taliban? READ MORE >>
North Korea, in advance of a unanimous United Nations Security Council vote to sanction the country for last month's underground nuclear weapons test, today threatened to pre-emptively nuke Washington. Pyongyang has long been known for its provocations, but this one is scary enough to warrant asking: Could they pull it off? READ MORE >>
After the fighting, Mali's ethnic tensions continue to fester
GAO, Mali—On the first day that French airstrikes hit Gao in January, locals lynched one of their jihadi occupiers. At the edge of the city, near the airport, a strike on a double-cabbed Toyota pickup full of jihadi fighters left a sole survivor; he stole a donkey cart and made a slow dash for the city center. Danny, a broad-shouldered 25-year-old Songhai, the dark-skinned ethnic majority in Gao, slowly trailed the donkey cart on his motorbike, keeping enough distance to dodge bullets from the fighter’s AK-47 assault rifle and calling out to others to join him. READ MORE >>
The fighting hits Timbuktu, but soccer's still on television.
DJENNE, Mali—The evening French and Malian troops entered the former Islamist stronghold of Timbuktu the men of Djenné, 200 miles to the southwest, gathered under the thatch awnings of mercantiles that flank the dusty square before the Sudanic clay steeples of the 12th-century Grande Mosque. They arranged overturned plastic buckets and rope chairs and wooden benches into impromptu amphitheaters in front of the small television sets they had balanced on cases of water bottles and soda and crackers. READ MORE >>
No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden By Mark Owen, with Kevin Maurer (Dutton Adult, 301 pp., $26.95) I. READ MORE >>
Japan has a new prime minister, Naoto Kan, but he comes from the same party—the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)—as Yukio Hatoyama, who resigned last Wednesday. He will almost surely want to continue Hatoyama's policies of strengthening Japan’s political democracy and forging an independent foreign policy that is allied with the United States, but not subordinate to it. READ MORE >>
When President Obama arrives in Tokyo on Friday, he will confront a country that seeks to be an ally of the United States. For Japan has never been an American ally. It was first a rival, then an enemy, and finally, after it lost the war it foolishly started with the U.S., it became a protectorate, not an ally. READ MORE >>