Weather ... Or Not
October 12, 2004
In the 1994 movie Stargate, director Roland Emmerich presented us with an interstellar portal leading to a planet populated by ancient Egyptian look-alikes. Two years later, with Independence Day, he offered a genocidal alien invasion that was overcome by two guys spreading a computer virus. And two years after that, his Godzilla featured a 200-foot-tall radioactive iguana running amuck in Manhattan.
As I Say
October 04, 2004
The splotch that appeared on satellite photos of North Korea two weeks ago was like a Rorschach blot for foreign policy wonks. A cloud of smoke that would have been considered benign in almost any other country (it being in actuality just a cloud) was immediately feared the result of a nuclear explosion, showing just how anxious national security types have become about Pyongyang's weapons program.
September 27, 2004
Jerusalem, Israel--The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, had planned on offering the usual complaints when he visited Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week. There was the stalled road map, Israel's security fence, and the recently announced expansion of West Bank settlements close to the Green Line. But, before he arrived in Jerusalem, something happened that changed Lavrov's agenda: the massacre of Russian children by Chechen Islamist terrorists.
August 03, 2004
I don't like to think of myself as the kind of person who would open a column with a reference to a Billy Joel song. But this week, while ruminating on the often-inverse relationship between quality and longevity, I fleetingly considered it. I don't mind saying it scared me a little. The subject that brought me to the edge of this precipice was the late, insufficiently lamented NBC series "Boomtown," the first season of which was recently released on video and DVD. If the Paul Thomas Anderson of Magnolia, the David O.
August 02, 2004
West Virginians sour on the Iraq war.
March 08, 2004
On February 11, just days after a supposedly penitent Abdul Qadeer Khan confessed on Pakistani television, President Bush appeared at the National Defense University to describe how the father of Pakistan's atom bomb had for years run a global network that sold nuclear weapons technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea. Bush praised Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for "assur[ing] us that his country will never again be a source of proliferation," even though it was not clear Musharraf could promise any such thing, and lauded the U.S. intelligence community for its "hard work and ...
January 19, 2004
Well before he officially launched his candidacy in mid-September, Wesley Clark was hailed as the Democrats' savior. Party strategists, convinced that the front-running Howard Dean would flame out against George W. Bush, saw in Clark not only a sensible political alternative but, just as important, an electable one.
Jerusalem Dispatch: Fantasy
December 15, 2003
Some two million Israeli homes recently received in the mail the 47-page text of the Geneva Accord, which claims to be the comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Accord, a European-funded effort secretly negotiated by Palestinian officials and Israeli public figures for two years--and signed in a symbolic, lavish ceremony in Geneva this week--states that Israel will withdraw to the 1967 borders, a Palestinian state will emerge with its capital in Jerusalem, and the two peoples will recognize each other's right to statehood and resolve the refugee issue.
The Right Man
June 16, 2003
Nestled high among the mountains of Cauca, a coca-producing region in southern Colombia, La Sierra is one of those forgotten villages Colombians call ghost towns. For at least two years, it was governed by the leftist rebels known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (farc). But, on March 5, 2003, a band of 36 soldados campesinos, or peasant soldiers--ordinary Colombians who train for three months in urban warfare under a new government program and then return home--marched into town and took over. According to surprised residents, the farc abruptly left.
Amnesty and Amnesia
March 10, 2003
Adenauer's Germany and the Nazi Past: The Politics of Amnesty and Integration By Norbert Frei Translated by Joel Golb (Columbia University Press, 365 pp., $35)In this grim account of the formative years of West German democracy, the German historian Norbert Frei examines legislation affecting the amnesty and the integration of Germans suspected of, accused of, and in many cases indicted for crimes committed during the Nazi era.