On the day that the U.S. Senate voted to provide $38 million in “non-military” aid to Nicaraguan rebels, the foreign minister of Canada was in Managua to seal a deal with the Sandinistas worth $11 million, assistance designed to help Nicaragua develop its geothermal power. But this deal sustains Sandinista geopolitical power as well.
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 reason for Moscow's receding influence is disarmingly simple: Marx and mosque are incompatible. —John Kifner, the New York Times, September 14, 1980 We are fated, as the old Chinese chestnut has it, to live in interesting times, and never more so than in the last 18 months, which have been witness to one of the most resounding collapses of foreign policy to have occurred in modern history.
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.
Back in the good old days—when Mao Zedong was always right and Deng Xiaoping was a capitalist roader—wall posters were all the rage in China. In one frenzied week during the Cultural Revolution in 1966, students at Peking University churned out 100,000 posters, enough to cover the Great Wall from end to end. Communist party cadres had to string wires along factory and office corridors so workers could hang up their latest attacks against revisionist superiors, “Anything goes,” a Communist party official told a group of factory workers. “The main thing is to get the discussion going.
Tokyo After hunting them to the edge of extinction, the Western capitalist world seems finally to have accepted the great whales, the largest creatures on earth, as our lovable seagoing cousins. This affection does not extend to the Japanese, whose diet still includes whale meat.
It has begun to occur to our leaders, at last, that the Western nations are helping to finance the international terrorism of which they are the victims. Recent steps by the Carter administration, prodded by Congress, to use America’s economic muscle in the battle against terrorism are long overdue. Several anti-terrorism bills have been introduced in Congress in recent years. One—the Omnibus Anti-Terrorist Act, sponsored by Senator Abraham Ribicoff—has been winding its way through Congress and is likely to become law.
Twenty years ago, in the majestic Piazza de Capitole Marcus Aurelius in Rome, the treaty was signed establishing the European Economic Community. For Europeans, it is as discomforting today to reread the Rome speeches of 1957 as it is for Americans to reread the Kennedy inaugural address of 1961. Like diaries written in childhood, they embarrass by their blend of naivete and self-importance. The ringing call of 1957 for a United States of Europe is mocked by a Europe in 1977 more fragmented and uncooperative than at any time since 1950.
Madrid—The Spanish armed forces, no longer a military monolith, may become the arbiter of Spain’s political future in the crisis following Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s latest serious illness and probable disappearance from the national scene.