July 01, 1985
In this space a few weeks ago I published some words critical of Peter Jennings, the anchorman for ABC's "World News Tonight." My views provoked a good deal of mail in Jennings's defense—but none of it from ordinary TV-watching citizens.
The Myth of the Lost POWs
July 01, 1985
Ten years after America's withdrawal from Vietnam, President Reagan has made the recovery of 2,477 American soldiers "the highest national priority." In June 1983 a division of the Defense Intelligence Agency was assigned a large full-time staff to collect and evaluate information about POWs and MIAs. Last summer Reagan signed a proclamation designating the third Friday in July as the annual National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
Wogs and Louts
July 01, 1985
Oxford: In “violent” Britain, plagued with soccer hooliganism, one of the more peaceful spots for a summer Saturday afternoon picnic is the bank of the River Thames where it winds through the Oxfordshire countryside.
Democracy in Nicaragua
July 01, 1985
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.
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.
War Against the West
October 11, 1980
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.
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.
Purging the Posters
February 23, 1980
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.
December 29, 1979
The Soviet Union’s greatest mythological figure is 100 years old this week.
Whaling and Lamentation
September 01, 1979
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.