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.
Stop Financing Terrorism
July 08, 1978
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.
It's Even Worse in Brussels
July 09, 1977
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.
Franco Then the Army?
November 01, 1975
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.
Mrs. Gandhi's Watergate
July 19, 1975
India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has locked up droves of her political enemies. She has suspended constitutional rights and imposed such drastic press censorship that even publishing news of the censorship rules is banned. More than 1000 persons have been jailed, including the venerable Jayaprakash Narayan, the prominent associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Mrs. Gandhi's current troubles began with her conviction by a local Allahabad judge for two minor election abuses. These involved taking undue advantage of her prime ministerial office to wage her personal political wars.
May 03, 1975
For at least eight years it seemed reasonable to me to assume that sooner or later, no matter what we did in Vietnam, things would end badly for us. This feeling was not based on any desire to see us humiliated, or any feeling that the other side represented the forces of goodness and light; it just seemed that the only way to stave off an eventual Communist victory was with an open-ended, and therefore endless, application of American firepower in support of the South Vietnamese regime. No matter how much force we were willing to use, this would not end the war, only prevent Saigon's defeat.