A Defense of Wikileaks
December 01, 2010
The Obama administration has condemned Wikileaks for its second release within a year of classified foreign policy documents. And some liberal commentators have backed up the administration’s complaints. And I am not going to argue that the administration doesn’t have a case. Governments rely on candid assessments from their diplomats; and if Americans in overseas embassies have to assume that they are writing for the general public and not for their superiors back home, they are not likely to be very candid. But there is also something to be said in defense of Wikileaks.
The Cairo Agenda
November 27, 2010
This weekend, Egyptians will go to the polls—and few of their votes will be counted. The country's elections are, after all, a pseudo-democratic façade carefully choreographed to appease the regime’s Western benefactors. For that reason, Egyptian electoral outcomes are mostly expressions of the regime’s political interests at a particular moment in time.
Can William and Kate’s Wedding Really Save the British Economy?
November 27, 2010
In what seemed like a rare moment of complete political transparency, David Cameron stepped out of 10 Downing Street last week to tell us that his ministers had cheered and banged the cabinet table when he announced the news of Prince William's engagement. And cheer they might. Grim news has dominated headlines here lately: strikes, government cuts, rising unemployment, and falling house prices.
Scenes From Egypt's Vicious Media Crackdown
November 26, 2010
The room in the Journalist Union in the heart of downtown Cairo smells of old cigarette smoke. Soda bottles and plastic cups litter the floor. Men cluster in a circle of pleather loveseats; some tap laptop keyboards, others read. It is Day 20 of the independent Al Dustour newspaper staff’s sit-in and everyone in the room looks worn out. Mohammad Abu Al Dahb, a 26-year-old correspondent, hasn’t slept at home since the staff began protesting the sacking of their dissident editor-in-chief. “It’s physically exhausting, of course, but psychologically, every day we feel better about it.
Do We Have Any Idea How to Deal with North Korea?
November 24, 2010
According to the tenets of current American military thought and practice—that is, “wars amongst the people” fought to win the hearts and minds of local populations—the capacity to have three cups of tea with a local sheik equals the ability to counter and coordinate artillery fires.
Why Does America Dislike the World's Worst Arms Dealer? The Russians Simply Don't Understand.
November 22, 2010
The contretemps between Russia and the United States over Viktor “Merchant of Death” Bout has a surreal, theater-of-the-absurd quality, one that highlights the core philosophical divide between the two countries in just about everything. Russian officials are outragedthat notorious arms-dealer Bout was successfully extradited from Thailand this week and charged with terrorism offenses in Manhattan Federal Court.
Cuba Is Opening Up, As America Turns Away
November 19, 2010
Havana, Cuba—You see them on stage, on passenger flights, and at trade fairs: Americans in Cuba legally, and hoping to travel here more often. The American Ballet Theater has just performed here for the first time in 50 years. It was a wildly popular performance, featuring two Cuban-American dancers—Jose Manuel Carreno and Xiomara Reyes, who was in Cuba for the first time since fleeing the country with her family 18 years ago. “The willingness to share something makes a difference. Why wouldn’t it make a difference?” Reyes told me.
Many Ways to be a Jewish State
November 15, 2010
When Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, spoke to some 60 influential Jewish-Americans in the Plaza’s Edwardian Room on September 21, the first question came from World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder, who pushed Abbas on whether he was prepared to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Mr. Lauder was echoing a demand repeatedly made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the last year and a half. Judging from Mr.
Shootout in the U.K. Corral
November 13, 2010
Speaking on BBC radio at the end of 2003, as his novel Absolute Friends was published in the shadow of the Iraq war, John le Carré compared himself to Victor Klemperer, the German-Jewish scholar and diarist.
First They Came for the Students, Then They Came for the BBC
November 11, 2010
This morning my wife and I listened to BBC Radio’s “Today” program—required fare for members of the media looking to tap the nation’s pulse via broadcasts from Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior politicians. Two historians, in what was clearly a pre-recorded program, were discussing Churchill's bleak mood after the fall of France and prior to his making one of his most historic speeches to the House of Commons in June 1940. The speech was rousing both for Britons and for Americans, to whom it was also addressed.