The following is adapted from a talk delivered at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 2010. One of the greatest ironies of the past decade's debates over political Islam has been that, on the whole, the most passionate and emphatic rejections of radical Islamism in this country came from President Bush and his supporters—that is, conservatives. This is peculiar because the various forms of radical Islamism represent the third major form of totalitarian ideology and politics in modern world history.
MOSCOW—Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, has been in court for so long that only the hardy, like the wall-eyed man haunting the courthouse in a Che Guevara-style Khodorkovsky t-shirt and the “Free Khodorkovsky” plastic shopping bag, have dared to follow his case. “I’ve spent seven years this way,” says Marina Khodorkovsky, the ex-tycoon’s mother, a bright-eyed former metals engineer. First, there was the year and a half of legal proceedings after her son’s dramatic October 2003 arrest, when special forces stormed his private jet in Siberia.
When it comes to war, it is a natural human tendency to identify good guys and bad guys—and sometimes, it is a sensible one.
I take it is a relief that, aside from its rhetorical pandering to the civil libertarian absolutists who can’t seem to grasp that Muslim terror networks are in a worldwide war with the United States and its remaining allies, the Obama administration is actually extending the life of the Bush presidency in its defense against jihad. Eli Lake, who is among the most discerning journalists on the intelligence beat, has written an analysis in Reason on where—or, rather, how little—the Obami have deviated from Bush guidelines. When it comes to the legal framework for confronting terrorism, President
It was official. The director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, Muawiya Hassanein, reported that a 14 year old Gaza boy, Muhammad Zen Ismail Al-Fammawi, was shot dead by Israeli forces near the Yassir Arafat International Airport last Tuesday. The International Red Cross apparently had coordinated with Israel forces to collect the body. Alas, the body was not found. But oops! No body was not found. Still, the story persisted. Another martyr for "Land Day," the 34th anniversary of a protest against an Israeli expropriation of land in which six Arabs were killed. Then, yesterday, the
I know that a lot of people in my crowd don't like Frank Rich. But I happen to find even some of his excesses entertaining. Yes, he is of the somewhat ritualized left.
Venezuela is another one of those socialist nightmare/dream fantasies. While the tyranny may be Latin-lackadaisical, the slow but certain shutdown of centers of dissent goes on--and soon there will be nothing else to close. Except for the fact that there is a certain popular resilience to the tricks the dictator learned from Comrade Castro.
Maybe you remember Ivory Snow. Maybe you don’t. In any case, this is not about soap. It’s about murder, mass murder. Benny Morris has written, for next week’s hard-copy edition of TNR (available in this space some days thereafter), a review of a book by a Kremlin diplomatic hack named Yevgeny Primakov. It is called Russia and the Arabs. Morris proves that even a mendacious writer sometimes inadvertently tells the truth.
This is not my characterization of Barack Obama. It is the FT’s. And it is not exactly meant to evoke admiration. Now, the truth is that the Financial Times as an institution is quite sympathetic to most of Obama’s foreign policy tropes and positively dizzy about his views on Israel and the Palestinians. But Edward Luce and Daniel Dombey, who wrote their assessment on the highly respected daily “analysis” page, fully grasp that the president has nothing very much to show for all his own diligence and attention to detail.
I wonder who is going to edit the Haggadah Shel Pesach, the text used to introduce and accompany the White House Passover meal, over which Barack Obama will preside when he returns from his trip to Afghanistan. This, of course, was the golden opportunity to tone down the cacophony of his nasty disagreement with Bibi Netanyahu by going to Jerusalem and celebrating the seder there instead.