What Terrorism Alerts Say about Ourselves
The uselessness to the public of the recent vague official alerts about possible terrorist attacks in Europe has been noted by several commentators. Our government told us not that we should revise travel plans but that we should take sensible precautions such as being aware of our surroundings. Sounds like standard advice for any foreign traveler, terrorist threat or no terrorist threat.
Embrace the Talks
The story in the Washington Post about preliminary talks between the Afghan Taliban and President Hamid Karzai is encouraging news in two respects.
Crunch Time, Delayed but not Avoided
A diplomatic device for bridging the negotiating gap in otherwise intractable conflicts is to leave resolution of major issues to some future mechanism, the ultimate outcome of which is indeterminate.
Four Myths About the Refutation of Myths
A regular feature in the Observer section of the Sunday Washington Post is an article in which a commentator refutes five myths, or what are described as myths, about some public issue. This is a popular form of argumentation, which appears in various forms elsewhere. One variant, for example, is the “Think Again” feature in Foreign Policy, which has the same format of serially evaluating several supposedly popular beliefs, although among the beliefs that get refuted there as myths are sometimes others that win the author's agreement or at least conditional agreement.
The Lessons of Ayodhya
The verdict by an Indian court concerning disputed land in Ayodhya that was the site of both a 16th century mosque and, Hindus say, the birth of the Hindu god Ram was an earnest effort to recognize the claims and religious sensitivities of both si
Drugs, Blights, and Markets in Afghanistan
The release on Thursday of the annual survey by the United Nations of opium production in Afghanistan briefly renews attention to a topic that hasn't seemed to have gotten much of it lately: the role of Afghanistan--producer of 90 perc
The Damage That Keeps On Damaging
A report by Timothy Williams in the New York Times provides a coda to all those balance sheets about the Iraq War that people were drawing up when U.S. combat operations “ended” a month ago.
The Ineffable Lobby
[amazon 0374177724 full]Lately one hasn't heard much of the screaming against the observation that supporters of a certain Middle Eastern state exercise influence over U.S. policy that is well out of proportion to what a clear focus on U.S. interests would dictate. That's because the observation doesn't get voiced very much. The screaming reached a crescendo three years ago when John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published their book on the subject.
The Americanization of British Politics
The victory of 40-year-old Ed Miliband in the contest for leadership of Britain's Labour Party evokes several aspects--none of them particularly good--of American politics and how the United States chooses its leaders.