July-Aug 2011

Ahmadinejad vs. The Ayatollah

A battle royal between the president and the supreme leader has engulfed Tehran. The result? Khamenei and his allies are methodically and ruthlessly establishing the planet’s most unabashed theocratic despotism.

Essays

Saints Go Marching In

Somalia. Bosnia. Sierra Leone. Kosovo. Armed intervention is on the rise. Libya proves once again that humanitarian adventurism is a mere shroud for Western imperialism.

Hegemony with Chinese Characteristics

At its core, ideology fuels the epic struggle between Washington and Beijing. Deeply insecure about its own legitimacy, the Communist Party seeks the subordination of its regional neighbors to...

The Good Autocrat

A stark contrast exists between the tyrannical rulers of the Middle East and the benign despots of East Asia. The precepts of Enlightenment thought dictate freedom for all, but Confucian leaders offer a heretical alternative to Western ideals.

Romancing the Throne

Dynastic survival. Diplomatic alliances. Religious supremacy. Ahh, the good old days of monarchical marriage. From the drunken George to the uppity Victoria, what was once the realm of high politics is now the domain of celebrity culture.

Books & Reviews

Mr. Brooks's Miracle Elixir

The Social Animal is an instruction manual for politicians, the chief virtue of which is that it is practically useless. Faced with geopolitical and economic upheaval, the New York Times columnist offers a reassuring refuge from reality.

Gods in Flight

Think airpower is the military strategy cure-all? Martin van Creveld begs to differ. His latest offering argues that aerial armaments have failed to confer a decisive advantage, tricking aggressors into believing that victory will be easy.

Mohandas and the Unicorn

Gandhi cuts a saintly figure in the modern imagination. Joseph Lelyveld’s controversial biographical account presents a more dispassionate perspective of the Father of the Indian Nation. An exaggerated creation myth is revealed.

Next Year in Jerusalem!

Simon Sebag Montefiore’s tour through Jerusalem demonstrates that the conquerors of history saw this city as a treasure worth countless lives. The current face-off between Israelis and Palestinians is only the latest intractable conflict.

On My Way to the Colosseum...

R. J. B. Bosworth’s most recent tome navigates the changing politics and identity of Rome, from papal preserve to Fascist enclave to republican capital, deftly illustrating that the Eternal City is forever a work in progress.

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April 17, 2014