March 6, 2011 |
Eisenhower 1956: The President's Year of Crisis ? Suez and the Brink of War. David A. Nichols Simon & Schuster: 346 pp., $28 As the Middle East has trembled in recent weeks, the Obama administration has struggled for a coherent and forceful response ? one that reconciles American interests with American values, that balances geopolitics with the moral example of democracy. For an object lesson, the administration might look to the example of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 and might start by reading David A. Nichols' new book on that fateful year.
January 30, 2011 |
When my family moved to the United States from Iran in 1972, the first Americans I met were the Bradys and the Partridges. After hours of devoted television viewing, I learned that American brothers can be just as annoying as Iranian ones, and that Mrs. Brady worried about her children just like my mom. I learned that Americans, like Iranians, eat dinner together, although no one on TV ever dined on kabob, not even on "Gilligan's Island," with its ample...
January 16, 2011 |
After years of warning that an Iranian atomic bomb is right around the corner, Israeli officials now say Iran is at least four years away from deploying a nuclear weapon, maybe more. And Obama administration officials agree, although they shy away from endorsing a specific time frame. "We've gained some breathing space," a senior U.S. official told me last week. "The good news is that we have slowed down the nuclear clock. " U.S. and Israeli officials say their revised timeline is based mainly on reports that Iran is having trouble with its centrifuges, the machines that enrich ordinary uranium into the stuff used in weapons.
November 30, 2010 |
Although North Korea's attack last week on the island of Yeonpyeong was the first time since the Korean War that it has directed artillery fire on South Korean land, targeting civilians and homes, it follows a long pattern of calculated acts designed to compel South Korea and the United States to resort to crisis management; that is, to reward the North for little more than temporarily backing down. The response by Seoul and Washington this time should be to impose a palpable penalty on Pyongyang.
October 29, 2010 |
Britain's top spy came in from the cold of a crisp autumn morning Thursday to condemn torture, warn of nuclear proliferation and defend the shadowy world of covert intelligence-gathering as crucial to keeping the country "safe and secure. " John Sawers, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, made the comments in an unprecedented public speech in which he addressed allegations of British complicity in the abuse of terrorism suspects and pleaded with his compatriots to understand that, despite an ever-increasing trend toward official transparency, "secrecy is not a dirty word.
July 1, 2010 |
One is a chubby amateur singer with a bowl haircut, the other a vegetable seller with a big heart. Together, they may have done more to put Taiwan in an international spotlight than years of checkbook diplomacy by the previous government. The singer Lin Yu-chun became an instant celebrity after a clip of him singing in perfect pitch the Whitney Houston hit "I Will Always Love You" in a local talent show went viral on YouTube, with millions of views and counting. The vegetable vendor, Chen Shu-chu, appeared on Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of the year, for years of generous donations to charity despite her humble earnings.
June 27, 2010 |
In today's world, America's soft power is commonly thought to reside in the global popularity of Hollywood movies, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Starbucks. But the facts tell a different story. In a recent poll involving 43 countries, 79% of respondents said that what they most admire about the United States is its leadership in science and technology. The artifacts of the American entertainment industry came in a distant second. In the 1970s, what I, as a young foreign student studying in the United States, found most dynamic, exciting and impressive about this country is what much of the world continues to value most about the U.S. today: its open intellectual culture, its great universities, its capacity for discovery and innovation.
June 23, 2010
It's no surprise that voters in Colombia chose a tough former defense minister to succeed outgoing President Alvaro Uribe, who is leaving office after two terms. A resounding 69% of those who cast ballots opted for continuity, replacing Uribe, who made serious headway against the leftist guerrillas seeking to overthrow the government, with the man who helped him do it, Juan Manuel Santos. Santos' military's successes against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia included a daring operation in which rebels were duped into freeing high-profile hostages, and a cross-border raid into Ecuador in which the FARC's No. 2 was killed.
May 22, 2010 |
At first glance, it is hard to see why Brazil, a country better known for beaches, soccer, and carnival, would want to get involved in the complex business of brokering deals on Middle Eastern uranium enrichment. The answer has less to do with Iran or nuclear weapons and more to do with the rise of developing nations and their place in the new global heirarchy. Brazil feels like it doesn't get the respect it deserves, even as one of the world's most prominent emerging countries.
February 21, 2010 |
The highest-level meeting of U.S. and Cuban officials in Havana in years was overshadowed Saturday by a flourish of recriminations reminiscent of the Cold War-era tensions that have long polarized the two nations. The talks Friday in Havana focused on immigration issues, including visas and repatriation, part of a dialogue resumed in July after a six-year suspension. Both governments labeled the talks as positive. But on Saturday, Cuba scolded the U.S. officials, who used their visit to meet with dissidents.