Jun 20, 2012

The real reason why Russia and China back Assad

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Syria has suspended its peace mission. “The observers will not be conducting patrols and will stay in their locations until further notice,” said the commander of the 300-strong multinational observer force, Norwegian Gen. Robert Mood. This decision by ...

Jun 16, 2012

Greek election decided in Spain

It’s probably the first time that events in Spain have decided the outcome of a Greek election. Last weekend the European Union agreed to loan Spain’s nearly insolvent banks €100 billion on relatively easy terms. Syriza, the hard-left protest party that came from nowhere ...

May 30, 2012

How the Afghan war ends

The recent NATO summit in Chicago was mostly about how to get NATO troops out of Afghanistan without causing too much embarrassment to the Western governments that sent them, and a little bit about how to ensure that the Taliban don’t take over again ...

May 23, 2012

The worldwide triumph of English

The second president of the United States, John Adams, predicted in 1780 that “English will be the most respectable language in the world and the most universally read and spoken in the next century, if not before the end of this one.” It is ...

May 10, 2012

Signal honor from the lord of clips

I wanted you to be the first to know. It has just been revealed by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Military Academy in the United States that I am on a very short list of journalists (eight in Western countries and seven ...

Apr 26, 2012

Winds of change in France

“My true adversary does not have a name, a face or a party,” said Francois Hollande, France’s next president. “He never puts forth his candidacy, but nevertheless he governs. My true adversary is the world of finance.” No other leader of a major power ...

Apr 19, 2012

Afghan lies mirror deception of Vietnam War

In the midst of the Taliban attacks in central Kabul on Sunday, a journalist called the British embassy for a comment. “I really don’t know why they are doing this,” said the exasperated diplomat who answered the phone. “We’ll be out of here in ...

Apr 3, 2012

The margin for 'Global Zero'

We have just had the second Nuclear Security Summit, in Seoul. It got surprisingly little attention from the international media although 53 countries attended. For the media, nuclear weapons are yesterday’s issue, because nobody expects a nuclear war. But a nuclear weapon in terrorist ...

Apr 2, 2012

Civilization will live or die by new technology

Reporter: “What do you think of Western civilization, Mr. Gandhi?” Mohandas Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.” This quote is probably apocryphal, but if the Mahatma didn’t say it, he should have. Now we have something close to a global civilization: ...

Mar 28, 2012

The symmetry of slaughter

After Mohamed Merah died in a hail of French police bullets last Thursday, people who had known him talked about “a polite and courteous boy” who liked “cars, bikes, sports and girls.” His friends had trouble believing that he had murdered seven people, including ...