Apr 9, 2009

The lighter side of North Korea's launch

BEVERLY HILLS, California — Some things you just don’t joke about. Certain developments in the course of human affairs are decidedly not funny. What’s a perfect example, right off the top of my head? Oh, how about North Korea’s missile launch over the weekend? ...

Apr 3, 2009

Small-scale abductions that can trigger war

BANGKOK — Even relatively small misunderstandings, festering underground over time and eating into the foundations of stability, can cause wars. Some poisons work immediately; other poisons take time. Let us consider a serious current poison that the U.S. media has underplayed — mostly deliberately ...

Mar 2, 2009

Putting Asia first puts Clinton in driver's seat

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The U.S. secretary of state’s recent four-stop swing through Asia led to some accusations of symbolic superficiality. Perhaps — but there can be more real meaning in acts of diplomatic symbolism than what first meets the eye. This is why, ...

Feb 10, 2009

James Brady struck warlike pose for peace

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — If not in memory of the awful Korean War (1950-1953), then in memory of the brilliant author James Brady (1928-2009) — you might want to read, or perhaps re-read, his novel about that war. That’s what I did the other ...

Feb 3, 2009

Opening gestures show Obama's optimism

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Saying the right thing is not quite the same, to be sure, as doing the right thing, especially when you’re the president of the United States. But it is much better than saying the wrong thing and then actually going ...

Jan 16, 2009

Right place for a command of composure

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Dennis Blair, the man who is to become the new U.S. director of national intelligence, distinguished himself as chief of the U.S. military’s Pacific Command, an important fact behind his appointment by President-elect Barack Obama. He will oversee all U.S. ...

Jan 6, 2009

Prophet of world-culture clashes is dead

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — A giant died early last week. His name was Samuel Huntington, a Harvard professor whose gigantism was intellectual. His ideas left huge footprints on our intellectual landscape, the way giant storms impact the Earth. Minds were shaken, sometimes stirred, and ...

Dec 28, 2008

China destined to be America's best friend

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — When the holiday season ends and Barack Obama takes the U.S. presidential oath of office next month, will he notice that life has become less merry and more naughty and un-nice? This brilliant American politician will soon become aware that ...

Dec 21, 2008

Nail a North Korea deal by going to the top

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — In a few months a former U.S. president — Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton — may be asked to travel to North Korea in pursuit of military denuclearization. Or it will be new President Barack Obama. In 1994, Carter did ...

Dec 12, 2008

Obama and the vets: caring for a generation

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — When Eric K. Shinseki, the first four-star U.S. Army general of Japanese- American ethnicity, was still his service branch’s chief of staff, he became a symbol of doubt about official competence in pursuit of the Iraq war. Regardless of whether ...