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 Most RecentForeign Policy Archive

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In the latest issue of National Review, the usually sound John Derbyshire goes off the deep end in defending a double standard for the US and China in the matter of surveillance operations (aka spying). According to Derbyshire, whose rhetoric is reproduced with tremulous flattery in WFB's otherwise predictably unreadable column of April 18, it... Read More
NEW YORK — On the fourth day of the 1967 Arab Israeli War, the intelligence ship "USS Liberty" was steaming slowly in international waters, 14 miles off the Sinai Peninsula. Israeli armored forces were racing deep into Sinai in hot pursuit of the retreating Egyptian army. "Liberty," a World War II freighter, had been converted... Read More
Although frank and open discussion of Zionist issues in a Jewish or any other circle is a good thing, it is not clear that Orthodox Jews show the strong, consistent opposition to Jewish nationalism that Sheldon Richman ascribes to them. According to the at least partly anecdotal tradition to which Sheldon appeals, one that is... Read More
Having just seen the latest exercise in neocon academic grandstanding, a widely publicized letter to "German colleagues" by defenders of the US war against terror, I am driven ineluctably to the following observation. Although the reasoning offered by the Red-Green coalition government in Germany for not contributing to a US attack on Iraq is both... Read More
In his comment "Jews and the War: Listening to Ugly Losers" (NRO March 13, 2003), Jonah Goldberg comes closer to sounding coherent than he does in any other piece of his that I've read until now. Not to say that he's developed the dispassionate discourse style of a C.S. Lewis or a George Santayana. But... Read More
Lawrence Kaplan, a prominent neocon hawk, published a rather interesting op-ed recently in the Washington Post. The central claim of the piece is Kaplan’s somewhat counter-intuitive conclusion that our citizenry would gladly accept losing 30,000 American dead in Iraq if such losses were required to achieve neocon strategic objectives. Kaplan denounces those arguing otherwise –... Read More
Bananas and Republics by Ron Unz, May 14, 2004 I must grudgingly admit that our Iraqi Adventure seems to have become in some respects a fascinating and invaluable educational experience, nearly on a daily basis. For example, today’s morning papers revealed that one or more of the prison images being shown to our august... Read More
In that classic compendium of American national security strategy "Get Smart," one of the more amusing episodes concerns the doings of a certain Freddie-the-Forger. Our shrewd espionage agent from CONTROL was at first reluctant to trust the good gentleman in question, given the latter's very long list of criminal convictions. But Agent Smart is finally... Read More
Who ever advised President George Bush to escape the storm of criticism he faces over Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, and the Libby CIA case by flying to Argentina for a free trade summit should be sent in chains to Guantanamo. Bush's venture was an embarrassing diplomatic failure and the most humiliating fiasco faced by a US... Read More
NANJING — This ancient Chinese imperial capital, former headquarters of Generalissimo Chiang-kai shek, and site of the infamous 1930's massacre of 300,000 Chinese by Japanese troops, is haunted by its magnificent but often sinister history. History has also been on US Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld's mind. Last June, Rummy warned China's military buildup was threatening... Read More
The US Air Force's senior officer, Gen. John Jumper, stated US warplanes would remain in Iraq to fight resistance forces and protect the American-installed regime "more or less indefinitely." Gen. Jumper let the cat out of the bag. While President George Bush hints at eventual troop withdrawals, the Pentagon is busy building four major, permanent... Read More
I was once asked during a TV interview if my referring to Israel's Ariel Sharon as "general" rather than prime minister was intended as a slur. "Au contraire," I replied. "Speaking as a former soldier, I respect generals far more than any politicians, including "prime ministers." This column has often and sharply criticized PM Sharon's... Read More
WASHINGTON — The 1988 assassination of Pakistan's President, Zia ul-Haq remains one of our era's abiding major mysteries. Only the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy has produced wilder speculation and more conspiracy theories. A recent article claiming the late President Zia ul-Haq was assassinated by Israel's foreign intelligence agency, Mossad, has been totally... Read More
I am shocked, shocked to learn the US military has spent over $100 million planting stories in newspapers and on TV and radio in Iraq, Afghanistan and various Mideastern countries.This is the latest glaring example of the rapid Sovietization of the US government. As the Taoists say, we have become what we hated.'Well, it's all... Read More
Victory or defeat! So proclaimed President George W. Bush in his TV speech about Iraq last night. Those who oppose Bush's continued, $6.5 billion monthly war in Iraq are "defeatists." Withdrawal from Iraq would "damage US credibility around the world," warned the self-proclaimed "war president." What Bush is really worried about, of course, is his... Read More
Americans should not be shocked to learn that Big Brother has been eavesdropping on their telecommunications. It's been an open secret for years that the hush- hush National Security Agency's big electronic ears on the East and West coasts of the USA have been hoovering up all international phone, fax, and email communications. When you... Read More
This has always been one of my three favorite American cities — along with my native New York and San Francisco. In the early 1970's, I ran a line of West Indies freighters out of here when this port was known as the Casablanca of North America. Back in those days, Miami was a very... Read More
China's Taoist philosophers used to say that you become what you hate. We certainly see this paradox in Washington these days where the current administration increasingly reminds me of the old, unlamented Soviet Union, which I covered in the late 1980's. The USSR went bankrupt after spending over 40% of national income on its huge... Read More
Iran has thrown down the gauntlet to the US and EU by resuming uranium enrichment laboratory tests. Tehran is not heeding a mounting chorus of warnings from its foes in the west and even its friends in Moscow. "We won't be bullied," said Iran's Persident, Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, who denied Iran has nuclear ambitions and insisted... Read More
Saddam Hussein's trial in Baghdad has become a circus. The presiding judge refuses to return to court, and defense lawyers have been murdered. What to make of this spectacle? Emotionally, it's good to see the tyrant who terrorized so many on trial for his life. But morally and legally, Saddam's trial is a travesty of... Read More
The U.S. and Israel are preparing to attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure, according to U.S. and European intelligence sources. The U.S. and EU are exerting maximum diplomatic and psychological pressure on Iran to prevent it from enriching uranium in spite of its legal right to do so. Tehran remains defiant, but may yet compromise by shipping... Read More
After Hamas' stunning victory last week in Palestinian elections, a flustered U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, tried to explain the Bush administration's latest Mideast fiasco. "I've asked why nobody saw it coming," she offered plaintively. Dear Miss Condi, many of us saw Hamas' victory coming. You didn't because you failed to face facts. Your... Read More
Satirical, racist cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed originally published by a sensation-seeking Danish newspaper have produced an international storm of hysteria and racism. Mobs of enraged Muslims have rioted from Morocco to Indonesia and burned Danish and Norwegian embassies. Editors of other European newspapers that ran the offensive cartoons piously insist they were defending free... Read More
Hyde Park Corner is one of the most famous and hallowed spots in this great city. There, each Sunday morning, orators, preachers, revolutionaries and crazies would mount soapboxes and say whatever they pleased. Nothing was taboo. This was Britain's temple of free speech. Last week, PM Tony Blair rammed a new law through Parliament making... Read More
The mood across the Mideast could not be grimmer. Criss-crossing the region and meeting with politicians, intelligence officials and businessmen reveals a pervasive feeling events are fast spinning out of control. The destruction of a key Shia shrine in Samarra last week brought Iraq to the edge of all-out civil war. Some security officials here... Read More
PARIS — Scattered across South Africa's windswept veldt are the forgotten graves of 266 Canadian soldiers killed from 1899—1902 fighting to impose British Imperial rule on fiercely resisting Boer farmers. A century later, Canadian troops have again been sent to fight as auxiliaries in another remote war — this time Afghanistan. Since time immemorial, when... Read More
U.S. President George Bush again reassured Americans last week they were winning the war in Iraq. Please, Mr. President, no more "mission accomplished," no more victories. Your debacle in Iraq recalls King Phyrrus' famous lament, "One more such victory and we are ruined." The Bush administration invaded Iraq for two key reasons: 1) To seize... Read More
As Canadian casualties mount in Afghanistan, it's important to correct three major falsehoods being promoted by the ill-informed, flag-waving media. 1. “Taliban are terrorists.” In 1989, at the end of Soviet occupation, Afghanistan fell into anarchy, civil war, and crime. Rape was endemic. A village prayer leader, Mullah Omar, armed a group of religious students... Read More
France's favorite pastimes are eating well, amorous adventures, and street demonstrations. Street theater has become a unique French art form. American college students go to Florida to drink and party. By contrast, French students celebrate the rites of spring by mass political protests. But this year is different. France has been rocked for two months... Read More
It's both fascinating and dismaying watching the manufactured 'crisis' over Iran reach new intensity each week. Iran poses no real military threat to anyone, but listening to the Bush Administration or the US media one would think that Tehran was about to unleash a nuclear holocaust on the world. What we are seeing is a... Read More
In 53 BC, Consul Marcus Licinius Crassus, Rome's co-ruler with Pompey and Caesar, sought military glory and political primacy by launching an invasion of the Parthian Empire. His only previous military experience was crushing the great slave revolt led by Spartacus. Ignoring cautionary advice from his generals, Crassus led his army deep into the wastes... Read More
The latest Osama bin Laden audio is interesting. In it, he warns that westerners will now become targets of revenge attacks because they failed to stop their government's attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan. He repeated claims the west is waging a “Zionist-Crusader” war against Islam, and tried to shame Muslim nations into helping Hamas in... Read More
Diplomacy is the art of discreetly convincing other nations to do things you want them to do by convincing them it's in their best interests. The deft French have turned diplomacy into an art form, both in foreign and boudoir affairs. Few, by contrast, would accuse the Bush Administration of any diplomatic finesse. To the... Read More
Iran's nuclear program is a danger to the entire world, U.S. President George Bush warned again last week as Washington pressed the UN Security Council to impose sanctions. The uproar certainly helped distract public attention from the Bush administration's mounting domestic and foreign policy woes. It also showed how few people understand the Iranian nuclear... Read More
As the late British parliamentarian Enoch Powell famously noted, all political careers end in failure. Powell's grim maxim haunted Europe last week. In Britain, PM Tony Blair's days are numbered as calls intensify for him to set a resignation date. The Labour Party seethes with rumours about Blair being unseated by the same kind of... Read More
If you ever wonder why journalists become cynical, look at this week's events in Italy and Libya. Romano Prodi's new centre-left coalition, which won power April 9 in a razor-thin vote, appointed Giorgio Napolitano, leader of Italy's "reformed" Communist Party, to be president of Italy. This position is mostly ceremonial but commands great prestige. It... Read More
Canadians got a taste of the real world this week. The arrest Friday of 17 suspected terrorists is stark evidence Canadians can no longer expect to escape the private enterprise violence by small groups that we call "terrorism." Three weeks ago, this writer warned a conference of DND and police officers that the greatest security... Read More
The only people who may miss al-Zarqawi are the pro-war neocons, who claimed he was part of al-Qaida to justify the...
"Zarqawi will be dead soon," two of his disgruntled Jordanian supporters told me in March. "He will be betrayed by his own men." And that's likely what happened last week. Tipped off that Iraq's most wanted man was in a rural house, U.S. aircraft bombed it, killing some of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's top aides, a... Read More
Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and now a new name on the roster of shame, Haditha. Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment was patrolling the Iraqi town of Haditha last November when a roadside bomb killed one of its members. Kilo's men allegedly burst into the nearest house and gunned down 24 men, women and children... Read More
Idiots of the month surely goes to Rep Hoesktra and Sen Santorum for claiming weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. What was found were some 1980's vintage artillery shells filled with decayed nerve and mustard gas (supplied Iraq by the US and Europe) for use against Iran. The range of the 155 and... Read More
Something has gone terribly wrong in Afghanistan. The heaviest fighting there since the 2001 U.S. invasion has recently erupted. Many Americans, who were then assured by neocons and their media trumpets that their nation had triumphantly won the war in Afghanistan and crushed the Taliban, are dismayed and bewildered. In 2001, unable to withstand high-tech... Read More
The Bush administration, Israel and U.S.-aligned Arab states have been blaming Iran and Syria for igniting the worst Mideast fighting in many years. They claim Iran and ally Syria got Lebanon's political-military movement, Hezbollah, to kidnap two Israeli soldiers in a patch of disputed border territory. Tehran's goal, they say, was to divert attention from... Read More
As Israel's ferocious and relentless destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure continues, veteran Mideast observers are experiencing a dismaying sense of déjà vu. In early June, 1982, the Reagan Administration in Washington gave Israel's then defense minister, Ariel Sharon, a green light to invade Lebanon. The inept US Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, told Sharon he could... Read More
Israel's relentless Biblical destruction of Lebanon continues, except that the old Testament calls for "an eye for an eye," while the new Israeli interpretation of vengeance has become ten Arab eyes for one Israeli one. As of this writing, hundreds of civilians in Lebanon have been killed by Israeli bombing and shelling; over 500,000 are... Read More
The spreading war in Lebanon and the ghastly massacre at Qana has bared the bizarre contradictions and self-destructive nature of US Mideast policy. With one hand, the US sends $30 million of food and blankets to Lebanon for the 20% of its population made refugees by the American-encouraged Israeli bombing. With the other, it rushes... Read More
The news about the Mideast most North Americans get is heavily biased by the media's need to cater to reader prejudices and misconceptions. To find out what's really going on in Israel, I turn to that nation's finest newspaper, Haaretz. Last week, Haaretz columnist Doron Rosenblum wrote a remarkable, explosive analysis that no one would... Read More
As a shaky cease-fire goes into effect in Lebanon, Israel's generals and politicians are furiously blaming one another for what many Israelis are calling a major political and military defeat. After 31 days of fighting, Israel has nothing to show but world-wide condemnation (the US excepted), scores of dead soldiers and civilians, burned forests, displaced... Read More
President George W. Bush likes to call himself "the war president" and strike martial poses against patriotic backdrops, a trick he learned from another president who never saw military action, Ronald Reagan. In spite of Iraq and other foreign policy misadventures, and failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks, polls show that when it comes to... Read More
The latest big lie unveiled by Washington's neoconservatives are the poisonous terms, "Islamo-Fascists" and "Islamic Fascists." They are the new, hot buzzwords among America's far right and Christian fundamentalists. President George W. Bush made a point last week of using "Islamofacists" when recently speaking of Hezbullah and Hamas — both, by the way, democratically elected... Read More
To US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Dear Rummy: In your speech to the American Legion in Salt Lake City last week, you compared critics of your wars abroad to appeasers of Nazi Germany in the 1930's. President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney repeated this same bizarre theme to the convention. Allow me to... Read More