Foreign Policy & War

The Civilian or the Soldier? An Answer to Critics

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In response to my January 12 commentary, “Enola Gay, Just War, and Mass Murder,” a number of people wrote me to complain about the following statement: “Can the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima be justified on the grounds that many thousands of U.S. troops would have been killed in an invasion? ”Certainly not. A ... [click for more]

The Perils of Nation-Building, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 Giving up on expansive nation-building ambitions is the only sensible course of action, for there are few successful models upon which to draw for Iraq. America’s obvious successes are Germany and Japan, yet neither looks like Iraq: both comprised ethnically homogenous populations, possessed democratic traditions, and sported an educated, professional class. The U.S. effort was ... [click for more]

A Lesson from Vietnam, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 With American encouragement, Diem defied the deadline for a national election. This signaled the beginning of a struggle to the death with Hanoi. Until then, the North had waited to see whether Ho could be voted into power. The communists themselves were brutal and had violated various terms of the ... [click for more]

The Hypocrisy of Powell’s Lecture

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Well, no one can ever say that the retired army general and U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, doesn’t have gall. In Moscow, Powell criticized the Russian government for “certain developments in Russian politics and foreign policy in recent months” which “have given us pause.” In an obvious attempt to extend the world policeman’s ... [click for more]

Enola Gay, Just War, and Mass Murder

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On December 15, 2003, the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport, part of the National Air and Space Museum, was opened to the public. The Center boasts a number of high-profile attractions. The SR-71 Blackbird, the Air France Concorde, Russian MIGs, and even the Spaceshuttle Enterprise can all be found in this 294,000-square-foot, 10-story hangar on ... [click for more]

The International Terror-and-Drug Cop Is On the Beat

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Those who favor the U.S. government’s role as international policeman must be ecstatic that the feds are now expanding their jurisdiction in their decades-long war on drugs to include the entire world. How so? Well, despite the fact that U.S. drug laws apply only in the United States, U.S. military forces are now using their ... [click for more]

The Perils of Nation-Building, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 The United States easily conquered Iraq, but the war was only the beginning. Winning the peace is proving to be far more difficult. Destroying an unpopular, isolated dictatorship in a wreck of a country was one thing. Creating a liberal, multi-party, multi-ethnic democracy where one has never existed is quite another. Despite the positive tone ... [click for more]

A Lesson from Vietnam, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 One lesson offered to America by the Vietnam War is the folly of forcing regime change in a nation whose religion, culture, history, and politics differ dramatically from its own. As a story, the folly may begin in September 1945, when a slender figure stood on a balcony in Hanoi to ... [click for more]

Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 3

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 In 1936, the Arabs went on a six-month general strike, seeking both economic reforms and a moratorium on all debt. The Arabs would call off the strike if the British would end Jewish immigration. Instead, the British increased the immigration quota by 10 percent, establishing the port at Tel Aviv ... [click for more]

Bush as Fake Free-Trader

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President Bush is the most protectionist president since Ronald Reagan. And that’s saying something, because Reagan was the most protectionist president since Herbert Hoover, who signed the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff and helped turn a recession into the Great Depression. Take note: all three presidents mentioned are Republicans. No wonder many people still think that capitalism ... [click for more]

Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 The Arabs would not have fought so bravely had they known of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which had been signed by the Entente in May of 1916. In essence, the Agreement divided the Middle East between Britain and France. When the Arabsdid learn of the agreement, they were incensed and sent ... [click for more]

The Folly of Invading Iran

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Some Bush administration officials and advisors are hankering for another war. To judge from the saber rattling and rumblings coming out of the White House, the next target could be Iran. But invading Iran would be an act of folly that would make the invasion of Iraq look almost prudent by comparison. Almost no one alleges ... [click for more]
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