Foreign Policy & War

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]

We’re Number One … But Is That Good?

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Did you know that the United States has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, that the U.S. inmate population has quadrupled since 1980 to two million people, that $46 billion a year is spent on U.S. prisons, that more than half of the incarcerations are for nonviolent offenses, and that ... [click for more]

Wilson’s Crusade and Bush’s Crusade

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George Bush’s promise to “rid the world of evil” — which he made in the opening weeks of his war on terrorism — is reminiscent of the 1917 promises of President Woodrow Wilson to “make the world safe for democracy.” Wilson, like Bush, was leading the nation into war and sought to push the hot buttons in Americans’ idealism. ... [click for more]

Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 The modern-day Middle East centers on Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt — clustered close to the Mediterranean Sea. Lying near the juncture of Europe, Asia, and Africa, the Middle East has traditionally acted as a commercial, cultural, and military route between the worlds of East and West. The British ... [click for more]

Another Phony Justification for Invading Iraq

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In a 15-minute speech explaining why the American people should support the occupation of Iraq, President Bush offered another phony justification for the U.S. government’s invasion of Iraq: to fight the “war on terrorism.” There’s at least one big problem with that justification: It is the U.S. government’s own interventionist ... [click for more]

An Empire for America

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Shortly before his death in 1902, the great classical-liberal social philosopher Herbert Spencer penned an essay entitled “Imperialism and Slavery” that was included in a collection of his writings under the title Facts and Comments (1902). The theme of the essay was that, as Great Britain was proceeding to expand its empire around the world, it was not only enslaving ... [click for more]
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