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Foreign Policy

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I don't know whether or not this is comforting news, but it appears that some Muslims hate the Pope even more than the editors of the New York Times do. Not by much, though; the Times (to the surprise of only the naive) blames Pope Benedict for provoking the Muslim violence of the past week.... Read More
“If anyone denies a verse of the Koran,” says a verse of the Koran, “it is permissible to behead him.” Not exactly promising for interfaith understanding, is it? I came across that in a book by a Jesuit priest published in 1963, long before today’s tensions between Islam and the West. When I cited it... Read More
We Americans are very proud of our Constitution, though we don’t use it that often, and we want Iraq to have one reasonably like it. It should be democratic, with women’s rights and stuff, but beyond that we’re giving them a lot of latitude. After all, the whole reason we invaded Iraq is to give... Read More
Terrorism has again raised the disputed issue of racial profiling. Specifically, should we be especially wary of young men who appear to be Muslim? First, at risk of sounding “nice,” I have the strong impression that Muslim countries normally have low rates of violent crime. So do most homogeneous populations with strong moral and civic... Read More
Only a year after defeating Absolute Evil in Iraq, the Bush politburo has decided that some former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party may be useful in controlling the population the United States has liberated from Saddam’s tyranny. Whether you find this confusing or amusing depends, I suppose, on your temperament. It’s not unusual, though,... Read More
Did you know that the word neoconservative — often shortened to neocon — is an ethnic slur? Neither did I, but some, er, conservative pundits have set me straight. David Brooks of the New York Times says of “the people labeled neocons” that “con is short for ‘conservative’ and neo is short for ‘Jewish.’” So... Read More
“The Return of Anti-Semitism,” headlines a cover story by Craig Horowitz in New York magazine. It’s what G.K. Chesterton used to call the Usual Article, one you feel you’ve read a hundred times before. Horowitz says the worldwide rage against the state of Israel is “a kind of politically correct anti-Semitism.” But just when you’re... Read More
So how do we get out of Iraq? The Wall Street Journal, voice of the hawks, speaks of “strengthening America’s commitment to victory in Iraq.” Furthermore, “The guerrilla war the U.S. is now fighting in Iraq is winnable, notwithstanding the current media pessimism.” Wait a minute! “Commitment to victory”? “Winnable”? I thought we’d already won!... Read More
Why do so many conservatives — most of whom oppose abortion, the killing of human fetuses — so readily, even eagerly, favor war? Not just this or that war, but nearly every war? The idea of war seems to conjure in their imaginations a picture of a battle between a virtuous America and a purely... Read More
According to President Bush, Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is “a man of peace.” By now we are used to Orwellian statements from our politicians, but this one was especially audacious. Yet it displayed a remarkable timidity, the kind of fear that used to cause Stalin’s groveling flunkies to pay absurd tributes to their boss.... Read More
When President Bush spoke last week of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as “an axis of evil,” some of us reached the hasty conclusion that he was nuts. After all, Iran and Iraq are next-door neighbors and bitter enemies. Didn’t Bush know they’d recently fought a long and exhausting war, with more than a million... Read More
“No one in this world has the right to put Israel on trial. No one. On the contrary, Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the state of Israel on trial.” Thus spake Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, in... Read More
The other day an Israeli bus driver drove his empty vehicle into a bus stop, killing eight people and injuring nearly two dozen others. You no doubt heard about it, in which case the previous sentence probably sounds odd. The news accounts have all identified the driver as an “Arab” or “Palestinian,” not an “Israeli.”... Read More
In the final days of the race for New York’s open seat in the U.S. Senate, Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio squared off over the inevitable issue. Here is how Richard Cohen of the Washington Post describes it: “The issue — as it always is late in any New York race — is Israel. The... Read More