Civil and Uncivil Wars: Memories of a Greek Childhood, 1936–1950

Foreign Affairs,
September 1, 2014
In the past few years, Greece has gone from being the protest-wracked poster child for European dysfunction to one of Europe’s most promising reformers. Dramatic as the turnaround has been, it pales in comparison to Greece’s experience during the first half of the last century, when it suffered through two Balkan wars, numerous skirmishes with...

Death of a Strongman: ‘Comandante: Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela’

New York Times,
April 5, 2013
On March 5, Hugo Chávez’s extraordinary good luck ran out at last. After decades of evading an endless string of opponents — from personal poverty to the United States government — Venezuela’s democratically elected strongman finally succumbed to the one enemy he couldn’t defeat. Even his ending was vintage Chávez. The perpetual showman spent the...

Fear Factor: David C. Unger’s ‘The Emergency State’

New York Times,
March 16, 2012
With Osama bin Laden dead, American troops leaving Iraq, the economy still sputtering and Congress locked in yet another budget showdown, one thing that seems clear is that Washington will very likely cut military spending sometime soon. This will come as welcome news to David C. Unger, author of “The Emergency State” and an editorial...

Zionist in the White House

New York Times,
July 23, 2009
Although Harry Truman left office widely disliked and dismissed more than half a century ago, the effort to resurrect his reputation is now a thriving industry, with politicians and pundits of all stripes trying to tie themselves to the tough, blunt old cold warrior. Contributing to this effort, the husband-and-wife team Allis and Ronald Radosh...

We Got Trouble

New York Times,
September 14, 2008
Andrew J. Bacevich thinks our political system is busted. In “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism,” he argues that the country’s founding principle — freedom — has become confused with appetite, turning America’s traditional quest for liberty into an obsession with consumption, the never-ending search for more. To accommodate this hunger, pandering...

Martin Amis: I, Crackpot?

Newsweek,
April 5, 2008
Toward the end of “The Second Plane,” Martin Amis’s new book on the roots and impact of 9/11, the British novelist describes a fellow writer as “an oddity: his thoughts and themes are … serious—but he writes like a maniac. A talented maniac, but a maniac.” Amis is describing Mark Steyn, a controversial anti-Islam polemicist,...

Colonial Drift

New York Times,
May 7, 2006
WITH Hamas installed in the Palestinian Authority and Ariel Sharon dying in an Israeli hospital bed, Middle East peace now seems as remote as ever. Sharon’s great final project — extricating Israel from the occupied territories — risks coming undone; his near-term successors are unlikely to have the will or the political clout to complete...

Foxes and Hedgehogs

New York Times,
October 16, 2005
The library of books on American foreign policy, which has swollen rapidly since Americans rediscovered the world four years ago, can be split into two basic types. First are the Big Ideas books: eye-catching volumes with a single, sexy, overarching theme, often one that promises to revolutionize the world. Then, on the back shelves, are...

The Anti-Anti-Americans

New York Times,
December 12, 2004
WITHIN months of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, the global surge of sympathy for the United States began to ebb. Before the invasion of Iraq, London’s Sunday Times reported that equal numbers of Britons ranked Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush as the top threat to world peace. In France, a book...

The Kingdom and the Power

New York Times,
April 18, 2004
FIGURING out how seriously to take particular conspiracy theories can be tough. If well drawn, such theories share many of the same elements as good fiction: densely constructed plots; dark, shadowy cabals; and dashing, larger-than-life personalities. Moreover, like fiction (or religion), conspiracy theories offer the illusion that things happen for a reason. This is a...