Tag Archives: politics

How This Could End

A Washington Post/ABC News poll of the American public released before Christmas may have been ignored for the negative tone typical of surveys of this type. Thirteen years into the war in Afghanistan and months away from a definitive withdrawal, the conflict … Continue reading

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Lessons from Robben Island

I visited Robben Island, South Africa’s prison colony off the Western Cape, more than a decade ago when I was in South Africa with the woman who would become my wife. Then as today it is a national heritage site … Continue reading

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Lou Reed and the Power of Art

Lou Reed died today at 71. The standard obituaries have noted his profound influence on popular music since the 1960s and 1970s. Dig a little deeper and you might find, as The New Republic did, that he affected political leaders like Vaclav … Continue reading

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Culture Shut Down

It was hard not to feel a sense of schadenfreude watching Republicans yesterday as they wriggled in a box of their own design, desperately proposing to re-fund those “non-essential” elements of government they were so keen last month to de-fund … Continue reading

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American Republic, Now Available from Amazon

I’m pleased to announce that my book, American Republic: Essays on the Nature of Politics, is now available in Kindle and paperback from Amazon.com. American Republic includes the original book, plus three essays that first appeared on this site: “The Plastics and … Continue reading

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In Egypt, Force v. Power (II)

It’s been sickening listening to usually sensible and decent people try to justify the ugly ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected head of state. Watch David Brooks, for example, speaking on PBS’ Newshour, contort himself into a principle for the outcome of … Continue reading

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Smith-Mundt Retool is Great News for Voice of America

The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act recently went into effect, which has public diplomacy wonks and civil liberties experts worried about the loosening of the 1948 law that both established the Voice of America (VOA) and limited its ability to “propagandize” American citizens. (They may … Continue reading

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NATO Wins, Again

Today NATO handed off operational security responsibility for all of Afghanistan to the Afghan government, a dramatic turning point in the war that began in the days following September 11, 2001. But as a former member of the NATO International … Continue reading

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Clearing the Air in Turkey (latest update July 14)

For anyone caught unawares by the political protests now roiling Turkey, you’re not alone. But for those looking for simple analogies between the demonstrations sparked by plans to bulldoze an Istanbul park and the regime-splitting Arab uprisings, you’re probably seeking a … Continue reading

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Egypt’s Attack on Civil Society — and Politics

Today’s prison sentences by an Egyptian court in the case of several democratic activists in the country has rightly drawn attention to the 43 defendants – including 16 Americans, two Germans, and more than dozen Egyptians – who face jail … Continue reading

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