Chronicles Magazine Foreign Affairs

The Broken Promise of American Cities

There is a saying used in California when the going gets tough: “At least we have the weather.” No matter how expensive, dangerous, unclean, and generally inhospitable the state’s cities become, “at least we have the weather,” Californians say,...

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  • Correspondence

    American Shakespeare

    Shakespeare contains the cultural history of America. From first to last, Shakespeare is the graph of evolving American values. He early made the transatlantic crossing: It is thought that Cotton Mather was the first in America to acquire a...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Truth About Hungary

    I met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbàn in May of last year. With a few others, we shared breakfast before the opening session of the second Budapest Demographic Forum. He was every bit the “footballer” I had been told to expect.

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  • REVIEWS

    Britons at War

    Is there a distinctly British brand of heroism? That is the implicit question running through Christopher Sandford’s Zeebrugge, a gripping new history of the British naval raid in April 1918 on the German-held Belgian port of that name.

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  • THE AMERICAN INTEREST

    Erdogan Unleashed

    A successful national leader (“good” or “bad”) is able to redefine the terms of what is politically possible in accordance with his values, and to produce durable desired outcomes. Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan come to mind at home, and Churchill, De...

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  • THE AMERICAN INTEREST

    Hawks Win

    The Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy, which Defense Secretary James Mattis presented on January 19, envisages aggressive measures to counter Russia and China and instructs the military to refocus on Cold War-style competition with them, away...

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  • VIEWS

    Beyond Imagination: Uranium One

    The multilayered story surrounding Uranium One—the former South African, then Canadian, and now Russian company, of which both Bill and Hillary Clinton and their family foundation are the enriched beneficiaries—has all the usual elements of a...

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  • EDITORIALS

    Return of the Kings

    In a television appearance on January 7, President Emmanuel Macron of France, rather than addressing his compatriots exclusively, directed his remarks to his “fellow citizens of the E.U.,” saying, “2018 is a very special year, and I will need you...

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  • Correspondence

    Chained Bible

    The Church of England is now a citadel of advanced liberalism. It went over to secularism long ago, and its zealots intensify their hold upon doctrine and practice. The charge sheet includes, but is not confined to, support for the transgender...

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  • VIEWS

    Trump, NAFTA, and America First

    President Donald Trump has made the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) a cornerstone of his economic policy. Signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton in 1993 with Republican support, NAFTA created a managed trade...

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  • Heresies

    Prince of Darkness

    As the calendar rolls over to 2018, we need to take stock of where we are as Americans, noting the dangers that lie ahead. Those dangers involve politics, culture, economics, foreign policy, and religion, as well as our capacity as postmodern...

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  • REVIEWS

    The End of Something

    Kirchick is correct in seeing “the end” of something in Europe. The post-1989 policies of the European elites—which the neoconservatives supported—have brought the Continent to this point.

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  • Correspondence

    Demolition Day

    The 150th Anniversary (or Sesquicentennial) of Canadian Confederation will be celebrated on July 1. That holiday was traditionally denominated “Dominion Day,” as Canada was officially called “the Dominion of Canada”—a term which has now fallen...

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  • REVIEWS

    On Deaf Ears

    President Trump has said that he does not intend to seek to impose our values globally and that it is not our job to engage in “nation building” by attempting to transform entire societies. That is a good start, and a promising sign for the...

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  • THE AMERICAN INTEREST

    A Coup Most Foul

    We have seen coups of sorts in Washington before, not that anyone one calls them that. (Remember JFK, Nixon.) The one against Trump is of a different order of magnitude. It had been plotted by the Deep State even before he was inaugurated.

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  • EDITORIALS

    After Castro

    November was a bad month for the left. First, Hillary Clinton was defeated in the presidential election by Donald Trump. Then, Fidel Castro died at 90 after a long illness that had forced him some years before to surrender the presidency of...

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  • Heresies

    Christmas Fruitcakes

    Islam is the diarrhetic ingredient that drains the life out of the fruitcake consumers of the West. It simply cannot be digested and eliminates everything it touches. And no matter how much fluid the dehydrated patient receives, there will be...

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  • VIEWS

    Wreckers and Builders

    Twenty-five years is a long time to get back to where you started, but two-and-a-half decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is the United States, not the Russian Federation, that has succeeded in restoring the threat of nuclear...

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  • THE AMERICAN INTEREST

    Moscow Notebook

    It won’t be the winter of Russian discontent. Western sanctions and low oil prices have harmed the economy—it contracted by 4.3 percent in the third quarter—but Putin’s approval rating is consistently well above 80 percent.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Nuclear Baksheesh

    For several months Republicans and Democrats have been jawing over the nuclear “deal” with Iran. Unlike so many partisan debates, this one may actually involve issues of national security, but only if both sides are serious.

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  • THE AMERICAN INTEREST

    The Blowback

    On September 24 I embarked on a week-long tour of Tunisia, hoping to learn more on the aftermath of last year’s revolution and the state of political play ahead of the elections, which are due before the year’s end. The findings are surprising.

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  • NEWS

    Attack the Symbols

    By any chalk, Pussy Riot are marginal extremists. The pregnant woman, Nadezhda Tolokhinnova, now convicted, has a disturbing look in her pretty eyes, which suggests either drug abuse or a personality disorder: The scene with the cockroaches is...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Bombing Iran

    As an American President prepares for his reelection campaign, he has to deal with a complex crisis in the Middle East. A radical regime is projecting its military power, trying to destabilize the pro-American governments in the Middle East,...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Sunni Spring

    Middle East historian William W. Harris described the Levant as the “eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt,” a geographical zone that includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank and the Gaza...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Statehood Bid

    Much of the international politics of the 20th century revolved around the drive for national self-determination, such as that of the Serbs in the Balkans, setting in motion the crises that led to the Great War.

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  • NEWS

    Islam and Breivik's Bombs

    The killing of 8 people by a bomb in Oslo, placed by the Norwegian berserker Anders Behring Breivik, followed by his gunning down of a further 69 on the island of Utoya, is a horrible reminder of the potential for evil inherent in human nature.

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  • THE AMERICAN INTEREST

    Lessons of Libya

    Like the 1999 Kosovo war (to stop a nonexistent genocide) and the 2003 Iraq war (to remove nonexistent weapons of mass destruction), the Libyan operation was an exercise in premeditated mendacity.

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Standing Straight

    The notion of the “French intellectual” makes a decent man reach for a gun. Almost as odious as its Manhattan equivalent, it evokes images of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Jacques Derrida and Bernard-Henri Lévy. Evil degenerates,...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Aussie Election

    Miss Julia Gillard (one takes particular pleasure in applying the honorific “Miss” to so stentorian and charmless a femocrat), the prime minister of Australia, faces an interesting challenge in her bid for reelection on August 21.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    That Election

    The Cabinet Office in London’s White­­hall is not generally a hotbed of tourist activity. The building’s squat, granite façade is screened from public view by a somehow incongruously lush row of elm trees, and, within, it’s a warren of...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Die, Belgium, Die!

    Most English schoolboys learn this quip: Belgium is a country invented by the British to annoy the French. Which is just about true. And if you don’t understand why and how Belgium was invented, you won’t understand the significance of the...

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  • NEWS

    Riots in the Suburbs

    By now, most have heard—sometimes with sorrow, sometimes with delight—of the latest fashion in the working-class suburbs of France: setting fire to cars at night. There is a lot more to this than a nocturnal rite for rival juvenile gangs.

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  • REVIEWS

    Europe’s Belgian Future

    If you plan to read only one book on foreign affairs in the next year, you should read Paul Belien’s A Throne in Brussels. Belien is a lawyer and a journalist, a rare free-market advocate who understands the importance of ethnic identity.

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  • The Western Front

    A Loyal Life

    A remark I recently overheard on FOX News captured a key difference between Sir Alfred Sherman, whose assessment of the Thatcher years I now have in my hand, and those minicons who float on and off of FOX.

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  • NEWS

    Rivers of Blood

    In Max Frisch’s prophetic, absurdist masterpiece The Firebugs, a well-off family live in an unnamed city in which arsonists have been burning down the houses. One of the firebugs, posing as a peddler, appears at their home asking for food and...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Pimping for Africa

    Thirty years after publishing Black Mischief, his hilarious novel about Abyssinia, the only independent African monarchy at that time, Evelyn Waugh wrote that the unthinkable in 1932 had come to pass.

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  • VIEWS

    The Rise of China

    Anyone who doubts that China is rising fast as the new power in Asia need only take the ride I took last fall through Shanghai, from the Hongqiao International Airport to the Bund area along the Huangpu riverfront.

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  • NEWS

    Dealing With a Nuclear Iran

    Iran’s agreement to “suspend” her nuclear program in exchange for economic benefits from the European Union has dampened that crisis for the moment. The Bush administration’s vocal skepticism about the agreement, however, suggests that the...

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  • Correspondence

    The Yoke of Democracy

    In a strange way, it appears that Adolf Hitler is still ruling Germany. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the forces of “democracy,” in the form of political parties, make political decisions by implementing the opposite of what they assume...

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  • Correspondence

    Gigantic Weaknesses

    One of the sights that most amazed me as I approached the center of Moscow for the first time was a huge poster, stretched across the flat rooftop of a large building not far from the Kremlin, boldly advertising PHILIPS in large letters that...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    The Last Kulak in Europe

    In the autumn of 1909, a troupe of Sicilian actors, led by Giovanni di Grasso, arrived in St. Petersburg to satisfy a refined craving of the Russian intelligentsia, then widely shared in fashionable circles throughout Europe, for the experience...

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  • NEWS

    What Empire?

    One tangible effect of all of our recent wars has been a marked proliferation of U.S. military bases around the world. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of countries that host American bases has increased by almost one third, to over 60.

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  • Correspondence

    Unseen Places

    In Huysmans’ Against the Grain (1884), the precious hero Des Esseintes has “the idea of turning dream into reality, of traveling [from France] to England in the flesh as well as in the spirit, of checking the accuracy of his...

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  • Correspondence

    How Long, O Lord?

    Since the Middle Ages, the Balkan region of Kosovo-Metohia has witnessed firsthand the confrontation between Christianity and Islam. Metohia is a Greek word meaning “the Church’s land,” and Orthodox Christians consider Kosovo an outpost of their...

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  • VIEWS

    Another World

    My first encounter with the new, post-national ruling class came in the early 1980’s. I was a young broadcaster with the BBC Yugoslav Service (as it was called then), and my work took me to Brussels seven or eight times in my first two years to...

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  • Correspondence

    The Prosciutto War

    The mid-December 2001 E.U. summit in Laeken, Belgium, will probably be remembered most for its “prosciutto war,” which began when Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi refused to approve the new food agency to be located in Helsinki, Finland,...

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  • Principalities & Powers

    World War IV

    Be not deluded, just because the United States goes to war with Iraq, that our leaders will not also extend to the entire Middle East the jihad on which President Bush and his court of neoconservative gurus and Zionist...

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  • Correspondence

    A Dying Dictatorship

    Avenida 21, number 3014, is a nondescript house in an Havana suburb. The paint is peeling; the walls are plain; the rooms are sparse. Inside lives Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz, a Cuban dissident working to free the Cuban people.

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  • Correspondence

    Dubious Allies

    “We love our children, but we need food,” says Masih Saddiq, a 50-year-old brickmaker, explaining why none of his 13 children were in school. They range in age from one-and-a-half to 25; all seem destined to spend their entire lives making...

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  • Correspondence

    A Road Too Far?

    I awoke again this morning to an entirely clear sky. It is cold early in the morning in late summer in the mountains of South Chile, about 45 degrees. We are suffering through a very long dry spell.

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  • THE AMERICAN INTEREST

    Milosevic on Trial

    There are contests in which a decent person prefers not to take sides, such as the bloody wars between Mafia families or Stalin’s disputes with Trotsky and Tito. The war between Khomeini’s Iran and Saddam’s Iraq also comes to mind, or the family...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Moscow on Georgia

    Vladimir Putin, at the end of February, was expected by pundits East and West to react sharply to the news of Washington’s plan to send military advisors to Georgia, aiding Tbilisi in its battle with Taliban-connected Chechen insurgents.

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  • Sign of the Times

    Racak Revisited

    Back in 1994, a major news item proved unfit for publication in any "mainstream" media outlets in the United States. It concerned the possibility—which turned into a virtual certainty—that the Bosnian Muslim government staged the infamous...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Moldovan Communists

    The Moldovan Communists won 71 of 101 seats in the February 25 parliamentary elections, to the chagrin of expansionist-minded NATOcrats. With an absolute majority in the parliament—which elects the country's president—pro-Russian elements in...

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  • Correspondence

    Letter From London

    Tony Blair's regime manages to be simultaneously comic and tragic, with a slight tilt toward tragedy. The government is made up of chinless Christian Socialists, Anglophobe Scots, aggrieved proletarians, shrewish women, and militant...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Talks in Belgrade

    Carla del Ponte's talks in Belgrade with President Vojislav Kostunica of Yugoslavia ended abruptly and acrimoniously on January 23. After an hour with Kostunica, an angry-looking Miss Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of The Hague war-crimes...

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  • VIEWS

    History as Paranoia

    There are many conservative, intelligent people who will happily tell you that there is no such thing as the absolute truth of history, only different, mutually complementary versions.

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  • VIEWS

    The International Jewish Conspiracy

    Any conversation about conspiracy theories inevitably turns to "the Jews." On one hand, the critics of "international Zionism" claim that U.S. foreign policy (or the world's resources) are being devoted to promoting Israel's interests; on the...

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  • Correspondence

    The Women's Movement

    After an uninterrupted spell of a winter month or two here in Venice—all footsteps in the evening mist, and quiet conversation about the best way to cook pheasant, and a Neapolitan card game called "seven and a half—what one notices on arriving...

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  • Correspondence

    Gifts From Afar

    It was just before Christmas, and for some reason I thought the fishing would be good in the Dominican Republic during that time of the year. I had no information to that effect, but a friend, who does not fish, spoke favorably of DR.

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Moldova's Partition

    Moldova's Partition may be imminent. While the U.S. Embassy in Moscow denied that American spooks and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) intend to divide that tiny country, the denial itself was enough to convince most...

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  • Sign of the Times

    Vol. 2 No. 11 November 2000

    In light of the vital importance of the Middle East to American interests, it is curious that our media have chosen not to report Arab reactions, which have been uniformly negative, to Sen. Joseph Lieberman's vice-presidential candidacy.

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  • Correspondence

    Whodunit?

    Taxi drivers in Belgrade, like their counterparts everywhere, know almost everything about almost everything. However, they do not know who murdered the controversial commander of the Serbian Volunteer Guard (SDG), Seljko Raznatovic Arkan and...

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  • VIEWS

    Down the Rathole

    Last year, President Clinton, who has rarely found a conflict that lie did not want to join, complained to the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Congress was cutting foreign aid, "the very programs designed to keep our soldiers out of war in the...

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  • VIEWS

    Great Expectations

    Foreign aid, like other forms of aid, is a subsidy that distorts choice. The distortion takes many forms; for example, aid is sometimes put to uses unintended by the giver; it also lets the recipient pursue activities below their real cost.

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  • VIEWS

    Gaines Elites Play

    Boris Yeltsin, according to Kremlin sources, was replying to a query from the International Monetary Fund on the expenditure of nearly two billion dollars worth of an IMF "tranche" targeted to stave off impending Russian financial disaster in the...

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  • VIEWS

    Post-Human America

    Ideological assumptions that but two generations ago would have been deemed eccentric, if not utterly insane or even demonic, now rule the "mainstream." The trouble is that normal people do not take madmen seriously enough.

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    "New Russia"

    Boris Yeltsin appeared on the Russian state-run television networks on December 31, 1999, with an unexpected—by ordinary Russians, at least—announcement: "It is time for new faces," said the man who is most responsible for creating the "new Russia."

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  • Sign of the Times

    Vol. 2 No. 2 February 2000

    "Spectacular fiasco for the organizers . . . a damning verdict on globalization that ignores its own consequences" was Le Monde's assessment (December 2) of the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle.

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  • Sign of the Times

    Vol. 1 No. 12 December 1999

    During the Indonesian crisis in September, the American media faithfully toed the U.S. government line. "East Timor is not Kosovo!" declared Albright, Berger, and Cohen; "Amen!" responded the Fourth Estate.

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  • REVIEWS

    Wolfs Fang, Fox's Tail

    By March 1920, Russia's whites—an odd and disparate conglomeration of monarchists, anti-Bolshevik socialists, jaded liberals, reactionary clerics, frightened nobles, disinherited landowners, and loyalist army officers and soldiers—had turned what...

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  • Correspondence

    Oui Shall Overcome!

    Quebec shows its patriotism every year on June 24, one week before Canada Day—not because the French-speaking province gets a head start on the rest of the country, but because June 24 is the feast day of Jean Baptiste, the patron saint of Quebec.

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