The Cold War Never Died

In ’89, it looked as though the war had finally ended. For five decades the conflict had ground on, and both sides had grown weary of it all. There had been previous pauses in the hostilities, even a détente or two, but this truce looked permanent. Sure, there were still tensions after ’89, and a few skirmishes broke out. But the peace held, miraculously, for more than 25 years. Then, as...
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Divorce, European Style

“All happy families are alike,” Leo Tolstoy wrote at the beginning of Anna Karenina. “Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Imagine, as Lenin liked to do, that a country is a marriage of different nationalities. Lenin believed, and he enshrined this principle in the Soviet constitution, that if the federal family was unhappy and one of the partners in the polyamorous union...
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MH17: Cold War Replay?

The most bizarre conspiracy theory surrounding the recent downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine comes from a leading pro-Russian separatist, Igor Girkin. Relying on second-hand information, Girkin asserted that many of the passengers from the crash had already been dead before the plane had even taken off. His underlings had reported to him that the bodies were badly decomposed and...
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To Die For

Nathan Hale spied on the British in 1776 and was hanged because of it. Before he mounted the scaffold, he reportedly uttered the famous phrase, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” His country, the 13 former British colonies that formed a tenuously United States, had been conjured into existence only a few months earlier by the Declaration of Independence on July...
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Obama in the Funhouse

When Barack Obama enters the geopolitical funhouse these days, the distorting mirrors reflect back very different images of the U.S. president. The mirror held up by the Republican Party shows a presidential beanpole, a 98-pound weakling who is continually getting sand kicked into his face—by Syria’s Assad, North Korea’s Kim, Cuba’s Castro, and assorted other bullies. The...
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What the Crisis in Ukraine Means for Northeast Asia

International borders are manmade. They are arbitrary, although they often conform to some natural feature of the landscape. And they are very difficult to change. It is a cornerstone of the international system that borders should not be altered by force. Particularly since the end of World War II, the international system has resisted any changes to the map. Of course, the map of the world has...
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