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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NATO on Viagra

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization just hit 65. That’s retirement age, especially for an alliance structure that was born, grew up, and prospered during a bygone era. The war in Afghanistan is winding down. European countries are, by and large, reducing their military spending. The United States is theoretically engaged in a pivot to the Pacific. NATO should be getting the message. Someone...
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Brown Is the New Black

The new spring season is just around the corner, and it looks as though the new “in” color is brown. That’s brown as in “brown shirts.” Perhaps you thought that fascism went out of fashion in the 20th century. But there’s nothing like a lingering economic crisis to bring out the vintage ideologies. The far right is expected to do well in the upcoming European Parliament elections in...
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If I Didn’t Have a Hammer

For the long eight years of the George W. Bush administration, progressives decried the over-militarization of U.S. foreign policy. The Pentagon’s budget doubled, and U.S. military exports surged. Instead of deploying international law against Osama bin Laden, the United States deployed troops in Afghanistan. It went on to invade Iraq and threaten Iran. The Bush administration gave the CIA...
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