Is Putin Really as Foolish as We Are?

Nixon lied. Surely this is not a shocker. But what’s interesting about the latest revelation about the Nixon administration and the Vietnam War is that the most duplicitous president in U.S. history actually knew that the U.S. air war in Southeast Asia was a dismal failure. Even as Nixon was telling the media that the saturation bombings of Vietnam and Laos were “very effective,” he was...
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Trump Takes on the World

It was 1972. The flamboyant rock star Alice Cooper, not quite a household name at that point in England, was booked to play London’s Wembley Stadium. Shortly before the concert date, only a couple hundred of the 7,000 available tickets had been sold. Facing an epic failure, the redoubtable rock music promoter Shep Gordon emblazoned the side of a truck with a huge picture of Alice Cooper, naked...
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Refugee World

To paraphrase William Gibson, the post-apocalypse is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed. Many of our post-apocalyptic stories — Mad Max, The Road, World War Z — feature desperate people on the move in a friendless and resource-poor environment. The world hasn’t ended quite yet, but these modern nomads have nearly lost hope. Something terrible has happened in the past, and...
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Celebrating Destruction

Everyone on the Mall near the Washington Monument was looking up at the sky. I was there, too. But I wasn’t looking up, at least not that far up. On May 8, I was playing Ultimate Frisbee during the noontime game on a stretch of level grass behind the Holocaust Museum. This time we were joined by thousands of people eager to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany and...
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The Kremlin’s Kool-Aid

We were nearing the end of dinner when the eminent personage leaned in my direction and began yelling at me. Up to that point, the argument among the five of us at the end of the long table at the restaurant had been heated but at a conversational volume. The fact that we were arguing at all was at least partly my fault. After all, I’d brought up the subject of Russia. Just before the entrees...
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