Christopher Dickey

Stories by Christopher Dickey

  • Sarkozy's Obama Obsession

    Facing down Iran, French president Nicolas Sarkozy stood shoulder to shoulder with President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Pittsburgh last week. Or so it might be said. The statements of all three were consistent as they denounced the Islamic Republic's construction of a secret nuclear facility. But in this stage show of solidarity, body language sent a different message. Obama and Brown really did stand side by side. Sarkozy stood apart, looking a little like he'd been asked to stand as best man at a stranger's wedding....
  • Ayatollah Khamenei's Journey

    "They are not going to answer your greeting," begins a poem that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, knows well, and loved once. "Nobody is going to raise his head to answer a question or to see a friend." The verse was written in the time of the shah, in the 1950s, when Khamenei was a young, idealistic Shia cleric who shared with its hard-drinking author a sense of claustrophobic alienation and deep frustration. "Winter," by Mehdi Akhavan Sales, is about as vivid a metaphor for oppression—externally imposed, but deeply internalized—as you can find:Now, in this summer of 2009 in the overheated air of Tehran's stifling streets, it is Khamenei himself who has come to symbolize for millions of Iranians that cold, hard weight of authority. (Story continued below...)What is unfolding in Iran is no simple confrontation between tyranny and freedom. The protests, wave upon wave of them, have not overturned the regime, nor have they sought to do so. But 30 years after the Islamic...
  • Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister on Obama's Speech

    The day after President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo offering a "new beginning" in relations between the United States and the Muslim world, NEWSWEEK'S Christopher Dickey sat down with the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud al-Faisal, to discuss the speech and its implications. Excerpts: ...
  • NATO, Stretched Dangerously Thin

    These days, NATO's future seems to be mired in the foothills of the Hindu Kush. With 70,000 troops on Afghan soil, and with the U.S. pressuring for an even greater commitment, "NATO is about Afghanistan and nothing else," says an official in Brussels.But the Afghan trap is stretching NATO so thin, it may prove incapable of handling problems in its own backyard. In February, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said that the deepening financial crisis could provoke civil unrest and even "violent extremism" in Europe's weaker states. Already, mass protests in Greece and crumbling economies in Latvia and Hungary have been cited as worrisome. And just outside NATO's borders, Ukraine is "closer to a failed state than a functioning one," says one NATO official.But budget cutbacks are handicapping the alliance, affecting its Afghan deployment and making it unlikely that NATO could manage two conflicts at once. Eastern Europe and the Baltics are now fretting that NATO's...