Christopher Dickey

Stories by Christopher Dickey

  • Sarkozy Looking To Play Crucial Role In Gaza

    If the tragic axiom of Middle East peacemaking is that the Israelis and Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, there is now a new corollary: French President Nicolas Sarkozy never misses an opportunity to present himself as the opportunity.Last week, as Israeli tanks rolled through Gaza and the civilian death toll mounted into the hundreds, most Western leaders fell into paroxysms of procrastination. U.S. President George W. Bush, as usual, backed Israel's right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks, but offered no plausible plan to end the carnage. President-elect Barack Obama, meanwhile, temporized, keeping the world in suspense about his plans and even his opinions. A delegation representing the European Union, which is now under the rotating presidency of the Czechs, seemed to be wandering in the wilderness. But "Super Sarko" rushed in where other leaders feared to tread, and if he didn't exactly negotiate an end to the fighting, he managed at least to put...
  • "Beyond Terror": Moving Past Bush And Bin Laden

    George W. Bush's neoconservative administration and Osama bin Laden's messianic terrorist organization may, in a perverse way, have deserved each other. But French scholar Gilles Kepel, in his new book, "Beyond Terror and Martyrdom," argues that the rest of us can do better than delusions of global democracy and the glories of suicide bombings.Braving inevitable charges that he's drawing moral equivalency, Kepel suggests that both Bush and bin Laden staked their claims to power on the eradication of evil (which is to say, each other) and the creation of utopias, whether in the form of a God-fearing democracy or a pious caliphate. Both sides embraced violent means to pursue those ends. Neither won, but together they created "an endless shared nightmare": Nairobi, the Cole, 9/11, Bali, Madrid, London, Mumbai; Afghanistan, Iraq, renditions, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram.As it stands, "the war between George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden defeated both of its protagonists," Kepel writes,...
  • Gilles Kepel's 'Beyond Terror and Martyrdom'

    George W. Bush's neoconservative administration and Osama bin Laden's messianic terrorist organization may, in a perverse way, have deserved each other, argues French scholar Gilles Kepel. But in his new book, "Beyond Terror and Martyrdom," Kepel suggests the rest of us can do better than vaguely defined wars striving to impose deluded ideas of democracy on the Middle East, not to speak of atavistic designs for Muslim glory built around a cult of suicide. ...
  • Obama's Web Tools Work For Others Too

    The Obama campaign developed powerful Web tools that might shape government but are more likely to build opposition movements, revolutions and possibly terrorist cells.
  • Obama Joins European Leaders As Inside Outsider

    When Barack Obama visited Paris on a tour of Europe last summer, he may have been surprised to discover that he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had much in common, especially their status as outsiders. Sarkozy made a big deal out of it: "In Europe," he said to Obama, "there are many people who come from different backgrounds and who have many different histories and who are not altogether 'classic' French. Not everyone here is called 'Sarkozy'," said the son of a Hungarian immigrant. "And I'm well aware that not everybody in the United States is called Obama."The most skilled and successful politicians in Europe—and now in America too—manage to be insiders and outsiders at the same time. Thus we have British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who spent a decade as chancellor of the exchequer, but remains a Scot in the middle of a political system dominated by the English. And there's Angela Merkel, the first woman to be chancellor of Germany and the first from the impoverished East....
  • What Ashley Judd Learned In Africa

    The actress on her experiences in war-ravaged Congo, and the personal aftershocks of exposure to so much suffering.
  • Dickey: Saakashvili and the Dangers of Defiance

    The Russia-Georgia conflict is yet another example of why a leader caught up in the romance of resistance should not rely on Washington. What Saakashvili should have learned from history--and the American South.
  • Wasting Water In Dubai

    Dubai's ecology may be a work of genius or insanity, but it's nothing if not artificial.
  • Drawing The French Battle Lines

    Nicolas Sarkozy's radical overhaul of his nation's military could resurrect its role as a global player.
  • Very French Delights

    What could be more luxurious than a glass of rosé, Stan Smith sneakers or a pocketknife?