Obama should realize what Lincoln understood: that there may be better angels in the nature of some people, but there are others who are willing to weaken, even destroy a nation to serve their own self-righteous self-interest, and they will do it in the name of the Constitution.
There's such an uproar every time terrorists fail to carry out a serious attack on the United States, you have to ask what's going to happen if, or when, they finally succeed. The printer-cartridge parcel bombs discovered on their way to Chicago are just the latest example. In each case the American rabid right, much of the supine American press, and the terrorist propaganda machine acted as if the bad guys had scored big.
Reading the WikiLeaks documents on Iranian support for attacks in Iraq, even an arrant pacifist would have to wonder just how much provocation is necessary before the United States decides to strike back with a vengeance. Extensive reports in the Iraq war logs describe the Iranian role working with members of Lebanon's Hizbullah to train Iraqi guerrillas to ambush American soldiers.
Americans have forgotten the rest of the world. Nothing could make that clearer than the candidates running for election to the U.S. Congress and the Senate right now. If you watch the campaign ads, listen to the debates or the candidates themselves, Afghanistan barely figures, Iraq is history, the Middle East peace process a yawn.
After nearly a decade, the men and women fighting off terrorist attacks on the homeland are tired and worried. Take a recent breakfast I had with an old friend: I'd asked him why all the alerts and warnings of late (including the one reaffirmed on Thursday by the State Department) have centered on Europe. Not the United States? "Because we're missing something," he said as we waited for our coffee in a diner last week. "Because we're blind."
The terrorist history of a Catholic priest in Northern Ireland—and the magnanimous reaction of his victims—ought to serve as a lesson about how to overcome bigotry. It's particularly instructive in light of the so-called Ground Zero mosque.
It’s become a scandalous summer in France. Allegations are mounting that the octogenarian heiress to the billions of the L’Oréal cosmetics fortune, Liliane Bettencourt, may have had some unseemly dealings with the current minister of labor, Eric Woerth, long a key fundraiser for President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party. The principals deny any mischief and, in fact, most of the connections are murky, at best. But infamous political scandals usually stem from public perceptions as much as legal convictions.
The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan will come back to haunt us if we don’t improve life for the their populations. There’s a model—dated but still full of potential—for how to do that well: British colonialism.
A battle for the future of Iran is shaping up in outer space, and it’s not about missiles or nuclear weapons. It’s about information—the ability to jam the signal that brings the news to the Iranian people via satellite television. And for the moment, it’s a fight the Iranian government appears to be losing.
Do clothes make the Muslim? The French cabinet approved a draft law this week that would make it illegal for women to veil their faces so that only their eyes—and sometimes not even their eyes—are visible. Wearing what are called burqas or niqabs, the women in question keep their bodies cloaked and their hands gloved even in the heat of summer. They say this is their religious duty and their civil right.
One of the greatest challenges of driving in Egypt is knowing when to stop at a stoplight. Cars flood past the red signals as if they weren't there, and earlier this month on the way to see Mohamed ElBaradei, the man of the moment in Egyptian politics, I asked my taxi driver what the trick was. "You stop when you see the police," he said, as if that ought to be obvious.For generations, Egypt and virtually all other countries in the Arab world have been ruled as if that same principle applied to every aspect of society: the people are bent on chaos and only the iron hand of a police state can impose order. The result, after decades under the all-seeing eye of the security services, is a pervasive atmosphere of political intimidation—and stagnation. "The government makes people feel they should be thankful they are being governed," says ElBaradei, best known for winning the Nobel Peace Prize as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. "I would be happy if I could stir...