Fareed Zakaria


Political junkies are betting these days as to how certain events would affect the election, like a terror attack or a major crisis in Iraq. To these I would add one that is almost certain to take place: the October election in Afghanistan.


You know that the 9/11 Commission report has had a real impact because Congress has decided to meet in sweltering August to act on its recommendations. In fact, the report is fast achieving Biblical status.


Recalling his first memory of India's new prime minister, Manmohan Singh, 50 years ago, fellow economist Jagdish Bhagwati says: "We were both students at Cambridge University, and I was struck by this young man from a poor farmer's family who would start his day every morning at 4 with a cold shower--in the English winter!


The images of a beheaded Paul Johnson are gruesome, but for Saudi Arabia, it has been more than a year of grim images. It started on May 12, 2003, when three cars packed with bombs exploded in a residential compound in Riyadh, killing 35 people and wounding 200.


The G8 Summit in Sea Island, Ga., produced no new cooperation on Iraq. No surprise there. The rifts over it are deep, and though the United States has changed course, it will take time before other countries jump in.

No Security, No Democracy

Larry Diamond is not going back to Iraq. One of America's foremost experts on building democracy--a man who has spent years studying and helping countries from Asia to South America make the transition--he had been working with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad over the last few months.

The Price Of Arrogance

America is ushering in a new responsibility era," says President Bush as part of his standard stump speech, "where each of us understands we're responsible for the decisions we make in life." When speaking about bad CEOs he's even clearer as to what it entails: "You're beginning to see the consequences of people making irresponsible decisions.


In early June 1920, Gertrude Bell, the extraordinary woman who helped run Iraq for Britain, wrote a letter to her father on some "violent agitation" against British rule: "[The extremists] have adopted a line difficult in itself to combat, the union of the Shi'ah and Sunni, the unity of Islam.


Last week the British government foiled what it believed was the largest terrorist plot ever in that country. Police arrested eight men, and seized half a ton of ammonium nitrate, enough for an explosive five times as powerful as the Bali bombs that killed 200 people.


If you're wondering how Al Qaeda and its type of militant Islamic groups are doing these days, there was interesting news last week. The tragic bombings of Shiites during their Ashura commemoration, apparently planned by one such group, exposed the weakness of the radicals.

The Democrats' Own Quagmire

The effort by his democratic rivals to portray Howard Dean as the reincarnation of George McGovern will not work. Dean is not a peacenik. If you read his foreign-policy speech given in Los Angeles on Dec. 15--the one being roundly criticized--you will be struck by how centrist and sensible it is.

The 'Republic Of Fear' Is Dead

In his wrenching book on Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the dissident writer Kanan Makiya explained that the most powerful force keeping the cruel regime in power--more important than brute strength--was "an all-embracing atmosphere of fear." Aptly, Makiya titled his book "Republic of Fear." Saddam inculcated fear at every level, explaining, for example, that he would often deal with traitors pre-emptively because "I know a person will betray me before they know it themselves." Well, he apparently...

No Way To Make Friends

President Bush's Thanksgiving trip to Iraq was a generous and bold-hearted gesture of support to American troops. What made it such a success, however, was that it managed to severely limit an otherwise unavoidable aspect of travel--contact with foreigners.

Jose Maria Aznar

Widely credited with raising Spain's profile on the international scene, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's influence will likely continue to affect Spanish foreign policy long after he steps down next year.

Bush's Really Good Idea

Sometimes I think that President Bush's critics need to put up a sign somewhere in their rooms that reads: "Some things are true even if George W. Bush believes them." A visceral dislike for the president is boxing many otherwise sensible people into a corner because they cannot bring themselves to agree with anything he says.

And He's Head Of Intelligence?

President Bush's commission on public diplomacy recently noted that in nine Muslim and Arab nations only 12 percent of respondents surveyed believed that "Americans respect Arab/Islamic values." Such attitudes, the commission argued, create a toxic atmosphere of anti-Americanism that cripples U.S. foreign policy and helps terrorists.