The Military in the Post-Cold War Era

(Note: This is an expanded version of a piece that ran in the Orange County Register August 29, 1999 but wasn’t put on the newspaper’s Web site.) The twin concerns – after almost 25 years of a voluntary military that met its recruitment goals with mostly qualified and competent people – of the military falling … Continue reading “The Military in the Post-Cold War Era”


It is difficult to imagine that anybody with more than a few months’ experience as an interested observer was actually surprised by the report from the international Office of High Representation – a marvelously vague but impressive-sounding title for the investigative arm of the international aid agencies – that a billion dollars or so has … Continue reading “IS ANYBODY SURPRISED?”


I got two kinds of responses to my comments last week on Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey’s efforts to stir up a rationale for more intensive U.S. intervention into the ongoing insurgency-cum-narco-trafficking crisis in Colombia. One type came from a fellow whose e-mail address suggested he was a retired military officer was indignant: “FARC political insurgency? … Continue reading “COLOMBIAN CLARIFICATIONS (OR CONFUSIONS)”


It’s easy enough to comprehend the shooting of 14 Serbian farmers in the Kosovan village of Gracko as part of the aftermath of NATO’s war against Yugoslavia. These farmers – along with hundreds, perhaps thousands of ethnic Albanians killed by Serbs before, during and after the bombing campaign phase of the war, should be included … Continue reading “THE EMPIRE’S CASUAL CASUALTIES”


The flap over Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui’s comment that Taiwan’s relations with mainland China should properly be viewed as "country-to-country, or at least as special state-to-state" relations has been curious and amusing at one level. After all, it merely reflects what has been the reality for several decades at least, and in context what all … Continue reading “LESSONS IN FAILING INTERVENTIONS”


The war in Kashmir between India and Pakistan seems to have calmed down for the moment, but it could still present rich opportunities for the United States to do the wrong thing. President Clinton casually – almost cavalierly? – meddled at an early stage of the conflict without creating serious problems or making new commitments. … Continue reading “KASHMIR: WILL BILL AND MADDIE INTERVENE?”


Many of the Kosovo war’s most active cheerleaders are having second thoughts now that the bombing phase of the war has ended, the “rebuilding” phase has begun and the general uselessness of the campaign has become increasingly apparent. Some of the second thoughts are thoroughly reprehensible, of the “we didn’t do enough damage” ilk. But … Continue reading “KOSOVO: LEARNING THE WRONG LESSONS (MOSTLY)”

George Dubya and “American Leadership”

One shouldn’t read too much into deviations from prepared texts, and in fact the prepared text of Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s remarks distributed to newsies during his California fundraising swing this week carried a warning right at the top "[Note: Governor Bush frequently deviates from prepared text]." He did so fairly often in minor … Continue reading “George Dubya and “American Leadership””