Timor Complications

I got several objections to my recent column on East Timor pointing out that Indonesia had taken over the former Portuguese colony by force in 1975, an acquisition not recognized diplomatically by a number of countries and protested by numerous human rights campaigners. So the general rule under the older theory, that the "international community” … Continue reading “Timor Complications”

A Timorous Expedition

So, are you ready to answer the call for volunteers for the East Timor Expeditionary Force? Actually, if anybody were seriously thinking of organizing a volunteer force, on the order of the Abraham Lincoln Brigades during the Spanish civil war, I would have no objection, though I wouldn’t be especially tempted to volunteer myself. There … Continue reading “A Timorous Expedition”

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”


A NEW CRUSADE TAKES FORM In March 1947, President Harry Truman announced his Doctrine of "containing" communism by giving aid to all nations, anywhere, resisting it. The proposal he set before Congress was an aid package to defeat the Communist-led insurgency in Greece and promote the security of Turkey. In a reversal of later ideological … Continue reading “THE ‘LOSS’ OF CHINA, McCARTHY, KOREA, AND THE NEW RIGHT”


A good deal of the fretting over what might or might not turn out to be an increasing level of hostility between mainland China and Taiwan over the arcane (and currently irrelevant) question of whether everybody still believes in "One China" is related to the apparently irresistible urge of the U.S. State Department to want … Continue reading “THE ITCH TO CHOOSE SIDES”


BOMBING: IS THERE ANY AMERICAN CONSCIENCE AT ALL? Every year in August, someone is moved by the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to say this or that about the morality of the first – and only – use, by anyone, of the Americans’ very own patent medicine of mass destruction. First, a well-meaning liberal of … Continue reading “RANDOM THOUGHTS, MOSTLY ON BOMBING”


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?”

A Draft After the 2000 Elections?

There may yet be a military draft in your future if you’ll be turning 20 in 2001, once the elections are out of the way. In late July of this year Newsday published a Los Angeles Times dispatch reporting that, “key members of Congress’ military committees, for the first time in a generation, are discussing … Continue reading “A Draft After the 2000 Elections?”