Policy and Analogy

We hear cries of “another Munich” with very little provocation: it’s the War Party’s pat response to any attempt to negotiate or otherwise engage our alleged enemies. It was a favorite neoconservative trope during the cold war era, one that greeted every diplomatic approach to the reds, from Nixon’s China trip to Reagan at Reykjavik. … Continue reading “Policy and Analogy”

Antiwar Critics Forgotten on Oscar Night

Here’s how, in his classic Vietnam War history, The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam summed up Washington life via the career of Dean Rusk, the hawkish secretary of state under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson: “If you are wrong on the hawkish side of an event you are all right; if you … Continue reading “Antiwar Critics Forgotten on Oscar Night”

The Brilliance of Randolph Bourne

Randolph Bourne was an American intellectual journalist who flourished for a few years in the second decade of the 20th century—in the Teens, the decade that ran from 1910 to 1920. Bourne wrote mostly for magazines during this period. His byline was particularly familiar to readers of The New Republic—until his radically antiwar views on … Continue reading “The Brilliance of Randolph Bourne”

‘Unprovoked’ Attacks, From 1812 to 9/11

The killing of Osama bin Laden reminds us that there are only two disciplines in which uncaused events occur—quantum physics and the history of U.S. foreign policy. According to the version of history expounded by the American media and politicians, the passenger aircraft hitting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11 were a … Continue reading “‘Unprovoked’ Attacks, From 1812 to 9/11”

To End All Wars

Someday, when historians look back, they will undoubtedly be struck by the utter inanity, not to say collective insanity, of the United States fighting what our president has called a “war of necessity,” now in its tenth year, in Afghanistan, as well as a “covert” war in the Pakistani tribal borderlands. It will undoubtedly look … Continue reading “To End All Wars”

Ironic Intervention: A Lebanese Doughboy in World War I

In 1914 Michael Zataney, born in the village of Zgharta in what is now Lebanon, lived in Birmingham, Ala., and looked forward to becoming an American citizen. The Zataney family left what geographers call "Greater Syria" to escape the oppression of the Ottoman Turks who had ruled the area for 400 years. Culturally diverse and … Continue reading “Ironic Intervention: A Lebanese Doughboy in World War I”

The Lessons of August

World Wars and Lessons for Empire The Great War began 95 years ago this month, with the guns of August ending what has been described as Europe’s last summer. And 64 years ago this week, two nuclear weapons used against Japanese cities signaled the end of the Second World War. The first conflict broke the … Continue reading “The Lessons of August”