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In Depth: Asia Pacific

1 Mar 2009

Dear Mr. President ... On Good and Evil

P. J. O’Rourke ponders the president’s take on good and evil, and the limits of the olive branch.
1 Dec 2008

Prophets and Poseurs: Niebuhr and Our Times

A s pastor, teacher, activist, moral theologian, and prolific author, Reinhold Niebuhr was a towering presence in American intellectual life from the 1930s through the 1960s. He was, at various points in his career, a Christian Socialist, a pacifist, an ...

7 Sep 2008

Help Me Out Here

Michael J. Totten's blog I should have my next dispatch from the Caucasus region ready within 24 hours. I thought I would finish it today, but this one is a bit longer than usual and I need one more day. In the meantime, I could use some suggestions. ...

1 Sep 2008

The Humanitarian Carnival: A Celebrity Vogue

As the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics was broadcast, an American mother filmed her own “opening ceremony” from a dusty refugee camp in Chad. It was modest and moving—human theater that only grabbed attention because its creator happened to be a celebrity ...
1 Jun 2008

Dear Mr. President ...

You will no doubt have been advised against adopting any view that seems or seeks to attribute all events to one single cause. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the absolutely central and consistent role played, in so many of our difficulties, by the People’s Republic of China ...
21 Mar 2008

Who Else is Afraid of Kosovo?

Michael J. Totten's blog China fears Kosovo because the rulers in Beijing fear Tibet may become “the Kosovo of Central Asia”:http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2008/03/23/2003406775. This isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Europe and ...

1 Mar 2008

The Ethics of Fleeing: What America Still Owes Iraq

The Iraq War has, or bids to, become a litmus test of political identity of the sort that Americans associate with the Vietnam War. We should all be troubled by this. Those of us who opposed the Vietnam War may have called it correctly, but it is important to recall the fates of the Vietnamese ...
20 Jan 2008

New Comments System

Michael J. Totten's blog I have a new comments system on this site that, so far anyway, has shut down the comment spammers completely. Old posts were filling up with around 200 “comments” per day advertising hotels in China and “World of Warcraft ...

19 May 2007

The Case Against Withdrawal

Michael J. Totten's blog by Michael J. Totten I will admit that sometimes I am this close to deciding the US should withdraw from Iraq. Honestly, I do not expect we will succeed there, not because we can’t but because not enough of us want to in the ...

28 Oct 2006

No Foreign Press

Michael J. Totten's blog Glenn Reynolds argues that there is no “foreign press” per se anymore. “It’s all on the same Internet,” he says. Harold Ford (D-Tenn) made a gaffe about the “threat” of Australia developing nuclear weapons. American ...

17 Jul 2006

Force in Proportion

Michael J. Totten's blog By Callimachus One of the most interesting and in some ways infuriating books I’ve read recently is A.C. Grayling’s “Among the Dead Cities,” a book by philosopher that argues that much of the Allied air war — British bombing ...

17 Jun 2006

Nineteen Eighty Four

Michael J. Totten's blog Yafawi in the comments section linked to a photo gallery of North Korea. Many of the pictures are illegal. Here are two of them. Crossing the street is illegal because you just might get hit by a car. That’s an electrified ...

21 Mar 2006

Guilty as charged

Michael J. Totten's blog United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (1991) , passed under chapter seven of the charter and linked to the 1991 Gulf War ceasefire, operational paragraph 32: Requires Iraq to inform the Security Council that it will ...

13 Mar 2006

As of now, I am in control here

Michael J. Totten's blog The headline, for once, sums up the story: Haig says U.S. repeating Vietnam mistake Al “As of now, I am in control here, in the White House” Haig is right, but for the wrong reason. The key Vietnam era mistake not to make is ...

21 Feb 2006

The Utah of the Middle East

Michael J. Totten's blog I have a new (short) article published today in The Bulletin , the Australian edition of Newsweek . I wanted to call it The Utah of the Middle East , since that’s what much of Kurdistan looks like, but they changed it to The ...

13 Jan 2006

A Woman Traveling Alone

Michael J. Totten's blog CAIRO — Egypt doesn’t do many things better than Lebanon, but it does do the Internet better. Free wi-fi is both fast and ubiquitous. So I went to a cozy restaurant and pub, ordered a four-cheese pasta from the waiter, ...

28 Dec 2005

Totalitarian Tourism — Libya, at Long Last

Michael J. Totten's blog My first person account of hanging out in the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya — the most oppressive country in the world after North Korea — has been published by the LA Weekly : In the Land of the Brother ...

22 Dec 2005

A Plea to America – Stay the Course

Michael J. Totten's blog by lebanon.profile The Middle East has not been a nice place to live for a long time. We now have some hope, but not much. We’ve been sold out before. The Central and Eastern Europeans had dreams similar to ours. Their dreams ...

30 Oct 2005

Internet Hell

Michael J. Totten's blog Call me crazy, but I figured that going from the Middle East to a European Union country would improve my Internet situation. It didn’t. Cyprus is Internet hell. Internet access here consists, for the most part, of coin ...

26 Jun 2005

Life in the Bubble

Michael J. Totten's blog The more time you spend in a rarefied office, be it an office at a university, a newspaper, a government bureau, or even a bank, the more likely you are to become like Andrew Jaspan. Jaspan is the editor-in-chief at Melbourne ...

24 Jun 2005

Anti-Americanism

Michael J. Totten's blog In about twenty minutes a friend of mine is going to board an airplane to Belgium. He lives there on-and-off part time, in Antwerp, and this morning he told me he’s dreading going back there. The anti-Americanism gets more ...

12 Jun 2005

Microsoft Bans “Democracy”

Michael J. Totten's blog If you’re thinking about starting your own blog, I suggest you don’t use MSN Spaces . (Hat tip: Roger L. Simon .) Microsoft’s new Chinese internet portal has banned the words “democracy” and “freedom” from parts of its ...

29 May 2005

The Empty Quarter

Michael J. Totten's blog I don’t live in the West. I live on the West Coast. The West, somewhat counterintuitively, is east of here. It’s on the other side of the Cascade Mountains, away from the cities linked up to the Asian side of the Pacific Rim, ...

30 Apr 2005

Unintended consequences

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Mary Madigan The next installment of neo-neocon’s thoughts on Vietnam and political conversion A Mind is a Difficult thing to Change , is up. This particular post was sparked by a comment by Dean Esmay , found on ...

28 Mar 2005

Contagious Democracy – The Second Breakup of the Soviet Union

Michael J. Totten's blog The liberal revolutions that swept through Eastern Europe toppled communist dictatorships like dominoes in a chain. But most of the Central Asian republics remain authoritarian – and in some cases, totalitarian. Some, like ...

5 Mar 2005

Syria Shudders

Michael J. Totten's blog I have high hopes for post-occupation Lebanon, despite — and certainly not because of — Lebanon’s history of violent ethnic conflict. Lebanon’s politics are notoriously ruthless, but there also exists a dynamic, sophisticated ...

10 Feb 2005

Bat Ye’or at Columbia

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Mary Madigan I went to hear Egyptian scholar Bat Ye’or speak at Columbia University on Tuesday. Yes, the pro-Israel Ye’or walked directly into the belly of Columbia’s leftist beast. Despite the documented anti ...

11 Jan 2005

Rampant Perversion on Christmas?

Michael J. Totten's blog Stephen Schwartz highlights a nasty rant by a Saudi Arabian blowhard about how the south Asian tsunami was the wrath of Allah. In one such instance, Shaykh Salih Fawzan al-Fawzan, a high functionary of the Saudi regime, said ...

10 Jan 2005

North Korea Cracks Down on Longhairs and Slobs

Michael J. Totten's blog When Christopher Hitchen described North Korea as a state “where everything that is not absolutely compulsory is absolutely forbidden,” he wasn’t joking around. Here’s the latest from the ne plus ultra of nanny states. SEOUL ...

2 Jan 2005

Who’s Stingy?

Michael J. Totten's blog Jonathan Last notes that tsunami relief donations from rich Muslim countries are – shall we say – stingy compared with Japanese, Taiwanese, and Western donations. I don’t expect fat aid packages from Afghanistan and Somalia. ...

29 Dec 2004

First Stingy, Now Unilateral

Michael J. Totten's blog First we’re accused of being stingy in the wake of the tsunami. Now Clare Short is laughably accusing us of trying to help unilaterally. United States President George Bush was tonight accused of trying to undermine the ...

27 Dec 2004

Worse Than (Our) Vietnam

Michael J. Totten's blog The number of people killed by the South Asian tsunami will likely exceed the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. The AP reports the casualty count has now passed 52,000 . And it is going to be a lot worse. The ...

26 Dec 2004

Shifting Geography

Michael J. Totten's blog Whoa . The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off Indonesia on Sunday morning moved the entire island of Sumatra about 100 feet to the southwest , pushing up a gigantic mass of water that collapsed into a tsunami and ...

20 Dec 2004

Aquarius Then and Now

Michael J. Totten's blog Christopher Hitchens reviews a series of books on the 60s, hippies, Vietnam, and the commune movement for the New York Times . Lots of good stuff came out of that era, civil rights being only the most noted and obvious. (Also ...

11 Dec 2004

When in Rome

Michael J. Totten's blog I considered moving to Tokyo to teach English right out of college but then chickened out. I wasn’t ready to live abroad in an alien culture at 22. (Actually, I probably was. I just thought I wasn’t.) Six years ago, before ...

30 Nov 2004

Weirder Than Libya

Michael J. Totten's blog When you visit another country you meet other people who are also visiting the country. Inevitably you’ll discuss other places you’ve been. If you go to Costa Rica you’ll meet people who’ve been to Guatemala and Bolivia. Go ...

29 Nov 2004

Two Things Dubious Yet Hopeful

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Jeremy Brown File these under things we’d like to believe but are reluctant to, though it is nevertheless a hopeful sign that the words are even being spoken (you’ll have to write small to fit this on the file tab): ...

6 Oct 2004

Documents: Saddam Bribed France, Russia, and China

Michael J. Totten's blog John Kerry rather undiplomatically described the allies of the United States as a “coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought, and the extorted.” As it turns out there really was a coalition of the bribed and the bought ...

3 Sep 2004

Move On

Michael J. Totten's blog Dave Barry : Call me a dreamer, but I’m hoping that at some point before we go to the polls, we can get this campaign past the Vietnam era to at least, say, the late ’70s. It would be cool if we could argue about the late 70s ...

21 Aug 2004

Swift Boat Psychodrama

Michael J. Totten's blog I haven’t written about the Swift Boat Veterans controversy for a number of reasons. One, I hate the Vietnam War. Two, that war ended when I was three years old and we are in a different historical era twice removed . Three, ...

19 May 2004

Islam’s Bloody Borders

Michael J. Totten's blog Meanwhile, the Jihad is ramping up in Thailand. Dave Rodriguez snagged a photograph from the latest article in a Thai newspaper before they pulled the story offline. Apparently, there are killings every day in the Muslim part ...

25 Apr 2004

Free Advice for John Kerry

Michael J. Totten's blog John Kerry is among the legion of politicians who still don’t know the First Rule of Holes: When you’re in one, stop digging. He’s been jumping down into the same deep hole, shovel in hand, for more than three decades. In ...

19 Feb 2004

The Unbearable Lightness of Scandals

Michael J. Totten's blog Here’s a shocker . WASHINGTON – John Kerry’s protests against the Vietnam War and President Bush’s wartime service in the National Guard generate disapproval largely among people who already have made up their minds against ...

14 Feb 2004

Vietnam at Half Volume

Michael J. Totten's blog Mark Steyn paints John Kerry as the poster boy for Vietnam Syndrome. Thanks to Kerry in his Hanoi Jane period, Vietnam was a disaster for America that gave the establishment a wholly irrational fear of almost every ramshackle ...

7 Feb 2004

We Are Not Doomed (Updated)

Michael J. Totten's blog Nelson Ascher posted a remarkably gloomy mini essay on Europundits. He basically says we are doomed. It is absolutely, I repeat, ASOLUTELY unbelievable, but the enemies of the war are winning the peace or rather are managing ...

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