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Category Archives: History
May 17, 2013
Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe backtracked yesterday on previous comments he made in which he suggested that he did not agree with the famous 1995 apology by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. Murayama apologized to neighboring countries like China and Korea for … Continue reading
May 8, 2013
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is having second thoughts about recanting his country’s apology for crimes committed in World War Two. Abe recently suggested that Japan might not have been the aggressor during the war due to the fact that … Continue reading
April 26, 2013
Shinzo Abe is not backing down. Responding to China and South Korea’s protests over Japanese lawmakers visiting a controversial shrine in Tokyo, Abe made an inflammatory speech that’s sure to further anger the neighbors. With emotions running high over visits … Continue reading
April 19, 2013
AI Editor Adam Garfinkle has a must-read on the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Those uninformed about the significance of the uprising and its vital connection to Jewish Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day will learn a lot from the … Continue reading
April 9, 2013
She was, beyond a doubt, the greatest British political leader since Winston Churchill and, like him, she was cordially hated by many grandees of the party she led.
The entire British establishment, from the royal family down, often wished she would just go away. In the end, a Cabinet cabal proved too much for her and drove her into exile.
Britain hates talent, at least in its rulers. Maggie Roberts wasn’t just talented – she was the incarnation of everything the 20th century British establishment loathed.
She was female, a trained scientist, aggressively middle class, personally assertive, openly nationalist, got on well with Jews and was utterly opposed to the mix of tepid socialism and stale one-nation Toryism that constituted the middle ground of British politics during the disastrous generation following World War Two. Continue reading
March 31, 2013
The Rijksmuseum is reopening in Amsterdam after a ten-year restoration. This is a must-see museum that should be on everyone’s lifetime to-do list, and it sounds as if those of us who have been there already need to go back … Continue reading
March 27, 2013
The US is gaining one of Britain’s brightest political stars. David Milliband, former UK Foreign Secretary and head of Tony Blair’s policy unit, is stepping down from Parliament to run the International Rescue Committee, a New York-based humanitarian organization. Milliband’s move … Continue reading
March 15, 2013
How times have changed in China. In Mao’s era, a traveler visiting Beijing might have heard people singing the famous song “Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China” with such patriotic, socialist lyrics as “The Communist Party … Continue reading
March 1, 2013
Financial markets around the world reeled when the Italians rejected the European status quo and their own political establishment in the last election. This should not have come as such a surprise; few political establishments anywhere in the democratic world are as spectacularly rotten as Italy’s, and the European status quo is the biggest man-made policy disaster since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Italian voters don’t have a lot of use for their leaders, and it’s hard to say they are wrong. The left wants to preserve the unsustainable, the right doesn’t have what it takes, and the center is dominated by short term, self centered careerists whizzing through the well oiled revolving doors that connect business with government. But how different are politics elsewhere? Voters ultimately weary of repeat policy failure by the well connected and well educated, and whether you look at Europe, the United States or Japan, the failures of national leadership keep piling up.
Americans often like to believe that our problems are as exceptional as our strengths, but our stale and ineffective political establishment looks a lot like its peers around the world. The American elite is not alone in its inconsequential futility and its lack of strategic vision; world leaders everywhere are falling down on the job. Continue reading
February 1, 2013
This week Patty Andrews, the last of the famous Andrews sisters singers, died at age 94 in Los Angeles. The three sisters—Maxene, Patty, and LaVerne—were in vogue during the 1940s and ’50s, and they are still remembered for catchy songs … Continue reading
January 21, 2013
David Sanger of the New York Times has written a thoughtful analysis of what the Obama administration has and has not accomplished in its first term, and what it plans to accomplish in the second in U.S. foreign policy. Short … Continue reading
January 16, 2013
December 26, 2012
In a letter to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson once made a distinction between “natural aristocracy,” people who, by “virtue and talents” make good leaders, and the “artificial aristocracy,” “founded on wealth and birth” which is a “mischievous ingredient in government.” The … Continue reading
December 23, 2012
It’s the fourth Sunday in Advent today and even the crustiest and most Christmas-resistant among us are beginning to thaw. The Mead family is preparing its Christmas Day get-together and though sadly some beloved faces are no longer with us at the holiday table, new arrivals by birth and by marriage keep increasing our tribe. I was in Allen, Texas a week ago for a family wedding and a visit to my eldest niece and her young and growing family; my iPad still has the grease marks from four year old fingers playing Angry Birds. Continue reading
December 21, 2012
Just what the world needs: another heroic statue of Joe Stalin. The New York Times yesterday reported that the Municipal Assembly in Stalin’s Georgian hometown of Gori has just allocated $15,000 to restore a massive statue of the dear leader … Continue reading