James Traub Bids a Fond Farewell to an Era of Constant Warfare

James Traub seemed a little bummed in a Sunday New York Times op-ed (“The End of American Intervention?,” 2/18/10), that military cuts and changing priorities will mean fewer humanitarian interventions in America’s future. So we must accept, if uneasily, the future which now seems to lie before us: We will do less good in the world, but also less harm. A leading advocate of “humanitarian intervention,” Traub doesn’t waste many words on the “harm” produced the by two decades of them, but he seems pretty sure about the “good.” For instance, he writes that the post-Cold War period “raised the […]


Zakaria and Democracy ‘Tension’

In the new issue of Time (12/12/11), Fareed Zakaria writes in the first sentence of his column: It is difficult to find a country on the planet that is more anti-American than Pakistan. In a Pew survey this year, only 12 percent of Pakistanis expressed a favorable view of the U.S. It’s not that difficult. The same survey of seven countries found one of them, Turkey, with an even lower 10 percent favorable opinion of the U.S., and Jordan just a hair above at 13 percent. More important is Zakaria’s conclusion: There is a fundamental tension in U.S. policy toward […]


WashPost’s Hot Air on Haiti’s ‘Fresh, Vital Force’

Washington Post editorialist Lee Hockstader wrote a puff profile on Haiti’s thuggish President-elect Michel Martelly (“Haiti’s ‘Sweet Micky’ Martelly Turns Presidential,” 4/24/11), whom he depicts as a fresh, vital force on the political scene, bringing with him energy and a new (mostly untested) crop of advisers, unbeholden to any recent political establishment. Little wonder that in the runoff election, Martelly, who is 50, beat a professorial 70-year-old former first lady 2 to 1. How can you write about Martelly’s run-off “victory” without noting that both rounds of the election had historically low turnout–not just for Haiti, but for the Western […]


Haitian Candidate’s ‘Roguish’ Threat to Kill Aristide

Here is Michel Martelly, one of the two conservative candidates vying to be next president of Haiti, courtesy of Kim Ives in an Institute for Public Accuracy release: In the years following Aristide’s restoration to power in 1994, Martelly became obsessed with hatred for the man. In a video from not too long ago, which can be seen on YouTube, the candidate threatens a patron in a bar where he has performed. “All those shits were Aristide’s faggots,” he says. “I would kill Aristide to stick a dick up your ass.”… [Video] The New York Times has a profile today […]


Conflating Ousted Presidents and Former Dictators in Haiti

It was certainly surprising to see former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier return to the country on January 16. To say he hasblood on his hands is an understatement–the Duvalier regimes were responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and widespread abuse, and stole millions of dollars from the country. Soon thereafter, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide announced his intention to return to his country.Aristide, twice elected andtwice removed from office, remains a popular figure in Haitian politics. His first stint in office was remarkably peaceful; his second, during which he faced armed attacks that eventually succeeded in overthrowing his government, was […]


Banning of Popular Party ‘Threatens’ Haitian Election’s ‘Success’

Voter turnout in last weekend’s Haitian Senate elections was very low; observers cited in a Reuters report, “Haitians Largely Boycott Senate Election,” estimated it at less than 10 percent, which an Al Jazeera report attributed in part to “resentment over the banning of a popular party”–Fanmi Lavalas–as well as disenchantment with the ruling government and poverty. A short Associated Press report published in the New York Times (4/20/09) about the vote had an odd spin on these issues: The success of Sunday’s election was threatened by voter apathy and opposition from the Fanmi Lavalas Party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. […]