Non-Fiction

Can Sarah Palin style herself as Thatcher's second coming?

Both attractive women from Nowhere Fancy exploited their femininity. But only one could command an interview.

The Guardian
15 June 2010

Visiting Margaret Thatcher is a traditional rite among Republican presidential aspirants – Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney all pitched up on her doorstep in 2008. But Sarah Palin, who announced on her Facebook site this week that she hopes to secure a meeting with "one of my political heroines, the 'Iron Lady'," has a more obvious claim to be Thatcher's heir. She's an attractive woman from Nowhere Fancy, just as Thatcher was, and snobs deplore her for it, just as they deplored Thatcher.

That said, if Palin hopes to style herself as the second coming she has a few things to learn.

Murky in Turkey

What we don’t know about the Mavi Marmara incident: just about everything.

3 June 2010
CITY JOURNAL

Closed Minds

A response to Ron Radosh, et al.

CITY JOURNAL
18 May 2010

In the latest issue of City Journal, I published a story about a large cache of Soviet-era documents smuggled out of Russia by Pavel Stroilov, a Russian researcher now exiled in London, and a similar collection of smuggled documents held by the former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky. I wrote that the world was incurious about these papers; this, I argued, was symptomatic of a dangerous indifference to the history and horrors of Communism.

A Hidden History of Evil

Why doesn’t anyone care about the unread Soviet archives?

CITY JOURNAL
SPRING 2010

In the world’s collective consciousness, the word “Nazi” is synonymous with evil. It is widely understood that the Nazis’ ideology—nationalism, anti-Semitism, the autarkic ethnic state, the Führer principle—led directly to the furnaces of Auschwitz. It is not nearly as well understood that Communism led just as inexorably, everywhere on the globe where it was applied, to starvation, torture, and slave-labor camps. Nor is it widely acknowledged that Communism was responsible for the deaths of some 150 million human beings during the twentieth century. The world remains inexplicably indifferent and uncurious about the deadliest ideology in history.

An Artful Robbery

The National
May 2, 2010

Recently, a Turkish museum's staff discovered that a large number of famous Ottoman-era drawings from their collection were forgeries, the originals probably stolen years ago. Claire Berlinski finds that the theft of valuable artworks across the world is more common than many think.

How to Skin a Moose

AMERICAN REVIEW, 2010
Volume 2

Going Rogue: An American Life
Sarah Palin
Harper Collins, US$ 28.99, 413 pp.

The poetry of Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell noted, is always good for a snigger in pansy-left circles. So are the writings of Sarah Palin. The former governor of Alaska, former vice-presidential candidate and great populist hope of the American right tends to inspire derision that is manifestly patronizing and misogynistic. Such is often the fate of charismatic female politicians from small towns, as Margaret Thatcher well knew.

Dark Continent

The New Vichy Syndrome: Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism
by Theodore Dalrymple
(Encounter, 163 pp., $23.95)

National Review
April 19

Many books have now been written about Europe's malaise, most making similar observations, but Dr. Theodore Dalrymple has two great gifts and an advantage. His gifts are his prose style-effortlessly fluent yet never affected-and his keen powers of observation. His advantage is his experience of life.

A Nation of Conspiracies

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
MARCH 13, 2010

Last fall, having observed that few women in Istanbul took martial-arts classes, I conceived the idea to work with local instructors on creating a women's self-defense initiative. My project met with initial enthusiasm, particularly among women concerned with the high rate of domestic violence in Turkey. But other martial arts instructors in the city grew uneasy, sensing a plot to swindle them out of their small pieces of the martial-arts pie. Istanbul quickened with lunatic rumors that the initiative was a conspiracy to disparage the other instructors' martial prowess and steal their students. Martial-arts cliques consumed themselves with plotting and counter-plotting. Secret tribunals were held, covert alliances formed, poison-pen letters sent, friends betrayed. I gave up in disgust.

The Wrong Ban

CITY JOURNAL
Winter 2010

My qualifications as an alarmist about the Islamization of Europe are second to none, according to my critics. But even I cannot find a good legal, political, or moral argument for Swiss voters’ decision, in a November referendum, to ban the building of minarets. Legally, it introduces a contradiction into the Swiss constitution, which is quite clear on this point: “Nobody may be discriminated against, namely for his or her . . . religious, philosophical, or political convictions.” If a citizen has a right to erect a cross, in other words, his fellow citizen must have the right to erect a minaret. This isn’t a minor technical point. The antidiscrimination article is not in the Swiss constitution arbitrarily. We in the West do not believe in banning religious symbols; that’s one of the key reasons we consider our societies superior to those that do. How can anyone in Switzerland be taken seriously now if he criticizes the Saudis for refusing to permit the building of churches?

THE STATE DEPARTMENT: UNREADY ON HAITI

CITY JOURNAL

26 January 2010

Americans with relatives in the earthquake-ravaged country can’t even get our bureaucrats on the phone.

To judge from the State Department’s response to the earthquake in Haiti, our government has not learned the obvious lessons about disaster preparation that it should have after September 11 and Hurricane Katrina. I know, unfortunately, because my family was in Port-au-Prince, where my sister-in-law worked for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. Her father, my brother, and my ten-month-old nephew were with her. They were all unharmed; obviously, many were not so fortunate. I cannot comment on the United States’ relief efforts in Haiti, which I have not seen firsthand and about which I have heard only confused reports. But I did observe the State Department’s response to the relatives of Americans in Haiti, and they suggest that our preparation for disasters needs far more thought.

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