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Gone at Last

Bin Laden perpetrated or inspired a long list of horrors.

3 May 2011


We should not forget that Osama bin Laden’s evil extended far beyond the outrages of September 11, 2001. The list of terrorist acts he committed and inspired extends, literally, for pages.

Fruits from the Tree of Malice

Newly translated documents show how far Soviet wickedness extended.


In the Spring 2010 issue of City Journal, I described an archive of documents from Soviet government agencies smuggled to the West by the Russian researcher Pavel Stroilov and the Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky. These documents, I noted, were available to anyone who wanted to consult them. But nobody did. Publishers were indifferent. Only a fraction of the documents had been translated into English. This was, I argued, a symptom of the world’s dangerous indifference to the enormity of Communist crimes.

What Turks really think about the Arab uprising

Washington Times Communities
ISTANBUL, February 5, 2011

I'm being asked by everyone I know how Turkey is responding to the uprising in Egypt. The assumption in the question is that Turks must be really be quite interested in these events.

The assumption is dead wrong.

Agents of Influence

Book Review: The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance that Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East, by Mitchell Bard

National Review, January, 2011

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy in 2007. Its arguments are by now familiar; actually, they were always familiar: powerful, disloyal Jews; too many of them; bad for America. The book was, predictably and drearily, a best-seller.

Why I’m Like GM

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love my debt

24 November 2010

I used to wake up in the middle of the night, here in Istanbul, wondering how I’d pay my bills. As I’ve noted in City Journal, the demand for foreign news is shrinking. The wire services provide coverage from Turkey at low operating costs. To be honest, I also spend a lot of money on things I can’t afford, like my cleaning lady. She’s been working for me for five years and has three kids, so I can’t fire her. If I go down, she’ll go down, and so will my landlord, the guy who sells cleaning supplies to my cleaning lady, and the Iranian refugee who does my odd jobs. The ripple effect on the local economy, in other words, would be calamitous.

Then I saw the great news about GM’s success and I stopped worrying. Because GM and I are in the same position, and things seem to be working out splendidly for them.

Ottoman Fantasies

Extracts published by Michael Totten in Pajamas Media
FALL 2010

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first major world leader to congratulate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the wake of Iran’s fraudulent elections. “There is no doubt he is our friend,” he insists, dismissing Western anxieties about Iran’s nuclear program as “gossip.” He has invited Hamas to Ankara, feted Sudan’s genocidal President Omer Hassan al-Bashir, and almost in the same breath harangued Israeli President Shimon Peres at Davos for “knowing well how to kill.”

Weimar Istanbul

Dread and exhilaration in a city on the verge of political catastrophe

Autumn 2010

Dominican Republic or Bust

Santo Domingo Diarist

Summer 2010

The key to understanding the Dominican Republic is to imagine a country where Jennifer Lopez is the president, Ricky Martin the secretary of the interior, Christina Aguilera the secretary of state, and their backup singers the Supreme Court. An election was taking place while I was in Santo Domingo, visiting my family. They lived in Haiti but had been displaced by the January earthquake. Not speaking Spanish, I couldn’t grasp the political details, but I sensed that whichever party succeeded in putting the most trucks on the street, blaring the loudest Latin music and with the most scantily clad young women dancing on top of them, was going to win.

Istanbul Dispatch: Press Freedom Alla Turca


In May, a ship full of civilians — but not full of humanitarian aid — sailed from Turkey to join the Free Gaza flotilla. Having warned the Mavi Marmara that it would not be allowed to breach the blockade, Israeli commandos raided the ship. In the clash, nine Turks were killed. I've lived in Istanbul for five years and I've spoken to hundreds of Turks about these events. A Turkish documentary filmmaker and I have filmed some of these conversations. Something will immediately strike the viewer: the Turkish people have no idea what happened. This is because the most basic facts about and surrounding these events have not been reported in Turkey.

Smile and Smile: Turkey's Feel-Good Foreign Policy

World Affairs Journal
July/August 2010

As the First General Law of Travel tells us, every nation is its stereotype. Americans are indeed fat and overbearing, Mexicans lazy and pilfering, Germans disciplined and perverted. The Turks, as everyone knows, are insane and deceitful. I say this affectionately. I live in Turkey. On good days, I love Turkey. But I have long since learned that its people are apt to go berserk on you for no reason whatsoever, and you just can’t trust a word they say. As one Turkish friend put it (a man who has spent many years in America, and thus grasps the depth of the cultural chasm), “It’s not that they’re bad. They don’t even know they’re lying.”

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