International Affairs

Shaun Randol

The use of the "ticking time bomb" (TTBS) scenario to justify torture (talking to you Dick Cheney, Richard Haass, John Yoo, et al), is fundamentally flawed because it is impossible to meet all of the problem's criteria.

What are the criteria? Ten elements must be in place:

1. An attack is imminent

2. Legal and other authorities know about this imminent attack

3. The attack will kill a large number of innocent people (this assumes a terrorist attack rather than an act in war)

Shaun Randol

How much can a president accomplish in just a one-year term? Stay tuned to find out. Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann is on the downhill side of his 365 day term as president of the United Nations General Assembly, and he's got a lot on his plate. The one thing he can do, however, isn't even being cooked up.

Shaun Randol

At a party before the New York City screening of Che, director Steven Soderbergh said the reason he stretched Che to 257 minutes was because there was just too much story to tell about the revolutionary in a mere two hours. Later, at the same party, I asked a seasoned journalist and avid film viewer (who had just seen Che) his reaction to the film. While he enjoyed the film on the whole, to him it seemed that the jungle scenes were repetitive, ultimately making the film too long. Having now seen the full four and a half-hour film I can attest that, while their opinions are disparate, both Soderbergh and the journalist are right.

Shaun Randol

As I wrote in a piece for the World Policy Journal's blog, "2009 is an auspicious year: it marks the ninetieth anniversary of the student-led protests that led to the establishment of the communist movement, the fiftieth anniversary of the 1

Shaun Randol

On May 21 Big Media and the Internet went bananas over the dueling rhetoric of President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Nevermind the nuances of their respective arguments on whether or not (or how) to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and keep our country safe from terrorists, news and information outlets were more interested in the heavy weight fight theme than anything.

Shaun Randol

Last night at the venerable 92Y, Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass took a few questions from a smiley, curious, leggy Katie Couric. Haass has a new book out, War of Necessity, War of Choice, and The MANTLE would love a good progressive critique of it--so get crackin'!

Shaun Randol

As I write this, U.S. and Canadian warships and Coast Guard vessels are steaming up the Hudson River, right outside my window. It looks like a slow but well planned attack is converging on New York's Upper West Side (look out!).

I find the sight to be disconcerting. For one, seeing war machinery up close and personal in the peaceful waters of our free, and peaceful city (and country) is jarring. What must it be like to be on the receiving end of the guns of these behemoths? They are fearsome.

And JUST NOW the F-18 fighter jets have roared passed. Talk about fearsome!

Shaun Randol

"The United States pledged an additional $110 million in aid to Pakistan on Tuesday, reflecting both the deepening humanitarian crisis in the Swat Valley and what the administration says is its growing confidence in Pakistan's efforts to combat the Taliban."

Shaun Randol

It is peculiar that a book on the lessons to be gleaned from our foreign policy misadventure in Iraq was published while the conflict still raged. Even now the fighting and dying continues, albeit on a lesser scale. The Iraq War is "the subject of volumes of instant history," notes Arthur Schlesinger Jr. What sets Lessons from Iraq apart from contemporaneous Iraq War books, however, is its attempt not at commentary on the fiasco, but its intention to help avoid getting into this mess... again.

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