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Is this the end of the American century?

Adam Tooze: America Pivots, 4 April 2019

... to evoke a mixture of outrage, horror and derision both at home and abroad. Both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were accused, in their time, of endangering the legitimacy of the American world order. The cultural conservatism and overt nationalism of the American right is fiercely at odds with bien pensant global ...

The War on Tax

Corey Robin: Downgrading Obama, 25 August 2011

... and taxes. There is little dispute that the origins of the crisis predate Obama’s election. When George W. Bush took office in 2001, the US had a $2 trillion budget surplus. Many believed that if the country merely continued on the path set by Bill Clinton, the national debt, then $5.7 trillion, would be eliminated by the ...

Jumping the Gun

Michael Byers: Against Pre-Emption, 25 July 2002

... We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge.’ Last month, in a commencement speech at West Point, George W. Bush announced an expansive new policy of pre-emptive military action ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: ‘Head Shot’, 24 May 2012

... on Sam Giancana, Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, Castro, Khrushchev, Howard Hunt, Earl Warren, George H.W. Bush, Duong Van Minh, the John Birch Society, the Freemasons or Aristotle Onassis. ‘I am not a conspiracy theorist,’ he begins. ‘I am a conspiracy empiricist.’ He wants to know the truth because without it ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Britney’s Biggest Fan, 21 June 2001

... shying away from sex. The title of An Act of Treachery suggests things may be set to change; but we shouldn’t forget the words of St Matthew (the convent schoolgirl wouldn’t): ‘whosoever looketh on a woman’ – or Nazi officer – ‘to lust after’ etc. All will be revealed in January, so long as the leadership of the Tory Party doesn’t get in ...

The Kid Who Talked Too Much and Became President

David Simpson: Clinton on Clinton, 23 September 2004

My Life 
by Bill Clinton.
Hutchinson, 957 pp., £25, June 2004, 0 09 179527 3
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... watching ‘marmosets scramble around above the snow line’ (he means marmots). And on page 808 (we’re up to 1998), he identifies the secretary of state for Northern Ireland as Mo Mowlan (for Mowlam). In other words, I have read My Life, all of it, closely enough to catch two slips of somebody’s pen, probably Clinton’s own. For the book does indeed ...

Buckle Up!

Tim Barker: Oil Prices, 1 June 2017

Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices 
by Robert McNally.
Columbia, 300 pp., £27.95, January 2017, 978 0 231 17814 3
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... Exxon, as secretary of state, Robert McNally found the choice unremarkable. ‘The closest thing we have to a secretary of state outside government is the CEO of Exxon,’ he said. McNally is an energy consultant, a former adviser to George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, and a ...

The Boss Has Gone Crazy

Uri Avnery: Bush eyes up the Middle East, 6 January 2005

... is now being heard, but it is not about the price of oranges. It refers to the situation now that George W. Bush has been re-elected. Bush has attacked Afghanistan. He has attacked Iraq. His neo-con handlers want to attack Syria and Iran in the next phase. They want to establish ...

Cynical Realism

Randall Kennedy: Supreme Court Biases, 21 January 2021

... does the assigning. The current chief justice is John Roberts, who was nominated in 2005 by George W. Bush. Clarence Thomas, the most senior associate justice, was nominated in 1991 by George H.W. Bush. Stephen Breyer was nominated in 1994 by Bill ...

Why read Clausewitz when Shock and Awe can make a clean sweep of things?

Andrew Bacevich: The Rumsfeld Doctrine, 8 June 2006

Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq 
by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor.
Atlantic, 603 pp., £25, March 2006, 1 84354 352 4
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... to bend war to their purposes. Although the ensuing conflict has not by any means run its course, we are now in a position to begin evaluating the results of their handiwork. To that effort, this very fine book makes an important contribution. A decade ago, Michael Gordon, a reporter with the New York Times, and Bernard Trainor, a retired US Marine Corps ...

Working the Dark Side

David Bromwich: On the Uses of Torture, 8 January 2015

... Feinstein, as chairman of the committee, decided to publish the findings before the party of Bush and Cheney could vote to seal them for ever. The total report exceeds six thousand pages. We have been shown only the 525-page summary, but any American can read it, and the director of the CIA, John Brennan, offered no ...

The Fastidious President

David Bromwich: The Matter with Obama, 18 November 2010

... the CIA was thwarted by suspicions of his complicity in covert operations in Nicaragua. The elder Bush later renominated him and got him through. Gates would have struck George H.W. Bush as a sound appointment because he knew the secrets and could be trusted to keep them. When the younger ...

The Vice President’s Men

Seymour M. Hersh, 24 January 2019

... When​ George H.W. Bush arrived in Washington as vice president in January 1981 he seemed little more than a sideshow to Ronald Reagan, the one-time leading man who had been overwhelmingly elected to the greatest stage in the world. Biography after inconclusive biography would be written about Reagan’s two terms, as their authors tried to square the many gaps in his knowledge with his seemingly acute political instincts and the ease with which he appeared to handle the presidency ...

Social Work with Guns

Andrew Bacevich: America’s Wars, 17 December 2009

... sending an additional 34,000 US reinforcements in order to ‘finish the job’ that President Bush began but left undone – Barack Obama has implicitly endorsed Bush’s conviction that war provides an antidote to violent anti-Western jihadism. By extension, Obama is perpetuating the effort begun in 1980 to establish ...

Kindergarten Governor

Gary Indiana: It’s Schwarzenegger!, 6 November 2003

... at 3,559,400; Schwarzenegger gleaned 3,743,393, winning somewhere in the numeric ballpark in which George W. Bush lost the Presidential election of 2000. Some independents, including Huffington, dropped out of the race to lend support to the No on Recall movement; Ueberroth faded into the woodwork; numerous ...

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