For the Sake of Justice

Justice, Policies

For the Sake of Justice

In 1993, Stephen Breyer, then the chief justice for the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, was hit by a car while riding his bike. He suffered a few broken ribs and a punctured lung. Despite the accident, Breyer left his hospital bed just a few days later and traveled to the White House to interview with President Bill Clinton about an opening on the US Supreme Court.

The interview didn’t go as Breyer might have hoped. Clinton ended up choosing Ruth Bader Ginsburg to fill the vacancy left by Byron White’s retirement. But a year later, another Supreme Court justice retired: Harry Blackmun. Blackmun, of course, was the conservative Nixon appointee who famously became a liberal stalwart on the bench. It was Blackmun who wrote the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, which, I’m sure, is not something Nixon had in mind when he appointed him.

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Born secret — the heavy burden of bomb physics

Proflieration, Threats

Born secret — the heavy burden of bomb physics

How data restrictions shaped nuclear discovery, energy research and more.

In March 1950, an official from the Atomic Energy Commission — then the guardian of US nuclear secrets — oversaw the burning of thousands of copies of the magazine Scientific American. The contention? They contained information so secret that its publication could jeopardize the free world.

Several statements in an article about the hydrogen bomb had raised red flags with government officials, even though they had all been reported publicly before. The government’s concern was not about what was said, but about who said it. Physicist Hans Bethe, who wrote the article, had been the head of the theoretical division at the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico during the Manhattan Project, the top-secret Second World War programme that led to the atomic bomb.

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Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power

Policies, Security

Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power

Never before in the history of mankind have so few people had so much power over so many. The people at the top of the American national security establishment, the President and his principal advisors, the core team at the helm of the National Security Council, are without question the most powerful committee in the history of the world. Yet, in many respects, they are among the least understood.

A former senior official in the Clinton Administration himself, David Rothkopf served with and knows personally many of the NSC’s key players of the past twenty-five years. In Running the World he pulls back the curtain on this shadowy world to explore its inner workings, its people, their relationships, their contributions and the occasions when they have gone wrong. He traces the group’s evolution from the final days of the Second World War to the post-Cold War realities of global terror — exploring its triumphs, its human dramas and most recently, what many consider to be its breakdown at a time when we needed it most.

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American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy

Diplomacy, Policies

American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy

In a challenging, provocative book, Andrew Bacevich reconsiders the assumptions and purposes governing the exercise of American global power. Examining the presidencies of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton–as well as George W. Bush’s first year in office–he demolishes the view that the United States has failed to devise a replacement for containment as a basis for foreign policy. He finds instead that successive post-Cold War administrations have adhered to a well-defined “strategy of openness.” Motivated by the imperative of economic expansionism, that strategy aims to foster an open and integrated international order, thereby perpetuating the undisputed primacy of the world’s sole remaining superpower. Moreover, openness is not a new strategy, but has been an abiding preoccupation of policymakers as far back as Woodrow Wilson.

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How to Prevent Genocide: A Guide for Policymakers, Scholars, and the Concerned Citizen

Genocide, Threats

How to Prevent Genocide: A Guide for Policymakers, Scholars, and the Concerned Citizen

Genocide–the deliberate destruction, usually through mass murder, of an ethnic, racial or religious group–is the ultimate crime against humanity. Drawing upon a wide variety of disciplines, this study assesses ways to prevent this crime. While most books about genocide focus on the history of a particular event, such as the Holocaust, or compare case studies to derive empirical theories, this book outlines many practical aspects of genocide prevention.

Heidenrich covers a broad spectrum of expert opinions, from Stanley Hoffmann to Henry Kissinger, as well as political opinions regarding genocide that range from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton.

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