A short team time-trial through Nîmes on August 19 opens the Vuelta a España, the Spanish equivalent of the Tour de France and the third of the “grand tours,” the epic three-week races that are the summit of the bike racing season. (Yes, Nîmes is in southern France, but it’s a good deal nearer to Spain than France is to Berlin, Dublin, or Leeds, where the Tour has at one time or another held its Grand Départ.) Chris Froome will be attempting to become the first cyclist to win the Tour-Vuelta double in the same year since 1978. At the end of last month he won his fourth Tour, and he has come second in the Vuelta three times, behind Juan José Cobo, Alberto Contador, and last year the marvelous little Nairo Quintana, of Colombia.… Seguir leyendo »
Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de abril de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.
“France’s fascist uprising” screamed the front-page headline of a London newspaper following the National Front’s victory in the first round of the regional elections on Dec. 6. “Trump is a fascist,” asserts the combative neocon commentator Max Boot (adding “And that’s not a term I use loosely or often”). “We are here faced by fascists,” Hilary Benn, the Labour Party’s foreign affairs spokesman, declares to the House of Commons, by way of arguing for British intervention in Syria. “And what we know about fascists,” he went on, “is that they need to be defeated.”
Anyone who puzzles over these philippics isn’t alone, and the problem is not new.… Seguir leyendo »
A very merry Christmas to Pussy Riot, Greenpeace and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, not to say to Vladimir Putin. At his somewhat bizarre annual press conference, with 1,300 journalist waving flags to capture his attention, Putin announced that Khodorkovsky, like the others, would be released from prison. Putin may not be a very lovable or gentle creature, but yet again he has shown himself to be unusually cunning, for all that he has been not only derided but consistently underrated.
Since the implosion of the Soviet Union, more than 20 years ago, the west has made every conceivable mistake in dealing with Russia.… Seguir leyendo »
Could there be a single phrase that explains the woes of our time, this dismal age of political miscalculations and deceptions, of reckless and disastrous wars, of financial boom and bust and downright criminality? Maybe there is, and we owe it to Fintan O’Toole. That trenchant Irish commentator is a biographer and theater critic, and a critic also of his country’s crimes and follies, as in his gripping if horrifying book, “Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger.”
He reminds us of the famous if gnomic saying by Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the United States secretary of defense, that “There are known knowns… there are known unknowns … there are also unknown unknowns.” But the Irish problem, says Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
Ninety years ago, Sir Eyre Crowe was permanent under-secretary of the British Foreign Office. That’s to say he was an unelected official who answered to a political head, in his case the foreign secretary.
Doubtless Sir Eyre was speaking for all his colleagues at “the Office,” and perhaps all diplomats, when he said that he always “deplored all public speeches on foreign affairs.” That was the voice of the true professional, who thought diplomacy too important to be left to the politicians, let alone their electorates.
What’s more, he might have had a point. We are engulfed today in a concatenation of crises of the utmost gravity, as most people recognize even if they have no idea what to do.… Seguir leyendo »
No European should be surprised at the resentful words spoken in Brussels last week by Robert Gates, the departing U.S. defense secretary. Americans have been grumbling about the failure of the European partners in NATO to pull their weight almost since the organization was founded in 1949.
“Because we had had our troops there, the Europeans had not done their share,” President Eisenhower said. “They won’t make the sacrifices to provide the soldiers for their own defense.”
But there is more to it. If the relationship of the United States with Europe in NATO included a dubious bargain from the start, the treaty organization did at least once have a clear purpose.… Seguir leyendo »
“No one knows how to do pomp and circumstance like the Brits do.” An American woman was speaking, among the throng of more than a million in London on Friday morning, and it’s hard to argue with her. Even President Charles de Gaulle, no doting Anglophile, was awestruck by the sheer spectacle and precision of the Trooping the Color when in London once on the queen’s birthday.
Once again, the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton — now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — displayed a native genius for putting on a good show. Everything about it, from the carriage procession to the trees inside Westminster Abbey to the groom’s scarlet Irish Guards tunic, mimicked by the ones the little pageboys wore, was infinitely stylish, with the perfection that comes of practice.… Seguir leyendo »