George Bush held a summit last week with a key ally. But if you blinked, you might have missed it. It lasted for about an hour. There was no joint statement or big press conference. It was one of the least newsworthy events in Washington.
When President George W. Bush admitted finally on September 5 that the CIA held suspected terrorists overseas and interrogated them according to an “alternative set of procedures”—an intriguing euphemism for torture—he gave the speech before a hand-picked audience. No pesky journalists were allowed to interrogate the president. In the audience were relatives of those who died on September 11.
According to the Pentagon, the latest generation of landmine will liberate the military from all those messy civilian casualties that have so upset the international community.
All of this information is enough to make anyone’s head spin. And create a new syndrome: info vertigo. Now everyone can be as time-crunched and info-inundated as the average policymaker.
Nation-building is a bloody affair. Just ask the Angles or the Visigoths.
Welcome to the new e-zine format for Foreign Policy In Focus. The new name of our e-zine, World Beat, emphasizes that our “beat” is the world and that we feature voices from around the planet. We’ll be introducing some new features in the fall, including a section on culture and foreign policy, so the musical connotations of World Beat will also soon become relevant.