Saturday, September 19, 2015

Our High-Priced Mercenaries in Syria

My piece on "America's High-Priced Mercenaries in Syria" in The New Yorker. The US program to create a ground force to fight the Islamic State is a real flop. The US admits it has produced only" 4 or 5 fighters" in a $500 million dollar program designed to train 16,000 rebels. And a tragedy for Syria, where 80% of the population now lives in poverty, life expectancy has plummeted by 20 years, and unemployment is 60%. More than half the population (of 23 million) have fled their homes due to fighting. And no end in sight
So read on.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The New Yorker

Two Artists and a Revolution
        I met two extraordinary artists this year. Both are Iranian. Both are women. Although decades apart, they were born in the same town, a bastion of religious conservatism. Yet both ended up as incredible innovators in art and film and photography. One (at age 91) had a one-woman show this spring at the Guggenheim in NY; the other (a mere 58) currently has a show at the Hirshhorn in Washington. Both ultimately had to decide between Iran and the US. They took divergent courses. But they admire each other greatly. This is their story...

Friday, September 11, 2015

The New Yorker

Trump's Bluster on Iran
By Robin Wright 
       Donald Trump's utter ignorance and bluster on foreign policy is dangerous.  His boast this week that he'd free the Americans detained in Iran -- even before taking office, no less -- was a reflection of his shallowness and, tragically, callousness. 
      At a Washington rally this week, he shouted that United States is "led by stupid, stupid people--very stupid, stupid people." But he's not so smart himself. He tweeted a story this week that reported on a SurveyUSA poll showing that  he would beat Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head race. Believe it or not, the story he linked to was from an Iranian media outlet. 
       I called former hostages seized over the past quarter century to get their reaction to Trump's statements on Iran. It was unanimous. In the words of Terry Anderson, America's longest held hostage, Trump is "a simple-minded twit."
Read on....

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The New Yorker

Iran: A Done Deal
By Robin Wright
      It's I wrote in this piece in The New Yorker. 
      President Obama today won the riskiest gamble of his presidency. He now has enough support in the Senate to ensure that the Hill can not kill the White House deal with Iran. Some will still try. Cheney has joined the noisy opposition and will give a big speech next week. Trump, Cruz and Glenn Beck have scheduled a "Stop the Deal" rally on Capitol Hill next week. The debate still to come - as Congress goes through the motions - will be (memorably) nasty. But Obama has now basically ensured that the Iran deal will be the centerpiece of his foreign policy legacy. 

      Read on.....