Book Review: The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West

Ferguson maintains that the United States is unquestionably an imperial power, but because Americans don’t like to think so, the US often fails to fulfill its imperial responsibilities. One crucial case in point for Ferguson is Iraq, where, in his view, an imperial power less in denial about itself would have known that such an invasion required forethought, vast resources, and the willingness to stick around for a very long time.

The theme of empire is central to the new book, as well. Ferguson believes the real problem with an empire shows up when it declines, at which time genocidal hatred is liable to break out among the ethnic groups it had governed. That’s what happened, he argues, in the extraordinarily-often interethnically-violent 20th century, and what he worries may be underway in the Middle-East.

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Book Review: Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network

JOANNE MYERS: Good afternoon. I’m Joanne Myers, Director of Public Affairs Programs. I am delighted to welcome so many old as well as new faces to the start of our new season at the Carnegie Council.

We have a very exciting fall planned for you, as evidenced by this, our first program, which is a spellbinding account of the rise and fall of one of the deadliest business empires in recent times. Gordon Corera is our speaker, and he will be discussing his book, Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network.

Who is A.Q. Khan? Well, until very recently, his existence was only known to a select few. In Pakistan, where he has his home, he is revered as the “father of the bomb,” the one man who delivered the sense of security and prestige that his country so desperately desired. But in the West, he is known as the world’s leading black-market dealer in nuclear technology. He has been identified as not only the mastermind behind the theft and the sale of centrifuge designs that allowed Pakistan to build a nuclear arsenal, but as the one who was also responsible for erecting a global clandestine network that sold enrichment equipment and nuclear bomb designs to Iran, North Korea, and Libya.

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Book Review: The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

In its simplest terms, this is the story of how a small group of men, with a frightening mix of delusion and calculation, rose from a tormented civilization to mount a catastrophic assault on the world�s mightiest power, and how another group of men and women, convinced that such an attack was on the way, tried desperately to stop it.

What a story it is. And what a riveting tale Lawrence Wright fashions in this marvelous book. �The Looming Tower� is not just a detailed, heart-stopping account of the events leading up to 9/11, written with style and verve, and carried along by villains and heroes that only a crime novelist could dream up. It�s an education, too � though you�d never know it � a thoughtful examination of the world that produced the men who brought us 9/11, and of their progeny who bedevil us today.

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The State of Democracy in Europe

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Democracy is floundering in . . . Europe? An Iranian nuke stand-off may not be so imminent. Musharraf is playing the spin doctor; the United States made Iraq a magnet for terrorists; and tanks rolled through Bangkok but bullets are still flying in Southern Thailand. And why can’t something be done about genocide in Sudan?

Did you get the apart about democracy floundering in Europe?

A new nuclear world

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George W Bush has huffed and puffed about using force to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Now he may have to learn to live with them. A meeting of senior US intelligence analysts last week was unanimous in concluding that little can be done to stop Iran under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, its volatile president, from acquiring the technology to develop the bomb. The United States lacks the intelligence for targeted airstrikes, partly because there are so many targets. Military action would also send global oil prices soaring and exacerbate America’s already intractable problems in Iraq. Mr Bush does not have to take the advice of his intelligence community, but after Iraq he would be wise to be wary.

Syria threat over Golan puts Israel on war alert

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Israel has gone on heightened alert over a possible war with Syria amid reports that President Bashar Assad may be considering military strikes to regain the Golan Heights.

A signpost in Golan Heights
A signpost points out that Damascus is a mere 60kms from the Golan Heights

For years Israeli military intelligence has down-played Syria’s capacity to launch a meaningful attack against Israel, and the threat level has been kept “low”.

But Israeli reports have revealed that the threat level had been raised after intelligence assessments that Damascus is “seriously examining” military action.

Few South Koreans Worry About North Korea

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Say the words Kim Jong-il and nuclear weapons to an American then fear enters their hearts and minds. The same could not be said for most South Koreans. But they should have cause for concern. North Korea remains one of the last Stalinist-military states. Their leader Kim Jong-il is recognized to the international community as a dictator and threat to global peace.

It revealed that 39 percent of South Koreans believe the US is the greatest threat to their national security while only 33 percent say North Korea is.

Venezuela and Argentina: The Hemisphere’s Troubling New Axis

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2006 Small Business Economic Summit to address Argentina’s dangerous embrace of Venezuelan Petro-dollars, influence

Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega and former National Security Council Staff and Clinton Administration Ambassador to the United Nations Nancy Soderberg will explore the alarming alliance of Venezuela’s Chavez and Argentina’s Kirchner and the two countries’ efforts to marginalize U.S. and free-market influences in South America.