Samantha Power is United States Ambassador to the United ­Nations. Her article in this issue is drawn from a lecture at the American Academy in Berlin. (August 2016)


US Diplomacy: Realism and Reality

An Acholi child in Northern Uganda in 2007, as the first internally displaced Acholi people began to return to their villages after the signing of a peace accord intended to end more than twenty years of atrocities by the Lord’s Resistance Army; photograph by Sara Terry from Forgiveness and Conflict: Lessons from Africa, just published by 10(X) Editions
How is a statesman to advance his nation’s interests? For as long as states have existed, diplomats have grappled with this question. And among US diplomats, Henry Kissinger is most associated with the realpolitik approach, arguing that the job of the statesman is to manage relationships—with allies and adversaries alike—to …

The Democrats & National Security

Us vs. Them: How a Half Century of Conservatism Has Undermined America's Security

by J. Peter Scoblic

Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats

by Matthew Yglesias
Since the Vietnam War the Republican Party has developed a reputation for having a superior approach to national security. Americans have long trusted the views of Democrats on the environment, the economy, education, and health care, but national security is the one matter about which Republicans have maintained what political scientists call “issue ownership.”

Partly, this is for particular historical reasons. President Eisenhower initiated US involvement in Vietnam, and President Nixon escalated the war in 1969 and kept US troops on the ground in a manifestly unwinnable mission until 1975. But John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were tagged as the primary culprits. President Carter was widely seen as having bungled the Iran hostage rescue mission and having responded ineffectually to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Although he substantially increased US military spending, he was never forgiven for his claim that Americans had “an inordinate fear of communism.”

A Hero of Our Time

In most wars it is images and artifacts that emerge to shape our memory of events. The recent Iraq war may be remembered less for the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue than for the pile of naked bodies in the Abu Ghraib prison. The Bosnia war gave us the stick …

The Lesson of Hannah Arendt

Origins Hannah Arendt dated her awakening to February 27, 1933, the day the Reichstag burned down. From the moment Adolf Hitler began using the fire as a pretext to suspend civil liberties and crush dissent, Arendt said, “I felt responsible.” She took responsibility for observing the inhuman uses of power …

Rwanda: The Two Faces of Justice

Eight years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the extermination of 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus, Rwandan survivors and Western diplomats vowed publicly, “Justice will be done.” But no country or international institution had ever processed 800,000 murder cases before, and the pledge would prove far easier to make …