George H. Wittman

George H. Wittman writes a weekly column on international affairs for The American Spectator online. He was the founding chairman of the National Institute for Public Policy and is the author of There Was a Time, a fact-based novel about WWII OSS activities in Indochina.

Afghanistan Realities

 

Has anyone asked what exactly the United States seeks to have in a post-Karzai Afghanistan? Presumably Washington has given up on the idea of a traditional Western democracy. The country is just not culturally disposed in that manner. Pashtun tribal councils dominate in their primarily south and eastern regions and similar socio-ethnic situations exist in […]

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Mexico Every Way But Loose

 

There was a time when Morelia, the capital of Michoacán State, would be a tourist destination for anyone visiting Mexico City just over 300 miles away. Morelia was the still preserved colonial city of quaint shops and fruit stalls — all dominated by the town’s rose-colored baroque cathedral. This was the quiet and quaint Mexican […]

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Another North Korean Crossroad

 

There has been a well-defined pattern to negotiations pursued over the decades by North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — DPRK). It may be wishful thinking, but that pattern appears to have just changed and it looks like the Obama White House and John Kerry’s State Department have either missed it or chose to […]

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Corruption Haunting China

 

There is a practice in China that has been going on for many generations, but most prominently since the expansion of trade with the West in the 1800s. It has become accepted that whenever an advantageous exchange occurs a material or monetary “grateful thanks” will be offered. This is called a cumshaw, a foreign bastardization […]

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The Real Meaning of Al Qaeda

 

It is impossible to refer to a more terrifyingly accurate comment on terrorism than that which reportedly was made by a captured Thugee murderer in India in the days of the British Raj: “Let any man taste of that sugar of the sacrifice, and he will be a Thug, though he knows all the trades […]

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Turkey Simmering

 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey made the statement that there was a serious question as to just how independent his nation’s judiciary should be. This clearly rhetorical question reflects the powerful prime minister’s pique at the extent of activity by a federal prosecutor who has been heading an anti-corruption investigation. Ironically the entire […]

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Talking Out of School

 

There was a time when no professional intelligence operations officer would talk about his business with a journalist or anyone else who was not officially involved with these activities. The breakdown came in the 1970s — first with the Nixon Administration and then with Carter. The reasons were different, but the end result was the […]

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Keeping the Lid on Africa

 

Western countries’ military role in Africa has become essential in peacekeeping. This past month the French sent 1,000 rapid deployment troops to the Central African Republic, and then followed up with another 600. The French government is trying to avoid committing large numbers of soldiers to countering local sectarian conflicts. Make no mistake, this is […]

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Obama’s CYA Strategy

 

The concept of American “forward defense posture,” in use by the Pentagon since the Cold War, has kept major U.S. military units assigned to Europe (mostly Germany) and Asia, with smaller commitments elsewhere as events dictate. It has been estimated that there are several hundred (up to 700, according to the Russians) U.S. military installations […]

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Back to the Future in Cairo

 

The definitive sign that Egyptian politics had spiraled out of control — or rather back into control — came last August when the former head of the IAEA, the often anti-American Mohammed ElBaradei, unexpectedly gave up his relatively new national ambitions and hurried back to his home in Vienna. He had broken his decades-long self-exile […]

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