is Peter Matthiessen in the NY Review of Books writing about the warming of the northern upper reaches of our sphere that further reveals why the so-called Al Gore "worst case scenarios" may end up being too optimistic. The article is called "Alaska: Big Oil and the Whales."
article, from the same issue of NY Review of Books ("The Green Versus the Brown Amazon"), reveals that even President Lula of Brazil, one of the better socialists running a national government, is a being blind to the effects of destroying important habitat and greenery such as the Amazon River, which bends and weaves through Brazil. I see Lula's point that his nation should not alone pay for protecting the river, but it does show again where US leadership could have played an important and positive role all these years.
is perhaps the best review of Paul Krugman's new book, "Conscience of a Liberal." Writer Michael Tomasky reminds us what I have said about Krugman these last six or seven years: Krugman started out in the 1990s as a Clintonoid, and has learned why he was a naive and shallow fool about things like the NAFTA and the hoax known as the "Social Security crisis." I remember Krugman getting his butt handed to him around 1999 in Slate.com when he tried to push his then Clintonoid economics line to web readers of that on-line magazine. He immediately started to re-examine his previous beliefs on trade, for example, and he and we larger reading public are better for it.
But there are clunkers, such as Richard Bernstein's pathetic response
to two professors who nail him about Bernstein's review of the horrible last David Halberstam book on the Korean War. First, Bernstein thinks that in "all" of America's previous wars, our nation insisted on "unconditional surrender of the enemy..." which he then says made the peace President Eisenhower negotiated with the North Koreans "unsatisfactory." Excuse me, but World War II came to an end against Japan with a conditional
surrender. Oh, Truman called the Japanese surrender "unconditional," but he was lying. To achieve peace with the Japanese, Truman expressly agreed
to protect the Japanese Emperor Hirohito from war crimes prosecution, and to leave him in place as a figurehead leader--and that's how the Japanese High Command decided to surrender. The surrender came a week after
the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagaskai on, respectively, August 6 and 9, 1945. Before August 6, 1945, the US position was that Hirohito would highly likely be prosecuted for war crimes following surrender.
Further, the US-Mexican War of 1848 did not end in an "unconditional" surrender of Mexico. After hostilities ceased between Mexico and the US, the US paid Mexico millions in reparations for taking the land we now call California, Arizona and New Mexico. We therefore placed a significant monetary and economic condition upon our military victory.
And let's not forget the end to the War of 1812, where we were lucky to end that war against the British with our nation intact. There was no "unconditional" surrender by the British "enemy."
Thus, when Bernstein refers to "all of the country's wars before Korea," he sadly means those wars which only occurred after
he was born in 1932
. Bernstein is, unfortunately, the latest American who proves Gore Vidal's generalization that too many Americans don't know squat about matters before they were born.
Bernstein (who I usually respect
, I must say!) then compounds his ignorance with an unfair interpretation of Bruce Cumings' position on the start of the war between North and South Korea in June 1950. Cummings was merely saying that the war had started a couple of years earlier and that June 1950 was a continuation of the earlier clashes, this time with the North invading the South (after two Southern Korean invasions of the North in the previous two years). Cumings' point was recently reaffirmed by a fairly conservative military historian of the Korean penninsula, "The War for Korea, 1945-1950,"
by Allan R. Millett (U. Press of Kansas, 2005). That Bernstein is unaware of Millett's book reveals his ignorance of the state of scholarship about post-WWII Korea. The NY Review should have used Cumings as a reviewer, but it appears, from my review of the NY Review archives, the magazine has not used Cumings as a reviewer since 1975 (!). Cumings must have been crossed off its contributors' list around the same time as they crossed off Chomsky's name
. Too bad. That's how the magazine got burned by Bernstein, who this time, was clearly out of his league.