Michael Steinberger

Michael Steinberger is a senior editor at Foreign Policy magazine.

Recent Articles

Misoverestimated

In July 2003, President George W. Bush made a five-nation tour of Africa. The purpose of the visit was to cast American foreign policy in a gentler light after the diplomatic donnybrook over Iraq -- by, among other things, showcasing the Bush administration's seriousness about combating Africa's AIDS pandemic. But Africa didn't have the president's undivided attention. En route from Washington to Dakar, Senegal, Secretary of State Colin Powell met privately with Bush aboard Air Force One to discuss North Korea. It was a fraught subject for Powell. Shortly after taking office in 2001, he had told reporters that Bush planned to continue the Clinton administration's policy of engagement, only to be forced by the White House to eat his words the very next day: Any policy that carried the taint of Clintonism was to be reversed, and Bush did not do business with evil regimes. The president would later name North Korea a member of the "axis of evil," and just a month before his Africa trip,...

Hocking a Lugar

So the White House got its man through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: John Bolton was approved for a floor vote for confirmation as UN ambassador, albeit without a committee recommendation. Even before today's vote, it was clear who was the biggest loser in this sorry episode: committee chairman Richard Lugar. Throughout the Bolton debacle, Lugar has been portrayed as the hapless straight arrow forced to act against his better judgment by a ruthless administration hell-bent on getting its way. Nonsense. There was nothing preventing Lugar from derailing the Bolton nomination. And, in failing to do so, he has not only sacrificed his carefully nurtured reputation for probity and responsibility; he has allowed serious harm to be done to the Senate. We have, of course, become sadly accustomed to the spectacle of moderate Republicans serving as shills for the Bush White House and thoroughly humiliating themselves in the process. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani immediately come to...

Neo-Economics

In late January, after weeks of waiting for a sign that the Bush administration would lead a coordinated effort to try to prevent the dollar's recent slide from turning into a full-fledged crash, the world finally seemed to get the message. “There's nobody home on economic policy in America right now,” a frustrated Morgan Stanley chief global economist Stephen Roach told an audience at the annual Davos, Switzerland, schmoozefest, where the fast-sinking dollar dominated the discussion. On any number of critical global economic issues, from Argentina's financial meltdown to deadlocked world-trade talks to the staggering dollar, George W. Bush has effectively hung a “gone fishing” sign on the White House door. This inattention -- an abdication of the global economic stewardship the country has held with vigor and aplomb since the end of the Second World War -- has been variously attributed to the war on terrorism, Bush's fidelity to free-market principles, his disdain for multilateralism, or...

Annan and On

The call for Kofi Annan's resignation has gotten louder and louder as the conservative media flogs the overblown oil-for-food scandal. But should liberals be calling for Annan to go -- on wholly different grounds? Prospect senior correspondent Michael Steinberger argues the case against Annan, while Ian Williams, UN correspondent for The Nation and author of The UN for Beginners , takes the defense. This is the last of three parts. The first round can be read here , the second here . Michael Steinberger I did not say Annan should resign now because of his failure to act in Rwanda; I said that if he'd had any sense of shame or honor, he would have resigned then. Nor did I say that the oil-for-food imbroglio has been “largely contrived” by FOX and friends. I merely acknowledged that some on the right are using the scandal to try to destroy Annan and to discredit the United Nations and that they have reached conclusions that are not supported by the evidence that has come to light thus...

Annan and On

The call for Kofi Annan's resignation has gotten louder and louder as the conservative media flogs the overblown oil-for-food scandal. But should liberals be calling for Annan to go -- on wholly different grounds? Prospect senior correspondent Michael Steinberger argues the case against Annan, while Nation UN correspondent Ian Williams, author of The UN for Beginners , takes the defense. This is the second of three parts. The first round can be read here ; the third round will appear on Wednesday. Michael Steinberger I'm not sure even Kofi Annan would go the lengths you go to exculpate him. You write that Annan was “not unconnected” to the Rwanda debacle. Not unconnected? He was the head of U.N. peacekeeping at the time; and we know -- thanks to Philip Gourevitch (surely he isn't part of the vast right-wing conspiracy?) -- that Annan received a fax from Romeo Dallaire on January 11, 1994, warning of an imminent slaughter and that he ordered Dallaire not to intervene. Not unconnected?...

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