Sasha Polakow-Suransky

Sasha Polakow-Suransky is a senior editor at Foreign Affairs. His book, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa, will be published by Pantheon next May.

Recent Articles

Hope Against History

Early conflicts over colonialism and genocide explain many of the United Nations' modern-day failures.

UN Soldier of the Kenyan Battalion playing with a Croatian child in a predominantly Serbian village near Knin, 1992. (UN Photo/John Isaac)
No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations by Mark Mazower, Princeton University Press, 236 pages, $24.95 Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World by David L. Bosco, Oxford University Press, 310 pages, $24.95 In April, as earnest diplomats puzzled over Polisario's latest moves in the Western Sahara and the most recent developments in Darfur, a visibly shaken news anchor reported that a Ugandan had seized control of the United Nations, threatening to reduce agricultural funding to any country opposing his rule. The self-appointed secretary-general refused to step down -- unless he was offered a more powerful position as a little league coach or small-town mayor. So ran a newscast by the Onion News Network, an offshoot of the satirical newspaper The Onion , deriding the U.N. more effectively than a position paper from the Heritage Foundation. Hard though it may be to remember today, the U.N. was once...

Indictment or Challenge?

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster, 264 pages, $27.00) Before it was even released on November 14, Jimmy Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid , caused an uproar. The implied analogy in the title between contemporary Israel and the old South Africa drew a chorus of denunciations from Jewish groups and inspired rumors that publication was delayed until after the midterm elections, lest the book alienate Jewish Democrats and send them voting for Republicans in droves. Israel's supporters despise comparisons to South Africa, but they would do well to interpret Carter's book as a warning shot rather than an assault. Many Israeli leaders themselves recognize that continued occupation of the West Bank, coupled with demographic shifts, may soon place them in the unenviable position of defending minority rule over a disenfranchised majority. Although most of Carter's book is uncontroversial, the former president ultimately places most of the blame...

Hoodwinked

MIAMI -- As Florida's deadline for sending overseas absentee ballots approached in mid-September, most election observers were waiting with baited breath for the outcome of a Supreme Court decision regarding Ralph Nader's eligibility for the ballot. But Glenda Hood, Jeb Bush's handpicked secretary of state, was busy urging counties to print ballots including Nader's name anyway. Hood's strategy seems to mirror that of the Florida Republicans under her predecessor, Katherine Harris: throw any semblance of neutrality aside and use the powers of her office to aid the Republican campaign. And it does not stop with assisting Nader's efforts to appear on the ballot. Hood had prepared a felons list similar to the notoriously erroneous 2000 list which disenfranchised thousands of legitimate black voters (and very few Hispanics). But this year, the secretary of state's office was forced to scrap the list under legal pressure. According to Reggie Mitchell, legal director for the Florida chapter...

Who Killed Camp David?

The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace By Dennis Ross • Farrar, Straus and Giroux • 864 pages • $35.00 The historic Camp David talks during the summer of 2000 failed, so the conventional wisdom goes, because Yasir Arafat rejected an extraordinarily generous offer that Ehud Barak put on the table. This view has achieved the status of unassailable truth in the United States and Israel by virtue of its constant repetition by pundits and politicians alike. It is not an explanation for the talks' failure that Dennis Ross, the chief Middle East peace negotiator from 1988 to 2001, disputes. But his epic 864-page play-by-play account of the peace process gives far more nuance to the story and suggests that the Israelis also bear some responsibility for the outcome. Ross clearly supports the special relationship of the United States with Israel, a view that places him squarely in the pro-Israel camp. Yet, except for the late Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli leaders do not...

Cabin Fever

On August 30, as the Republican convention kicked off in New York City, the Log Cabin Republicans, a group representing gay and lesbian members of the GOP, began airing an ad in New York City and in cable-TV markets across the country. The ad features images of Rudy Giuliani, Ronald Reagan, and other conservative icons who have staked out gay-tolerant positions. The ad ends with footage from the funeral of Matthew Shepherd, a gay Wyoming teenager murdered in 1998, showing a sign reading “God Hates Fags.” CNN refused to air it. But judging from Senator Sam Brownback's call to arms at a closed-door fund-raiser for Christian evangelicals on Tuesday, where the Kansas Republican urged the religious right to “win this culture war,” one gets the sense that the consensus on the platform committee may not be so different from that expressed on the Wyoming sign. Indeed, the platform that was adopted in New York is a far cry from the carefully choreographed revival of “compassionate conservatism...

Pages