Sidney Blumenthal

Recent Articles

James Chace, 1931-2004

James Chace was what an intellectual, a citizen, and a friend ought to be. He had the soul and style of a poet, a profound sense of history, was both rooted in the place from where he originally came and cosmopolitan, a man of the world and the republic of letters, and whose liberalism of spirit and politics derived from his wide experiences but ultimately his being as an inviolate American. “They love you in New York,” he almost always said when I visited him from Washington. It was his standard greeting. He seemed to be the quintessential New Yorker, who knew everybody and had read everything. He had spent his youth in smoky clubs discovering Billie Holiday, edited the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, was a habitué of cafes in the Village and the Century Association, and taught at Columbia University and up the Hudson at Bard College. He was a bundle of highly focused nervous energy, hardly reduced by having reached his 70s. Just the other week, he...

Return of the Native

Isolationism is rising among Republicans along with antigovernment fervor. Is Bob Dole -- as Newt Gingrich says -- another Bob Taft?

Illustration by Taylor Jones T he defining episode in Bob Dole's biography is the grievous wound that he suffered on a hillside in Italy in World War II. The Dole campaign has sought to make his battlefield valor and heroic recuperation into both a compelling personal narrative and a statement of foreign policy. Presumably, Dole's war service is a self-explanatory badge of internationalism. Yet there is evidence that his long months in a rehabilitation hospital and half a century of dark rumination have left Dole wary about foreign entanglements. Dole is not exactly an isolationist, but he's not exactly an internationalist either. In the sheer muddle of his foreign policy, isolationism discovers ground to flourish. In 1976, Dole was the Republican candidate for vice president. In his debate with Walter Mondale he assailed the wartime leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt. "I think about that every day, because of a personal experience in World War II," said Dole. Mondale parried by...