- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The fundamental task of diplomacy is to strip policy of its ambiguity,” Alexander Haig Jr. writes (70) in his memoir Inner Circles, which I am now reading. I just about fell out of my chair when I saw that. I wonder what Haig’s old boss, Henry Kissinger, the grandmaster of strategic ambiguity, would say about that. Amazon’s “look inside this book” function says that in his book Diplomacy, Kissinger uses the word some 29 times.
Haig gets extra dumbass points for the brassy certitude of his assertion — and for, a score of pages later, this assessment of the Shah of Iran: “I thought in 1961, and I still think, that he was as close to being a natural and sincere democrat as anyone I ever met in his part of the world.” (90)
More interestingly, Haig says he thinks that Fidel Castro was behind John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and says Lyndon B. Johnson thought so too. “I think that President Johnson’s suspicions in regard to Castro’s role were amply justified,” he writes. (115-116) Haig, who had acted as a kind of Army liaison to veterans of the Central Intelligence Agency-led Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba, says he was given a report that supported the accusation against Castro, but that he was ordered to forget it and that the report was destroyed.
The book cost me one cent plus shipping and handling, so I am not complaining.
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.| Passport |