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Dr. Charles G. Cogan
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Dr. Charles G. Cogan is an associate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) at the Kennedy School, Harvard University. He was the Chief Near East South Asia Division in the Operations Directorate of the CIA 1979-1984, the Division that directed the American side of the resistance against the Soviets in Afghanistan at the time.

Entries by Dr. Charles G. Cogan

France Gets a Young Blood

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 4:35 PM

Besides the fact that, as his wife allegedly puts it, "Lots of women would like to sleep with him" (Financial Times, 5-6 April), Manuel Valls, 51, but looking much younger, is at the antipodes of his predecessor, Jean-Marc Ayrault -- the image of a provincial notable, bland, colorless...

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My Take on All the Way

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 12:45 PM

After an agonizingly slow ride on the local train to New York, through a string of Connecticut towns, some blighted, some not, with the detritus alongside the track piling up more and more as we approached the Big Apple, we arrived at our final destination, the Neil Simon Theater's Broadway...

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Obama to Mr. Bare-Chested: You're Just a Regional Power

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 10:36 AM

From time to time, Europe has fretted about a perceived loss of interest in the Old Continent by its transatlantic partner. In the 1970s, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wanted to compensate for a lack of American attention toward Europe and to calm European fears of a Soviet-American condominium. In...

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Sarajevo Bis?

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 10:29 AM

We are coming up on June 28, 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of the outbreak of World War I, when a Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, then 19 years of age, jumped onto the running board of the motorcar of illustrious Austrian visitors and fired two shots, killing the...

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'You Have to Understand, George. Ukraine Is Not Even a Country'

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2014 | 6:59 PM

Thus spake Vladimir Putin to the second George Bush, the man who once said that he had looked into Putin's eyes and decided he could work with him.

Perhaps the United States and the West did not fully comprehend how closely intertwined the histories of Russia and...

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'Back in the USSR'

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2014 | 9:30 AM

Recalling the title of the Beatles' song of the 1960's, "Back in the USSR," serves to remind us that something very different is now taking place in Russia. We are back to some of the characteristics of the Soviet era, notably that of the Big Lie. How can one believe...

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The Current Crisis: It Takes Me Back to the Sudetenland, 1938

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 9:31 AM

I was a kid of ten in 1938. I can remember traveling with my Father to Boston, and seeing posters in the subway, announcing Adolph Hitler's threatening moves against Czechoslovakia. I can also remember listening to Hitler's speeches on the Crossley radio in our living room; the near hysterical voice...

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The Russians: Backing the Wrong Horse (Again)

(1) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 8:59 AM

First Syria and now Ukraine. First "Gasman" Bashar and now "Kleptoman" Yanukovych, twice a former jailbird. Though the U.S. does not have a very good record in supporting Third World potentates, its hypocrisy pales before Russian ruthlessness.

That the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, could, along with John Kerry, help...

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Babes in the Diplomatic Woods

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 11:04 AM

As a former intelligence officer, I learned some time ago, and to my chagrin, that when you are on an open phone line on an overseas call, you have to assume that the call is being intercepted.

Further, when you use purple language and discuss opposition figures in a...

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My Take on Philomena

(2) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 4:05 PM

Tracing my roots back to the Irish diaspora of the mid-19th century, I mused, as I watched this film, on what a strange world we came from -- where nuns pledge to an unknown Christ that they will not have sex for their entire lives.

There is much to admire...

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Denial on the Euphrates

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 8:44 AM

I read with consternation an article on page 13 of the 31 January issue of the Wall Street Journal by Stephen J. Hadley, the National Security Advisor in the Administration of George W. Bush. The headline was: "Americans Can Be Proud of What Was Achieved in Iraq." The...

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Tower of Babel

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 2:04 PM

The so-called Action Group on Syria is due to meet today at Montreux (which some of our TV anchors have difficulty pronouncing). After preliminary statements they will repair to Geneva on 24 January, where representatives of the Syrian Government and the Syrian opposition are due to meet directly and openly...

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Gray Abandon

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 8:14 AM

As The New York Times has reported, on Jan. 12 Iran and a group of six world powers completed a deal that will temporarily freeze much of Tehran's nuclear program beginning Jan. 20 and lasting six months, pending a possible comprehensive agreement. In return, Iran will be given limited relief...

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Enough of the Handwringing: The Loss of American Influence in the Arab World Is Programmed

(3) Comments | Posted January 8, 2014 | 11:32 AM

The Punditocracy, especially on the Right, is lamenting the fact that the United States has lost much of its clout in the Arab World. But this was to be expected.

Troop presence means influence. And troop presence is something the U.S. doesn't have what it once had in the...

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"You Can't Have One Without the Other"

(0) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 8:51 AM

In its lead editorial on Christmas eve, the Washington Post finds it "astonishing" that President Obama, in a speech of 20 December, mentioned Syria as one of his foreign policy achievements, in that the regime has had to give up its chemical weapons.

I find it astonishing - and enraging...

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Rewind in Syria

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2013 | 4:45 PM

An attack on Syria, no matter how "unbelievably small," as the Administration at one point characterized it, has now almost certainly been avoided. Such an attack would have placed the West irretrievably in the public eye as a supporter of the rebels and as an opponent of the Assad regime....

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Kerry's 'Security First' Proposals: Is This a Way Out of Israel's Occupation Fix?

(8) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 11:44 AM

In the past few days, the mainstream press has commented on proposals by the surprisingly innovative John Kerry to Benjamin Netanyahu involving U.S. military guarantees to Israel in the course of a peace settlement. Kerry, in his visit to Israel this past week, was accompanied by his military adviser to...

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The Peacemaking Presidency

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 8:03 AM

American troops left Iraq at the end of 2011, and the Iraqis have set about again to fighting among themselves. In Afghanistan, American troops, or at any rate mainline combat troops, are projected to be out by the end of 2014. (They should have left much before that, in late...

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The French "Never Again"

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 10:01 AM

The French can be said to have their own version of "never again," a phrase usually associated with the fierce determination of the Israelis that the Holocaust, at all costs, is never to be repeated.

The French version is that of 1940, and the sudden and shocking defeat by the...

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'Ain't Gonna Study War No More'

(0) Comments | Posted November 1, 2013 | 1:40 PM

I conjure up an old spiritual by way of emphasizing that America wants to get out of the war business, which is something her friends and allies should better absorb. After a decade of misconstrued (Iraq) and overextended (Afghanistan) wars, which saw thousands of young American men and women killed,...

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