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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

Just Say No To Bashar

(1) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 3:46 PM

In the peaceful gardens of academia, far from the Syrian battlefield, I hear increasingly an extraordinary formula for bringing a halt to the wreckage that has wreaked on Syria: keep Bashar al-Assad in power and, if need be, collaborate with the Russians to bring about this end.

Apart from the...

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The Bin Laden Raid: How Could the Pakistanis Have Been Cut In?

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 5:54 PM

How is it possible that the principals gathered in the White House Situation Room on the evening of May 1, 2011 -- the president, the vice president etc. -- could have known that the Pakistanis had been cut in beforehand on the attack on Usama bin Laden that was about...

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'Chess Is the Way We Establish Mastery Over the West'

(3) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 1:13 PM

This statement, uttered by a Soviet General during the Cold War, used to leave me rather bemused, as I contemplated the antithetical image of a bumbling Nikita Khrushchev overextending himself as he put missiles into faraway Cuba, then had to back off, even losing the public relations contest as he...

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Is Someone Who Broke Ranks Appropriate as Party Leader on the Hill?

(8) Comments | Posted September 6, 2015 | 8:17 PM

Chuck Schumer, the knowledgeable senior senator from New York, who is due to take over as Majority Leader in the Senate from Harry Reid, was an announced early opponent of the Iran nuclear agreement. He did this even before it became certain that President Obama had enough Democratic votes in...

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Lemmings in Congress

(10) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 5:56 PM

Introductory Note: Lemming "suicides" is a frequently used metaphor in reference to people who go along unquestioningly with popular opinion with potentially dangerous or fatal consequences (Wikipedia).

I find it inconceivable that not a single Republican lawmaker plans to vote in support of the nuclear deal with Iran. This...

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A Bush Has a New Theory on Who Lost Iraq

(1) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 6:09 PM

Jeb Bush had the effrontery or the obtuseness (I like to think the latter) to accuse the Obama administration (read Hillary Clinton) of turning a blind eye to the spread of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In a speech on August 11, Mr. Bush said, "ISIS grew while the U.S....

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'Have You No Sense of Decency?'

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2015 | 1:44 PM

These words, uttered at a hearing in Washington on June 9, 1954 by Boston lawyer Joseph Welch, put an end to the reckless political career of Senate demagogue Joseph McCarthy.

One is tempted to use the same phrase in contemplating the following box on the front page of The New...

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A Necessary Expiation

(2) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 1:01 AM

According to The New York Times/CBS poll published on July 23, nearly six in 10 Americans think race relations in the U.S are bad and nearly four in 10 think they are getting worse. Also, 57 percent of whites said they considered the Confederate battle flag mostly a...

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The World Turned Upside Down: A U.S. Warship Named After a Confederate Victory

(215) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 1:00 AM

With the proliferation of Confederate battle flags on specialty number plates in nine states (which however can now be nullified due to a Supreme Court decision on June 18); with the Confederate flag still flying alongside the American flag in the capital of South Carolina, scene of the massacre in...

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Legitimacy Is Not Claimed

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2015 | 1:03 PM

In my forthcoming book - "The Good, the Bad and the Far-Out: Poems and Aphorisms, Part 1" - there is an aphorism of April 9, 2010 that states the following: 'Since it contains such beautiful shrines, shouldn't the people whose tradition springs from them have some claim to the running...

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Metadata Is Our Security Blanket

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 1:41 PM

Like a child carrying around a security blanket for protection, metadata is our security blanket. This bulk collection of telephone data is supposed to help us against terrorist attacks. Metadata consists of noting the telephone number calling, the number called, and the time and duration of the call. It does...

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How the Drone Age Came to Pakistan

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 3:40 PM

The tragic accidental deaths that became known recently of two Western humanitarian workers held hostage in Pakistan has brought to light once more how much that country has become the epicenter of the U.S. campaign against the Taliban. As Steve Coll noted in an article in the May 6, 2013...

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The Dark Side of American History

(1) Comments | Posted April 16, 2015 | 12:35 PM

It should be increasingly apparent to Americans, as they become aware, through new technologies, of white-on-black police killings, that there is a dark side to American history, requiring expiation.

Alongside the lofty rhetoric of the Founding Fathers, there is the hatred and exploitation of what was known euphemistically in...

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Shaking the Faith

(1) Comments | Posted March 29, 2015 | 9:37 PM

We continue to be traumatized by the unspeakably horrible tragedy of the Germanwings plane hurtling at 400 miles per hour into a mountain in the French Alps, blowing all 150 passengers instantly into bits, all because a crazed young co-pilot achieved his mission of fame or whatever by this act...

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Jerked Around After All These Years

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 11:36 AM

John Kerry, the Secretary of State, has yet to notch a significant diplomatic victory in the second administration of President Obama. However he seems less hapless on this score today than yesterday. After endless hours of fruitless negotiations toward a peace settlement in 2013-2014, it turns out that his opposite...

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Bibi's Talk: The 51st State Is Heard From

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 9:42 AM

Using a little imagination, one can picture Netanyahu yesterday at the podium of the U.S. Congress as another of the lawmakers of the Republic expounding on the burning issues of the day -- in this case the Iranian nuclear program.

On another level, one can ask oneself what is...

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'Germany Is Out of the Danger Business'

(1) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 8:29 AM

These words were spoken to me by the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, John Kornblum, in an interview I had with him in his office in Pariser Platz in Berlin which he had set up following his ambassadorship.

Ambassador Kornblum went on to say that Germany was in a state...

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"Chess Is the Way We Establish Mastery Over the West"

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 1:00 PM

I can't remember who said it, but I know it was said by a Russian General during the Cold War. As a chess player, figuratively speaking, Vladimir Putin has turned in a bravura performance over the past months, alternating hot and cold, offering peace initiatives and then turning aggressive, and...

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Israel Is Not at the Water's Edge; It Is Inside the U.S.

(76) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 4:33 PM

The spectacle of a foreign head of government being invited to speak before the U.S. Congress in early March without the American president being first officially notified leaves, or should leave, the American and Israeli publics in a state of stupefaction.

It is not that a foreign head of state...

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Far From the Gates of Vienna

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 10:37 AM

"We are at war but not a war against religion...It is a war against terrorism and radical Islam."

These words were the coda of a fiery speech delivered by Prime Minister Manuel Valls before the French National Assembly on Jan. 13 -- words which seemed to be...

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