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Gary Hart
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Entries by Gary Hart

Ignorance of History, and Its Price

(159) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 6:40 PM

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it," is usually attributed to George Santayana. Harry Truman's version was: "The only new thing in the world is the history we have not learned." And, in the House of Commons in 1935, Winston Churchill observed: "...that long, dismal catalogue...

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The Destruction of Memory

(26) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 11:40 AM

You can't claim to love your country and hate its government. That was a standard line back in the day -- long ago -- when I was a candidate for national office. It was an obvious response to the Murdoch-driven media attacks on "Washington." Since then, it is an established,...

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The Re-Enchantment of the Soul

(39) Comments | Posted May 19, 2014 | 10:27 PM

Three centuries later, we are still children of the Enlightenment, that period of immense intellectual energy that liberated mankind from medievalism, feudalism, and ignorance. Enlightenment thinkers opened the mind to the scientific method and scientific inquiry. They also restored the ancient ideal of the republic and made individual freedom the...

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A Truly Strong Foreign Policy

(29) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 9:39 PM

The weekend media featured an uncommon amount of navel gazing about foreign policy. Except the navel being gazed at belonged to Barack Obama. To the degree that pundits ever agree, they seemed to agree that the Obama foreign policy was "weak." Predictably, there was little if any agreement as to...

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Ghost Port

(2) Comments | Posted March 23, 2014 | 5:48 PM

Twenty-five years ago or thereabouts I brought together an international consortium to build a new seaport at Novorossiysk, north of Sochi on the Russian Black Sea coast. There was already a small port at Novorossiysk on the natural Tsemes Bay (due East of Sevastapol). Needless to say, the proposed world...

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Security Is the New Oil

(28) Comments | Posted February 8, 2014 | 4:51 PM

The confused debate, such as it is, over the struggle between privacy and security in the era of Snowden reveals again even greater confusion over our attitudes about government. The conservative anti-government party seems more comfortable (or perhaps less uncomfortable) with intelligence agencies listening to their phone calls than the...

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Quiet Heroes Making a Difference

(10) Comments | Posted December 24, 2013 | 11:12 AM

"...and finally tonight we bring you Making a Difference." This is a news network policy of closing an evening news program largely featuring wars, violence, and the worst of human behavior. Safe landings are not news; crashes are news. But we must not be left without hope.

For many of...

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Job at Newtown

(46) Comments | Posted December 15, 2013 | 5:52 PM

When authorized to test Job's devotion to God, Satan got around eventually to killing all of Job's 10 children. Satan, or his agent, managed to kill twice that many, in addition to six adult caregivers, at Newtown a year ago.

It is cold comfort, especially to the children's parents, to...

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An Idealist Without Illusions

(84) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 7:06 AM

The soul of a great leader enlarges with experience. Eight month after judiciously escaping the trap of nuclear confrontation over Cuba, President John Kennedy spoke at American University on the subject of a stable and peaceful global settlement. "Our problems are manmade," he said, "therefore they can be solved by...

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The Last Act in Alternative-Reality Land

(670) Comments | Posted October 5, 2013 | 10:11 AM

Occasionally, a single incident can characterize an entire era. Rosa Parks sits down near the front of a bus. Gary Cooper drops his badge in the dust. Warren Beatty is riddled with bullets.

And then, most recently, a Congressman berates a park ranger for monitoring the closure of a...

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Certainty and Doubt

(178) Comments | Posted September 14, 2013 | 11:39 AM

"Often wrong, but never in doubt" is a description of one kind of political mind. "Occasionally wrong, but often in doubt" is another. Applied to foreign policy, and especially the use of US military power, this formulation offers an insight into policy confusion over Syria.

The context: For a decade...

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Diplomacy Where It Is Needed Most

(347) Comments | Posted July 19, 2013 | 8:54 AM

We talk to our close friends for pleasure. We talk to our opponents to settle differences.

Diplomacy is "handling of international relations" and "statesmanship," says the dictionary. We use diplomacy in our dealings with Great Britain and France and Italy and Sweden. But that's not very difficult. We generally see...

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The Intelligence-Industrial Complex

(407) Comments | Posted June 20, 2013 | 1:02 PM

"...we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist." Thus spoke President Dwight Eisenhower in January 1961.

Now we have an intelligence-industrial complex composed of close to a dozen...

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School for the Commander in Chief

(385) Comments | Posted June 8, 2013 | 11:25 AM

With the notable exception of General Dwight Eisenhower, few presidents or presidential candidates have devoted much preparation for the role of commander in chief of U.S. military forces. John Kennedy was a combat veteran exception, but a rare one.

Certainly, presidents receive the advice of senior military commanders and civilian...

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Gridlock and Its Causes

(594) Comments | Posted May 27, 2013 | 4:09 PM

There is not a lot of honest exploration of the root causes of what is now widely known as political gridlock. Most political journalism simply reiterates the fact that the legislative branch of government is virtually dysfunctional and deplores the fact.

But this did not happen by accident or in...

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Weep for the Senate

(408) Comments | Posted May 5, 2013 | 4:12 PM

Generations of United States Senators now past would view with dazed wonder at what the world's greatest deliberative body has become. Virtually all struggled to serve their and many struggled even more to stay there. Throughout the nation's history the prestige of such service was second only to the presidency...

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Orthodoxy and Change

(60) Comments | Posted March 16, 2013 | 1:36 PM

Underlying all the media focus on the Catholic cardinals' selection of a new pope, and the predictable focus on personality over meaning, was a much greater struggle between tradition and reform, conservatism and progress. That struggle mirrors politics in America and most western democracies.

We humans are divided between preservation...

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A Plague of Drones

(404) Comments | Posted March 9, 2013 | 9:59 AM

The nature of warfare has, more often than not throughout history, been driven by technology. The Trojan horse, you might say, was a technological invention of the Greeks, followed by the long bow, catapults, machine guns, nuclear weapons, and... the drone.

The drone is new and effective and, for the...

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Learning From America's History of Assassinations

(385) Comments | Posted February 6, 2013 | 8:41 AM

It is unfortunate that senior administration officials making life and death decisions today on when, where, and against whom drone strikes should be launched did not live through, as I did, the period of 1975-76 when Congressional investigations, including the famous Church committee, discovered plots by our government to assassinate...

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Democrats and Defense

(299) Comments | Posted January 26, 2013 | 8:37 AM

There is a distinct pattern for Democratic presidents to select Republicans as Secretaries of Defense. These include: Bill Cohen, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta (a Democrat who began as a Republican), and now Chuck Hagel. All of these were good Secretaries. Bill Cohen is a friend of many years, and I...

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