Eli Lake is a senior reporter for The Washington Times, where he covers national security and foreign policy. In “The 9/14 Presidency” (page 24), Lake outlines the convergence between the policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama regarding wartime powers and civil liberties. Lake notes with pride that he has “reported from all three members of the Axis of Evil”—Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. He just completed a senior journalism fellowship with the East-West Center in India and Malaysia and is a contributing editor at The New Republic.
Contributing Editor Michael Young is opinion editor at the Beirut Daily Star. In this issue, he reviews Lee Smith’s The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations (page 50). “I’m less of a pessimist on Arab democracy than Smith is,” says Young. “He sees violence and the lack of democracy as something inherent. I agree that violence is all over, but I’m not an essentialist when it comes to such characteristics in the Arab world.” Young, who has lived in Lebanon since 1970, has a book of his own coming out in April: The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle (Simon & Schuster).
Tom G. Palmer, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is the vice president for international programs at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. He spends much of his time traveling the world “helping out colleagues and friends to connect their struggle for classical liberty to roots within their own cultural context.” In reviewing James Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (page 54), Palmer found similarities between the historical pitfalls described in that book and current international efforts in Afghanistan. “It doesn’t occur to so-called nation builders that there are reasons why centralized states have trouble imposing their rule on those regions,” he says. “Having social structures makes it hard to subjugate people to centralized states.”