Anatol Lieven

Anatol Lieven reported from Moscow for the Times from 1990 to 1996 and is now a senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington DC. His latest book is Ethical Realism: A Vision for America’s Role in the World.

US/USSR: remembering the Cold War

Anatol Lieven, 16 November 2006

America’s struggle with the Soviet Union and Communism during the Cold War is the key founding myth of the modern American state – a state in many ways utterly different from the one that existed before the 1940s. The Cold War ended in what has generally been portrayed in the US as absolute victory, involving not just the crushing defeat of the enemy and the disappearance of its...

A key justification of the Bush administration’s purported strategy of ‘democratising’ the Middle East is the argument that democracies are pacific, and that Muslim democracies will therefore eventually settle down peacefully under the benign hegemony of the US. Yet, as Andrew Bacevich points out in one of the most acute analyses of America to have appeared in recent years, the United States itself is in many ways a militaristic country, and becoming more so.

There is no great mystery about the Republican victory in the US election. It was the product of what used to be one of the most familiar and powerful combinations in the modern history of Europe: the marriage of nationalism and conservative religion. The combination is unfamiliar to most Western Europeans today; but it was all too familiar to their ancestors, and remains so in many parts of...

“The most important question now facing the world is the use the Bush Administration will make of its military dominance, especially in the Middle East. The next question is when and in what form resistance to US domination over the Middle East will arise. That there will be resistance is certain. It would be contrary to every historical precedent to believe that such a quasi-imperial hegemony will not stir up resentment, which sooner or later is bound to find an effective means of expression.”

When it comes down to it, Western support for democracy in Pakistan has not been strong, and the fact is that it is impossible . . . repeatedly to call on the Army to keep order, support the state and remove disastrous governments, yet expect the military not to play a central political role the rest of the time.

The Push for War: The Threat from America

Anatol Lieven, 3 October 2002

The most surpirsing thing about the push for war is that it is so profoundly reckless. If I had to put money on it, I’d say that the odds on quick success in destroying the Iraqi regime may be as high as 5/1 or more . . . But at first sight, the longer-term gains for the US look pretty limited, whereas the consequences of failure would be catastrophic.

Diary: In Kabul

Anatol Lieven, 4 April 2002

Downtown Kabul is Fat City, Afghan style. The first shock for a new visitor is how undamaged and commercially busy it looks. On my second day, I bought a camera, one of a large range, from the only Hindu shopkeeper left in town, and French cheese and Carr’s water biscuits with sesame seeds from a shop in Flower Street – which had a far more elaborate choice of English biscuits...

Diary: In Pakistan

Anatol Lieven, 15 November 2001

Complacency was the greatest danger I faced in Pakistan last month. I didn’t visit Quetta or Jacobabad, where serious rioting took place and the police shot several people dead, and everywhere else – especially in Punjab, where the fate of Pakistan has always been decided – the demonstrations were small and easily contained. They were also overshadowed by a heavily armed...

The New Cold War: The New Cold War

Anatol Lieven, 4 October 2001

Not long after the Bush Administration took power in January, I was invited to lunch at a glamorous restaurant in New York by a group of editors and writers from an influential American right-wing broadsheet. The food and wine were extremely expensive, the decor luxurious but discreet, the clientele beautifully dressed, and much of the conversation more than mildly insane. With regard to the...

British Chill: What E.H.Carr Got Right

Anatol Lieven, 24 August 2000

Three years after E.H. Carr’s death in 1982, Mikhail Gorbachev began the process which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and Soviet Communism, a development which at first sight renders Carr’s life’s work not only irrelevant but absurd, based as it was on a profound admiration for Soviet achievements. The charge of having grossly misread the nature of the Soviet system is likely to dog him in death, just as in his lifetime he could never wholly shake off that of having advocated the appeasement of Nazi Germany. What’s more, as the Soviet archives are gradually opened, they are likely to make his history of Soviet Russia seem totally obsolete.


Only in a Cold Climate

23 January 2003

Arif Azad (Letters, 20 February) repeats precisely the error I criticised in my essay: that of believing that the functioning of Pakistani democracy can somehow be separated from the nature of Pakistani society, and the power structures and attitudes to power within that society. Closely connected with this is the belief that somewhere there exists a progressively minded Pakistani people who, if liberated...
Far from suggesting that E.H. Carr’s observations on the interwar period were worthless, as Michael Cox suggests (Letters, 7 September), I spent much of my essay pointing out that aspects of them are of great and indeed increasing value.On Carr’s character, I was careful to say that his love affairs ‘aren’t so very shocking sixty years later’, and that what stands out...

Since the ‘stolen’ election of 2000 the Republican Party has set out its values with a starkness not revealed even during the despised regimes of Nixon and Reagan. This has yielded a...

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Will the Empire ever end?

John Lloyd, 27 January 1994

Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a lens through which we can see the character of contemporary Russians close up and grotesquely exaggerated. The Zhirinovsky glass reveals and enlightens like a Francis...

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