Thursday, October 10, 2019

Firebombings: From My Father's Wars to Mine (2003)


In 2003 I was asked to speak at Clemson University, James Dickey's alma mater, about his work as a poet and mine as a journalist. The speech was adapted afterward into this essay published by the Clemson University Press, but, I fear, no longer available on line.

I am re-posting now as we enter a new phase of war in the Middle East, the result of so many bad decisions that were apparent 16 years ago exacerbated, now, by the miscalculations of the current administration.

My apologies for the format. I hope to re-post shortly as a PDF.

















Friday, October 04, 2019

Three weeks ago I talked about the death of Western democracy with Brian Williams on MSNBC. The situation today is worse.


Three weeks ago I was talking with Brian Williams off camera on The 11th Hour about witnessing the death of democracy in Europe and the United States. He asked me to repeat my thoughts on air: a grim picture. It must have struck a nerve, with more than a quarter million views.

I noted at the time that we were seeing some pushback against the populists in Europe. Since then, the British Supreme Court and the U.S. House of Representatives have tried to restore some order, but resurrecting democratic norms is going to be a long struggle against bitter, potentially violent adversaries who claim to speak in the name of "the people."


Wednesday, October 02, 2019

From Mob-Speak to Murders: Are We Normalizing Mayhem?




Mob-Speak and Murders: Normalizing Mayhem?


This guy—Charlie the Motorcycle Mutt—has nothing to do with the rest of the stories here, but I think he's hilarious. Photographed him last Sunday as his mistress was getting off her scooter near my apartment in Paris. For more of my shots around town, follow me on Instagram.

Also, a couple of book notes:

From November 12 to 17, the BookBub site will be offering the e-book versions of Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South for a mere $2.99.

You might also want to check out my Amazon author page, which has, among other things, links to back copies of this little letter to friends.


The last few days have been busy, watching everything from Greta Thunberg's meltdown over, well, the global meltdown, to the growing heat turned on Donald Trump because of his obsessive efforts to drag foreign leaders into the U.S. 2020 election campaign, and at the same time rewrite the history of 2016.

This is what I had to say about Thunberg on France 24: https://youtu.be/AAzKUrXXshQ

And this is some of what I had to say about Trump's antics. It's a point I have made before. Trump has never believed in the rule of law, only the rule of lawyers: https://youtu.be/3t1OZhGwrOk

Anna Nemtsova and Adam Rawnsley and I worked on a long story about Trump and Rudy Giuliani—who has gone from being America's Mayor to Trump's craven and crazed consigliere—and the longstanding ties both men have to some very shady Ukrainian characters in "Little Odessa" a.k.a. Brighton Beach, Brooklyn: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-and-rudy-giuliani-connections-to-sam-kislin-and-ukraine-corruption-go-back-decades?ref=author

We marked the anniversary of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, an act I am sure Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman regrets, but probably more for the way it was carried out than because a thorn in his side was removed. People are working hard, still, to find out what Trump knew and when he knew it about the butchering of Khashoggi—and how Trump managed to excuse it. That becomes apparent in the article and the conclusion is clear enough: MBS won. https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-treacherous-ties-to-a-murderous-prince?ref=author

Cheers, Chris

Below, downstairs at Harry's New York Bar on Rue Daunou in Paris. I don't know what Mathilde and Vashima were shaking up, but they looked like they were having fun.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

To War or Not to War?




TO WAR OR NOT TO WAR


Back in Paris ... Among the major world news stories of the last week, I wrote about the aftermath of the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, a hit claimed by the Houthis using Iranian missiles and drones. It was a clear act of war and the veil of deniability was mighty thin, but both the Saudis and Trump quickly realized they were in no position to respond in kind. So they took the opportunity afforded by Iran's denials to stall, if not indeed to hide, behind a bodyguard of lies.

Another big story involved Trump's alleged efforts to extort Ukraine, pushing its new president to "investigate" a bogus narrative about Biden abusing power. How perfect. An abuse of power to create charges of an opponent's abuse of power. Anna Nemtsova reported in an exclusive that Ukraine would only look into this if it received a formal request from the American government.

And then there were the global demonstrations demanding action to address climate change, with 16 year old Greta Thunberg taking the lead as a kind of messianic figure. We published Barbie Nadeau's elegant profile of Thunberg and the role Asperger's Syndrome has played in developing her charisma as well as her focus on the issues. (In passing, I could not help but wonder if Joan of Arc had such a condition.) We also re-posted my long, intimate profile of Jacques Cousteau, a great celebrity half a century ago whose prophecies about environmental destruction, unfortunately, went unheeded.

Finally, I hope everyone will read this extraordinary article in Esquire by my sister, Bronwen Dickey, about the struggle to identify the dead at the U.S.-Mexico border: The Remains.

My appearance Saturday on MSNBC summed up my thoughts on the prospects for war with Iran:
https://twitter.com/csdickey/status/1175701685647400961?s=20



My September 16 column about the risks or war:

DANCE OF DEATH

We're a Lot Closer to War Than You've Been Told

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY

Published 09.16.19 [Note: This article is available only to Daily Beast members, but I would encourage you to join if you have not already done so. No other paywall is less expensive or a better value.
An attack on Saudi oil facilities threatens the global economy and practically dares the U.S. to retaliate. If that weren't dangerous enough, Trump is president.

—————————————————

My September 20 essay on the utility of lies to address issues of war and peace in the Middle East: 


THE TWILIGHT ZONE OF 'TRUTH'

Can Trump Lie His Way Out of War With Iran? Yep.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY

The president's lies got us into this mess that threatens war, global recession—and his re-election. But the use of "deniability" is something he understands very well.

And finally, my long highly personal profile of Jacques Cousteau:
 

ORACLE

Explorer, Eco-Warrior, Spy: The Battles of Jacques Cousteau

One of the world's great adventurers—and a Resistance spy—Jacques Cousteau warned me 25 years ago that humans were reaching the point of no return on environmental destruction.

 

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Some Disturbing Predictions about Oil, War, and Democracy




Some Disturbing Predictions About Oil, War, and Democracy


What a long, troubling week. It began with Trump's tweets about Camp David accords with the Taliban that he planned to brand as a triumph, then called off before anybody had actually heard of them. And this just days before the anniversary of 9/11. Then came word that the CIA had had to exfiltrate one of its best-placed assets in the Kremlin in 2017, possibly because Trump has trouble keeping secrets. The White House headlines continued with the firing of John Bolton. And the week ended with Iran's Houthi clients staging a massive attack on Saudi oil facilities that cut the Kingdom's oil production in half, raising the prospects of a new Middle East war and hastening the slide toward global recession. I lost count of the number of times I went on MSNBC to talk about all this, so I'll just post here the articles I worked on, and links to a couple of appearances.
 

OPTICS ILLUSIONS

Trump Wanted to Boast About His Own 'Camp David Accords'

How could Trump snatch a declaration of victory from the jaws of de facto defeat in the Taliban peace deal? That was the question.

SAMI YOUSAFZAI,

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY

----------------------------------------------

EXPOSED

Putin's Murderous Mole Hunt

The Russian daily Kommersant on Tuesday published the name and biography of a man living under his own name with his wife and children near Washington, D.C.

AMY KNIGHT, Christopher Dickey contributing

-----------------------------------------------

With Brian Williams on Friday night, we were discussing off camera the disaster that is Boris Johnson and I told him I thought we were witnessing the death of democracy in Britain, potentially in much of Europe, and indeed in the United States. When the segment began, he asked me to expand on that theme.


The following morning with Phililp Mena, after news broke about the drone attacks on the enormous Saudi refinery at Abqaiq, I reflected on Trump's world of trouble.

And I then wrote this column:

TIRED OF WINNING

As Saudi Arabia Burns, Pompeo Blames Iran—and Trump Makes a Lame Claim About Killing Bin Laden's Son


By Sunday afternoon, it was obvious to me that we are fast approaching disaster in the Middle East, but much of the press has failed to focus on the gravity of the situation. So I minced no words in my conversation with Kendis Gibson. We are looking at the very real possibility of a new Middle East war and global recession.

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Sunday, September 08, 2019

Writing About Trump and the Taliban, Talking About Boris Johnson’s Raucous Wreckage




Writing about the Taliban, Talking about Boris Johnson (written before the Camp David fiasco)

Thanks to Sami Yousafzai and Erin Banco, we were able to take a long hard look at the "peace" deal Trump is trying to pull off in Afghanistan.

The Taliban use what's probably a more accurate term. They talk about an American "evacuation."
 

THE 10 MILLION

The Taliban Scoff at Trump's Afghan Peace Talks Bluff

The Taliban know how badly Trump wants out of Afghanistan, and they are taking full advantage.

SAMI YOUSAFZAI, 

ERIN BANCO, 

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


We're also following the raucous wreck that is British politics.

Nico Hines wrote this spot-on story about Boris Johnson's notorious duplicity doing him in:

 

READ MY LIPS

Brexit Deadlock as Boris' Lies Finally Catch Up With Him

Opposition parties deal Boris Johnson another blow as they refuse to grant him the power to call an election because they don't trust him to stick to his word.

NICO HINES


And I wound up talking about that raucous wreck on MSNBC's Hardball: Parliament votes against Boris Johnson's no-deal Brexit and snap election https://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/parliament-votes-against-boris-johnson-s-no-deal-brexit-and-snap-election-68202053967

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Monday, September 02, 2019

My Birthday Week: Writing About Murders, Talking About Guns and Iran




My Birthday Week: Writing About Murders, Talking About Guns and Iran

Wrote this with Anna Nemtsova:


HOMICIDAL

The CAR Murders: A Critical Cold Case in the New Cold War

Evidence mounts that shows three Russian journalists investigating the mysterious Wagner mercenaries in Africa were set up by some of the same people who attacked U.S. elections.

ANNA NEMTSOVA, 

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY



Plus -

My appearance Sunday morning on Joy Reid's MSNBC show talking with her and Lawrence Wilkerson about the way the world views the epidemic of mass shootings in the United States. I noted that Europeans have been appalled at the peculiar American culture of gun violence since slavery times, and in the present day are dumbfounded by the delusional idea that putting more guns on the streets makes anyone safer.
Here's a link: https://www.msnbc.com/am-joy/watch/rampant-shootings-make-countries-issue-u-s-tourism-warnings-67974725700

On Saturday, I was on MSNBC speaking with Jo Ling Kent about Iran and the context for any negotiations between Trump and the mullahs going forward. This is a Dropbox link, which I hope will work: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nvlyzv0p04wn9of/Christopher%20Dickey%20831.mp4?dl=0
If not, you can find it on my Facebook page.

Among the stories I edited were these very informative ones about the situation in Hong Kong: 

 

COUNTERREVOLUTION

Inside Beijing's Toolbox to Crush Hong Kong

The Chinese Communist Party is betting it won't have to send tanks to end the revolt. It's got the cops, surveillance, and even a replacement "international city" in the works.

BRENDON HONG

 

FIRE AND WATER

Hong Kong Protests Rage, Defying Beijing Crackdown

Beijing's playbook might work within mainland China, but in Hong Kong every move by the government to suppress the uprising has backfired.

BRENDON HONG


 

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My Recent Articles, Columns, and Appearances




My Recent Articles and TV Appearances: From Impressionists to Trump and the G7


It's been a busy few days, and I walked by Trump Tower several times on my way from 30 Rock to my pied-à-terre. At one point a stopped for a selfie there with the heavily armed NYPD. Ten years ago, when I wrote Securing the City, I never imagined so many resources would have to be deployed to protect a character like Donald Trump.
***
Whenever possible I like to break away from the news cycle to explore some corner of history—especially the history of France in the middle of the 19th century.
TRAILBLAZER
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY



But most of the last few days was taken up by the G7, with several appearances on MSNBC. This was one of the first: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.dickey/videos/10157585457571810/
Then there was the unexpected visit to Biarritz, site of the summit, by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif:
SURPRISE!

I had to explain several times why Russia never belonged in the G8. Here with Chris Matthews and Bret Stephens on "Hardball":  https://t.co/93mPPP0yja
Wrapping up on "The 11th Hour," I suggested Trump knows the G7 club would blackball him if it could: https://www.msnbc.com/11th-hour/watch/dickey-trump-treated-g7-like-a-club-he-knows-he-should-be-blackballed-from-67514949629
And published this column, which covers some of the same ground:
BLACKBALL

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