The Unspoken Alliance The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa By Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Pantheon Books, 336 pages In The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa, Sasha Polakow-Suransky depicts the decades-long military and diplomatic relationship between Israel and South Africa, a relationship that persisted during the most violent years of apartheid rule, when South Africa faced the...

Fleurs du Mal North Korea’s ghastly art, on display in Vienna. Vienna If the painting Kim Jong Il, the supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, deeply concerned over the soldiers’ diet were all one had to go on, one would assume that Kim Jong Il is indeed deeply concerned about the soldiers’ diets. Inspecting a humongous piece of fish,...

Tolerating the Intolerable The Flight of the Intellectuals By Paul Berman; Melville House; 304 pages; $26.00.  In 2003, the Swiss-born Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan debated Nicolas Sarkozy, then France’s interior minister, on a television program called “One Hundred Minutes to Convince.” At issue was the condition of women in immigrant Muslim communities in Europe. Sarkozy wanted to know if...

Little War, Big Problems A Little War that Shook the World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West By Ronald D. Asmus, Palgrave MacMillan, 272 Pages No current nation  al leader possesses more cunning than Vladimir Putin. Evenhis present position as Russia’s prime minister and putative second-in-command allows for a degree of strategic cover that the former president has...

South Africa's Fading Promise   South Africa’s Brave New World.  By R.W. Johnson; Allen Lane; 646 pages; £25.   “I miss the times that we chanted slogans in the street. It’s much easier than building a country.”  — Jay Naidoo, former South African minister for reconstruction and development and African National Congress member of parliament In April of 2008,...

‘Frankenstein’ redux Review of Young Frankenstein at the Kennedy Center Opera House The funniest scene in “Young Frankenstein,” the Mel Brooks musical adapted from his 1974 film, now onstage at the Kennedy Center, occurs toward the end. The show’s eponymous doctor leads his monstrous creation in a tap-dancing routine. Performing a duet of “Puttin’ on the Ritz,”...

The Ugly American: : A Rhodes Scholar Goes South Gringo: A Coming-of-Age in Latin America Chesa Boudin, Scribner, 2009 Chesa Boudin is the biological son of two terrorists and was raised by another pair of terrorists. He was 14 months old when his birth parents, ex–Weather Underground members Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, took part in a 1981 Brinks truck robbery in which they...

The Guru of Conventional Wisdom The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria W.W. Norton, 2008, 304 pages. Fareed Zakaria is one of the most influential foreign affairs commentators in the world. Only forty-five years old, he is the editor of Newsweek International and hosts a weekly discussion show on CNN in which he interviews major political figures from around the world....