Articles by William Safire



Lost in Transliteration

The last name of the president of Russia is Putin, right?

Putin's 'Chicken Kiev' Moment

The elder President Bush's most memorable foreign-policy blunder took place in Kiev in 1991, then under Communist rule.

The Farewell Dossier

Intelligence shortcomings, as we see, have a thousand fathers; secret intelligence triumphs are orphans. Here is the unremarked story of ""the Farewell dossier"": how a CIA campaign of computer sabotage resulting in a huge explosion in Siberia -- all engineered by a mild-mannered economist named Gus Weiss -- helped the United States win the Cold War.

The Bush Polonaise

  • 16 May 03
  • The New York Times
When U.S. President George W. Bush travels to St. Petersburg early next month, he will again urge President Vladimir Putin to stop supplying Iran with the means to develop nuclear weapons.

On Friends and Allies

  • 07 April 03
  • The New York Times
Nations have alliances, based on short-term strategic or economic interests. But peoples have friendships, based on memories forged in times of trial. These are the times that make and break friendships.

13 Snap Judgments on the Iraq Campaign

  • 03 April 03
  • The New York Times
I never made it higher than corporal, but it doesn't take a military genius to figure out the strategy when you have air supremacy: break the back of the enemy's armor and its infantry before your big ground assault.

On Media Gigantism

  • 21 January 03
  • The New York Times
Should we totally deregulate the public airwaves and permit the dwindling of major media down to a precious few?

The So San Affair

  • 20 December 02
  • The New York Times
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under its new chairman, Richard Lugar, should make its first order of business an inquiry into President George W. Bush's maladroit and shortsighted decision-making in the So San affair.

NATO Expansion: Risks and Benefits II

At NATO's transformation summit in Prague, the Baltics are among the seven nations invited to membership in the Western military alliance.

Counting Votes -- and Votes That Count

Every hairshirted goo-goo goes into a hand-wringing fit on the subject of voter turnout.

Football, Futbol or Soccer

  • 25 June 02
  • The New York Times
You isolationist moms may call it soccer, a word derived from the second syllable in ""association football,"" but we pre-emptive interventionists call the game

What Else Are We Missing?

For years I used to drive up Massachusetts Avenue past the vice president's house and would notice a lonely, determined guy across the street holding a sign claiming he'd been sodomized by a priest.

Testing Putin on Tehran

  • 24 May 02
  • The New York Times
Thirteen days after Sept. 11, President Vladimir Putin met with 21 leaders from the State Duma and the presidium of the State Council to determine Russia's response to the United States' war on terror.

CIA Chief's Palestinian

  • 16 April 02
  • The New York Times
Until last week, the greatest humiliation of an American director of central intelligence took place in 1985.

A Beautiful Body

  • 29 March 02
  • The New York Times
Now that the Academy Awards are out of the way, I can reveal this idea for a sure-fire-Oscar topical screenplay.

To Fight Freedom's Fight

  • 01 February 02
  • The New York Times
When a dramatist places a gun on the table in the first act, the astute playgoer knows that the weapon will be used before the drama ends.

Inside Putin's Mind

Last week, I induced the 19 NATO countries to count themselves as 20.

The Law Need Not Fall Silent

Preparing to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee where to get off, Attorney General John Ashcroft lashed out at all who dare to uphold our bedrock rule of law as ""voices of negativism.""

Clearing the Way? II

America is full of fear,"" crowed a jubilant Osama bin Laden, in his taped message anticipating the U.S. response to his massacre of the six thousand. ""They cry for their children.""

Stabilizing America

WASHINGTON -- One Sunday morning a generation ago, the CIA chief William Casey dropped in at my house for a cup of coffee and gruffed, ""You got a map of Afghanistan?"" Not your usual request, but I found a world atlas. Casey's fingers stabbed at the map to show the strategic purpose of the Soviet Army's thrust southward into that nation. First, conquer Afghanistan; then take over neighboring Pakistan, thereby achieving the tsarist dream of an opening to the Indian Ocean, leading to communist victory in the Cold War. To counter Moscow's daring plan, we covertly supported the Afghans with guerrilla training and anti-aircraft weapons. Sure enough, with our secret aid and with the help of adventurous Moslem volunteers from all over -- including one rich young Saudi named Osama bin Laden -- the Afghans stunned the world by breaking the will of the Red Army. Our spymaster was prescient: That demoralizing, decade-long military defeat did begin the end of communism's evil empire.

Berezovsky Still Smiling

'Star Wars' All Around

Who's Losing Russia?