The All-American

In Afghanistan and other zones of international crisis with John Kerry:

Why, then, does Kerry bother? Why is he racing back and forth to put out the fires being set by a serial arsonist? I asked him about this on the short flight from Kabul to Islamabad. Kerry tried to put the best possible face on what he had learned. Despite the warlords in Kabul, he said, Karzai had appointed some talented officials at the provincial and district levels. “It’s a mixed bag,” he concluded gamely. Kerry knew Karzai’s failings as well as anyone, but he was not prepared to abandon Afghanistan’s president, because he was not prepared to abandon Afghanistan. But why not?

Thailand's Moment of Truth: A Secret History of 21st Century Siam

Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a longtime Reuters reporter based in Thailand, resigned and forfeited his ability to enter the country in order to report on the revelations about the Thai royal family and military contained within the Wikileaks “Cablegate” dump.

Thailand has the world's harshest lèse majesté law. Any insult to Bhumibol, Queen Sirikit or their son Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, is punishable by three to 15 years in jail.

The cables reveal a toxic power struggle between elected officials, the military, and the monarchy, with the huge shadow of exiled telecommunications billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra looming over the country’s post-King Bhumibol future.

The impending end of his reign has sparked intense national anxiety in Thailand. King Bhumibol's son and heir, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, has a reputation for being a cruel and corrupt womanizer. A notorious video showing a birthday party for his pet poodle Foo Foo -- who holds the rank of Air Chief Marshal -- has been widely circulated in Thailand; in it, the prince's third wife, Princess Srirasmi, dressed only in a thong, eats the dog's birthday cake off the floor while liveried servants look on.

Editor’s Note: Marshall’s findings will be published as a 4-part series, hosted here by the permission of the author, and re-publishable through a Creative Commons license. His writings on the topic have already reached near book length, for a good overview, see Marshall’s introduction in Foreign Policy.

  1. Part 1 [53,000 words]

  2. Part 2 [35,000 words]