The Crackdown

The United States, which took a forceful stance on other Arab revolts, remained relatively passive in the face of the kingdom’s unrest and crackdown. To many who are familiar with the region, this came as no surprise: of all the Arab states that saw revolts last year, Bahrain is arguably the most closely tied to American strategic interests.

A report on Bahrain, the Arab Spring’s most ill-fated uprising.

Cable: A Caucasus Wedding

The lavish display and heavy drinking concealed the deadly serious North Caucasus politics of land, ethnicity, clan, and alliance.

In a cable brought to light by Wikileaks, the Ambassador to Russia describes a raucous three-day Dagestani wedding attended by Chechnya’s president Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Inner Quest of Newt Gingrich

Promise kept.

But his greatest presidential stumbling block may be right under his nose. At home, Newt's second wife, Marianne Ginther Gingrich, tells me she doesn't see herself in the First Lady's job. "Watching Hillary has just been a horrible experience," commiserates Marianne. "Hillary sticking her neck out is not working." What happens if Newt runs?, I ask. "He can't do it without me," she replies. "I told him if I'm not in agreement, fine, it's easy" --she giggles at her naughtiness. "I just go on the air the next day, and I undermine everything..."

In the Land of the Dear Leader

The author travels to North Korea in the years after Kim Jong Il’s succession. He also gets a haircut:

But suddenly the whole chair starts vibrating and I find myself surrendering to her, as she begins to knead the acupressure points on my forehead and neck. Next it's ginseng unguent all over my face. Gobs of pomade smelling like bubble gum go on my hair. Then, like a true daughter of the revolution, she upholsters her blow dryer and begins combing in the pomade and sculpting my now subdued hair. The pungent aroma of heated pomade, like fat frying in a pan, fills the room. My stylist gives my hair a little twist with the comb. It feels like she's making a Dairy Queen curl on top. Then she fries it in place with the dryer. Another dab of pomade. More mincing motions with the comb. Another blast of hot air. Suddenly I feel a moist breeze around my ears. She's taken out a can of imported aerosol spray and is cementing her creation in place. She's delicately patting my new coiffure now the way a baker taps a loaf of bread to see if it's springy to the touch. She murmurs something. I'm breathless with expectation. I open my eyes and gaze into the mirror. Magnifique! It looks like I have a loofah sponge on my head! I am reborn -- a cross between Elvis and a 1950s Bulgarian hydrology expert! At last I have become a true son of Pyongyang!

Barney’s Great Adventure

Frank rarely smiles, even when he’s being funny. “There are three lies politicians tell,” he told the real-estate group. “The first is ‘We ran against each other but are still good friends.’ That’s never true. The second is ‘I like campaigning.’ Anyone who tells you they like campaigning is either a liar or a sociopath. Then, there’s ‘I hate to say I told you so.’ ” He went on, “Everybody likes to say ‘I told you so.’ I have found personally that it is one of the few pleasures that improves with age. I can say ‘I told you so’ without taking a pill before, during, or after I do it.”