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2018-04-06 The New York Times International Edition

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The trouble
with ‘illiberal
by spreading
trade fight
Jan-Werner Müller
U.S. economic recovery
could be snuffed out if
dispute with China persists
On Sunday, Hungary’s right-wing
prime minister, Viktor Orban, is up for
re-election, possibly on track to his
fourth term in office. Mr. Orban has
spent the past several years weakening his country’s democratic checks
and balances; he has attacked independent civil society, and he has
brought the media under the control of
oligarchs close to his government.
While doing so, he has advertised his
approach as a distinctive form of democracy, one fit to meet the challenges
of the 21st century. It is, he says, “illiberal democracy.”
Plenty of critics have adopted this
term as a description not just of Hungary, but of redesigned political systems in countries as different as Poland and Turkey. Yet “illiberal democracy” fails to capture
what is wrong with
these regimes. It
still remains
also gives leaders
the most
like Mr. Orban a
major rhetorical
political prize advantage: He is still
around the
left with the designation “democrat,”
world. Don’t
even as it is democaward it to
racy itself — and not
just liberalism —
that is under attack
in his country.
In the mid-1990s, observers started
to notice that something was going
wrong after the great wave of democratization that had started to roll
across the globe in the 1980s. Elections
were duly held, but their winners
proceeded to oppress minorities or
attack independent judges and journalists in the name of “the people.” Fareed
Zakaria, the influential foreign affairs
commentator, was among the first to
draw a fundamental distinction between liberalism and democracy: the
former referred to the rule of law, the
latter to the rule of the majority. Leaders with majority backing were creating “illiberal democracies,” in which
neither political losers nor unpopular
minorities could feel safe.
This picture is misleading when
applied to today’s populists like Mr.
Orban. In Hungary, it is not just the
rule of law that has been under threat.
Rights essential for democracy itself —
especially rights to free speech, free
assembly and free association — have
been systematically attacked. As media pluralism disappears, citizens
cannot get critical information to make
up their minds about their government’s record. Unless one wants to say
that a democracy remains a democraMÜLLER, PAGE 11
The New York Times publishes opinion
from a wide range of perspectives in
hopes of promoting constructive debate
about consequential questions.
Caravan coming
Members of a migrant caravan in Mexico, a subject that has raised the ire of President Trump. He has called for National Guard troops to be sent
to the border, causing worries over his plan among Pentagon officials. They have privately expressed concern about being seen as picking a fight with an ally. PAGE 4
Australia’s losing gamblers
Electronic machines,
seemingly ubiquitous,
rake in huge sums
In pockets of suburbia all across Australia, electronic gambling machines
known as pokies await their many
customers in pubs, hotels and sports
clubs, as common a fixture as A.T.M.s in
a shopping mall.
But the unremarkable machines contribute to an extraordinary level of gambling. Government statistics show that
they account for more than half of individual Australians’ annual gambling
losses, a gargantuan 24 billion Australian dollars, or about $18.4 billion. On a
per-capita basis, Australians lose far
and away the most in the world: more
than 1,200 Australian dollars every year,
or $920.
Australia’s gambling losses per adult
are more than double those in the United
States and around 50 percent higher
than those in second-place Singapore,
according to H2 Gambling Capital, an
Legalized gambling, including electronic machines known as pokies, is an important
source of tax revenue for Australian states and territories.
analytics company. As those figures
swell, a public war is brewing between
venue operators and people against
gambling, with each trying to win the
hearts and minds of people in state governments that rely on revenue from the
The electronic game machines are
similar to slot machines seen in casinos
elsewhere. Pokies aren’t the only major
form of gambling in Australia — casinos
account for around 20 percent of gambling losses — but they remain by far the
most profitable for operators and the
most damaging for gamblers, opponents say.
And they permeate small towns with
a prominence that is unmatched around
the world.
“What makes Australia unique is that
we’ve allowed these machines to be embedded in our local communities,” said
Angela Rintoul, a research fellow at the
Australian Gambling Research Center, a
“We haven’t contained them just to casinos, where many jurisdictions in the
world have.”
In Australia, the pubs, clubs and hotels that house the machines usually resemble typical English pubs, replete
with a bar and dining area but with the
addition of a dedicated gaming room.
“Often, Australians don’t realize it,”
she said of the ubiquity of the machines.
“It’s like being a fish in water.”
Their operators are often prominent
community entities: Woolworths, one of
Australia’s largest supermarket chains,
is the biggest operator of pokies in the
country, controlling about 12,000 machines through its majority stake in the
Australian Leisure and Hospitality
Group, a large company that encompasses bars, restaurants and wagering.
Though the Woolworths Group doesGAMBLING, PAGE 4
Turning trauma into a source of power
Evan Rachel Wood, star
of ‘Westworld,’ reflects on
rape survival and her role
Evan Rachel Wood, a movie actress and one of the stars of the television series “Westworld,” which she says has “completely transformed my entire life.”
Y(1J85IC*KKNPKP( +\!"!$!=!&
When Evan Rachel Wood needs a jolt of
confidence, she puts on a certain
playlist, a compendium of feminist anthems and feisty classics — “I Will Survive,” “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” Tina Turner, Pat Benatar, some
head-whipping grunge and hip-hop. It
was piping through her house here one
chilly afternoon last month. Ms. Wood,
the actress and musician, had just put
herself through an emotional wringer:
She testified before Congress, in unflinching terms, about being a survivor
of sexual violence, then jetted to Los Angeles to perform songs by David Bowie,
her musical idol, with his bandmates.
It was a cross-country head-snap.
Now she was welding herself back together.
“My life is definitely going places I did
not foresee,” she said, leaning over her
kitchen counter, as Sia’s “Unstoppable”
played in the background. “But I’m going with it. It doesn’t feel like a choice at
this point. This is just what I need to do.”
Her trajectory is even more remarkable when you consider how much it
overlaps, thematically, with the story
line of Dolores, her character on the
HBO series “Westworld.” On that sci-fi
drama, set in a Western theme park
where visitors can act out their most depraved fantasies with humanlike robot
“hosts,” Dolores is an innocent and
much-abused host who slowly awakens
to the darkness of what has befallen her
and then fights her way out.
A critical darling when it aired in 2016,
“Westworld” had the most-watched debut season of any HBO series, and anticipation for its new season, which begins April 22, is high. In a starry ensemble that included Anthony Hopkins, Ed
Harris and Jeffrey Wright, it was the
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Issue Number
No. 42,009
In the escalating economic showdown
between the United States and China,
President Trump is trying to put American shoppers first. The administration
did not place tariffs on necessities like
shoes and clothes and mostly spared
smartphones from the 25 percent levy
on Chinese goods announced this week.
But by shielding consumers, Mr.
Trump has put American manufacturers — a group he has championed — in
the cross hairs of a global trade war. If
the measures stand, along with China’s
retaliatory tariffs, they could snuff out a
manufacturing recovery just beginning
to gain steam.
“If you want to spare the consumer so
you don’t get this massive backlash
against your tariffs, then there goes
manufacturing, because that’s what’s
left,” said Monica de Bolle, an economist
at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “The irony is, you
cannot spare manufacturing from anything because manufacturing is globally
integrated. The sector sources its parts
and components from all over the
That intricate supply chain often runs
directly between the two countries,
sometimes in both directions. Chinese
factories make wing panels and doors
for Boeing’s Next Generation 737
planes, which are assembled by union
workers in Renton, Wash. General Motors makes its Buick Envision, a sport
utility vehicle, in Shandong Province,
China, and sells it to American consumers. Construction workers in Denver use building materials manufactured in China, made in part from ethane
gas produced in Texas.
A central aim of Mr. Trump’s America
First agenda is to bring back pieces of
the supply chain lying outside the country. The tariffs announced this week are
just a bargaining point in a broader negotiation between the United States and
China over trade.
“They are trying to force end-product
manufacturers here to use more American content by making it more expensive for them to use Chinese content,”
said William Reinsch, a trade expert at
the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The United States trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, has said that the
administration carefully conceived the
tariffs using an algorithm that would
“maximize the impact on China and
minimize the impact on U.S. conTRADE, PAGE 8
In northern Minnesota, the moves
against China are cheered, and Republicans see a chance for gains. PAGE 8
2 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
page two
Behind-the-scenes force in Washington
Anna Chennault, a Chinese-born Republican fund-raiser and anti-Communist
lobbyist who dabbled in foreign intrigue
after the death of her husband, the renowned leader of the Flying Tigers in
China and Burma in World War II, died
on March 30 at her home in Washington.
She was 94.
Her death, in her apartment at the
Watergate complex, was announced on
Tuesday. The cause was complications
of a stroke she suffered in December,
her daughter Cynthia Chennault said.
In her memoir photographs, Mrs.
Chennault appears with her husband,
Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault; with
Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M.
Nixon and Gerald R. Ford; with J. Edgar
Hoover, director of the F.B.I.; with Gen.
William C. Westmoreland, commander
of American forces in Vietnam, and with
Nguyen Cao Ky, the South Vietnamese
vice president who fled to America with
the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Except for her husband’s picture, taken a year before he died in 1958, it is a
gallery of Mrs. Chennault’s Washington
regalia, assembled over many years as
an airline executive, hostess, Republican stalwart, advocate for the Chinese
Nationalists and South Vietnam and
staunch opponent of the Communist regime that seized power in China in 1949.
Mrs. Chennault was one of the most
visible private citizens in Washington: a
vice president of the Flying Tiger Line,
her husband’s postwar cargo operation;
a writer of novels, poetry and nonfiction
books; a Voice of America broadcaster;
and the center of a social whirl at her
Watergate penthouse that drew in cabinet members, congressmen, diplomats,
foreign dignitaries and journalists.
But there was a hidden side to Mrs.
Chennault, historians say. She was
known to have been a conduit for Nationalist Chinese funds for the Republican Party and to have been a secret gobetween for American officials and
Asian leaders like Chiang Kai-shek, the
Nationalist Chinese generalissimo, and
President Nguyen Van Thieu of South
Vietnam. And in a contretemps of international intrigue and presidential politics that generated heated debate for
years, Mrs. Chennault was recorded on
an F.B.I. wiretap helping to sabotage a
peace initiative during the Vietnam War
to promote Nixon’s victory over Vice
President Hubert H. Humphrey in the
1968 presidential election.
Soon after President Lyndon B. Johnson announced a halt to the bombing of
North Vietnam to ease the way for Paris
peace talks that autumn, Mrs. Chennault, a behind-the-scenes liaison for
Nixon’s campaign and the Saigon government, was overheard urging South
Vietnamese officials to boycott the Paris
peace talks, saying they would get a better deal from a Nixon administration if
they waited until after the election.
That same day, Nov. 2, President
Thieu announced that his government
Clockwise from top: Anna Chennault in 1972, when she was at the center of a social whirl at her Watergate penthouse in Washington; with Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, leader of
the Flying Tigers in World War II, on their wedding day in 1947; and at the opening of a Nixon campaign headquarters in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan in 1968.
would not join the Paris talks. Three
days later, Nixon was elected.
President Johnson was furious when
he learned of Mrs. Chennault’s intervention and considered having her charged
under federal statutes with criminally
interfering with the conduct of foreign
affairs. She was never prosecuted.
Nixon lifted the tap on her telephones
and awarded her Flying Tiger Line a lucrative Pacific cargo route. But for a
supporter who had provided vital Asian
contacts and $240,000 in contributions
to the Nixon campaign, Mrs. Chennault
received no major appointment in his
administration, as she had hoped.
In her 1980 memoir, “The Education
of Anna,” she denied involvement in the
peace talk maneuvers but acknowledged her disappointment with Nixon.
“The ultimate handshake came
months later, at a White House function,
when Nixon took me aside and, with intense gratitude, began thanking me for
my help in the election,” she wrote.
“‘I’ve certainly paid dearly for it,’ I
pointed out.
Anna Chennault was born Chen Xiangmei in Beijing on June 23, 1923, one
of six daughters of P. Y. and Isabelle Liao
Chen, members of a prosperous family
of diplomats and scholars.
Her father taught law at the University of Peking and was editor of the English-language New China Morning Post.
She and her sisters grew up in a mansion near the Forbidden City with an entourage of servants and tutors.
As Japanese invaders approached
Beijing in 1937, her family fled to Hong
Kong. Despite the war, she studied journalism with refugee professors and
earned a degree from Lingnan University in Hong Kong in 1944.
Fluent in Chinese dialects and English, she became a correspondent for
China’s Central News Agency, covering
the war and later Mao Zedong’s spreading Communist revolution. She met
General Chennault in Kunming. He was
three decades older, a married father of
eight and the hero of the Flying Tigers,
who shot down hundreds of Japanese
warplanes and kept China’s hopes alive
during the war.
In 1947, after his divorce, they were
married in Shanghai. Besides Cynthia,
they had another daughter, Claire, who
also survives her, as do three sisters,
Cynthia Lee, Sylvia Wong and Loretta
Fung; and two grandsons.
The Chennaults lived in Shanghai;
San Francisco; the general’s hometown,
Monroe, La.; and Taipei, Taiwan, where
they ran the Flying Tiger Line and the
Civil Air Transport, which was later
owned by the Central Intelligence
Agency and used in covert anti-Communist operations. General Chennault died
of lung cancer in 1958 at 67, and Mrs.
Chennault moved to Washington.
She was soon embraced by her husband’s friends, including Thomas G.
Corcoran, a New Deal strategist who became a notable Washington lobbyist for
corporations and foreign powers. He
showed her the ropes of lobbying, and
she dedicated her memoir to him, calling him “the best teacher of them all.”
In Washington Mrs. Chennault joined
the Republican Party and right-wing
cadres of Americans supporting Taiwan
and opposing Communist China. In
1962, with President Kennedy’s blessing, she founded Chinese Refugees’ Relief, which assisted thousands fleeing
China. She testified in Congress, wrote
articles, gave speeches and, from 1963 to
1966, made weekly broadcasts in Chinese on the Voice of America radio.
In a penthouse apartment resembling
a James Bond movie set overlooking the
Potomac, she entertained 80 to 100 people a week, serving concoctions like
“concubine’s delight” (chicken/snow
peas) and “negotiator’s soup” (for Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger). At
her soirees, Mrs. Chennault, less than 5
feet tall, cut a striking figure in slim Chinese dresses and spike-heeled satin
Her aura of intrigue was only enhanced by evasive replies to reporters’
questions about possible C.I.A. connections and her frequent travels to Asian
countries embroiled in Cold War conflicts. “Mrs. Chennault — or the Dragon
Lady, as she is called by her enemies —
is well-known around Washington as a
Vietnam hawk,” The New York Times
Magazine said in 1970.
She chided Nixon for what she called
his cautious prosecution of the Vietnam
Her image as an implacable antiCommunist was eased in 1981 when she
visited Beijing and Taipei for talks with
Deng Xiaoping, China’s leader, and
President Chiang Ching-kuo of Taiwan.
Acknowledging that her views had softened, she said people must be “humble
enough to learn, courageous enough
sometimes to change their positions.”
By then, her causes had all been lost.
The Vietnam War was over, Chiang Kaishek and Mao Zedong were dead, and
the United States had severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan and recognized the People’s Republic of China.
Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.
Turning her trauma into a source of empowerment
women, like Ms. Wood and Thandie
Newton, as a host madam who’s newly
conscious of her reality, that were riveting, in part for how they endured —
and inflicted — violence.
The show, Ms. Wood said, “completely
transformed my entire life,” not because
it catapulted her career — although it
did — but because playing Dolores
forced her to drill into her own struggles. “Her journey mirrored so much of
what I had been through and what I was
going through,” she said. “It gave me a
strength that I did not know I had.”
For Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, the
married co-creators of “Westworld,” Ms.
Wood was first an exceedingly “protean” actor, as Mr. Nolan said in a joint
phone interview. Ms. Wood, 30, has been
in front of the camera since childhood,
graduating from volatile adolescents in
movies like “Thirteen” to a vampire
queen on “True Blood.” They cast her
knowing she could pull off the lightning
shifts that Dolores makes in Season 2,
which finds her exacting sweet revenge,
even as she weighs its costs.
“With Evan’s character, I wanted to
explore a hero who has flaws and had a
history that was trauma and sadness,
but who could overcome that,” said Ms.
Joy, a writer, producer and director of
the series with her husband. “To me,
that’s an inspiring story and a story that
can teach. And Evan, because she is so
strong and she is that person, was able
to unleash even more of that strength
than I imagined. Even the aspects of her
performance where she’s vulnerable, or
when she makes a mistake, you’re internalizing that even heroes falter. It’s the
kind of hero I wish I had had growing
Ms. Wood did not necessarily feel heroic when she traveled to Washington —
her second time there, after the 2017
Women’s March — to testify before the
House Judiciary Committee in February. “I shook for days” beforehand, she
said. She feared she would be judged for
what had happened to her.
“I couldn’t even believe I was about to
say these words aloud, that I probably
have only said out loud to three people.”
That somebody with her background
— “I’ve had practice baring my soul in
intense, surreal situations; it’s like what
I do for a living” — was still terrified
made her even more determined to go,
to represent those who couldn’t. She
was invited to appear by Amanda
Nguyen, the founder of Rise, an advocacy organization for rape survivors. They
were endorsing the Survivor’s Bill of
Rights, 2016 legislation which amended
“What I like about her is, she’s
not afraid to be vulnerable, and
that to me is an extremely
powerful position to be in.”
the federal criminal code to give survivors of sexual assault the right to a
free medical exam and to have rape kits
preserved for as long as 20 years,
among other changes. (The hearing examined the law; its supporters are hoping to get a version passed in each state,
because most rape cases are tried on the
state level.)
Ms. Wood called herself a survivor of
domestic violence and sexual assault
and described being raped twice, about
a decade ago, first by an abusive partner, then by a man in the storage closet
of a bar. “Being abused and raped previously made it easier for me to be raped
again, not the other way around,” she
said. She has aligned herself with these
causes before, but never in such personal terms.
She spoke of suffering from “depression, addiction, agoraphobia, night terrors” and attempting suicide; eventually, she was given a diagnosis of longterm post-traumatic stress disorder.
The assaults left her with “a mental scar
that I feel every day,” she said. She delivered her testimony in a gripping voice
and broke down in tears afterward.
Around her neck, in a locket on a long
silver chain, she carried a picture of her
character, Dolores.
She was still wearing it a week or so
later, at her home in Nashville. “Whenever I had a moment of self-doubt, I remembered — this is a part of me,” she
said, as her cat, a protective Devon Rex
named Smokey, curled up beside us on
the couch.
She moved to Nashville a few years
ago, seeking a quieter place to raise her
son, now 4½ years old, she had with her
ex-husband, the actor Jamie Bell. Save
for an old friend turned writing partner,
she knew few people here, and gets
around without much fanfare, helped by
a pair of tortoiseshell glasses and a
choppy bob. (Her long “Westworld” hair
is a wig.)
Would she have been able to testify
without the show?
“I hadn’t even cried about my experiences until after ‘Westworld,’” she said.
Her defense mechanism was to go numb
and power through. “And I didn’t even
realize that until I’d done ‘Westworld.’”
She added that when she finally gave
herself permission to cry, “it was like the
floodgates opened. It just felt like an exorcism; it was so painful but so healing.”
Revealing her ordeal, she felt freer,
she said, comparing it to coming out as
bisexual in 2011. “Everyone was like,
‘Don’t do it!’” she mock-yelled. “And I
was like, ‘I have to, it’s me, and it’s unhealthy if I live in a way that’s not authentic.’”
Twenty-four hours later, Ms. Wood
was in Los Angeles, about to perform at
a touring Bowie tribute. She has a lightning bolt tattoo, from Bowie’s “Aladdin
Sane” album cover, and songs like “Rock
’n’ Roll Suicide” were her beacon. “I
used to just put that on when I was at my
lowest points and just wait for him to
scream, ‘You’re not alone!’ And that
Evan Rachel Wood on the set of “Westworld” with Jeffrey Wright. She says that playing
the character Dolores has forced her to drill into her own struggles.
would get me through another night,”
she said.
When she opened the lyric page for
that song, onstage at the Wiltern, her
hand trembled. The words looked like
symbols — “like I couldn’t even read,”
she said. “Everything went white. And I
thought, ‘Oh boy. Breathe, girl,
breathe.’” In videos from the show, you
can see her hesitate and back off, then
regain her momentum. She finished the
number with shattering intensity.
“Evan is a powerhouse,” said her
friend Linda Perry, the singer and songwriter of 4 Non Blondes who produced
Pink’s “Get the Party Started.” Ms.
Perry recommended her for the Bowie
gig. “What I like about her is, she’s not
afraid to be vulnerable, and that to me is
an extremely powerful position to be in.
She stands right there with her feet on
the ground and her arms open, saying,
This is who I am, this is how I’m going to
be, and this is how I’m going to walk
through life. Take it or leave it.”
In Ms. Wood’s telling, that position is
hard won. The daughter of two actors
from Raleigh, N.C., where her father
runs a community theater, she began
performing early, and moved to Los Angeles with her mother, an acting coach,
after her parents split when she was 9. A
steady career followed, but looking
back, she said: “I didn’t feel like I had
proper training for the world. I lived my
whole life asking, ‘What do you want me
to do and who do you want me to be?’ I
was so insecure and didn’t feel worthy of
much.” As a teenager, she began a muchogled relationship with Marilyn Manson, the older goth rocker, to whom she
was briefly engaged.
Only later in her 20s, she said, and especially after she became a mother, did
she find her voice.
In between Seasons 1 and 2 of “Westworld,” Ms. Wood filmed an indie drama,
“Allure,” out now, in which she plays the
gaslighting abuser of a teenage girl. It
was not fun to play, she said, but a
painful story she felt needed to be told.
The playlist we’d been listening to all
day — her soundtrack for the revolution
— is called “Invincible,” she said. In a
flannel shirt, dark jeans and cowboy
boots embossed with stars, she was unguarded and casual, peppering the conversation with “Dude!” and the click,
every now and then, of a Fidget Cube, to
channel her energy. Her house is cozy
but feels half-lived in — she’s still in Los
Angeles often. “Westworld” shoots in
the Utah desert; to lighten the mood on
set, she and her co-star James Marsden,
as a “host” gunfighter, run their lines as
Veronica Corningstone and Ron Burgundy, from “Anchorman.” (She puts on
her coaching voice; he’s dense. It
But Dolores’s transformation, in Season 2, left Ms. Wood unnerved.
“I’ve worked for a very long time to
not be angry and vengeful,” she said, “so
it was hard to take pleasure in that, even
though I knew that the character had
definitely earned it.”
Ms. Wood’s mission is always to turn
her trauma into some other force. Before she went to Congress, she had her
aura read at a Nashville shop. It told her
some of her energy was blocked, that
she needed to get something out. Now, a
week later, we went back, to see if anything had changed.
She was still glowing lavender —
“wonderful storytellers, writers and artists,” the description said. “They have
the talent to visualize and describe magical, mystical worlds.” But where before
her emotional chart looked like a jagged
mountain range, now it was flat, calm.
“Speaking your truth!” she said.
Her hope was that — especially post
#MeToo — “Westworld” would do for
others what Dolores did for her: help
them to feel powerful, and be heard.
“Everything you want is on the other
side of fear,” she said.
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FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 | 3
Court promises justice in Kosovo violence
Focus will be on attacks
against ethnic Albanians
by their former liberators
Fetah Rudi, a former schoolteacher and
political activist, has been using a
wheelchair for 17 years, ever since unidentified gunmen unloaded 14 bullets
into his stomach and shoulder in a driveby shooting near his village in central
He has no hope of ever walking again
but, thanks to a new war crimes tribunal, he finally has some hope that after 10 years as an independent country,
Kosovo will belatedly grapple with a singularly taboo topic: why ethnic Albanians like him kept getting attacked and in
some cases killed, even after their Serbian tormentors had fled.
He has watched in dismay over the
years as the United Nations and then
the European Union — which have both
tried to establish the rule of law in this
tiny Balkan nation since it broke free
from Serbia in 1999 — failed to deliver
justice for a wave of violence that followed Serbia’s retreat.
The new court, based in The Hague
but governed by Kosovo law, will focus
on judging not Serbian atrocities during
the 1998-99 war but crimes committed
during and after the conflict by the Kosovo Liberation Army, or K.L.A., an ethnic Albanian guerrilla force whose former commanders now run the country.
The court, Mr. Rudi said, is “the last
chance to finally make our people free.”
In the nearly two decades since it split
from Serbia, Kosovo has been governed
as a United Nations protectorate, and,
since February 2008, as an independent
state. Throughout that time, it has been
dogged by demons left from its violent
birth and a culture of impunity left by its
failure to come to terms with the fact
that some of Kosovo’s most powerful figures have been accused of major crimes.
The special court, which is expected
to issue its first indictments soon, is supported by the United States and Europe,
Kosovo’s main backers and funders. But
it poses risks for them, too, as it will examine crimes directly related to the
foundation of the West’s state-building
project in Kosovo: its alliance with the
K.L.A. during NATO’s bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999; its failure
to disarm the K.L.A. after the war
ended; and its inability to protect not
only ethnic Serb residents who stayed
behind, but also the K.L.A.’s ethnic Albanian political rivals.
In a sign that United States support
for the court is perhaps flagging under
President Donald J. Trump, the American chief prosecutor, David Schwendiman, stepped down recently after the
State Department declined to extend his
appointment by two years to enable him
to complete his term with the court, despite assurances during the Obama administration that he would be able to do
Mr. Rudi said the bullets that nearly
killed him in December 2000 — 18
months after the end of the war and the
departure of Serbian forces — were
from the same gun that a month earlier
had been used to kill Xhemajl Mustafa, a
prominent journalist.
Fetah Rudi, a former schoolteacher and political activist, outside his house in the village of Rud in central Kosovo. He was shot 14 times by unidentified gunmen 17 years ago.
“We thought it would be
completely different. We thought
we would have a functioning
country with laws.”
President Hashim Thaci of Kosovo. He has denounced the special court as a “historic
injustice” but pledged to let it proceed. “We have nothing to hide,” he said.
Both attacks occurred despite the
presence of more than 45,000 NATO
troops in Kosovo, a force that, wary of
confronting the K.L.A., did little to halt
post-conflict score settling.
Both Mr. Rudi and Mr. Mustafa were
outspoken supporters of the Democratic
League of Kosovo, an originally pacifist
group led by Ibrahim Rugova that
shared the K.L.A.’s desire to end Serbian
oppression but, once the Serbs left, challenged the self-declared right of the
group’s fighters to run Kosovo as their
own fief.
The expectation of imminent indictments has delighted Mr. Rudi, who was
held in a secret K.L.A. prison and violently beaten toward the end of the war
and after the conflict ended was targeted for assassination by what he suspected was a K.L.A. hit squad. He said
he would leave Kosovo and move to
Western Europe with his wife and four
children if the court flubbed its mission.
The prospect of the court’s digging
into cold cases left from Kosovo’s birth
as a separate state has sent former
K.L.A. members — who include the
country’s president, prime minister and
speaker of Parliament — into a panic.
They tried in December to torpedo the
special court with legislation that would
have emasculated its function. They
backed off after the United States and
the European Union protested the move
in unusually strong terms. The American ambassador, Greg Delawie, called it
a “stab in the back.”
In an interview on the eve of a visit to
Washington in February to attend a
prayer breakfast with President Trump,
President Hashim Thaci — the K.L.A.’s
political commissar during the war,
when he was known to his comrades as
“the snake” — denounced the special
court as a “historic injustice” but
pledged to let it proceed.
“We have nothing to hide,” he said, insisting that the K.L.A. as an organization never imprisoned or murdered its
ethnic Albanian rivals, massacred Serbian civilians or committed other war
crimes, despite the persistent allegations that prompted the establishment
of the special court.
Mr. Thaci (pronounced THAH-chee)
conceded that some “individuals” in the
K.L.A. had taken the law into their own
hands, and he said he wanted to see
their crimes punished. At the same time,
he said that “you can’t put an equal sign
between the crimes of the Serbs and
those of the K.L.A.”
Few if any Kosovars would dispute
that but, with Serbian forces long gone,
many are asking why so few of the hopes
raised by the K.L.A.’s NATO-enabled
victory in 1999 have been fulfilled —
why nearly 60 percent of young people
are unemployed, why corrupt politicians, many of them former K.L.A.
fighters, can ransack the economy with
impunity, and why witnesses in criminal
cases against senior K.L.A. figures keep
disappearing or refusing to testify.
“We thought it would be completely
different,” said Mr. Rudi, the former
teacher. “We thought we would have a
functioning country with laws, institutions, security and a developed economy. We never thought there would be
all this killing and stealing.”
Beriane Mustafa, the daughter of the
murdered journalist, said she did not
know who killed her father, “but I do
know it was a political murder, probably
by political opponents.” Mr. Mustafa’s
murder and the attack on Mr. Rudi followed the defeat of the K.L.A., which
had been reconfigured as a political
party, in local elections in early October
The timing, Ms. Mustafa said, suggested “a kind of revenge” by fighters
who, furious at being denied the political
support they thought they deserved,
calculated that “if we kill these people
we will come to power.”
By 2007, the K.L.A.’s political party
was the country’s dominant political
force. Mr. Thaci became prime minister
in 2008, one month before Kosovo declared independence, and then president in 2016.
Mr. Thaci has become the emblem of
two diametrically opposed views of Kosovo’s liberation struggle and its aftermath. In 2010, Vice President Joseph R.
Biden Jr. described him as “Kosovo’s
George Washington,” the nation’s heroic
founding father. A report issued the
same year by the Council of Europe,
however, described him as “the most
dangerous of the K.L.A.’s ‘criminal
The report had been commissioned
after ghoulish allegations of organ trafficking by the K.L.A. appeared in a book
published by Carla del Ponte, the former
chief prosecutor at United Nations war
crime tribunals in The Hague.
Written by the Swiss prosecutor Dick
Marty, the report portrayed Kosovo as a
failed state run by gangsters and thugs.
It caused outrage in Kosovo across the
political spectrum, mostly because it repeated Ms. del Ponte’s claims that the
K.L.A. had killed Serbian prisoners for
their organs. But it nonetheless set in
motion calls for a reckoning that led to
the establishment of the special court.
The accusation of wartime organ theft
has never been substantiated, but the issue continues to haunt Kosovo, fueled in
part by the discovery in 2008 of an organ
trafficking ring operating out of a medical center near the capital, Pristina. The
man accused of leading the ring, an Israeli citizen, Moshe Harel, was arrested
in January in Cyprus.
Clint Williamson, an American appointed by the European Union in 2011
to head an investigation into Mr. Marty’s
allegations, concluded that the practice
of killing prisoners for their organs “did
occur on a very limited scale” but that
finding evidence to prove it would be
very difficult.
Instead, he said, future indictments
against former K.L.A. commanders
should focus on their responsibility for
“a campaign of persecution” directed at
Serbs and other minority groups, as well
as “toward fellow Kosovo Albanians
whom they labeled either to be collaborators with the Serbs or, more commonly, to have simply been political opponents of the K.L.A. leadership.”
In his interview in February, Mr.
Thaci dismissed the Marty report as
part of a Russian-orchestrated program
of “fake news,” a farrago of lies and disinformation intended to undermine
Western influence in the Balkans.
Calling Kosovo “the most pro-American country in the world,” he said that by
blackening its name, Russia, a firm ally
of Serbia, wanted to damage the United
States. He produced no evidence that
Russia had a hand in Mr. Marty’s report.
Whether the special court can get to
the bottom of what happened nearly 20
years ago will depend to a large extent
on whether witnesses will agree to testify.
When a former K.L.A. commander
living abroad, Agim Zogaj, agreed in
2011 to testify against former comrades
in a war crimes trial, he was put into a
witness protection program run by the
European Union. Before the trial could
start, he was found hanging from a tree
in the western German city of Duisburg.
Ms. Mustafa, the daughter of the murdered journalist, said she was “not optimistic” about the court’s ability to succeed, but added, “If you want to consider
yourself a real state, a serious state, you
have to deal with all crimes, no matter
who committed them.”
Googoosha, the less-than-cherished Uzbek first daughter
Every five to 10 minutes, from 7 a.m. to 7
p.m. seven days a week, a fresh group of
Uzbek pilgrims troops into the tomb of
their late president, the dictator Islam
Karimov, to pay homage at his white
onyx sarcophagus and listen to prayers
chanted in his honor.
At this point, more than a year after
the bejeweled memorial complex to Mr.
Karimov opened, one of the few Uzbeks
who has not visited is the woman who
until recently was Uzbekistan’s most famous person: the president’s eldest
daughter, Gulnara Karimova, 45, who
was once talked of as his heir apparent.
Ms. Karimova was also the only family member not to appear at her father’s
funeral in 2016.
Nor has she been to any of the more
than 35,000 prayer vigils held since. In
fact, since 2014, she has disappeared
from public view.
Many visitors to her father’s shrine
are on their second or third pilgrimage.
Schoolchildren come in groups.
Newlyweds make it their first honeymoon stop, conveniently adjacent to
the 15th-century Registan Square monuments, which are among Central Asia’s
most magnificent architectural treasures.
Even political prisoners released in
the mild “Uzbek spring” that has come
after Mr. Karimov’s death have been
obliged to pay homage, with a two-day
visit to the mausoleum complex as a
condition of their freedom.
The rest of the world saw Islam Ka-
rimov as one of the most repressive
rulers to emerge from the breakup of the
Soviet Union.
But to many Uzbeks, the Soviet-era
Communist leader became the father of
their nation, who led the country to independence and then fended off the Russian domination that plagued its other
neighbors in Central Asia.
That adulation has not, however,
rubbed off on Mr. Karimov’s missing
first daughter.
“Personally, she’s not that interesting
to us,” said Maksud Khatamov, who
came to visit the mausoleum along with
11 family members, including his four
grandchildren. “And she’s not even that
Ms. Karimova and her legions of social media admirers would once have
protested that — or worse.
In her heyday Ms. Karimova was a
ruthless businesswoman, diplomat (as
ambassador to Spain), Harvard student,
mother, socialite and, in the words of an
American Embassy cable unearthed by
WikiLeaks, a “robber baron” who seized
companies from others on a whim, her
father’s power making her untouchable.
She was also a fashion designer with
her own line, Guli, and a singer, making
pop music videos with the stage name
“This is a woman who could not get
enough attention and was everywhere,
and no word from her since 2014,” said
Steve Swerdlow, a Human Rights Watch
researcher for Central Asia, who said he
found himself in the unusual position of
being approached by members of the
dictator’s daughter’s family for help in
finding out what had happened to her.
Many think “Googoosha” is dead, and
The government said that she
had been convicted of tax
evasion, extortion and theft of
state property.
there is no proof to the contrary. “We
heard she died maybe,” said Islamova
Nilofar, 20, who was visiting the late dictator’s mausoleum with her two sisters.
“There hasn’t been one bit of information,” said one of Ms. Nilofar’s sisters,
Zarina Odilova, 25. “She didn’t come
here, that’s for sure.”
Last July the new government of
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who had
been Mr. Karimov’s prime minister,
briefly broke its silence on Ms. Karimova.
The prosecutor general’s office in
Tashkent, the capital, announced that
she had been convicted of tax evasion,
extortion “of money and stakes in large
Uzbek companies” and theft of state
property, and sentenced to five years of
“restricted liberty.”
There was no explanation of what that
meant, but presumably it is a form of
house arrest. She remained in jail,
though, the statement added; she was
being held on another criminal charge
while the authorities sought to recover
more than $1.6 billion in stolen assets
The prosecutor general’s office did
not respond last week to a written request for information on the status of
her case. Other government officials
said they could not discuss her case or
the case of one of her top lieutenants,
Gayane Avakyan, who is also imprisoned.
Gulnara Karimova, center, after a 2011 show of her Guli fashion brand. Ms. Karimova,
the eldest daughter of the dictator Islam Karimov, has not been seen since 2014.
Most Uzbeks visiting her father’s
grave seem to want to forget about Ms.
Karimova, and many nervously refuse
to discuss the former first daughter at
all. “Maybe she had some trouble with
serious people and maybe they didn’t allow her to come here, we don’t know,”
said Jamshid Ayubjanov, 28, a restaurateur from the Fergana Valley who was
on his second visit to the mausoleum. He
changed the subject. “There was never
such a president as our late president,”
he said.
Long before Ms. Karimova’s formal
fall from grace, there were signs that her
glamour and celebrity friends could no
longer protect her. Her dictator father
reportedly beat her up in a family spat in
2013, and Ms. Karimova publicly accused her mother and younger sister,
Lola, of witchcraft, among other things.
(Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva has troubles
of her own, apparently, and recently resigned from her ambassadorship to Unesco.)
Then Ms. Karimova’s once active
Twitter account was shut down. She was
refused permission for her Guli brand to
attend New York fashion shows because
the clothing used Uzbek cotton,
produced with slave labor. Then came
her 2014 arrest, with what family members claim is no access to relatives or
lawyers ever since.
Mr. Swerdlow of Human Rights
Watch said he had even heard from her
ex-husband, Mansur Maqsudi, who
wanted to find out what has happened to
her, which was itself surprising.
Mr. Maqsudi, an American of Uzbek
and Afghan origin who lives in New
York, was in an acrimonious divorce and
custody battle in 2002 with Ms. Karimova, when she was still powerful. He
lost his Coca-Cola business in Uzbekistan and saw all 24 of his relatives who
lived in Uzbekistan deported to Afghanistan, regardless of citizenship; at
least two others were jailed.
None of the visitors to Mr. Karimov’s
mausoleum seemed concerned about
her fate.
“On Gulnara Karimova we have no information and no interest in any information,” said Mamura Abdurahmova,
34. “On Islam Karimov, not since Tamerlane have we had someone so great.”
Mr. Karimov’s tomb, while grand, is
not as spectacular as some of the towering, mosaicized monuments in Samarkand from the great Uzbek emperor
Tamerlane’s era. But it is nearby and
conspicuously connected by a grand
promenade and a bridge to the Registan,
that is now called Islam Karimov Avenue. It was once named after Tamerlane.
Ms. Karimova’s son, named Islam after his grandfather, is applying for asylum in Britain, where he lived as a college student, and has complained that
his mother is being held incommunicado, without even legal representation.
“I don’t understand how in the 21st
century they cannot answer a simple
question,” he said in a BBC interview.
“Where is Gulnara?”
4 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
How the caravan story
exploded on the right
Coverage plays on fears
that among groups of
immigrants are criminals
A migrant caravan in Mexico. United States military leaders have long opposed sending National Guard troops to the border to intercept such groups.
Arguing against troops on border
Pentagon officials express
concern about being seen
as picking fight with ally
A little over a year ago, when news surfaced of a Trump administration memo
that proposed mobilizing as many as
100,000 National Guard troops to round
up unauthorized immigrants at the
southern border of the United States, a
White House spokesman quickly denounced the reports as “irresponsible.”
“That is 100 percent not true,” Sean
Spicer, the press secretary at the time,
told reporters aboard Air Force One.
“There is no effort at all to round up, to
utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.”
At the Pentagon, where officials had
greeted the news grimly, there were
sighs of relief: Military leaders have
long opposed sending National Guard
troops to the border.
“There is a significant opportunity
cost,” said James G. Stavridis, a retired
four-star admiral who commanded
United States forces in Europe and Latin America, adding that troops sent to
the border with Mexico — ostensibly an
American ally — would “miss important
training opportunities for their real primary mission — combat.”
But the idea that Mr. Spicer called inconceivable a year ago is back in play.
On Wednesday, White House officials
said that President Trump planned to
mobilize the National Guard to the
southern border. The announcement
came a day after Mr. Trump surprised
some of his top advisers by saying that
he wanted to send in the military to do
what the immigration authorities, in his
view, could not: secure the border from
what he characterized as a growing
threat of unauthorized immigrants,
drugs and crime from Central America.
Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, said on Wednesday that
her department and the Defense Department would work with governors to
deploy the Guard to “assist the Border
Patrol.” But beyond that, officials had
few details about how many troops
would go, when they would arrive or in
what capacity they would serve.
Ms. Nielsen said she hoped the deployment would begin “immediately,”
but administration officials said the for-
An idea that a White House
spokesman called inconceivable
just a year ago is now back
in play.
mal agreements with governors that
would allow the troops to mobilize were
still being negotiated.
At the Pentagon, several officials privately expressed concern about being
seen as picking a fight with an ally at a
time when the military has plenty of adversaries — the Islamic State, North Korea, Russia, Syria — to contend with.
Massing American troops at another
country’s border, several current and
former Defense Department officials
said, would send a message of hostility
and raise the chances of provoking an
all-out conflict.
“We are so lucky here in this country
when you look at our borders,” said Maj.
Gen. Paul Eaton, a retired veteran of the
Iraq war. “We’ve got the Pacific on one
side, the Atlantic on the other and allies
to the north and the south. Mexico is not
an adversary. Why would you present
this offensive barrier to a friendly country?”
Frustrated that his promised border
wall remains a long way from being
built, Mr. Trump said he had been discussing deploying the National Guard to
the border with Defense Secretary Jim
Mattis, who sat next to him on Tuesday
as the president complained about what
he called America’s weak immigration
Despite the historically low number of
apprehensions at the border last year,
data released on Wednesday by
Customs and Border Protection showed
a steady uptick since the beginning of
the year. Last month, 37,393 individuals
were caught by the Border Patrol, up
from 26,662 the month before and 25,978
in January.
Defense Department officials say that
Mr. Mattis backs the proposal if it mirrors deployments made under Mr.
Trump’s predecessors, when troops
were sent in a support, but not enforcement, role. The active-duty military is
generally barred by law from carrying
out domestic law enforcement functions, such as apprehending people at
the border. But President Barack
Obama sent 1,200 troops in 2010 and
President George W. Bush dispatched
6,000 in 2006 to act in support roles for
border authority officials.
But military officials worry that Mr.
Trump may not be satisfied with the
Bush- and Obama-level deployments.
Even limited deployments, Pentagon officials said, have come with their share
of trouble.
In 1997, Esequiel Hernandez Jr., an 18year-old American student, was killed
by a group of United States Marines on a
drug surveillance mission in Redford,
Tex., while he was herding goats. Mr.
Hernandez was the first American civilian to be killed by active-duty military
troops since the Kent State massacre in
1970, and the episode led the Clinton administration to suspend troop patrols
near the border.
That kind of encounter, or worse,
could erupt if Mr. Trump sends a large
number of National Guard troops to join
the high number of other personnel already guarding the border, Defense Department officials said.
Homeland Security has more than
16,000 Border Patrol agents on the
southwest border, along with 6,500
customs officers at the ports of entry.
Customs and Border Protection has several drones flying along the border, as
well as 12,000 sensors, nearly 700 miles
of fencing and other technology including infrared cameras. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement runs several task
forces that involve personnel from other
agencies, including the Defense Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Treasury Department.
Even if Mr. Mattis tried to steer Mr.
Trump toward the limited border deployment used by his predecessors, the
president “would want it to be visible,”
said Dov S. Zakheim, the Pentagon’s top
financial officer during Mr. Bush’s first
term. “He would want to have troops literally patrolling the border. It wouldn’t
be enough to have drones.”
But if Mexico responded by putting
troops on its side of the border, Mr. Zakheim said, the situation could deteriorate quickly.
“All it takes is one mistake,” he said.
“Somebody fires. And then what?”
Ron Nixon and Julie Hirschfeld Davis
contributed reporting.
The world’s biggest gambling losers
n’t distinguish liquor sales from gambling revenue in its annual report, estimates suggest that it pulls more than
$770 million in revenue from the machines each year.
Other community mainstays also operate machines. In Victoria, the heartland of Australian Rules Football, 90
percent of Australian Football League
teams operate their own pokies, generating more than 93 million Australian
dollars in revenue last year.
Pokies are regulated on a state-bystate basis, instead of by the federal government. Western Australia is the only
state or territory that bans the operation
of pokies outside casinos.
State budgets are increasingly made
up of revenue from the machines, and legalized gambling, including pokies, accounted for 7.7 percent of total tax revenues for Australian states and territories in 2016. In some parts of Australia,
players can deposit 7,500 Australian dollars into a machine in one transaction
and can lose more than a thousand dollars per hour.
A study conducted by Dr. Rintoul
comparing two regions outside Melbourne found that the less wealthy one
had twice as many pokie machines and
more than three times the per capita
“The people who can least afford to be
losing large sums of money are losing
the most,” she said.
Dr. Rintoul described the casino-like
methods used by venues to maximize
revenue, including rewarding patrons
with free food and drinks, and hiring
part-time models as wait staff.
A visit to one gaming floor at a venue
in Sunshine, the region Dr. Rintoul’s
study focused on, revealed a busy gaming floor one recent Wednesday night.
Gamblers placed “RESERVED” signs
under their machines of choice, which
Dr. Rintoul said reflected how frequent
gamblers come to relate to the machines: picking favorites, and believing
that a particular one can get “hot” or due
for a win.
A few hours later, in Balaclava, a suburb on the opposite side of Melbourne,
patrons filled the gaming room at an
Australian Leisure and Hospitality
Group venue open until 6 a.m.
A large Woolworths supermarket
across the road keeps foot traffic in the
area high.
“We regularly had people tell us that
they often ended up in a gambling venue
even when they weren’t intending to
gamble when they left the house,” Dr.
Rintoul said.
In February, Andrew Wilkie, an independent Australian politician, published
leaked documents from two whistleblowers at Australian Leisure and Hospitality revealing that the company had
been secretly collecting data on frequent gamblers, including their favorite
sports teams, their relationship statuses
and when they had the most money to
Gordon Cairns, the chairman of Woolworths, said that the company was
“very concerned” about the revelations
and that the matter was being reviewed
by external auditors.
In a country that has confronted other
powerful industries by mandating
graphic warnings on cigarette packs
and cracking down on guns, some wonder why gambling has escaped tougher
A help line sign in the men’s restroom at a
gambling venue.
regulation. Critics say politicians are increasingly afraid to confront the growing influence of the gambling lobby.
The Rev. Tim Costello, a spokesman
for the Alliance for Gambling Reform,
compares pro-gambling bodies to the
National Rifle Association in the United
States in their ability to exert influence
over politicians.
Australians, he said, “say Americans
have a blind spot on guns.”
“Here, we have a blind spot on pokies,” he added.
Pro-gambling groups frequently refer
to Mr. Costello and other gambling opponents as “prohibitionists” and are quick
to point to support services that the
groups have developed for frequent
They also argue that tighter regulation of pokies would lead to huge job
losses at the venues that operate them.
The groups have increasingly flexed
their muscles in state elections. Antigambling candidates who ran in Tasmania and South Australia this year faced a
barrage of negative advertising from
pro-gambling bodies.
In the run-up to the South Australian
election, the Australian Hotels Association — which counts Australian Leisure
and Hospitality as a member — donated
to several opponents of Nick Xenophon,
an independent whose new party, S.A.BEST, vowed to cut in half the number of
pokies per venue and institute smaller
betting limits. After positive polling
early in the campaign, Mr. Xenophon
and his party ultimately failed to win a
single lower-house seat. It was the first
election loss of Mr. Xenophon’s 20-year
“How much influence they wield, it’s
unhealthy,” said Frank Pangello, Mr.
Xenophon’s media adviser in the recent
“They bought an election in Tasmania. They bought one in South Australia,” Mr. Pangello added. “They’re like
the N.R.A. in America: You take them
on, they’ll crush you.”
The Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group declined to comment for this
article or discuss whether it spent
money on the Tasmanian and South
Australian state elections. The hotels
group did not respond to a request for
Mr. Costello said that with governments so dependent on gambling revenue, it may be difficult to pass tighter
regulation of pokies.
“The states are Dracula in charge of
the blood bank,” he said.
It was the kind of story destined to take
a dark turn through the conservative
news media and grab President Trump’s
attention: A vast horde of migrants was
making its way through Mexico toward
the United States and no one was stopping it.
“Mysterious group deploys ‘caravan’
of illegal aliens headed for U.S. border,”
warned Frontpage Mag, a site run by
David Horowitz, a conservative commentator.
The Gateway Pundit, a website that
was most recently in the news for
spreading conspiracy theories about the
school shooting in Parkland, Fla., suggested the real reason the migrants
were trying to enter the United States
was to collect social welfare benefits.
And as the president often does when
immigration is at issue, he saw a reason
for Americans to be afraid. “Getting
more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming,” a
Twitter post from Mr. Trump read.
The story of “the caravan” followed an
arc similar to many events — whether
real, embellished or entirely imagined
— involving refugees and migrants that
have roused intense suspicion and outrage on the right. The coverage tends to
play on the fears that hiding among
mass groups of immigrants are many
criminals, vectors of disease and agents
of terror. And often the president, who
announced his candidacy by accusing
Mexico of sending rapists and drug
dealers into the United States, acts as an
accelerant to the hysteria.
The sensationalization of this story
and others like it seems to serve a common purpose for Mr. Trump and other
immigration hard-liners: to highlight
the twin dangers of freely roving migrants — especially those from Muslim
countries — and lax immigration laws
that grant them easy entry into Western
The sensationalization of the story
seemed to help President Trump.
The narrative on the right this week,
for example, mostly omitted that many
people in the caravan planned to resettle
in Mexico, not the United States. And it
ignored how many of those who did intend to come to the United States would
probably go through the legal process of
requesting asylum at a border checkpoint — something miles of new wall
and battalions of additional border patrol would not have stopped.
“They end up in schools on Long Island, some of which are MS-13!” declared Brian Kilmeade on the president’s preferred morning news program, “Fox & Friends,” referring to the
predominantly Central American gang.
The coverage became so distorted
that it prompted a reporter for Breitbart
News who covers border migration,
Brandon Darby, to push back. “I’m seeing a lot of right media cover this as ‘people coming illegally’ or as ‘illegal aliens.’
That is incorrect,” he wrote on Twitter.
“They are coming to a port of entry and
requesting refugee status. That is legal.”
In an interview, Mr. Darby said it was
regrettable that the relatively routine
occurrence of migrant caravans —
which organizers rely on as a safety-innumbers precaution against the violence that can happen along the trek —
was being politicized. “The caravan isn’t
something that’s a unique event,” he
said. “And I think people are looking at it
wrong. If you’re upset at the situation,
it’s easier to be mad at the migrant than
it is to be mad at the political leaders on
both sides who won’t change the laws.”
As tends to be the case in these
stories, the humanitarian aspects get
glossed over as migrants are collapsed
into one maligned category: hostile foreign invaders.
In November, Mr. Trump touched off
an international furor when he posted a
series of videos on Twitter that purported to show the effects of mass Muslim migration in Europe. Initially circulated by a fringe ultranationalist in Britain who has railed against Islam, the
videos included titles like “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”
“Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin
Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes
teenage boy off roof and beats him to
The assailant in one video the president shared, however, was not a “Muslim migrant.” And the other two videos
depicted four-year-old events with no
These items tend to metastasize irrespective of the facts, but contain powerful visual elements to which Mr. Trump
is known to viscerally respond.
Last February, Mr. Trump insinuated
that some kind of terror-related episode
involving Muslim immigrants had taken
place in Sweden. “Who would believe
this? Sweden,” he said at a rally in Florida, leaving Swedes and Americans baffled because nothing out of the ordinary
had happened at all. “They took in large
numbers. They’re having problems like
they never thought possible.”
Like the caravan story, which apparently came to Mr. Trump’s attention as
he watched “Fox & Friends,” the president was referring to something he had
seen on cable news. And he later had to
clarify that he was referring to a Fox
News segment on issues Sweden was
having with migrants generally, not any
particular event.
When the president himself has not
spread stories about immigration that
were either misleading or turned out to
be false, his White House aides have.
Last year, the White House joined a pileon by the conservative news media after
it called attention to the account of a
high school student in Montgomery
County, Md., who said she had been
raped at school by two classmates, one
of whom is an undocumented immigrant. The case became a national rallying cry on the right against permissive
border policies and so-called sanctuary
cities that treat undocumented immigrants more leniently. Fox News broadcast live outside the high school for
Prosecutors later dropped the
charges after they said the evidence did
not substantiate the girl’s claims.
The story of the caravan has been
similarly exaggerated. And the emotional outpouring from the right has
been raw — that was the case on Fox
this week when the TV host Tucker Carlson shouted “You hate America!” at an
immigration activist who defended the
people marching through Mexico.
The facts of the caravan are not as
straightforward as Mr. Trump or many
conservative pundits have portrayed
them. The story initially gained widespread attention after BuzzFeed News
reported last week that more than 1,000
Central American migrants, mostly
from Honduras, were making their way
north toward the United States border.
Yet the BuzzFeed article and other coverage pointed out that many in the
group were planning to stay in Mexico.
That did not stop Mr. Trump from expressing dismay on Tuesday with a situation “where you have thousands of people that decide to just walk into our
country, and we don’t have any laws that
can protect it.”
The use of disinformation in immigration debates is hardly unique to the
United States. Misleading crime statistics, speculation about sinister plots to
undermine national sovereignty and
Russian propaganda have all played a
role in stirring up anti-immigrant sentiment in places like Britain, Germany
and Hungary. Some of the more fantastical theories have involved a socialist
conspiracy to import left-leaning voters
and a scheme by the Hungarian-born
Jewish philanthropist George Soros to
create a borderless Europe.
Anyone watching Fox News this week
would have heard about similar forces
at work inside “the caravan.”
“This was an organized plan and deliberate attack on the sovereignty of the
United States by a special interest
group,” said David Ward, whom the network identified as a former agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“They rallied a bunch of foreign nationals to come north into the United States
to test our resolve.”
• Because of an editing error, an article
on Tuesday about a recent surge in the
popularity of e-cigarettes misstated the
proportion of American high school seniors who told the 2017 Monitoring the
Future survey on adolescent drug use
that they vaped daily. The survey found
that 11 percent of seniors had vaped nicotine in the previous 30 days and that 24
percent of those students reported vaping daily. The survey did not find that 24
percent of high school seniors overall reported vaping daily.
• An article on Tuesday about the charitable trust of the fashion designer Lee
Alexander McQueen misstated the relationship that the designer Giles Deacon
and Matthew Slotover, a co-founder of
the Frieze art fairs, have with the trust,
the Sarabande Foundation. They help
with scholarship selection, but they are
not patrons.
• An article on March 28 about a Hong
Kong exhibition of art from the collector
J. Tomilson Hill, relying on information
from a publicist, misstated the number
of works in the exhibition “Christopher
Wool: Highlights From the Hill Art Collection.” It is 15, not 13.
• An article in the March 24-25 edition
about a collector who is a relative of the
Danish designer Georg Jensen, relying
on information from a company source,
misstated the title of Sarah O’Brien. She
is Phillips’s international business development director of jewelry, not its international director of jewelry.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 | 5
From left: A group of speedskaters warming up indoors before going out onto the ice; gas pipes on the outskirts of the city; and a couple of hockey players passing a puck after practice. Lesnoy, Russia, has produced 11 athletes who have won medals at the Olympics.
Forbidden city in Russia breeds elite athletes
Community that made
nuclear bombs now churns
out Olympic candidates
It takes 10 minutes to drive from the military checkpoint, where anyone who has
a pass to the city must stop, to an icefilled stadium called Trud (Work).
Since the days of the Soviet Union,
there have been several dozen closed
cities like Lesnoy, a community of
50,000 where access is tightly controlled
and state secrets are protected. For decades, those not in on the secrets did not
know about these cities at all.
Inside, however, citizens were hard at
work: developing weapons of mass destruction, processing radioactive materials — and training for the Olympics.
According to local officials, the number of Olympians per resident here is a
record for the country. Lesnoy has given
rise to 46 champions of the Soviet Union,
Russia and Europe and has produced 11
athletes who competed at the Olympic
Games and went home with medals.
It was on the ice of Trud, inside this
closed city built by gulag prisoners 70
years ago, that many of them got their
When you are walking around the city,
which used to be known as Sverdlovsk-45 before the Soviet Union collapsed and the city was declassified and
renamed, it can seem as if you are in a
separate socialist state. There are numerous buildings in the style of Soviet
Neo-Classicism, a monument to Lenin
and, since the 1950s, an atomic bomb
production factory. The main plant, now
called the Combine Elektrokhimpribor,
is used to assemble and dispose of nuclear ammunition and to produce uranium
isotopes. One of every three inhabitants
of the city works inside.
But it is the Fakel (Torch) Olympic
sports school that has made Lesnoy famous. The school trains children from 9
to 17 years old for various sports: speedskating and cross-country skiing and
shooting, ice hockey and the rest. Many
closed cities developed powerful sports
organizations over the years to fill children’s free time; today, there are about
1,000 at the Fakel school.
Lyubov Pronina has worked as a
speedskating coach in Lesnoy since
1974. “For me, work is my life,” she said.
Ms. Pronina’s son Sergey Pronin is also
a coach. He competed in the Russian
championships in 2007 and was a mentor for the youth national team. Vasiliy
Pudushkin, a bronze medalist of the first
youth Olympic Games in Austria in 2012,
was one of his trainees.
Mr. Pronin’s oldest daughter, Paulina,
15, already has reached the first adult
rank in skating. Her sister, Uliana, 5,
skates, too. But the Pronin family is not
alone in creating its own Lesnoy sports
“The city is small,” he said. “What else
shall we do?”
Cross-country skiing students preparing for a 5-kilometer practice run. The city of Lesnoy used to be known as Sverdlovsk-45 before the Soviet Union collapsed and the city was declassified and renamed.
The Pronins: Uliana, her father Sergey, sister Paulina and grandmother Lyubov Pronina.
The most significant problem for
speedskaters here is the lack of financing. “We have to collect money from parents for all trips and equipment,”
Lyubov Pronina said. “A jumpsuit costs
30,000 rubles,’’ or $520, ‘‘and Dutch
skates are even more expensive. You
can’t win the competition without it!”
The ski base is on the outskirts of the
city, surrounded by the forest on one
side and a barbed wire perimeter on the
Vladimir Popov was the mentor of
many champions, and even though he is
retired, he still comes to the ski base to
meet with the skiers and their coaches.
But Lesnoy is a place where people
start now, not a destination. Many athletes in the Fakel school leave the city
after finishing high school.
Some apply to join national sports
teams, but many of them simply quit
professional sports and get on with their
lives. “There is nothing to do in the city,”
said 16-year-old Lisa Sharova, a speedskater. Even though Lisa’s father was
also in speedskating, and helped her get
started in the sport, she doesn’t plan to
‘‘In the end, I decided to finish my
career. My son is my main medal.”
spend her life on skates. “I realized that
I’d have a better chance if I became a
coding specialist.”
For Dmitri Nikishkin, a participant in
the Nagano, Japan, and Salt Lake City
Paralympic Games, the situation was
different. Mr. Nikishkin honed his skiing
under the supervision of Popov, while
studying at the local university and
practicing at the factory.
In January 1998, he won a specialized
Russian championship at two distances: 10 kilometers and 20 kilometers.
But he didn’t get any Olympic or World
Cup medals.
A year after the Salt Lake City Games,
in 2003, Mr. Nikishkin quit sports. “I
used to come back from camps, see my
son and leave again. It was hard. In the
end, I decided to finish my career. My
son is my main medal.”
Isolated from large cities and world
news, Lesnoy exists in its own world,
with its passes, its competitions — and
its problems.
“If you ask me about the Russian doping scandal, I will answer: We, in general, don’t care about these political
games,” Sergey Pronin said, laughing.
“We just want to buy new skates!”
Ivan Chesnokov contributed reporting.
Survivors of London apartment fire are still displaced
Nearly 10 months after the fire in the
Grenfell Tower residential high rise in
London that killed at least 71 people,
many of the families left homeless are
still living in hotels or other temporary
More than 200 households were displaced by the fire on June 14 that ripped
through the 24-story tower, whose residents were mostly low- and middle-income people. Additionally, nearly 100
families from nearby towers damaged
by the fire are also still in emergency accommodations, Dominic Raab, a junior
housing minister, told lawmakers last
The local council that oversees the upkeep of Grenfell and the recovery
process has spent about $280 million to
secure new housing for the displaced
families. Many of them complain,
though, that they are dissatisfied with
their options, and they say their needs
are not being met.
The council spent nearly $30 million
alone on hotel bills from June to February, according to figures obtained by the
Press Association of Britain under the
Freedom of Information Act.
“We kept saying we didn’t want to live
higher than the third floor or in a large
tower block because of the trauma we
went through,” said Asma Kazmi, a
mother of three who survived the fire.
“For seven months, they showed us
flats on high-up floors in big tower
blocks,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“We just accepted temporary housing
to get out of the hotel, but all this moving
and limbo is really harming our children,” Ms. Kazmi added. “My 5-year-old
is so confused and still asks me when we
are going home.”
The Grenfell blaze has come to symbolize inequality in one of London’s
wealthiest neighborhoods, where incomes can vary greatly from block to
block. Grenfell Tower residents had
complained about fire safety for several
Residents also claim that regulators
put cost before safety, saying that cheap,
combustible materials used on the exterior of the building in a major refurbishment in 2014 might have helped spread
the flames.
The police have said that there are
reasonable grounds to suspect that the
local council and the organization that
managed the tower block had committed corporate manslaughter.
The council and the management organization have refused to comment on
the allegations while a criminal investigation into the causes of the fire’s rapid
spread is still in progress.
Grenfell United, an organization for
the survivors of the fire, said that the
council’s recovery efforts lacked a “humanitarian aspect.”
Shahin Sadafi, a spokesman for Grenfell United, questioned why the local
council started to buy properties before
asking survivors what kind of housing
they needed. He said that many people
were frustrated and angry because the
housing being offered ignored their expressed preferences.
“People are asking not to be housed in
properties that overlook the charred
tower, or have only one exit, he said.
“Yet, they are being shown those exact
types of properties.”
John Walker, a displaced tenant of a
nearby building that was damaged by
the fire, said residents’ voices “are still
not being heard.”
“If this happened to a luxury residential block, everyone would have already been rehoused,” he said.
Another major complaint from sur-
vivors, local activists and politicians is
what they say is the slow pace with
which the council has acted, which they
say has led to a waste of resources. Local politicians say the $30 million spent
on hotels would have been enough to rebuild the original tower at least three
An independent task force that has
been assessing the recovery for Grenfell
residents said the local council had
made a “huge effort” at rehousing. But
the task force also said it had not yet
seen enough evidence that the council’s
strategies, plans and resources were
translating into improvements for
enough of the survivors and for the
wider community.
“Converting plans into action and delivery on the ground remains patchy,”
the task force said in a report published
last month.
The task force said the council’s property purchases had created the best opportunity so far to move residents out of
temporary accommodations, but added
that the target of permanently rehousing all households by the first anniversary of the fire was a “huge challenge”
that was unlikely to be met.
A spokesman for the council said that
employees were working around the
The charred hulk of Grenfell Tower in London after a fire tore through the high-rise last
June. More than 200 mostly low- and middle-income households were displaced.
clock to ensure that families were rehoused as quickly as possible.
“We are moving at the pace of the survivors, and we believe nobody should be
forced to make a decision on what is a
very big decision at a very traumatic
time,” the spokesman said. Last month,
the British housing secretary, Sajid
Javid, acknowledged that progress had
been too slow, telling Parliament that
only 62 of 202 displaced households
were in permanent housing.
6 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
Military project fuels
dissent within Google
Some employees fear
the Pentagon could turn
their work into a weapon
YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, Calif. Nasim Najafi Aghdam was found by the police sleeping in her car the night before she opened fire at the tech company.
YouTube attacker’s viral rage
She was angry at company
that had offered a platform
for her often bizarre videos
In Iran, she was known as Green Nasim,
a social media star with followings on
YouTube, on Instagram and elsewhere.
In the United States, she cast a very
different profile, a proponent of vegan
diets, animal rights and home exercise
who had increasingly become agitated
by one of the tech companies that helped
give her a platform.
On Tuesday afternoon, Nasim Najafi
Aghdam sneaked into YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, Calif., and
opened fire, shooting three people before taking her own life. The police said
Ms. Aghdam’s anger over what she believed to be unfair treatment by
YouTube had set her on a 500-mile drive
up California from her home near San
Diego to YouTube’s offices on the northern edge of Silicon Valley.
“People like me are not good for big
business, like for animal business, medicine business and for many other businesses. That’s why they are discriminating and censoring us,” she said in a video
posted online last year criticizing
Investigators on Wednesday were
still retracing Ms. Aghdam’s steps.
About 11 hours before the shooting, she
was found sleeping in her car by the police in Mountain View., Calif., home to
YouTube’s parent company, Google, and
about 30 miles from San Bruno. After
checking records on her license, they
discovered that her family had reported
her missing several days earlier.
Ms. Aghdam told the Mountain View
officers that she had been having issues
with her family, and that she had come
to Northern California to find a job. She
didn’t appear to the police to be a danger,
to herself or others, so they soon let her
Ms. Aghdam was in her late 30s. In
several of her videos, she said she was
born in Iran, in the city of Urmia, where
most people also speak Turkish, as she
does in some of her videos. Ms. Aghdam
had YouTube pages in Persian, Turkish
and English. She explained that she and
her family were members of the Baha’i
faith, which faces persecution in Iran, a
country with a Muslim majority.
Several of her colorful — and sometimes bizarre — videos had gone viral in
Iran. Her website, which said it was
quoting Western news outlets, identified her as “the first Persian female vegan bodybuilder.”
Ms. Aghdam became especially famous for one clip in which she wears a
revealing purple dress, showing cleavage, and begins to slowly strip off her
clothes to reveal a pair of fake plastic
breasts. “Don’t trust your eyes,” read a
caption in English on the clip.
After letting her go, the Mountain
View police spoke to Ms. Aghdam’s father and brother and let them know she
was safe. The police said there was no
mention in that conversation of her issues with YouTube.
But in a second call, her father said
YouTube had recently done something
that “had caused her to become upset”
and that may have been why she was in
the area. Still, the police said, the father
did not seem concerned and “simply
wanted to let us know that may have
been a reason for her to move up here.”
Later Tuesday morning, Ms. Aghdam
went to a nearby shooting range. Then,
just after noon, she parked at a business
near YouTube’s offices. She walked into
one of YouTube’s parking garages, and
then emerged into an outdoor courtyard
where employees were eating lunch.
Nasim Najafi Aghdam explaining vegetarianism in Persian in a YouTube video.
Emergency officials arrived at
YouTube’s offices two minutes after the
police received 911 calls about shots being fired. When they arrived, they found
Ms. Aghdam dead. A 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun, registered in her
name, was found at the scene.
By Tuesday night, YouTube, as well as
Instagram and Facebook, had taken
down her pages and videos.
Ed Barberini, the chief of the San
Bruno Police Department, said, “At this
point in the investigation, it is believed
that the suspect was upset at the policies and practices of YouTube. This appears to be the motive for this incident.”
On Wednesday, two of the people who
were shot were released from Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. A
third was still in the hospital, but his condition was upgraded to serious from
Ms. Aghdam dedicated several of her
videos to promoting animal rights, vegan diets and healthy living. In one video,
she sat in front of a screen with a rabbit,
as she tried to explain in Persian the differences between vegetarianism and
Her personal website and videos
posted to YouTube and elsewhere were
filled with complaints about YouTube.
“When searching for my website in
google, at top of link they add ‘an error
occurred’ but there is no error!” a website under Ms. Aghdam’s name,, said in February
2016. “They add it to keep you from my
visiting my site.”
The American dream appeared to be
tarnished for her after she began to face
hurdles in the United States.
“If you are superficial, you will think it
is heaven here, that you can go naked
outside and have sex left and right like
other animals without any morality,” she
said in one video in Persian. “But if you
enter the system, you will see that it is
worse than Iran,” she said. “Those who
want to inform people against the system and big companies get censored.”
On her channel on Telegram, a social
media network extremely popular in
Iran, her last post is a childhood picture
of herself standing among flowers. It
has no caption.
Daisuke Wakabayashi reported from
San Bruno, Thomas Erdbrink from
Tehran, and Matthew Haag from New
York. Nellie Bowles and Jack Nicas contributed reporting from San Francisco.
Size of Facebook breach rises to 87 million
Facebook has said that the data of up to
87 million users may have been improperly shared with a political consulting
firm connected to President Trump during the 2016 election — a figure far
higher than the estimate of 50 million
that had been widely cited since the leak
was reported last month.
Mark Zuckerberg, the American company’s chief executive, also announced
that Facebook would offer all of its users
the same tools and controls required under European privacy rules. The European rules, which take effect next
month, give people more control over
how companies use their digital data.
Facebook had not previously disclosed how many accounts had been
harvested by Cambridge Analytica, the
firm connected to the Trump campaign.
It has also been reluctant to disclose
how it was used by Russian-backed actors to influence the 2016 presidential
Among Facebook’s acknowledgments on Wednesday was the disclosure
of a vulnerability in its search and account recovery functions that it said
could have exposed “most” of its 2 billion users to having their public profile
information harvested.
The new effort to appear more transparent about the data leaks — including
a rare question-and-answer session
with Mr. Zuckerberg and reporters —
came just before Mr. Zuckerberg’s expected testimony next week on Capitol
Hill, where he will most likely face criticism over how the company collects and
shares the personal data of its users.
Sheryl Sandberg, Mr. Zuckerberg’s top
deputy, has scheduled several national
television interviews for this week.
The company said that on Monday it
would start telling users whether their
information may have been shared with
Cambridge Analytica.
Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook in Washington, said the 87 million
figure was an estimate of the total number of users whose data could have been
acquired by Cambridge Analytica. He
said that the estimate was calculated by
adding up all the friends of the people
who had logged into the Facebook app
from which Cambridge Analytica collected profile data.
“We wanted to put out the maximum
number of people who could have been
affected,” Mr. Zuckerberg told reporters.
It remains unclear exactly how many
users had their personal information
made available to Cambridge Analytica.
The firm said Wednesday that it had licensed data for no more than 30 million
users of the social network.
Facebook also released a lengthy document describing how it would protect
personal data in the future. In that document, Facebook said its search and account recovery systems had been open
to abuse by anyone who already had
some information about an individual,
such as a phone number or email address. The vulnerability extended to
much of the platform’s user base before
it was closed on Wednesday, Facebook
The company also said it would limit
the types of data that can be harvested
by software used by outside businesses.
The changes mean that users will have
to give permission before an app can collect information beyond their names
and addresses.
Facebook also said it would no longer
allow outsiders to use apps to gather information about the religious or political
views of its users. And it will stop using
third-party data from companies such
as Experian and Acxiom to supplement
its own data for ad targeting.
“It’s clear now that we didn’t focus
enough on preventing abuse,” Mr.
Zuckerberg said. “We didn’t take a
broad enough view of what our responsibility is. That was a huge mistake, and
it was my mistake.”
“It’s clear now that we didn’t focus
enough on preventing abuse.”
The United States Federal Trade
Commission is investigating whether
Facebook violated a 2011 agreement
meant to protect users’ privacy. User
data is crucial to the company’s business, because it is used to deliver advertising to users.
Mr. Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify
about the company’s handling of sensitive user data before the Senate’s Commerce and Judiciary committees on
Tuesday and the House Energy and
Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
“This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues,” said Representatives Greg Walden, Republican of
Oregon, and Frank Pallone, Democrat of
New Jersey, of the House committee.
Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said, “With all of the data exchanged
over Facebook and other platforms, users deserve to know how their information is shared and secured.”
Facebook’s problems stretch back before the reports about Cambridge Ana-
lytica, to earlier investigations into how
Russian actors infiltrated the platform
by placing ads and posts to influence the
2016 election. Mr. Zuckerberg initially
dismissed the idea of foreign interference on Facebook as a “crazy idea.”
Since then, the company has been the
focus of investigations by law enforcement and congressional committees
that are delving into the Russian influence campaign. Facebook now acknowledges that its platform was used to sway
All those troubles have prompted investors to flee the company, and its
stock has fallen sharply in recent weeks.
In response, the company has put its
executives front and center.
Mr. Zuckerberg typically talks to
groups of reporters only after the company releases its quarterly financial reports. But after not responding in public
for several days following the Cambridge Analytica disclosure, he has given a series of interviews.
And Ms. Sandberg, Facebook’s chief
operating officer and the second most
recognizable face at the company, is set
to be interviewed this week by Fox
News, “PBS NewsHour,” NBC’s “Today” show and Bloomberg. Ms. Sandberg will be interviewed remotely from
Terrell McSweeny, a Democratic
member of the Federal Trade Commission, said that Mr. Zuckerberg has a big
task ahead of him in Washington.
“I think it is important for Zuckerberg
to clearly explain how Facebook plans to
earn back consumer trust,” Ms. McSweeny said. “Consumers need reassurance that their data are not being misused.”
Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have
signed a letter protesting the company’s
involvement in a Pentagon program
that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to
improve the targeting of drone strikes.
The letter, which is circulating inside
Google and has garnered more than
3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash
between Silicon Valley and the United
States government that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes.
“We believe that Google should not be
in the business of war,” says the letter,
addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive. It asks that Google
pull out of Project Maven, a Defense Department pilot program, and announce
a policy that it will not “ever build warfare technology.”
That kind of idealistic stance, while
certainly not shared by all Google employees, comes naturally to a company
whose motto is “Don’t be evil,” a phrase
invoked in the protest letter. But it is distinctly foreign to the enormous military
contracting industry and certainly to
the Pentagon, where the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, has often said a central
goal is to increase the “lethality” of the
United States military.
From its early days, Google has encouraged employees to speak out on issues involving the company. Recently,
the heated debate around Google’s efforts to create a more diverse work force
spilled out into the open.
Google employees have circulated
protest petitions on a range of issues, including Google Plus, the company’s lagging competitor to Facebook, and
Google’s sponsorship of the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Employees raised questions about
Google’s involvement in Project Maven
at a recent companywide meeting. At
the time, Diane Greene, who leads
Google’s cloud infrastructure business,
defended the deal and sought to reassure concerned employees. A company spokesman said most of the signatures on the protest letter had been collected before the company had an opportunity to explain the situation.
The company subsequently described its work on Project Maven as
“non-offensive” in nature, though the
Pentagon’s video analysis is routinely
used in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, and Defense Department publications make clear that
the project supports those operations.
Both Google and the Pentagon said the
company’s products would not create an
autonomous weapons system that could
fire without a human operator, a muchdebated possibility using artificial intelligence. But improved analysis of drone
video could be used to pick out human
targets for strikes, while also better
identifying civilians to reduce the accidental killing of innocent people.
Without referring directly to the letter
to Mr. Pichai, Google said in a statement
on Tuesday that “any military use of machine learning naturally raises valid
concerns.” It added, “We’re actively engaged across the company in a comprehensive discussion of this important
topic.” The company called such exchanges “hugely important and beneficial,” though several employees familiar
with the letter would speak of it only on
the condition of anonymity, saying they
were concerned about retaliation.
The statement said the company’s
part of Project Maven was “specifically
scoped to be for non-offensive purposes,” though officials declined to
make available the relevant contract
language. The Defense Department
said that because Google is a subcontractor on Project Maven to the prime
contractor, ECS Federal, it could not provide either the amount or the language
of Google’s contract. ECS Federal did
not respond to inquiries.
Google said the Pentagon was using
“open-source object recognition software available to any Google Cloud
customer” and based on unclassified
data. “The technology is used to flag images for human review and is intended
to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work,” the company said.
Some of Google’s top executives have
significant Pentagon connections. Eric
Schmidt, former executive chairman of
Google and still a member of the executive board of Alphabet, Google’s parent
company, serves on a Pentagon advisory body, the Defense Innovation
Board, as does a Google vice president,
Milo Medin.
In an interview in November, Mr.
Schmidt acknowledged “a general concern in the tech community of somehow
the military-industrial complex using
their stuff to kill people incorrectly, if
you will.” He said he served on the board
in part “to at least allow for communications to occur” and suggested that the
military would “use this technology to
help keep the country safe.”
An uneasiness about military contracts among a small fraction of
Google’s more than 70,000 employees
may not pose a major obstacle to the
company’s growth. But in the rarefied
area of artificial intelligence research,
Google is engaged in intense competition with other tech companies for the
most talented people, so recruiters
could be hampered if some candidates
are put off by Google’s military ties.
As Google defends its contracts from
internal dissent, its competitors have
not been shy about publicizing their own
work on defense projects. Amazon heralds its image recognition work with the
Department of Defense, and Microsoft
has promoted the fact that its cloud technology won a contract to handle classified information for every branch of the
military and defense agencies.
The current dispute, first reported by
Gizmodo, is focused on Project Maven,
which began last year as a pilot program
to find ways to speed up the military application of the latest A.I. technology.
The signers of the letter at Google
clearly hope to discourage the company
from entering into far larger Pentagon
contracts as the military applications of
artificial intelligence grow.
The idealistic stance, not shared
by all Google employees, comes
naturally to a company whose
motto is “Don’t be evil.”
Google is widely expected to compete
with other tech giants, including Amazon and Microsoft, for a multiyear,
multibillion-dollar contract to provide
cloud services to the Defense Department. John Gibson, the department’s
chief management officer, said last
month that the Joint Enterprise Defense
Infrastructure Cloud procurement program was in part designed to “increase
lethality and readiness,” underscoring
the difficulty of separating software,
cloud and related services from the actual business of war.
The employees’ protest letter to Mr.
Pichai, which has been circulated on an
internal communications system for
several weeks, argues that embracing
military work could backfire by alienating customers and potential recruits.
Like other onetime upstarts turned
powerful Silicon Valley behemoths,
Google is being forced to confront the
idealism that guided the company in its
early years. Facebook started with the
lofty mission of connecting people all
over the world, but it has recently come
under fire for becoming a conduit for
fake news and being used by Russia to
influence the 2016 election and sow dissent among American voters.
Paul Scharre, a former Pentagon official and author of “Army of None,” a
forthcoming book on the use of artificial
intelligence to build autonomous weapons, said the clash inside Google was inevitable, given the company’s history
and the booming demand for A.I. in the
“There’s a strong libertarian ethos
among tech folks, and a wariness about
the government’s use of technology,”
said Mr. Scharre, a senior fellow at the
Center for a New American Security in
Washington. “Now A.I. is suddenly and
quite quickly moving out of the research
lab and into real life.”
Scott Shane reported from Washington,
and Daisuke Wakabayashi from San
Francisco. Cecilia Kang contributed reporting from Washington.
Matthew Rosenberg contributed reporting.
“We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” says a letter to Sundar
Pichai, the chief executive. Google called its work for the Pentagon “non-offensive.”
FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 | 7
Effort to close pay gap counts on shame
Britain puts a spotlight
on companies’ disparity
by requiring disclosure
The gender pay gaps detailed by British
companies in recent months surprised
almost no one — men are paid more than
women, often by a wide margin, at the
vast majority of businesses.
But by making companies publicly air
their salary information, Britain intends
to force a reckoning. Officials in London
hope the embarrassing revelations in
the reports, which had to be submitted
by Wednesday, will shame companies
into doing more to close the divide.
The push is one of a growing number
of efforts among Western countries to
promote the principle of equal pay. Australia recently mandated gender pay
gap reporting for most companies. In
Germany, a new law will require businesses with more than 500 employees to
reveal their pay gaps. Nordic countries
like Iceland have been even more aggressive, making companies prove they
are paying male and female staff
Proponents of the British effort argue
that the increased transparency will
lead to smaller gaps. Research by the accounting firm PwC predicts that if nothing is done, it could take nearly a century for the divide to close entirely
across the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development, a group
of rich countries that includes Britain.
“This is a game-changer,” said Andrew Bazeley, a policy manager at the
Fawcett Society, a British organization
that campaigns for women’s rights and
equality. “It will force businesses to
think about the gender pay gap in ways
they might not have before.”
Under the new reporting requirements, companies with 250 or more employees must publish salary differences
between men and women every year.
They are also required to provide details
on gaps in average bonuses paid, and
the proportion of men and women who
received those bonuses.
The submissions have made for uncomfortable reading for company exec-
EasyJet headquarters. Men outearn women by around 52 percent at easyJet, the country’s busiest discount airline, which has pledged to hire more female pilots.
utives. At Goldman Sachs’s sprawling
moneymaking machine in Britain, women are paid an average of 56 percent less
than men. Men outearn women by
around 52 percent at easyJet, the country’s busiest discount airline. And at
WPP, the British advertising giant,
women take home, on average, around
one-quarter less than their male counterparts.
Still, at least in some cases, the re-
quirement to publish the data has made
an impact as big companies have scrambled to counter the fallout from embarrassing reports. EasyJet has said its
male chief executive would take a 4.6
percent pay cut to match the salary of
his female predecessor, and pledged to
more than triple the proportion of its female pilots.
In other cases, a change in the pay culture has been pushed from the outside.
At Mills & Reeve, a British law firm
whose audit determined it was paying
women an average of 32 percent less
than men, a major impetus has come
from big clients that have started to request more female representation
among the firm’s attorneys.
“It’s increasingly something we’re
asked for as part of tenders and pitches,
to give details of our diversity,” said
Claire Clarke, a managing partner.
Supporters of the British regulations
acknowledge that transparency alone
won’t solve the problem. But without it,
companies and regulators in countries
seeking to enforce equal pay laws would
have scant evidence that a gap existed
— and face less pressure to address it.
Jake Rosenfeld and Patrick Denice, sociologists at Washington University,
found in a study that salary transparency raised wages, in part because “even
Infrastructure fund struggling
Hyped U.S.-Saudi venture
has had trouble getting
enough investors on board
Last May, the private equity firm Blackstone announced that it was creating a
$40 billion fund that would invest in infrastructure projects in the United
States. The fund’s largest backer was
the government of Saudi Arabia, which
agreed to kick in half the cash.
Ten months later, the highly anticipated fund has yet to complete an initial
round of fund-raising, much less start investing in infrastructure.
Although the Saudis promised to contribute up to $20 billion, Blackstone is
required to raise a dollar from other investors for every dollar the kingdom’s
Public Investment Fund puts in. So far,
only two other investors have publicly
committed to the fund, with their contributions totaling $575 million, according
to the data provider Preqin.
In the short term, Blackstone’s goal
now is to raise a total of $15 billion —
much less than it trumpeted during
President Trump’s visit to Riyadh last
spring — according to a document
posted on the website of a Pennsylvania
pension plan that has agreed to invest in
the fund.
Facing hesitant investors, Blackstone
has twice missed its own deadlines for
completing the first round of fund-raising, according to people briefed on the
plans and a timetable included in the
Pennsylvania pension plan’s documents. Among the factors that have
complicated the fund’s beginning: Saudi
officials told Blackstone last year that
they wanted to create an investment
committee — including one or more
Saudi representatives — that would
oversee the fund, according to four people briefed on the talks who weren’t authorized to discuss them publicly.
The idea was a nonstarter for Blackstone officials, who have consistently
avoided outside influence over their investment decisions, said three of the
people briefed on the talks.
“We’ve had a long and broad-based
relationship with the kingdom that’s,
frankly, never been stronger,” said
Christine Anderson, a spokeswoman for
Blackstone. “They’ve been exceptional
partners.” She declined to discuss the
details of the firm’s fund-raising efforts,
citing legal restrictions that apply during marketing periods.
A spokesman for the kingdom’s Public
Investment Fund declined to comment.
Blackstone — whose co-founder and
chief executive, Stephen A. Schwarzman, is a prominent supporter of President Trump — rushed to unveil the infrastructure fund during the pomp-filled
presidential visit to Saudi Arabia last
May. Wall Street titans including Mr.
Schwarzman attended opulent ceremonies to celebrate the two countries’ financial and political ties.
The deal fit neatly into the White
House’s efforts to coax foreign countries
to invest in the United States. Blackstone’s president at the time, Hamilton
E. James, predicted that the fund would
spur infrastructure projects that would
“create well-paying American jobs and
will lay the foundation for stronger longterm economic growth.”
In the joint Blackstone-Saudi news release, Yasir Al Rumayyan, managing director of the Public Investment Fund,
said that the $20 billion Saudi pledge
“reflects our positive views around the
ambitious infrastructure initiatives being undertaken in the United States as
announced by President Trump.”
The venture’s $40 billion target drew
skepticism from Blackstone’s rival
firms. But the company said it could pull
Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s co-founder and chief executive. The firm has
twice missed its own deadlines for completing the first round of fund-raising.
it off. “Blackstone has the talent, scale
and experience to be an effective private sector partner in filling the massive
infrastructure funding gap,” Mr. James,
now executive vice chairman of the
company, said in the announcement.
In public, Blackstone is sticking with
its goals of creating an immense fund
and deepening its relationship with the
Saudi government, which has drawn
criticism for its human rights record.
“We’re very confident in the long term
we’ll reach the $40 billion capacity,” Mr.
James told a group of reporters in February. He added that Blackstone hoped
to hit that target “over the next decade
or so.”
A week earlier, Mr. Schwarzman had
heaped praise on Mohammed bin
Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia chairman of the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund. When Prince Mohammed was in New York last week, Mr.
Schwarzman hosted a lunch for the
prince at his New York home.
Blackstone began contacting big institutional investors such as pension
funds last spring as it sought contributions to the fund. But some balked at
putting money in until Blackstone had a
team in place to run the infrastructure
fund, according to a person briefed on
the process. Blackstone had promoted
Sean Klimczak, a partner who had brokered previous infrastructure investments, to run the infrastructure group
around the time of the fund’s unveiling.
Other hires took longer.
By February, the news release announcing the $40 billion fund had disappeared from Blackstone’s website, although a version remained on the Public
Investment Fund’s site. (The release reappeared on Blackstone’s site on
Wednesday after The Times asked
about it.)
“They announced it with such fanfare
and certainty, and clearly things were
dragging,” said Colin C. Blaydon, director of the Center for Private Equity and
Entrepreneurship at the Tuck School of
Business at Dartmouth. “I wondered
what on earth was going on. If anybody
ought to be able to pull something like
this off, you’d think Blackstone would be
the one to do it.”
The only two investors to commit to
the infrastructure fund, according to
Preqin, were the Pennsylvania Public
School Employees’ Retirement System,
which committed up to $500 million in
January, and the Parochial Employees’
Retirement System of Louisiana, which
committed $75 million but was still completing the details.
Last month, Mr. Schwarzman mentioned the fund-raising efforts at a New
York investment conference with about
200 people in the room. “We’re raising
other money,” he said, according to a
transcript of the event. He invited anyone in the audience who was interested
to come forward after his speech. “Don’t
be hesitant. Don’t be embarrassed.”
With the exceptional
collaboration of
With the support of
being cognizant of gender pay disparity” helped change norms.
Such is the case in Iceland. The country has gone further than any other, becoming the first to require employers to
submit to external audits to prove they
are paying women on a par with men.
The thinking was that unless equal pay
laws were applied more forcefully, the
imbalance might never close.
Iceland’s government has vowed to
completely close the nation’s gender
pay gap by 2022, after women walked
out of their jobs en masse in protest on a
chilly afternoon in October 2016.
The United States, by contrast, has
taken a step backward on reporting.
Last year, the Trump administration
rolled back an Obama-era initiative that
sought to create incentives to close pay
gaps. The move would have required
companies to report how much they
paid workers based on gender and race,
but the White House now says it would
have posed a burden on employers.
Britain’s rules, though tougher than
efforts in the United States, fall short of
the moves in Iceland.
They cover only about a third of all
companies. Employers won’t face penalties even if they report discrepancies
year after year. And businesses are not
required to address some of the biggest
causes to the pay divide, including the
lack of women in high-paid senior roles.
The gender pay gap in Britain is just
over 18 percent, down from 27.5 percent
in 1997, according to official data. But
those figures are still likely to underestimate the real gap, critics say.
To coincide with the deadline on
Wednesday, British women started a
#PayMeToo hashtag campaign on Twitter, encouraging employees to talk to
one another about how much they are
paid. The nascent effort, pushed by a
group of female British lawmakers,
seeks to encourage women to talk about
their pay at work, and make clear what
rights they have.
“If we are serious about tackling the
gender pay gap, then we have to do
more than publish data,” Stella Creasy, a
member of Parliament from the opposition Labour Party, said in an interview
with The Guardian.
Amie Tsang contributed reporting.
8 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
Minnesota miners warm to tariffs and Trump
Republicans see a chance
for gains where the trade
moves are celebrated
In the Iron Range of northern Minnesota, where evergreen trees stretch on
for miles and snowpack lingers into the
spring, a political shift is underway.
Generations of residents have gone to
work in the mines, endured cycles of
booms and layoffs and mostly voted for
Democrats. But President Trump’s tariffs on imported steel are being celebrated as a boost to the local taconite mines,
which supply American steel mills, and
Republicans are hopeful that they can
flip the area’s congressional seat in November.
“President Trump is keeping his
promises that he made on the campaign
trail,” said Pete Stauber, a retired police
officer and former professional hockey
player who is running for Congress as a
Republican. “He talked about leveling
the playing field for the American
worker. He did that with the tariffs.”
Much has been said about groups who
dislike the tariffs: a bipartisan mix of
manufacturers, farmers and politicians
who warn of trade disputes and unforeseen consequences. China’s announcement on Wednesday of proposed tariffs
on a range of American exports — including soybeans, chemicals and cars —
heightened concern that a trade war
could be looming.
But in a few places where Republicans see openings to win seats and upend a national political forecast that
seems to favor Democrats in November,
the 25 percent tariff on foreign steel and
the 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum are viewed as economic lifelines
straight from the Oval Office.
In southern Illinois, where a Republican congressman, Mike Bost, faces a
tough re-election campaign, a steel mill
that laid off hundreds is calling back
workers. In Ohio, where the governorship and a Senate seat are on this year’s
ballot, another steel mill could soon reopen. And in upper Minnesota, where
iron ore pits — vast canyons of redtinted dirt — shape the landscape, the
tariffs could be a stabilizing force for
towns still recovering from mine closings.
“It’s really strange,” said Mayor Bob
Vlaisavljevich of Eveleth, a longtime
Democrat who in recent years has
changed his registration to Republican
and decorated his City Hall office with a
Trump bumper sticker. “A billionaire
from New York is the one saving us.”
Many in northern Minnesota still
speak fondly about the Democrats in
their own congressional delegation, and
plenty have criticisms of the president’s
Twitter habit and of Republican attitudes toward labor unions. But there is a
broad sense that Mr. Trump has taken
up the region’s cause, just as the national Democratic Party is frustrating
them with environmental regulations
that they see as unduly burdensome to
miners and with calls for stricter limits
on guns.
“I feel they’ve kind of gone off the
deep end,” said Lyn Pahlen, 53, an autoparts store owner who lives in Chisholm,
Minn., where a 36-foot-tall statue of an
iron miner towers above the main highway.
Ms. Pahlen, a former Democratic voter who supported Mr. Trump, said her
business suffered a few years ago when
an influx of foreign steel, much of it from
China, led many of the local mines to
temporarily shut down. With less
money being spent around town, Ms.
Pahlen cut some employees’ hours and
laid off others. Ms. Pahlen said she was
taking a wait-and-see approach.
Conditions are better now. Mines began reopening in the final months of
Barack Obama’s presidency, when he
cracked down on steel dumping, and
that growth has continued under Mr.
A repaired tire for delivery to a mining operation in the Iron Range region of northern Minnesota, an area where enthusiasm for the tariffs is tempered by decades of ups and downs, hiring sprees and layoffs.
Trump. The mines employ about 4,000
people in this sparsely populated region,
according to the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, and thousands of others work for mining industry vendors.
“Things are coming around,” said Dan
Pierce, who was out of work for about 15
months after a mine in Keewatin, Minn.,
shut down in 2015.
Mr. Pierce, a Democrat and local union vice president, is no fan of Mr.
Trump’s, and he was dismayed when the
president temporarily exempted a few
countries, including South Korea and
Brazil, from the tariffs. Still, he said people were cautiously optimistic that the
tariffs would have tangible benefits on
the Iron Range.
“People are working overtime,” Mr.
Pierce said. “People are spending
money in the community.”
Mr. Stauber, the Republican candidate
for Congress who serves now as a
county commissioner, is hoping to capitalize on some of that economic momentum as he runs in Minnesota’s Eighth
District, which stretches more than
27,000 square miles from the Minneapolis exurbs through the Iron Range and
up to the Canadian border.
The district, which Mr. Trump won by
15.6 percentage points in 2016, according to Daily Kos Elections, could be one
of the Republicans’ best chances of flipping a Democratic seat in the House. Mr.
Obama carried the district by 5.5 percentage points in 2012; he won by 8.6
percentage points four years earlier.
Representative Rick Nolan, the incumbent Democrat, is retiring after narrowly winning re-election in 2016.
Much is riding on November for both
parties. Minnesota’s United States senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith,
both Democrats, are up for election, and
the state’s Democratic governor, Mark
The action on steel and
aluminum imports is viewed by
miners as an economic lifeline.
The Iron Man in Chisholm, Minn., stands as a tribute to the men and women who built the mining industry in the state.
Dayton, is retiring and leaving an open
seat. Another congressional seat held
by Democrats, the First District in the
southern part of Minnesota, is also considered a tossup. Representative Tim
Walz won a close race in 2016 and is running for governor this year instead of
seeking another term in the House.
Up on the Iron Range, Mr. Nolan supports the president’s tariffs and remains
popular among miners. But he has faced
pressure from some fellow Democrats
who want stricter environmental regulations, as well as from right-leaning
constituents disenchanted with his
party. Democrats have not yet nomi-
nated a candidate to succeed Mr. Nolan,
74, who said he was leaving office to
spend more time with his family.
Mr. Nolan said the president “connects in his messaging” on the Iron
Range by focusing on economic anxiety.
Democrats could improve their pitch to
voters on that topic, Mr. Nolan said.
“Miners who are sitting on the bench
hoping to go back to work someday, and
you have someone saying, ‘Hey, I care
about you,’” Mr. Nolan said. “That
means a lot to people.”
In the union halls and restaurants of
northern Minnesota, the enthusiasm for
the tariffs is tempered by decades of ups
and downs, hiring sprees and layoffs.
People often use phrases like “guarded
optimism” and “stabilization.”
Many longtime residents — and it
seems almost everyone is a longtime
resident — recall their fathers struggling without jobs in the bust of the
1980s, or a grandfather encountering
hard times. They tell of a time when
places like Eveleth, where the population of 3,700 is about half of its 1930 peak,
had more businesses, more young families, more high school graduates staying home, instead of moving to the cities,
Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Brian Zarn, 54, grew up nearby and
has worked at the mine in Eveleth for
about 29 years. He said it had been a rewarding career with a salary that supported his family, but also work pockmarked by layoffs and frustration with
the selling of low-cost foreign steel on
American shores.
“We’re cautiously optimistic, but we
know the industry has got a lot of problems. China keeps overproducing,” said
Mr. Zarn, a local union president, who
was wearing a shirt that read, “STEELWORKERS Not Made In China.”
“We hope that the tariffs are in there
long term,” he added. “But we’re realists, too. We look at the past.”
How U.S.-China trade feud could threaten manufacturing
sumers.” The result is a list of more than
1,300 targets, many of them obscure
products that may not deliver a direct
hit to consumers’ wallets. The victims
include industrial robots, chemicals,
medical devices and heavy machinery
used by industry for tasks as varied as
processing food and crushing rock.
Such industries have been a vibrant
piece of the economy, adding 224,000
jobs in the past year, the strongest
growth since the recession ended nearly
nine years ago. But underpinning that
rebound has been a strong global appetite for American goods — demand that
could now be weakened.
“This is a pretty tenuous recovery,
and employment is still at much lower
levels than it was before the crisis,” said
Mark Muro, an economist at the Brookings Institution. “This is not a super dynamic, healthy industry.”
Recent job growth has been concentrated in industries that could be affected by American tariffs on China, Chinese tariffs on the United States, or both.
Some of the strongest gains in the
past year have come from makers of
metal products, industrial machinery
and transportation equipment. All those
industries rely heavily on steel and alu-
minum, goods that Mr. Trump hit with
tariffs this year in a move aimed indirectly at China’s production.
In the latest salvos, the United States
took aim at a multitude of technical components — items like circuit breakers,
consoles and touch screens. Those tariffs could raise costs for electronics
manufacturers, who have been hiring
more aggressively lately and whose
supply chains run through China.
Beijing, for its part, zeroed in on an array of American products, including
plastics, a fast-growing export. Chinese
companies imported $3.2 billion worth
of plastic resins from the United States
in 2017, according to the American
Chemistry Council, a trade group. Chinese factories turn those resins into
building materials, automobile instrument panels, eyeglasses and thousands
of other products, many of which end up
back in the United States.
The plastics tariffs alone could send
ripples deep into Trump country. In recent years, companies have announced
billions of dollars of investments seeking to capitalize on the boom in American natural-gas production. Some of
those investments were to go into new
plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other
states to turn gas into chemicals and
A Boeing 737 being assembled in Renton, Wash. Aircraft and their parts are the single
largest American export to China, making Boeing a tempting target in a trade war.
plastics, much of it bound for China.
Companies aren’t likely to abandon
those plans overnight, said Calvin M.
Dooley, the president of the American
Chemistry Council. But if the trade barriers persist, projects could be in jeop-
ardy. “That is going to impede our ability to capitalize on that competitive advantage,” Mr. Dooley said.
Even with the flurry of measures and
countermeasures between the United
States and China, the moves so far have
touched only a fraction of their $650 billion in annual trade. But they are beginning to signal how much damage could
be caused, and who would suffer most.
In some cases, the tariffs seem intended to deliver a message rather than
a fatal blow. The United States said it
would impose tariffs on aircraft parts —
an important and high-profile American
industry, but not one facing much competition from China. Beijing said it
would impose tariffs on cars and S.U.V.s,
the third-largest American export to the
country. But the move may not hit
American automakers as hard as it
might seem.
China already has a 25 percent tariff
on imported cars, so General Motors,
Fiat Chrysler and Ford have all agreed
to manufacture inside the country as
joint ventures with domestic producers,
to avoid the extra charge to consumers.
Foreign carmakers operating in the
United States — Daimler and BMW —
do send vehicles to China from factories
in the Southeast. A report by analysts at
Evercore ISI suggests that those companies, rather than the Detroit automakers, would bear the brunt of the
Chinese levies.
Tesla might have the most to lose. The
electric-car company had been lobbying
for permission to produce cars in Shanghai, but hasn’t reached a deal. It sends
vehicles to the Chinese market from its
plant in Fremont, Calif., and its chief executive, Elon Musk, has expressed frustration, even at the existing duties.
Aircraft and their parts are the largest
single category of American exports to
China, making Boeing a big target. For
now, though, Beijing seems to be moving slowly. It said it would impose tariffs
on planes between 15,000 and 45,000
kilograms, which includes some older
models that Chinese buyers have ordered from Boeing. But it seemed to
stop conspicuously short of whacking
the company’s newer 737 MAX 8, which
weighs 45,070 kilograms empty, or almost 100,000 pounds.
That near miss is meant to convey to
Boeing, and to Mr. Trump, what China is
capable of, said Richard L. Aboulafia, a
longtime aviation and aerospace analyst at the Teal Group.
“Their attitude toward a trade war assumes that the other side will lie down
and stay horizontal,” Mr. Aboulafia said.
“I’m not sure the easy and fun approach
to trade wars holds up against return
Keith Bradsher contributed reporting.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 | 9
When migrants are treated like slaves
from the U.S.
are being
forced to
work for no
or little pay.
We have a
name for
Jacqueline Stevens
Americans are familiar with grim
stories about black-shirted federal
agents barging into apartment complexes, convenience stores and school
pickup sites to round up and deport
immigrants. We’ve heard far less
about the forced labor — some call it
slavery — inside detention facilities.
But new legal challenges to these
practices are succeeding and may
stymie the government’s deportation
agenda by taking profits out of the
detention business.
Yes, detention is a business. In 2010,
private prisons and their lenders and
investors lobbied Congress to pass a
law ordering Immigration and
Customs Enforcement to maintain
contracts for no fewer than 34,000
beds per night. This means that when
detention counts are low, people who
would otherwise be released because
they pose no danger or flight risk and
are likely to win their cases in immigration court remain locked up, at a
cost to the government of about $125 a
The people detained at these facilities do almost all of the work that
keeps them running, outside of guard
duty. That includes cooking, serving
and cleaning up food, janitorial services, laundry, haircutting, painting,
floor buffing and even vehicle maintenance. Most jobs pay $1 a day; some
work they are required to do pays
Workers in
Workers in immicustody in the gration custody have
United States suffered injuries and
have suffered
even died. In 2007,
Cesar Gonzalez was
injuries and
killed in a facility in
even died.
Los Angeles County
when his jackhammer hit an electrical
cable, sending 10,000 volts of direct
current through his body. He was on a
crew digging holes for posts to extend
the camp’s perimeter.
Crucially, California’s Division of
Occupational Safety and Health ruled
that regardless of his status as a detainee, Mr. Gonzalez was also an employee, and his employer was found to
have violated state laws on occupational safety and health.
Two of the country’s biggest detention companies — GEO and CoreCivic,
known as CCA — are now under attack
by five lawsuits. They allege that the
obligatory work and eight-hour shifts
for no or little pay are unlawful. They
also accuse the companies of violating
state minimum wage laws, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and
laws prohibiting unjust enrichment.
The plaintiffs have a strong case.
Forced labor is constitutional so long
as it is a condition of punishment, a
carve-out in the slavery prohibitions of
the 13th Amendment. But in 1896, the
Supreme Court held that “the order of
deportation is not a punishment for
crime.” Thus, while private prisons
may require work to “punish” or “correct” criminal inmates, judges in three
cases have ruled that immigration
detention facilities may not. It’s as
legal for GEO to force its facilities’
residents to work as it would be to
make seniors in government-funded
nursing homes scrub their neighbors’
GEO’s own defense provides insights into just how much its profits
depend on labor coerced from the
people it locks up. In 2017, after Federal District Judge John Kane certified
a class-action lawsuit on behalf of GEO
residents in Aurora, Colo., the company filed an appeal claiming the suit
“poses a potentially catastrophic risk
to GEO’s ability to honor its contracts
with the federal government.”
Court records suggest that GEO
may be paying just 1.25 percent to 6
percent of minimum wage, and as little
as half of 1 percent of what federal
contractors are supposed to pay under
the Service Contract Act. If the plaintiffs win, that’s tens of millions of
dollars GEO would be obligated to pay
in back wages to up to 62,000 people,
not to mention additional payments
going forward. And that’s just at one
GEO’s appeal tanked. During oral
arguments last summer, the company’s lawyer defended the work program by explaining that those held in
Aurora “make a decision each time
whether they’re going to consent to
work or not.” A judge interjected, “Or
eat, or be put in isolation, right? I
mean, slaves had a choice, right?” The
10th Circuit panel in February unanimously ruled that the case could proceed.
On top of that, last year GEO was
sued for labor violations in its Tacoma,
Wash., facility. In October, United
States District Judge Robert Bryan, a
Reagan appointee, denied GEO’s motions to dismiss these cases and for the
first time allowed claims under the
state minimum wage laws to proceed,
as well as those for forced labor and
unjust enrichment.
On March 7, 18 Republican members
of the House, 12 of whom have private
prisons in or adjacent to their districts,
sent a letter to the leaders of the departments of Labor, Justice and Homeland Security complaining about the
lawsuits. They warned that if the
agencies don’t intervene to protect the
companies, “immigration enforcement
efforts will be thwarted.”
Those who cheer this outcome
should feel encouraged. The measures
the representatives asked for — including a statement by the govern-
ment that those who work while locked
up are “not employees” and that federal minimum wage laws do not apply
to them — won’t stop the litigation.
Agency pronouncements cannot overturn statutes. As long as judges follow
the laws, more of the true costs of
deportation will be put into the
ledgers. If the price of human suffering
does not deter the barbarism of rounding people up based on the happenstance of birth, then maybe pinched
taxpayer wallets will.
is a professor of
political science and runs the Deportation Research Clinic at Northwestern
Colombia’s imperiled transition
lasting peace
requires the
removal of
for excombatants
who want
to leave the
war behind.
Adam Isacson
WASHINGTON A nation’s transition
from conflict to peace is something to
celebrate, but it’s also an uncertain
process that requires diligence and
commitment. In Colombia, where a
November 2016 agreement ended 52
years of bloody internal conflict, the
stress is mounting.
It’s affecting the whole idea of ending internal wars through negotiations.
A European diplomat recently told me,
“Insurgent groups in civil wars are
watching Colombia to see what happens, whether the government keeps
its promises.” In a recent meeting, a
senior United States military officer
heard concerns from some colleagues
and said to me, exasperated, “Can you
give an example of anywhere that a
peace process has actually worked?”
Colombia should be one. Last year,
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia guerrilla group, or FARC,
turned over its weapons to a United
Nations mission, ending a war that
killed about 260,000 people. Seven
thousand FARC fighters reported to 26
“Territorial Spaces for Training and
Reincorporation,” encampment-size
zones around the country. They stayed
there for about six months until last
August, when they were free to go.
Twenty-eight hundred more urban
“militias” registered themselves, and
over 3,000 guerrillas were released
from prison.
FARC became a political party called
the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force. Vast areas of the country
became safe enough to visit, and homicides plummeted to a 42-year low.
After 40 years of United States-funded
policing of cocaine-producing areas,
herbicide spraying to destroy coca
crops and the loss of many lives to
drug-related violence, it became possible to talk of a permanent solution to
illicit cocaine production, which fueled
the violence and made the conflict a
priority for Washington.
However, the peace deal with FARC
had only tepid support at home, even
though President Juan Manuel Santos
won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for
negotiating. The guerrillas were unpopular after years of militant posturing, massacres, kidnappings, land
mines and the recruitment of children.
The agreement Mr. Santos reached
was rejected in an October 2016 referendum, forcing a hasty renegotiation.
The effort to implement the accord
never recovered. It limped out of the
A rebel fighter with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, hanging a
banner of the late rebel leader Alfonso Cano in northwest Colombia, in January 2016.
starting gate like a runner with a
sprained ankle. The Legislature failed
to pass several laws needed to keep
promises made in the agreement.
Ex-guerrillas languished in rural demobilization camps that the government didn’t even finish building. In the
March 2018 legislative elections, the
Common Alternative Revolutionary
Force crashed into reality: Its candidates got a combined 0.3 percent of the
national vote. The former insurgents
face the possibility of more defeat if, as
polls indicate might happen, an oppo-
nent of the peace accord, Iván Duque,
candidate for the right-wing Centro
Democrático party, wins Colombia’s
May 27 presidential election.
The uncertainty falls heaviest on
13,000 former FARC combatants, most
of them rank and file, many recruited
at a very young age. Their main skill is
warfare, and many have contacts in
Colombia’s criminal underworld. Without help, they could slip back into
violence and make much of the country ungovernable. An ungovernable
Colombia would be a disaster for
United States interests, because an
unstable ally — Latin America’s thirdmost-populous country — could
produce more cocaine, scare investors
and export more organized crime.
This is avoidable. Experts in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration tell us how to prevent it. A former
combatant needs a basic income. He or
she needs vocational training — sometimes just literacy training — or help
starting a business. Psychological
support helps to deal with trauma, to
reconcile with victims or to learn how
to disagree without fighting. Ex-combatants need someone watching them,
especially if they could earn more as
Alarmingly little of this is happening
10 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
Don’t fix Facebook. Replace it.
A.G. SULZBERGER, Publisher
Tim Wu
DEAN BAQUET, Executive Editor
MARK THOMPSON, Chief Executive Officer
JOSEPH KAHN, Managing Editor
STEPHEN DUNBAR-JOHNSON, President, International
TOM BODKIN, Creative Director
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE DEMARTA, Senior V.P., Global Advertising
SUZANNE DALEY, Associate Editor
ACHILLES TSALTAS, V.P., International Conferences
CHARLOTTE GORDON, V.P., International Consumer Marketing
JAMES BENNET, Editorial Page Editor
HELEN KONSTANTOPOULOS, V.P., International Circulation
JAMES DAO, Deputy Editorial Page Editor
HELENA PHUA, Executive V.P., Asia-Pacific
KATHLEEN KINGSBURY, Deputy Editorial Page Editor
SUZANNE YVERNÈS, International Chief Financial Officer
The country’s
prime minister
is part of a
movement that
counts Turkey’s
Kaczynski and
Russia’s Putin
among its
On Sunday, Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party will likely
cruise to another victory in Hungary’s general election,
giving Mr. Orban, the reigning champion of “illiberal
democracy” — a term he proudly embraces — a fourth
term to pursue his assault on democratic institutions,
immigrants, the European Union and anything smacking of social change.
A victory will no doubt hearten the ranks of the nativist populists who take pride in being in the vanguard of
an international reactionary movement. It is telling that
after his ouster from the White House, Stephen Bannon
went on a tour of European soul mates, during which he
hailed Mr. Orban as his hero and “the most significant
guy on the scene right now.”
A report by The Times’s Patrick Kingsley on how Mr.
Orban reached that august status offers a chilling look
at the breadth of the populist assault not only on the
“hardware” of democracy — constitution, judiciary, the
electoral system — but also the software: the culture,
civil society, education system and religious organizations.
Mr. Orban’s defenders say people support him not for
his populism but for his handling of the economy. Government debt and the budget deficit are down, the country’s credit rating is up, growth has almost quadrupled
since 2010. What these figures do not show, though, is
that many of these improvements have come through
membership in the European Union, which Mr. Orban
assails at every opportunity. At the same time, according to the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators, corruption has risen significantly under Mr. Orban.
With national variations, Mr. Orban’s Hungary has
been the template for the “authoritarianization” — the
term some experts use — in Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s Poland, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, Vladimir Putin’s
Russia and in other democracies where populism has
made headway. The populists, no matter how narrowly
elected, assume that electoral victory was the will of the
people and, in a terrible irony, a license to trample on
the same democracy that raised them to power.
In the end, the legitimacy accorded by the vote is
both the autocrat’s entree to power and potentially his
(they are all men) downfall. However strong Mr. Orban’s chances appear, he has campaigned with an intensity that betrays a touch of insecurity.
Contributing Writer
After years of collecting way too much
data, Facebook has finally been caught
in the facilitation of one privacy debacle
too many. When Mark Zuckerberg, the
company’s chief executive, testifies
before Congress, which he plans to do
this month, lawmakers will no doubt ask
how Facebook might restore the public’s
trust and whether it might accept some
measure of regulation. Yet in the big
picture, these are the wrong questions
to be asking.
The right question: What comes after
Facebook? Yes, we have come to depend on social networks, but instead of
accepting an inherently flawed Facebook monopoly, what we most need now
is a new generation of social media
platforms that are fundamentally different in their incentives and dedication to
protecting user data. Barring a total
overhaul of leadership and business
model, Facebook will never be that
Every business has its founding DNA.
Real corporate change is rare, especially when the same leaders remain in
charge. In Facebook’s case, we are not
speaking of a few missteps here and
there, the misbehavior of a few aberrant
employees. The problems are central
and structural, the predicted consequences of its business model. From the
day it first sought revenue, Facebook
prioritized growth over any other possible goal, maximizing the harvest of data
and human attention. Its promises to
investors have demanded an everimproving ability to spy on and manipulate large populations of people. Facebook, at its core, is a surveillance machine, and to expect that to change is
misplaced optimism.
What the journalist Walter Lippmann
said in 1959 of “free” TV is also true of
“free” social media: It is ultimately “the
creature, the servant and indeed the
prostitute of merchandizing.” But social
media itself isn’t going away. It has
worked its way into our lives and has
come to help satistify the basic human
need to connect and catch up. Facebook,
in fact, claims lofty goals, saying it seeks
to “bring us closer together” and “build
a global community.” Those are indeed
noble purposes that social media can
serve. But if they were Facebook’s true
goals, we would not be here.
The ideal competitor and successor to
Facebook would be a platform that
actually puts such goals first. To do so,
however, it cannot be just another datahoarder, like Google Plus. If we have
learned anything over the last decade, it
is that advertising and data-collection
models are incompatible with a trustworthy social media network. The
conflicts are too formidable, the pres-
sure to amass data and promise everything to advertisers is too strong for
even the well-intentioned to resist.
So what stands in the way of building
a genuine alternative? It isn’t the technology. A good Facebook competitor
needs merely to build a platform that
links you with friends and allows posting of thoughts, pictures and comments.
No, the real challenge is gaining a critical mass of users. Facebook, with its 2.2
billion users, will not disappear, and it
has a track record of
buying or diminishWe need
ing its rivals (see
better options Instagram and
that are
Foursquare). But as
designed to
Lyft is proving by
protect our
stealing market
share from Uber, and
as Snapchat proved
by taking taking
younger audiences from Facebook,
“network effects” are not destiny. Now
is the time for a new generation of Facebook competitors that challenge the
mother ship.
One set of Facebook alternatives
might be provided by firms that are
credibly privacy-protective, for which
users would pay a small fee (perhaps 99
cents a month). In an age of “free” social
media, paying might sound implausible
— but keep in mind that payment better
aligns the incentives of the platform
with those of its users. The payment and
social network might be bundled with
other products such as the iPhone or the
Mozilla or Brave browser.
Another “alt-Facebook” could be a
nonprofit that uses that status to signal
its dedication to better practices, much
as nonprofit hospitals and universities
do. Wikipedia is a nonprofit, and it manages nearly as much traffic as Facebook, on a much smaller budget. An
“alt-Facebook” could be started by
Wikimedia, or by former Facebook
employees, many of whom have congregated at the Center for Humane Technology, a nonprofit for those looking to
change Silicon Valley’s culture. It could
even be funded by the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting, which was created
in reaction to the failures of commercial
television and whose mission includes
ensuring access to “telecommunications services that are commercial free
and free of charge.”
When a company fails, as Facebook
has, it is natural for the government to
demand that it fix itself or face regulation. But competition can also create
pressure to do better. If today’s privacy
scandals lead us merely to install Facebook as a regulated monopolist, insulated from competition, we will have failed
completely. The world does not need an
established church of social media.
is a law professor at Columbia
and the author of “The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside
Our Heads.”
The president
is deliberately
faith in the
press corps.
countries are
taking note.
Many people, including many Republican lawmakers,
dismiss President Trump’s attacks on The Washington
Post, CNN and other news organizations as just one of
those crazy — but ultimately harmless — things he
does to blow off steam. They’re wrong.
Yes, Mr. Trump hasn’t been able to implement many
of his worst proposals to undermine the press. Congress
hasn’t tried to change the First Amendment or pass
new libel laws, for example, and journalists — including
at the “failing New York Times” — regularly unearth
new scandals in the Trump administration. But the
president’s rhetoric is clearly having an effect in the
United States and especially around the world, where
political leaders have seen it as a green light to crack
down on the press. Malaysian lawmakers this week
passed a law that would impose prison sentences of up
to six years on people found to be spreading “fake
news,” an ill-defined term that will put tremendous
power in the hands of government officials to punish
journalists and publishers. In India, the government of
Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed revoking the
accreditation of journalists who traffic in “fake news”
before scrapping the idea after journalists denounced it.
In recent days, Mr. Trump turned his guns on The
Post, accusing it of trying to advance the business interests of its owner, Jeff Bezos, and the company he
founded and runs, Amazon. Much has been made of the
accusations the president has hurled at Amazon’s business practices, like its unwillingness for many years to
collect state and local sales taxes. Some of these practices are indeed troubling. But don’t be distracted. Mr.
Trump isn’t really distressed about the coffers of state
and local governments, small retailers or whether the
United States Postal Service suffers losses delivering
Amazon packages. He is trying to undermine the credibility of The Post because it is holding his administration to account.
Such attacks on the integrity of news organizations
confuse the public about what’s true. Many Republican
voters have long been skeptical of the mainstream news
media, but their trust in it has fallen sharply since 2016,
according to the Pew Research Center.
Mr. Trump is unlikely to change his ways, and his
most loyal supporters will support him no matter what
he does. It is up to everybody else, Republicans and
Democrats alike, to stand up and speak out against his
destructive attacks on the press and the truth.
The Facebook C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg, at the company’s annual 2017 F8 Developer Conference in San Jose, Calif.
How to win an argument about guns
Nicholas Kristof
Tragically, predictably, infuriatingly,
we’re again mourning a shooting — this
time at YouTube’s headquarters — even
as the drive for gun safety legislation
has stalled in Washington. Polls show
that nine out of 10 Americans favor basic
steps like universal background checks
before gun purchases, but the exceptions are the president and a majority in
Usually pundits toss out their own
best arguments while ignoring the other
side’s, but today I’m going to try something new and engage directly with the
arguments made by gun advocates:
You liberals are in a panic over guns,
but look at the numbers. Any one gun is
less likely to kill a person than any one
vehicle. But we’re not traumatized by
cars, and we don’t try to ban them.
It’s true that any particular car is
more likely to be involved in a fatality
than any particular gun. But cars are
actually a perfect example of the public
health approach that we should apply to
guns. We don’t ban cars, but we do work
hard to take a dangerous product and
regulate it to limit the damage.
We do that through seatbelts and
airbags, through speed limits and highway barriers, through driver’s licenses
and insurance requirements, through
crackdowns on drunken driving and
texting while driving. I once calculated
that since 1921, we had reduced the auto
fatality rate per 100 million miles driven
by 95 percent.
Sure, we could have just said “cars
don’t kill people, people kill people.” Or
we could have said that it’s pointless to
regulate cars because then bicyclists
will just run each other down. Instead,
we relied on evidence and data to reduce the carnage from cars. Why isn’t
that a model for guns?
Because of the Second Amendment.
The Constitution doesn’t protect vehicles, but it does protect my right to a gun.
Yes, but courts have found that the
Second Amendment does not prevent
sensible regulation ( just as the First
Amendment does not preclude laws on
defamation). There is no constitutional
objection to, say, universal background
checks to obtain a gun. It’s crazy that 22
percent of guns are obtained without a
We all agree that there should be
limits. No one argues that there is an
individual right to own an antiaircraft
gun. So the question isn’t whether firearms should all be sacrosanct but sim-
ply where we draw the line. When more
Americans have died from guns just
since 1970 (1.4 million) than in all the
wars in American history (1.3 million),
maybe it’s worth rethinking where that
line should be.
Whoa! You’re
inflating the gun
violence numbers by
including suicides.
have died
Almost two-thirds of
from guns
those gun deaths are
just since
suicides, and the
blunt reality is that if
1970 than in
someone wants to kill
all the wars
himself, he’ll find a
in its history.
way. It’s not about
Actually, that’s not
true. Scholars have found that suicide
barriers on bridges, for example, prevent jumpers and don’t lead to a significant increase in suicides elsewhere.
Likewise, almost half of suicides in
Police officers responded Tuesday to a shooting at YouTube’s California headquarters.
Britain used to be by asphyxiating
oneself with gas from the oven, but
when Britain switched to a less lethal
oven gas the suicides by oven plummeted and there was little substitution
by other methods. So it is about guns.
No, it’s more about our violent culture.
The Swiss and Israelis have large numbers of firearms, and they don’t have our
levels of gun violence.
Yes, there’s something to that. America has underlying social problems, and
we need to address them with smarter
economic and social policies. But we
magnify the toll when we make it easy
for troubled people to explode with
AR-15s rather than with pocketknives.
You liberals freak out about guns. If
you have a swimming pool or a bathtub,
that’s more dangerous to neighborhood
kids than a gun is. Kids under age 14 are
much more likely to die from drowning
than from firearms. So why this crusade
against guns, but not against bathtubs
and pools?
Your numbers are basically right, but
only because young children routinely
swim and take baths but don’t regularly
encounter firearms. But look at the
picture for the population as a whole:
Over all, 3,600 Americans drown each
year, while 36,000 die from guns (yes,
including suicides). That’s one reason to
be talking more about gun safety than
about pool safety.
Note also that a backyard pool isn’t
going to be used to mug a neighbor, or to
invade a nearby school. Schools don’t
have drills for an “active pool situation.”
And while some 200,000 guns are stolen
each year, it’s more difficult to steal a
pool and use it for a violent purpose.
Moreover, we do try to make pools
safer. Many jurisdictions require a
permit for a pool, as well as a childproof
fence around it with self-locking gates.
If we have permits and safe storage
requirements for pools, why not for
guns? What’s wrong with trying to save
FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 | 11
Trump was a vehicle
The trouble with ‘illiberal democracy’
cy as long as the government does not
stuff the ballot boxes on Election Day,
it is crucial to insist that democracy
itself is being damaged.
Unless this point is understood, Mr.
Orban will continue the perfidious
game he likes to play with international critics in particular: He does not
mind being called “illiberal”; he relishes it.
For liberalism is supposedly just a
matter of subjective value choices:
Liberals, he and his defenders will say,
simply do not like his conservative
family policies, his defense of strong
nation-states inside the European
Union and, most of all, his complete
rejection of immigration. Of course,
one can legitimately disagree about
these issues in a democracy.
But by focusing all attention on
them, Mr. Orban has remade what
should be a debate about democratic
institutions into yet another culture
war. (This is a strategy Trumpists are
also discovering.)
Once the conflict has been declared
a matter of subjective values, it becomes easy to accuse the liberals of
being the real illiberals. Even though
they are supposed to be the defenders
of diversity, they cannot tolerate an
ethnic nationalist like Mr. Orban, who
seeks to deviate from a supposed
Western mainstream of multiculturalism.
A number of observers are even
willing to concede that “illiberal democracy” might be a somewhat legitimate reaction to undemocratic liberalism. The European Union appears as
an obvious instance of a liberal technocracy against which “the will of the
people” needs to be asserted. But the
European Union prescribes neither a
uniform legislative stance on controversial questions like same-sex marriage nor a single model of democracy.
Its members just
have to be demoA democracy
cratic enough.
can have
When European
Union leaders have
policies, but
criticized Hungary
it cannot do
and, more recently,
Poland, those counwithout basic
tries’ governments
have countered that
liberties and
they are defending
national sovereignty
against liberal diktats from Brussels.
The Union has played into their hands
by suggesting that it is only concerned
about the liberal rule of law. The European Union thus gives the impression
that democracy will always be taken
care of by the nation-state; and the
technocratic liberal repair crew from
Brussels only makes a call in a European capital, if there is a malfunction
with the rule of law (hence the undermining of political rights and independ-
ent institutions appears like a technical
glitch, not as the conscious authoritarian project it actually is.)
The notion of “illiberal democracy”
has also made it easier for European
elites to claim that the people themselves have unfortunately turned out
to be illiberal and brought these authoritarian governments on themselves. Eastern Europeans, we are
often told, are culturally different —
code for thinking that they lag behind
Western liberal enlightenment.
But the citizens who brought Mr.
Orban and the current Polish government to power actually did exactly
what democratic theory would have
counseled them to do: In two-party
systems, they threw out the one major
party that had a poor record and instead voted for politicians who, in both
cases, presented themselves as moderate mainstream conservatives. The
latter never revealed — or won an
electoral mandate for — their real
agenda, of perpetuating themselves in
power by attacking the institutions
that underpin democracy.
Is all this just a matter of words?
Thinkers like George Orwell and Hannah Arendt never tired of warning that
the political catastrophes of the 20th
century began with euphemisms and
imprecise language. A democracy can
have illiberal policies, but it cannot do
without basic political liberties and
protections. We are doing Mr. Orban a
great favor by accepting him as any
kind of democrat. The designation
“democracy” still remains the most
coveted political prize around the
world. In what can only be called an
unforced error, we are giving that prize
to leaders who not only devalue it, but
are also busy destroying the thing
This election is probably the last
before Hungary shifts from what is
already a deeply damaged democracy
to what political scientists would call a
full-blown electoral autocracy. Elections would still be held in the future,
but a real turnover of power would be
impossible. Thus the weekend’s ballot
is also a test as to whether there can
be an autocracy inside the European
Union, a self-declared club of democracies.
Last week, in a sentencing memorandum for the lawyer Alex Van Der
Zwaan, the special counsel’s office
noted that Rick Gates and “Person A”
— an unnamed figure who has ties to a
“Russian intelligence service and had
such ties in 2016” — “were directly
communicating in September and
October 2016.”
What coverage there was of this
staggering claim — evidence of a
direct link between a member of Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian
intelligence — and the Van Der Zwaan
filing was quickly overtaken by controversy over the president’s relationship
with an adult film star.
It’s been a year since I testified to
the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Russian interference in the
presidential election of 2016. The revelations from Robert Mueller’s indictments since then have provided so
much clarity on how Russia interfered
in our democracy — yet Americans
seem more confused about the question of possible collusion with Russia.
That is, in a way, by design — Russia’s design. Its infiltration and influence on America is difficult to understand, even with vastly more detail
about Russia’s influence efforts.
A lot of the focus on the Mueller
investigation has fallen on Donald
Trump: Did he obstruct the investigation? Was he a “Manchurian Candidate” or just a Russian ally, by ideology
or business interests?
In my view, as a former F.B.I. special
agent who has watched the Kremlin’s
infiltration of America since 2014, the
answer may be neither. A standard
Russian approach would have been to
influence Mr. Trump through surrogates like Mr. Gates and Paul Manafort
rather than through direct command
through an individual — in this case,
the candidate and then president.
Russian intelligence develops options and pathways over many years;
as objectives arise — like the election
of Mr. Trump — they focus and engage
all available touch points.
The revelation last week about Mr.
Gates’s connection is another piece of
evidence to support that view. Russia’s
efforts to influence, known by the
Kremlin moniker Active Measures, did
not seek a single pathway into the
The Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower and the
State Historical Museum in Moscow.
Trump team. Instead, they targeted a
wide spectrum of influential Americans to subtly nudge their preferred
policy into the mainstream and sideline foreign opponents. Russian intelligence services establish campaign
objectives and compromise foreign
targets through espionage, but their
principal focus is to
The Kremlin’s recruit agents of
Typically, the
meddling was Kremlin deploys
part of an
layers of surrogates
effort to
and proxies offering
influence and business induceengage a web ments, information
of Americans, or threatened reprisals that can individnot just one.
ually be explained
away by coincidence
while masking the
strings and guiding hands of the Kremlin’s puppet masters and their objectives. When called upon by the Kremlin, oligarchs, contractors, criminals
and spies (current or former) all provide levers for advancing President
Vladimir Putin’s assault on democracies.
In Trump and his campaign, Mr.
Putin spotted a golden opportunity —
an easily ingratiated celebrity motivated by fame and fortune, a foreign
policy novice surrounded by unscreened opportunists open to manipulation and unaware of Russia’s long run
game of subversion.
Mr. Putin has succeeded where his
Soviet forefathers failed by leveraging
money and cyberspace to subtly infiltrate and influence Americans while
maintaining plausible deniability of
their efforts. And the Kremlin’s ground
game “cut outs” — intermediaries who
facilitate communication between
agents — conducted a more complex
Each Mueller indictment and investigative lead illuminates more Kremlin
influence avenues into President
Trump’s inner circle. Mr. Van Der
Zwaan, whose father-in-law is the
Russian oligarch German Khan, lied to
investigators about his conversations
with Mr. Gates, the Trump deputy
campaign manager, and a Person A,
whom the F.B.I. assessed as a Russian
intelligence agent and many believe to
be Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate of
both Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort, a
Trump campaign manager.
Evidence of Russia’s intent to interfere in the election is overwhelming,
and documentation of Trump campaign members’ collusion not only
exists but is growing. The special
counsel’s investigation into collusion
ultimately comes down to two questions. First, did President Trump or
any member of his campaign willingly
coordinate their actions with Russia?
And did President Trump or any member of his campaign knowingly coordinate their action with Russia?
Trump campaign members certainly
colluded with Russian influence efforts, some willingly, some possibly
knowingly. The president denies the
Kremlin’s hand, either still unaware or
in denial of being manipulated by Mr.
Putin’s minions. For Mr. Putin, it’s
likely everything he hoped for —
America riddled with political infighting and mired in investigations, a
weakened NATO alliance vulnerable to
aggression and a United States president seeking his adoration, obstinate
and ignorant of the great caper the
Kremlin just orchestrated.
The problem for the president is that
ignorance is not immunity. The problem for America is that ignorance of
Russian interference is vulnerability.
is the Robert A. Fox fellow
at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a former F.B.I. special agent and
author of the forthcoming book “Messing With The Enemy: Surviving in a
Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News.”
is a professor of
politics at Princeton University and the
author of “Contesting Democracy:
Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century
Europe,” among other books.
A banner depicting Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, center, President Janos Ader,
right, and the minister of human resources, Zoltan Balog, left, in Budapest, in March.
Colombia’s imperiled transition
in Colombia. Ex-guerrillas are getting
a two-year stipend of $220 per month
and little else. Just under 200 have
been trained as bodyguards and are
now protecting former FARC leaders.
Some have received a few months of
basic education, and many got a few
days of vocational training or the possibility of participating in farming
projects, few of which have begun.
Because of what Colombia’s United
Nations verification mission calls
“growing frustration with the lack of
opportunities,” most ex-guerrillas have
left the 26 demobilization zones. Eight
thousand were there last May, but by
November, there were perhaps 3,600.
There are fewer today, and it’s nobody’s job to know where the rest are.
Between 1,000 and 1,500 (including
some new recruits) have returned to
the jungle as “dissident” groups. They
are once again enriching themselves
from cocaine, illegal mining and extortion, intimidating the population and
attacking the security forces.
FARC shares some of the blame. It
wanted “collective reintegration” to
keep its cadres together in rural areas.
But its leaders weren’t clear about how
they wanted this collective model to
work, and the government didn’t want
it at all. Sixty percent of ex-FARC
guerrillas say they want to be farmers,
as part of rural cooperatives. Now the
FARC is asking for 67 plots of land
around the country, covering just 5,000
hectares (12,400 acres).
The cost of reintegration shouldn’t
be a roadblock. Whether for land,
training or busywork, funding an excombatant at four times Colombia’s
gross domestic product per capita
would cost $25,000 per year. Multiplied
by 13,000 guerrillas, that would be $325
million per year. That’s less than 0.4
percent of Colombia’s national government budget for 2018.
Foreign donors can help. But as it’s
interpreting current law, the United
States government can’t buy even a
cup of coffee for a former FARC member, because the Common Alternative
Revolutionary Force, the political party
that sprang from FARC, is on the State
Department’s list of foreign terrorist
organizations. Any aid — even for
reintegration — is interpreted as “material support for terrorists” under
United States law.
Taking a group off the terrorist list is
a slow process, and FARC will remain
on it for a while. The question is
whether the “material support” provision should continue to apply to all
individual ex-combatants. If someone
with skills for making war wants to
leave them behind and is resisting the
lure of crime, it’s in the United States’
interest to help him or her to do that.
The United States should be able to
help ex-guerrillas who are not top leaders, not wanted by American justice, not
awaiting trial for war crimes and reasonably believed to have abandoned
violence. At least 7,000 people fit these
criteria and need attention. But the
number shrinks every day, as ex-guerrillas abandon the process and melt into
the countryside.
Peace processes are fragile, but they
can and do work. Negotiated agreements save years of bloodshed and are
an honorable endeavor. Past experience offers rich lessons for reintegrating ex-combatants. Colombia and its
friends must heed these lessons and
prove the skeptics wrong.
is director for defense
oversight at the Washington Office on
Latin America.
2, place de la Manufacture
92310 Sèvres
4, place André Malraux
75001 Paris
Table by Doshi Levien and “Service Archipel” by Adeline André / © Philippe Fragnières / Sèvres - Cité de la céramique
Clint Watts
12 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
Those 2-minute walks
add up to good health
Walk for two minutes. Repeat 15 times.
Or walk for 10 minutes, thrice. The
benefits for longevity appear to be
almost the same, according to an inspiring new study of physical activity
patterns and life spans.
It finds that exercise does not have
to be prolonged to be beneficial. It just
has to be frequent.
Most of us who are interested in
health know that United States government exercise guidelines recommend
that we work out moderately for at
least 30 minutes per day at least five
times per week to reduce our risks of
developing many diseases or dying
These guidelines also recommend
that we accumulate those 30 minutes
of daily exercise in bouts lasting for at
least 10 minutes at a time.
The guidelines, first published in
2008, were based on the best exercise
science available at the time, including
several studies indicating that if exerExercise
cise sessions were
does not
briefer than 10 minutes, they would not
have to be
increase people’s
aerobic fitness,
to be
meaning their athbeneficial.
letic endurance.
It just has to
But improving
be frequent.
endurance is not the
same thing as improving health.
So when scientists and governmental regulators recently began planning
a major update to the 2008 exercise
guidelines, they decided, as part of
their research, to gather the latest
studies about exercise bouts and how
long workouts should last in order to
benefit health.
Somewhat to their surprise, they
found only a few relevant, large-scale,
recent studies, and most of these relied
on people’s notoriously unreliable
memories of how active they had been.
So, some of the scientists working on
the new exercise guidelines decided
that they would need to mount a major
new study themselves.
They began by looking for reliable
and objective data about ordinary
people’s exercise habits.
They found it in the National Health
and Nutrition Examination Survey,
conducted annually for decades by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It details the lifestyles and
health of tens of thousands of American men and women.
Since 2002, some of the participants
in the survey have worn accelerometers to precisely track how much and
when they move throughout the day.
For the new study, which was pub-
lished last month in the Journal of the
American Heart Association, the scientists chose data about 4,840 men and
women past the age of 40 who had
worn activity trackers.
Using the accelerometer readouts,
the scientists determined how many
minutes per day, in total, each person
had spent in moderate or vigorous
physical activity. They defined moderate activity as, in essence, brisk walking, and vigorous activity, which was
rare, as workouts similar to jogging.
The researchers also looked at how
long each session of physical activity
had continued. If a single session went
on for more than five minutes, it was
considered to be a “bout” of exercise. If
it were shorter than five minutes, it
was considered to be sporadic physical
activity, such as walking down the
hallway or up a brief flight of stairs.
(Originally, the scientists had
planned to focus on 10-minute exercise
bouts, as currently recommended, but
so few of the 4,840 people were active
for 10 minutes at a time that the researchers lowered their definition of an
exercise “bout” to five minutes.)
Finally, they crosschecked death
records to determine whether and
when participants died through 2011.
The scientists found that moving
strongly influenced longevity. The men
and women who were the least physically active, exercising moderately for
fewer than 20 minutes a day, were at
the highest risk of premature death.
Those who moved more often, especially if they managed about an hour in
total of physical activity over the
course of the day, cut their mortality
risk in half, the researchers found.
And it did not matter how they accumulated those minutes. If people
walked continuously for five minutes
or longer, meaning in exercise bouts,
they lowered their risk of dying young.
But they gained the same benefit if
they walked sporadically in short but
repeated spurts, as long as they moved
“The message is that all physical
activity counts,” says Dr. William
Kraus, a professor at Duke University
who conducted the study with researchers from the National Cancer
“The little things that people do
every day,” like walking from their cars
to the office or climbing a flight of
stairs, “can and do add up and affect
the risk for disease and death,” he
Of course, this was an epidemiological study, meaning that it can show
only that more physical activity is
associated with a longer life, not that it
directly causes people to live longer.
But the results, which will be considered as scientists and experts plan
changes later this year to the formal
exercise guidelines, are encouraging,
Dr. Kraus says.
“If you can’t go for a long walk,” he
says, “a few short walks are likely to
be just as good for you.”
Long walks are known to have health benefits. But it turns out that short walks have the
same benefits, as long as those walks are frequent.
Measuring testosterone
Within the normal range,
increasing your count isn’t
likely to have much effect
Getting a high testosterone reading offers bragging rights for some men of a
certain age — and may explain, in part,
the lure of testosterone supplements.
But once you are within a normal range,
does your level of testosterone, the male
hormone touted as building energy, libido and confidence, really tell you that
Probably not, experts say.
Normal testosterone levels in men
range from about 300 to 1,000
nanograms per deciliter of blood. Going
from one number within the normal
zone to another one may not pack much
of a punch.
“You don’t see the big improvement,
once men are within the normal range,”
said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, an endocrinologist and professor of medicine at
Harvard Medical School. The largest
differences in terms of energy and sex
drive are when men go from below normal to normal levels.
A 2015 study in the Journal of the
American Medical Association found
that sex drive improved among men
who went from about 230, considered
low, to 500, around the middle of what’s
considered normal. There was no difference among men who moved within the
normal range from 300 to 500.
Testosterone does influence muscle
size. The more testosterone a man
takes, the larger the muscle — regardless of starting level, which is one reason
the hormone is popular with young
bodybuilders. But testosterone supplements do not seem to help frail older
men walk farther or get out of chairs
more easily, goals that doctors typically
look for in aiding older patients.
Beginning at age 30, testosterone levels drop, on average, about 1 percent a
year. About 5 percent of men 50 to 59
have low levels of testosterone along
with symptoms like loss of libido and
sluggishness, according to a few small
The United States Food and Drug Administration approves testosterone gels
and shots only for men with levels under
300, including those who have diseases
that cause hormone levels to plummet,
such as a pituitary tumor or injury to the
testicles. Those men are truly lacking
the hormone, so returning the levels to
normal can help restore sex drive and
energy. Insurance companies typically
require two morning testosterone readings of less than 300 nanograms per
deciliter plus symptoms of low testosterone before they reimburse for supplements.
In March, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published
the Endocrine Society’s latest guidelines, which concur with the F.D.A. The
group stated that testosterone therapy
should be given only for men who have
proven low levels of testosterone and
avoided in men who have had a stroke or
heart attack within the previous six
months or who are at high risk for
prostate cancer.
But testosterone numbers are far
from an exact science.
Keith Hall, a 48-year-old petrochemical operator from Baytown, Tex., sought
out a men’s health doctor at Baylor College of Medicine because he was tired
and lacked libido. His initial level was
below normal, around 202. The urologist
he ended up seeing, Dr. Alexander Pastuszak, offered him testosterone shots
that raised his levels into the normal
range and made him feel better.
Edward Blake, a 53-year-old forklift
driver from Houston, sought out the
same doctor for the same reasons. His
testosterone measured 450, within the
normal range. “I was feeling kind of
tired and stuff, but after the third shot,
I’m lifting things with no problem,” said
Mr. Blake. He said in addition to feeling
stronger, his sex drive improved.
Dr. Pastuszak said he primarily prescribes testosterone to men in the
F.D.A.’s low category but will sometimes
let other men with symptoms try it. “If
you have these guys in the mid range
and you put them on it, the majority will
say they want to stay on it,” he said, adding that most men will say it makes
them feel better and boosts their sex
drive. But is that the power of suggestion or the power of the hormone?
The largest differences in
terms of energy and sex
drive are when men go from
below normal to normal levels.
“The reality is, we don’t have the answer,” said Dr. Pastuszak, noting that
there’s a big gray area. “I have to take
their word that they feel better on it,
whether that’s real or whether it’s placebo.”
Complicating matters, testosterone
levels fluctuate, peaking around 8 a.m.
and diminishing throughout the day.
Levels tend to be lowest around 8 in the
evening, then climb during the night.
The peaks and valleys are larger for
men 40 and younger compared with
men in their 70s. (For a 40-year-old, a
morning testosterone reading may be
200 points higher than in the evening,
versus a 50-point difference for a 70year-old.)
And all sorts of things can nudge levels in either direction.
Resistance training increases levels,
as does a high-intensity workout. Even
watching your favorite sports team win
can nudge numbers up, as a 1998 study
that measured testosterone among basketball fans before and after a game
found. (Testosterone levels declined
among those rooting for the losers.)
Still, any gains from such activities tend
to be fleeting; levels generally return to
the individual’s normal within a halfhour or so.
And just as there are things men can
do to increase levels, there are activities
that lower testosterone scores. Endurance exercises, such as marathon training or cycling long distances, can lower
levels, as can stress. Dr. Bhasin said that
the kind of training endured by special
armed forces — tough exercise, lack of
sleep and food — can cause testosterone
to drop to the levels of men who have
been castrated — lower than 50.
Obesity causes testosterone levels to
plummet — while losing 10 percent of
body fat can increase levels by 100
points. Even taking care of the kids for
several hours can cause levels to drop, a
study in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences reported. Flu and
other viral illnesses can also cause levels to drop, so you should hold off testing
until you’re fully recovered.
As for alcohol, a few beers won’t make
a difference in the short term. But the
liver damage by chronic alcohol abuse
thwarts the production of testosterone.
Further complicating matters, every
testosterone-making lab has its own
methods of calculating testosterone, so
a man may register 300 with one company’s machine but 400 with another. To
find a reputable lab, patients can refer to
a website from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
that lists accredited laboratories.
So what about the man who reaches a
top reading of 1,000? Just learning about
the score might make him feel so good it
improves his confidence and libido. But
that doesn’t mean the effect is a result of
changes in his hormone chemistry.
Randi Hutter Epstein is the author of the
forthcoming “Aroused: A History of Hormones and How They Control Just About
To raise resilient children, be a resilient parent
Experts say meltdowns
need to be taken in stride,
even if that’s a challenge
As parents, we want our children to be
emotionally resilient — able to handle
life’s ups and downs. But parents’ ability
to foster resilience in our children
hinges a great deal on our own emotional resilience.
“A parent’s resilience serves as a template for a child to see how to deal with
challenges, how to understand their
own emotions,” said Dr. Dan Siegel, author of “The Yes Brain,” which focuses
on cultivating children’s resilience.
Yet for many parents, taking the temper tantrums and meltdowns in stride
presents a challenge — especially if we
have unrealistic expectations of what
childhood is really all about.
“Part of it is this idea that we have that
parenthood should be this amazing,
blissful, perfect culmination of our
hopes and dreams,” said Katherine
Reynolds Lewis, author of the forthcom-
ing book “The Good News About Bad
Ms. Lewis said that anger, tears and
other outbursts are a natural part of any
child’s development — what she calls
“the messiness of childhood.”
But parents who are unable or unwilling to confront that messiness may view
their child’s outbursts as a problem that
urgently needs to be solved.
When that happens, Laura Markham,
a clinical psychologist and editor of the
site, said: “We
ridicule kids, we blame them, we tell
them it’s their own fault; we isolate
them by sending them to their rooms.”
The nature of the parent’s response
may vary, Dr. Markham said, but the
message is the same — that anger, sadness and frustration are unacceptable.
This, Dr. Markham noted, is the opposite of resilience; instead, it’s a fragile rigidity that leaves both parent and child
fearful that outsize emotions could shatter them.
In contrast to this fragility, parents
who don’t flinch from the power of emotions like anger have a greater capacity
to absorb challenging interactions with
their children, said Dr. Siegel, who is ex-
ecutive director of the Mindsight Institute. And don’t worry if this kind of resilience doesn’t come naturally, he said —
with practice, it gets easier.
Here are some tips for making those
difficult interactions easier to absorb:
Resilience depends on an
understanding that emotions —
even those that are considered
“negative,” like sadness or anger
— aren’t a problem to be fixed.
To respond thoughtfully to our child’s
outbursts, we have to first silence the
alarm bells going off inside our head. Dr.
Markham coaches parents to “hit the
pause button” before taking any action,
even in the face of a screaming child. In
her research, Ms. Lewis learned that
parents and children often synchronize
their heart rates, breathing and other
physiological functions, so calming ourselves down can have a measurable,
physical effect on our child — not to
mention on our own ability to face a situation calmly.
this way?” may be a more useful question, especially when our buttons are
getting pushed. “Notice what’s happening with you, and start to take responsibility for it,” Dr. Markham suggested.
don’t last forever; there’s a beginning,
middle and end to all of them,” said Carla
Naumburg, a clinical social worker and
author of “Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness With Your Children for
Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful
Family.” More than that, allowing ourselves — and our children — to experience and express a full range of emotions is vital to our well-being. Dr.
Markham noted that it is actually when
we don’t express our emotions that we
lose control of them — not the other way
Establishing and holding the line on
boundaries can lead to some of the most
unpleasant moments in the parent-child
relationship — but approaching those
moments with compassion and kindness goes a long way toward keeping
your blood pressure down. Dr.
Markham and Dr. Naumburg suggested
verbally acknowledging your child’s
feelings and comforting him or her doesn’t have to mean giving in to their demands. “There are times when I will sit
with my daughter in my lap, as she’s crying, and snuggle her as I’m saying ‘no’ to
her,” Dr. Naumburg said. “She’s still crying, but we’re still connected.”
So often as parents, we ask “why” questions about unwanted behavior (“Why
can’t he remember to put his socks in the
hamper?”). But Dr. Naumburg said that
asking ourselves “Why am I responding
Susan Newman, a social psychologist
and author of “The Book of No: 365
Ways To Say It and Mean It,” said parents should be especially mindful of the
times you’re most likely to give in to
Resilience depends on an understanding that emotions — even those considered “negative,” like sadness, grief or
anger — aren’t a problem to be fixed, but
a natural consequence of being human.
“The thing about emotions is that they
your child’s outburst. “If you can recognize what triggers you to an automatic
‘yes,’ it’s time to step back and say, ‘Hold
it a minute, why am I doing this?’” Dr.
Newman suggested. “We’re living in
this culture of ‘yes’ parenting,” Dr. Newman said, “and it’s easier to say yes than
to deal with a child’s meltdown.” But
parents can consider, “How will a ‘no’
help?” as a way to explore the reason for
a particular boundary so that you and
your child can better understand it.
When we identify closely with our children, or rely on them as a barometer of
our own self-worth, we set ourselves up
for disappointment (or worse) when
things don’t go exactly as we planned.
“Our egos are very tied up in our parenting,” said Julie Lythcott-Haims, author
of “How to Raise an Adult.” Dr. Naumburg noted that this is partially informed by a cultural narrative that suggests that “If the kids are not O.K., then
it’s because we parents have done something wrong.”
As Ms. Lythcott-Haims put it, “If we
can get a life, maybe our kids can have
one too.”
14 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
Buying art without breaking the bank
By acquiring drawings,
collectors obtain originality
but don’t pay a fortune
There is an ocean of lower-priced art
and collectibles that are not often featured in live auctions at Sotheby’s and
Christie’s, or in media coverage of a
market whose newsworthiness generally depends on dizzying salesroom highs.
It is an ocean into which the vast majority of individuals who would like to
buy art can afford to dip their toes. So
where can value be found?
“Drawings are a very good way to enter the market,” said David Breuer-Weil,
a London-based artist who was among
many collectors in Paris recently for the
27th annual Salon du Dessin and its accompanying auctions.
“It’s not a compromise: A drawing is
the essence of artistic creation,” Mr.
Breuer-Weil added. “You can get close to
an artist you admire in a way that’s affordable.”
An internationally exhibited artist
who buys drawings by modernist masters such as Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso, Mr. Breuer-Weil is hardly an entry-level collector. But the week of the
Salon du Dessin is the one time of year
anyone interested in buying a drawing
is seriously spoiled for choice.
On March 21, for example, the French
auction house Artcurial held a 195-lot
sale of old master and 19th-century art.
About a quarter of the works were drawings estimated at less than 5,000 euros,
or about $6,200.
Among these was a red and white
chalk study from about 1600 by the
Dutch Mannerist artist Abraham Bloemaert of a flying putto firing a bow. The
double-sided drawing — a study of a
basket of flowers is on the reverse —
was bought for €3,900, with fees, by
Daniel Vanel, a doctor and collector
based in Bologna, Italy, who owns about
100 old master drawings.
“No one wants the average things,”
Mr. Vanel said as he watched the auction. “And the best things are getting
more and more expensive.”
As if to prove the point, three lots after
the Bloemaert, a pen-and-brown-ink
drawing of the Crucifixion by the 17thcentury Dutch artist Samuel van
Hoogstraten was bought in the
salesroom by the international dealer
Bob Haboldt for €319,000. The drawing,
traditionally attributed to Rembrandt
(in whose studio van Hoogstraten
Clockwise from above: a drawing from 1972 by the American artist Eugene J. Martin;
“On the Terrace of the Villa Mondragone,” an 18th-century drawing by Claude-Joseph
Vernet; and a chalk study from about 1600 by the Dutch artist Abraham Bloemaert.
trained), had been estimated at €40,000
to €60,000.
This was the quality of drawing that
exhibitors hung in their booths at the Salon du Dessin, which Mr. Vanel described as a “museum where you can
buy, if you’re rich.”
The long-established centerpiece of
the French capital’s “Drawing Week,”
the Salon du Dessin is held in the grandiose Palais Brongniart, a former stock
exchange. This year, the fair featured 39
dealers and attracted 14,500 visitors
over six days, an attendance that was
11.5 percent higher than the previous
year, according to the organizers.
“This is the best fair in the world for
drawings,” said Artur Ramon Navarro,
director of Artur Ramon Art, a dealership in Barcelona, Spain, who was exhibiting at his ninth salon. “But the market is very selective. Collectors are look-
ing for top-quality drawings that have
solid attributions, are in good condition
and are fresh to the market.”
Mr. Ramon Navarro ticked those
boxes with a rediscovered Claude-Joseph Vernet pen-and-ink drawing, “On
the Terrace of the Villa Mondragone,”
which was sold for €150,000 to a French
collector at the opening of the fair. Mr.
Ramon Navarro had acquired the atmospheric 18th-century drawing, showing an Italian country house, from a private collection; scholars have accepted
it as a previously unrecorded work by
Vernet, who lived in Rome.
Another discovery at the salon was a
haunting red chalk head of John the
Baptist, which the Paris dealer Galerie
de Bayser had identified as a study for
the circa 1520 painting “Salome” by Cesare da Sesto, a follower of Leonardo da
Vinci. An American collector bought it at
the start of the fair for a price between
€400,000 and €500,000, according to the
gallery’s director, Louis de Bayser.
But were there enough specialist buyers during the week of the fair to support
the sheer quantity of material? At the
same time as the Salon du Dessin, contemporary artists were showcased by 72
dealers at the 12th edition of the Drawing Now Art Fair. There were also auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s and at
the Hôtel Drouot salesroom complex, as
well as various dealer shows.
At the auctions, thanks to competition
between specialist dealers and collectors, the more important works
fetched reassuringly high prices, and
overall selling rates were healthy
enough. On March 22, Sotheby’s held its
second annual works on paper auction
during the salon, netting €5.8 million
from 141 lots, with 74 percent of the lots
successful. Works by modern masters
predictably dominated, with a top price
of €669,000 given for a large 1950s Chagall watercolor of newlyweds and a bouquet of flowers in a moonlit window.
Smaller drawings by major names such
as Paul Delvaux and Paul Signac were
selling for less than €10,000.
“A lot of the market is driven by financial concerns. People want big iconic
works,” said Mr. Breuer-Weil, the British
artist and collector. “If you buy a drawing, you can get a work by the artist for a
200th of the price of a painting.”
Across town at the Drawing Now fair,
there was also value to be had from contemporary artists who focused solely on
The Birmingham, Ala., dealer Maus
Contemporary represents the estate of
the African-American artist Eugene J.
Martin, whose works have been acquired by a number of regional museums in the United States. In the 1960s
and ’70s, Martin, who was influenced by
European modernism, was too poor to
buy painting materials, so he instead
made small-scale abstracts on paper. A
striking Constructivist figure made in
1972 during the protests over the Vietnam War was bought by a French collector for €4,000.
“The French have a romantic attachment with the nobility of paper,” Guido
H. Maus, the gallery’s director, said, referring to France’s long tradition of collecting drawings and prints, reflected in
the number of specialist galleries that
are a distinctive feature of Paris.
A drawing by Bloemaert or Martin
might not impress a hedge fund manager who comes for dinner. But as the
prices for paintings by blue-chip names
soar far beyond the reach of the average
collector, “Drawing Week” is a welcome
reminder that there are approachable
ways to live with original art.
Intellectual caught up in a furor
A leading French thinker
calls a claim that she was
a spy ‘a barefaced lie’
Julia Kristeva, at 76, is one of Europe’s
most decorated public intellectuals. Her
more than 30 books have covered topics
including linguistics, psychoanalysis,
literary theory and feminism. Her many
prestigious honors include the Vaclav
Havel Prize, the Hannah Arendt Prize
and Commander of the Legion of Honor
in France.
But now, a furor has arisen over
whether it is time to add a more surprising line to her résumé: Bulgarian secret
The notion surfaced last week, when
the Bulgarian government commission
charged with reviewing the files of the
country’s notorious Communist-era secret service released a terse document
alleging that the Bulgarian-born Ms.
Kristeva, who has lived in France since
1966, had served in the early 1970s as an
agent known by the code name “Sabina.”
The allegation was greeted with
shocked disbelief by those immersed in
the work of Ms. Kristeva, who is known
for her staunch defense of European
democratic ideals and opposition to all
“totalitarianisms,” as she puts it,
whether state Communism, Americanstyle identity politics or religious fundamentalism.
The mystery only deepened three
days later, when the commission, in response to intense international interest,
took the unusual step of posting online
the entire dossier on Ms. Kristeva.
The hundreds of pages of documents
include Ms. Kristeva’s supposed registration card as an agent of Bulgaria’s
former Committee for State Security
and extensive reports of alleged conversations with her handlers in Parisian cafes and restaurants between 1971 and
1973. But there is not a single intelligence-related document written or
signed by her.
In an interview before the dossier’s
release, Ms. Kristeva vigorously dismissed the accusation as “fake news”
and a “barefaced lie” — “mud being
slung at me,” she said, by unspecified
people who wished her harm.
The writer Julia Kristeva, who a Bulgarian government commission alleges was a
secret agent in the 1970s.
After the release, she reiterated her
denials in another interview. She had
never been approached by anyone
claiming to be a State Security agent,
she said emphatically, and certainly
never agreed to collaborate.
“These allegations are completely
false,” she said, speaking in French. “I
find it quite extraordinary that the commission, which read these allegations,
never thought that the secret services
could have been lying.”
To Ms. Kristeva’s defenders, the case
is murky, recalling something out of
Franz Kafka — or perhaps one of her
own murder mystery novels, which mix
racy conspiracy plots with heady metaphysical speculation.
“Everyone is trying to keep an open
mind, but nobody who knows anything
about her or her work believes this,”
said Alice Jardine, a French literature
professor at Harvard who is writing an
intellectual biography of Ms. Kristeva.
Instead of showing that Ms. Kristeva
was a spy, she added, the dossier —
which also includes intercepted letters
and other surveillance of Ms. Kristeva
— shows “how she was targeted and
spied upon.”
In Bulgaria, where opinion is divided,
the case has stirred debate about what
counts as collaboration and about the reliability of the state security archives.
Some have argued that Ms. Kristeva
might have spoken to agents without realizing it. Others have called the evidence insufficient and have expressed
doubt about the fairness of the procedure for branding someone a collaborator. (After the release of the dossier,
the commission announced that its web-
site had been attacked by hackers.)
Martin Dimitrov, a Bulgarian political
scientist at Tulane University who has
written about State Security, said the
documents did seem to show that Ms.
Kristeva knowingly, if not enthusiastically, shared information on French intellectual and political life with the
But her handlers, he noted, frequently
complained about her lack of commitment, and in 1973 dropped her as an associate after deeming most of the information she provided “of little interest.”
“Was she a spy? State Security
thought so; she says otherwise,” Mr.
Dimitrov said. “This raises a question
that is more moral than legal: Namely,
who is a spy?”
Ms. Kristeva was born in Sliven, Bulgaria, in 1941, to Christian Orthodox parents. In the recent documentary “Who’s
Afraid of Julia Kristeva?” she describes
arriving in Paris in late 1965 to study literature on a French government scholarship, with the equivalent of $5 in her
By 1971, the year of her alleged recruitment, she was established and well
connected enough to be deemed a useful
source of information by State Security.
She was writing prolifically and was
part of a group of politically engaged intellectuals around the avant-garde journal Tel Quel, including the critic Roland
Barthes, the novelist Philippe Sollers
(whom Ms. Kristeva married in 1967)
and the philosopher Jacques Derrida.
The radical politics and intellectual
glamour of that generation of French intellectuals were sent up in Laurent Binet’s recent novel “The Seventh Function of Language,” which imagined them
as theory-addled James Bond wannabes embroiled in a conspiracy around
the death of Mr. Barthes (who, in real
life, died in 1980 after being hit by a laundry van).
In one scene, Ms. Kristeva coolly confesses to murdering Mr. Barthes. There
are also numerous deaths by poisontipped umbrellas, a riff on the famous
case of the Bulgarian dissident Georgi
Markov, who was assassinated in London in 1978.
The spycraft described in Ms. Kristeva’s dossier is far less dramatic. In
January 1971, she reportedly asked to
give testimony only orally, rather than
in writing, and her handlers, who are
identified by code names, agreed.
In multiple reported meetings be-
tween that year and 1973, Ms. Kristeva
allegedly offered information on French
political and intellectual figures, Arab
progressive movements, Bulgarian émigrés and other subjects, most of which is
deemed “of little interest.” (Among
other things, she reports back on a Bulgarian national who had a stomachache.)
The operatives expressed dismay
when Ms. Kristeva and Mr. Sollers
signed a petition in Le Monde in 1972
protesting repression in Czechoslovakia. By that time, the Tel Quel group,
like others on the French left, had broken with the pro-Soviet French Communist Party in the wake of the crushing of
the Prague Spring, and turned toward
According to the dossier, the agency
formally released Ms. Kristeva from the
ranks in 1973 after handlers cited frustration with her “completely pro-Maoist” politics and her general lack of commitment. But operatives continued to
communicate with her as late as 1978
with the hope of reactivating her.
The allegation was greeted with
disbelief by those immersed in
the work of Ms. Kristeva, known
for defending democratic ideals.
At various points in the dossier, she is
described as requesting travel permission for her parents, who were still in
Bulgaria, and sister, who was in France
on a limited visa.
In 1976, after she wrote a letter to a
government office complaining that her
parents were not allowed to visit their
new grandson in Paris, a document
reads: “Sabina is employing the same
tactics once again — trying to get something from us without giving anything in
In the interview after the release of
the dossier, Ms. Kristeva acknowledged
that she had known Vladimir Kostov, a
former Bulgarian spy who is described
in one document as having met with her
in France in the 1960s to “psychologically prepare” her for possible work as
an agent, and who some have suggested
might also have been behind one of the
code names in the dossier. (After defecting, Mr. Kostov survived an apparent
poison umbrella attack in the Paris
Metro in 1978.)
But she said she was unaware that Mr.
Kostov — whom she had worked with at
a newspaper in Bulgaria, and recalled
encountering again in Paris around 1974
or 1975 — had worked with State Security.
As for the commission, she said it had
put too much trust in the story the
dossier told. “They saw it as a document, and not as a manipulation,” she
Since 2007, when the state security
files were opened, there have been questions about material that may have been
redacted, destroyed or manipulated.
Hristo Hristov, a Bulgarian journalist
who has written extensively about the
state security files, said that parts of Ms.
Kristeva’s dossier appeared to have
been removed, but that the documentation that remained was persuasive.
“She was clearly aware who she was
meeting with and what kind of information she’s providing,” Mr. Hristov said.
That the file contains only accounts of
Ms. Kristeva’s alleged oral reports, and
nothing written or signed by her, was
Boncheva, a former journalist who has
been a member of the commission for
more than 10 years.
“The important fact is that she has a
registration card” as an agent, she said.
Since the fall of Communism in 1989,
Ms. Kristeva has been vocal about her
harsh judgment of the former Bulgarian
In the first interview last week, she reiterated her belief that her father had
been “involuntarily assassinated” in
1989 in a Bulgarian hospital where, she
said, “experiments were carried out on
the elderly.”
She mentioned her 1991 novel “The
Old Man and the Wolves,” a postmodern
parable about a professor who is the
only person to speak out about sinister
animals that begin arriving in a sleepy
Eastern European town, and who then
dies in a hospital after his artificial lung
is disconnected.
With the release of the dossier, Ms.
Kristeva said, she felt like the old man’s
daughter, who uncovers evidence of
conspiracies she cannot untangle.
“But fortunately, freedoms exist and
we can talk,” she said. “I am going to
keep siding with freedom of speech.”
Jennifer Schuessler reported from New
York, and Boryana Dzhambazova from
Sofia, Bulgaria. Tanguy Garrel-Jaffrelot
contributed reporting from Paris.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 | 15
Life after Wonder Woman
Ms. Carter said of Mr. Moonves, who is
now chairman and chief executive of
The Miss World USA crown got her in
the door for auditions, but Ms. Carter
was disheartened to find limited roles
for women. She nabbed a few small
parts in TV movies playing “the pretty
girl,” she said, which enabled her to get
her a union card while earning extra
money playing gigs and singing advertising jingles.
Lynda Carter is touring
to promote an album and
recalling her #MeToo past
On a Friday evening in March, 10 studio
musicians, most from Nashville, were
tightly clustered in a living room here,
tuning their instruments and waiting for
Lynda Carter, the actress best known for
playing Wonder Woman in the 1970s
television series of the same name.
After a few minutes, Ms. Carter entered the room, huddled with her band
and apologized for the delay. She explained that she had just gotten off the
phone with Representative Nancy
Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the
United States House of Representatives, and Ms. Pelosi’s husband, Paul.
“They called to say congratulations
on the new album and they’re sorry they
can’t be with us this time around,” said
Ms. Carter, 66, wearing not leotard, high
red boots and gold cuffs but a navy
blazer, black pants and slip-on sneakers,
her hair in a high ponytail, earlobes dripping with diamonds. “They’re at the
Houston rodeo with the family. Isn’t that
For over three decades, this onetime
beauty queen turned actress and singer
has cut a glamorous figure in this wellheeled suburb of Washington. The following evening, Ms. Carter and her
band would be performing at the Kennedy Center in the capital, after which
they were hitting the road for a brief
tour, stopping in Los Angeles, New York
and Nashville to celebrate the release of
her fourth studio album, “Red Rock n’
The title of the album, her first in six
years, refers to how she was feeling
“kind of patriotic and also kind of, you
know,” she said as she smiled and raised
her middle finger. “Like, ‘We’re still here
and we’re not going anywhere.’”
The “we” she was referring to was
nothing less than womankind. The rise
of the #MeToo movement coupled with
the resurrection of “Wonder Woman” as
a blockbuster movie franchise has
caused Ms. Carter to revisit some of her
own experiences in the entertainment
business. Married to Robert A. Altman
since 1984, she recently told him for the
first time that she had been sexually assaulted early in her career. She didn’t
want to name the perpetrator publicly,
she said, partly because she had consulted a lawyer who told her there was
no recourse at this point.
“Mostly,” she said, “I don’t want to
make this about me. It’s about, ‘What
can I say that might help other women?’”
With an eclectic mix of songs like
Duffy’s 2008 pop-soul hit “Mercy,” and a
slowed-down reinterpretation of the
Motown classic “Stop! In the Name of
Love,” the album showcases Ms.
Carter’s sweet yet powerful voice and
also pays tribute to her family. She
wrote a country love song for Mr. Altman, a former lawyer who is the chairman and chief executive of ZeniMax, a
video game company.
There’s also a ballad called “Change
Just a Little,” dedicated to their son,
James Altman, 30. Their daughter, Jessica Altman, 27 (both children are also
lawyers), accompanies Ms. Carter on a
couple of Everly Brothers songs, but at
the Kennedy Center, they belted out the
female power anthem “Somethin’ Bad,”
recorded by Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert.
“When she asked me to be on the album, it was a no-brainer,” said Ms. Altman, who was sitting on the floor during
the rehearsal sipping tea from a Wonder
Woman mug.
The couple’s sprawling Georgianstyle mansion contains its fair share of
Wonder Woman memorabilia, such as a
needlepoint pillow on the living room
sofa, a bobblehead on a kitchen shelf and
dozens of photographs on the walls.
“We’ve tried to keep up with our own
history,” Ms. Carter said. “I have a lot of
albums, but when the photos are in
Lynda Carter, at home in Potomac, Md., where she has lived since the 1980s. With her husband, Robert A. Altman, she raised two children there.
From left: Ms. Carter, then Miss World USA, arriving in London to compete in the Miss World contest in 1972; rehearsing with band members Kira Small, far right, Drea Rhenee,
right, and Cindy Walker, left, before a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington; and in a studio portrait as Wonder Woman around 1977.
Ms. Carter with the “Wonder Woman” director, Patty Jenkins, left, and the actress Gal
Gadot at the United Nations in 2016.
books, it’s harder to access them.”
Because of Ms. Carter’s enduring portrayal of Diana Prince in “Wonder Woman,” many fans don’t know that she was
a singer long before she ever auditioned
for an acting role. At 14, she stopped
waiting tables at her uncle’s restaurant
in Winslow, Ariz., after realizing she
could earn $50 a night singing in a band.
Although she was a good student and
qualified for an academic scholarship to
attend Arizona State University, she
couldn’t resist the lure of the road. So
she left home, promising her father that
she would mail him every other paycheck to save.
“My husband once asked my mother,
‘Why on earth would you let your 17year-old daughter go on tour with a
bunch of musicians?’” Ms. Carter recalled. “My mother said, ‘Excuse me,
have you ever tried to talk Lynda out of
something she made up her mind to
do?’ ”
While touring with various bands, Ms.
Carter learned about music theory from
jazz musicians and performed at Las Vegas lounges, borscht belt hotels in New
York State, honky-tonk joints in the
South and supper clubs throughout the
United States. She remembers she was
somewhere in the Midwest, between
gigs, when she saw a 30-something female lounge singer onstage and had an
“I woke up the next day and couldn’t
stop crying,” Ms. Carter said. “I thought,
‘That’s me in 10 years.’”
She gave notice to the band, called the
Garfin Gathering, and went home to regroup.
Ms. Carter signed with a local mod-
eling agency — she was 5-foot-9, with
long dark hair and stunning blue eyes —
and within the span of a month had been
crowned Miss Phoenix, Miss Arizona
and then Miss World USA. She pointed
to a framed picture of herself, wearing a
crown, a sash and a minidress, stepping
out of a plane in the early 1970s. She
noted that while her mother was proud,
she found the whole beauty-queen thing
“The show was larger than
the executives realized at the
time. I was getting buckets of
fan mail.”
“You have to visualize the time. Women’s lib! Burn the bra! Gloria Steinem!”
she said. “And I had some guy telling me
I needed a chaperone and had to go cut a
ribbon somewhere. It wasn’t me.”
She returned to music, recording a
few singles in England with EMI before
moving to Los Angeles, where she took
acting lessons with the well-known
coach Charles Conrad. That’s where she
met a young aspiring actor named Les
Moonves, who became her scene partner and close friend. “He was so cute,”
Then came “Wonder Woman” in 1975,
which turned Ms. Carter into a household name and international sex symbol. When the show was canceled after
three seasons, Ms. Carter, who by then
was also the face of Maybelline Cosmetics, was surprised.
“The show was larger than the executives realized at the time,” she said. “I
was getting buckets of fan mail.”
After what she calls “an unfortunate
chapter,” during which she was married
to her former talent agent, Ron Samuels,
Ms. Carter met Mr. Altman in 1982. Maybelline was hosting a dinner in her honor in Memphis, and Mr. Altman was
working with the legal team for Schering-Plough, then the cosmetics brand’s
parent company. Once the relationship
got serious, Ms. Carter said, she had absolutely no qualms about leaving Los
Angeles and moving to the D.C. area,
where Mr. Altman lived.
“I was ready,” she said. “I wanted
some substance in my life.”
She reached into a cabinet and pulled
out the blueprints for her house, which
she and Mr. Altman built together in
1987, right before their son was born.
“This was all farmland,” she said, looking out a giant window in her study.
As the children were growing up, Ms.
Carter took a hiatus from singing and
touring with her band but continued to
appear occasionally on television shows
and in films. She will soon reprise her
role as Governor Jessman in a sequel to
the 2001 cult comedy “Super Troopers,”
which will have its premiere on April 20.
But she didn’t resume singing onstage until 2005, when she played Mama
Morton in the long-running revival of
the musical “Chicago” in the West End
of London.
“My son was going to be a senior in
high school, and I was about to be an
empty nester,” she said.
Patty Jenkins, the director of the movie version of “Wonder Woman,” offered
her a cameo, but Ms. Carter was on the
road with her band, and too busy to
make the filming schedule work. For
“Wonder Woman 2,” which will be released in November 2019, she said, “I
will back Patty on whatever decision
she makes.”
She and Ms. Jenkins met in person for
the first time at the United Nations in
the fall of 2016, right before the election,
at an event to commemorate the 75th
anniversary of the Wonder Woman
character. They hit it off right away and
realized they even had the same birthday, July 24.
“My mom is hands-down Patty’s biggest fan,” Ms. Altman said.
Ms. Carter said, “I think you said,
‘Mom! This is like a bromance,’ ” adding
that she also bonded with Gal Gadot, the
Israeli actress who now wields the lasso
of truth.
Following the success of “Wonder
Woman,” the movie, the Hollywood
Chamber of Commerce offered Ms.
Carter a star on the Walk of Fame. It will
be unveiled at a ceremony on April 3
with introductory speeches from Mr.
Moonves and Ms. Jenkins.
“Most people say, ‘You don’t have a
star yet?’ And I say, ‘Nope!’” Ms. Carter
said. “When the new ‘Wonder Woman’
movie came out, I guess it reinvigorated
the idea.”
At the Kennedy Center, she couldn’t
help but do Wonder Woman’s signature
move, the transformational twirl, for a
cheering audience that included family
friends including Tipper Gore, Cal Ripken Jr. and Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan.
But by that point, she had already
kicked off her stilettos and was wearing
sensible flats.
“I can’t take it anymore!” she told the
crowd. “I tried it, and I’m done. Burn the
bra! Burn the heels!”
Which femme is fatale?
By Christine Mangan. 308 pp. Ecco/
HarperCollins. $26.99.
Christine Mangan’s camera-ready first
novel, “Tangerine,” opens with three
men hauling a corpse — pecked by
magpies and missing its eyes — from
the sea. Whose body is this, and how
did it end up in the water? In alternating chapters, two female narrators
provide the long, lurid and psychologically complex answer. Neither woman
is necessarily trustworthy, a trait they
share with the unreliable female narrators of recent best sellers like “Gone
Girl” and “The Girl on the Train.”
Mangan draws her narrators with
broad strokes, using classic Hollywood
color coding. Alice Shipley is pale, rich
and emotionally fragile. She wears lace
gloves and pearls. Lucy Mason is dark,
voluptuous and worldly. She smokes.
They meet on their first day at Bennington College in the mid-1950s and
develop one of those possessive, erotically charged friendships that never
seem to end well. The two young women experience — or perhaps instigate
— an unspecified tragedy. Then Alice
drops out of school, marries and flees
to Tangier with her caddish new husband, John, to escape the traumatic
memory and perhaps Lucy as well.
Soon, though, Lucy turns up unannounced at Alice’s Tangier flat.
Alice’s response: “I thought of the few
works of Shakespeare I knew and the
line that frequently rattled in my brain
— what’s past is prologue.”
But what is that past? As Lucy and
Alice re-establish a volatile intimacy
over sugary mint tea in sweltering
Tangier cafes, via flashback we gradu-
Christine Mangan.
ally learn the details of that earlier
mystery, which unfolds in frosty Vermont. It’s as if Mangan couldn’t decide
whether to write a homage to Donna
Tartt’s “The Secret History” or a sundrenched novel of dissolute Westerners abroad in the tradition of Patricia
Highsmith and Paul Bowles, so she
tried to do both. She mostly succeeds.
Mangan openly acknowledges the
influence of Bowles on “Tangerine.”
Lucy strikes up a friendship with a
shady Moroccan artist named Youssef,
who tells her: “You are unfamiliar with
Bowles, I see. You must read him, if
you want to understand this place.”
Youssef claims to know the novelist,
who lived in Tangier and wrote about
Westerners who lose their moral compasses, and sometimes themselves, in
North Africa. The “Tangerine” of the
title refers to a native of the Moroccan
city, and it seems inevitable that one or
both of the narrators will lose herself
there. And at some point, that corpse
will end up in the water.
Mangan, who has a doctorate in
English, wrote her dissertation on
18th-century Gothic literature, and she
knows all the notes to hit to create
lush, sinister atmosphere and to prolong suspense. Unfortunately, she hits
them all, and she hits them a little too
hard. Both narrators periodically lapse
into the language of academia, bluntly
signaling how we should interpret the
narrative rather than letting us figure
it out for ourselves. Alice worries that
her tone of voice is “wavering somewhere between lighthearted and serious, skirting the liminal boundaries
between laughing and crying.” In 1956,
a young woman in a white pillbox hat
would not have talked about liminal
boundaries. When Lucy refers to the
“intertextuality” that once existed
between her and Alice, she uses a term
coined by the French semiotician Julia
Kristeva a decade after the novel takes
place. At times, “Tangerine” reads as if
it were reverse-engineered from a
scholarly paper about suspense fiction.
Happily, you can write a satisfying,
juicy thriller this way, if not a blazingly
original one.
Jennifer Reese is a writer whose pieces
have appeared in Slate, The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly.
16 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
A family adventure in Tanzania’s wild heart
The Selous Game Reserve
is one of Africa’s last great
uninhabited safari areas
Few wildlife parks in Africa allow you to
drift lazily along a calm stretch of water
like something out of “The African
Queen” and take in an incredible
amount of wildlife from a boat. The
Selous Game Reserve, a remote and
spectacular wildlife refuge in central
Tanzania, is one of them.
Last year, I took a wonderful safari
here with my family, and on one of our
first afternoons, we glided along a shallow lake in an aluminum-hulled skiff.
There’s something serene — and a little
sneaky — about seeing animals from the
water. You’re not trailing behind them as
they step out of the bushes and move toward their watering holes; you’re inside
their watering hole.
As we floated along, maybe 100 yards
from shore, a distance close enough to
observe, but hopefully not, disturb, we
watched baboons, zebras, giraffes and
gazelles head down to the lake for a
drink. Palm trees on the water’s edge
cast long pillarlike shadows. Behind
them stood a wall of thick green bushes
and thorn trees that wrapped around
the entire lake. A rich silence hung in the
air, broken only by the occasional chitter
of a kingfisher.
The Selous’s many shallow lakes dramatically stretch and shrink with the
rain. We were there just after the rains
and the lakes were swollen and full of life
— especially water birds, hippopotamuses and crocodiles. I’ve been all
across Africa and I’ve never seen so
many crocs, sunbathing their scaly
selves on the beach, slithering around in
the sediment-rich, chocolate-milk-colored water and waiting until the last
possible instant to slowly sink away before our skiff bumped into them.
As our boat approached a pod of hippos (Don’t you love animal group
names? A pod of hippos? A bask of crocodiles? A coalition of cheetahs? A tower
of giraffes? Who gets to come up with
these, anyway?), an enormous hippo
popped out of the lake. We couldn’t have
been more than 20 feet away and it
stared right at us, beads of water dripping off its whiskered face, sizing us up.
“Don’t you wish you knew what that guy
was thinking?” I whispered. “He’s probably thinking one thing,” my wife,
Courtenay, answered. “‘What’s that?’”
I wish I could bring all the people I
Cape buffalo roaming across the brilliant green, rain-washed plains of Tanzania in the Selous Game Reserve, which had few cars, zero garbage and lots of animals.
A tower of Masai giraffes in the reserve.
love to the Selous. It’s a magnificent reserve, swallowing you up in endless expanses of acacia trees and emerald
green swamps and tawny savannas.
Well off the beaten path and one of Africa’s last, great, uninhabited safari areas, the Selous delivers all the big game
without the big (human) crowds that descend on the better known African parks
like the Ngorongoro Crater in northern
Tanzania or the Masai Mara National
Reserve in Kenya.
I found it so relaxing and rejuvenating
— the perfect antidote to staring at a
computer all day or constantly checking
my iPhone — to just gaze across those
mirror-flat lakes and smell the wild jasmine in the air and watch giraffes
saunter past so delicately it looked like
their long femurs were filled with helium — that’s how lightly and soundlessly
these giants float across the earth.
I wish, too, the Selous Game Reserve
was as animal-friendly as it feels, but
that would be giving you the beauty of
the place without the truth. A Unesco
World Heritage site, the Selous also happens to be one of Africa’s largest hunting
grounds. I know, it’s hard to believe, but
gunning down endangered wildlife, including lions and elephants, is perfectly
legal here, as it is in several other African game reserves. Hunters love the
Selous for the same reasons I do: its remoteness and abundance of game.
Everybody has an opinion on hunting
and I’m no exception. Countless times
before, I’ve heard the spirited defense:
that big game hunting actually helps
protect wildlife, that you sacrifice a few
older animals for the betterment of the
group, that the presence of licensed
hunters scares away poachers who
would kill many more animals, and that
the proceeds of hunting (it ain’t cheap —
in Tanzania, people pay up to $100,000 to
kill an elephant) help cover conservation efforts. I’m not going to dispute any
of this. But still, there must be more re-
spectful ways to protect wildlife than
shooting a few so their heads can be
stuffed to gather dust on a wall.
If hunting turns you off, please don’t
let that keep you from visiting the
Selous. You probably will never come
across a hunter. The Selous is enormous,
nearly 20,000 square miles, bigger than
Switzerland, and the designated hunting area within the reserve is separated
from the game-viewing side by a big
river. In two visits to the Selous that I
made last year, I didn’t hear a single
gunshot and never saw a single hunter.
And the African hunting business isn’t
what it used to be, thanks to Cecil. (In
The Selous delivers all the big
game without the big (human)
crowds that descend on the better
known African parks, like the
Masai Mara National Reserve.
case you forgot, Cecil was a beloved
Zimbabwean lion blasted into the afterworld by an American dentist. The controversy his death caused in 2015 and
the harsh spotlight it cast on African
hunting scared away many potential
For how remote the Selous is, getting
there is surprisingly easy, which makes
me wonder if its days of tranquillity are
numbered. We caught a small propeller
plane from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s
commercial capital. It was a 35-minute
flight to a little dusty airstrip inside the
reserve. As we puttered through the sky,
my boys, Apollo, 8, and Asa, 6, spotted
hippos below, on both sides of the plane.
About a dozen safari companies spanning the range from rustic to glamorous
operate in the Selous, far less than say,
in the Masai Mara, which may be one
reason the Selous doesn’t draw the
khaki-clad masses, at least not yet. We
chose the down-to-earth Lake Manze
Camp, which several friends who live in
Tanzania had recommended. The camp,
a collection of 12 large tents, didn’t feel
like many of the safari lodges I’ve visited in East Africa. It felt like it had been
plopped down the day before we got
Our tent sat in the middle of a copse of
trees and bushes, reachable by a dirt
path, positioned so close to the lake that
while we lay in bed we could hear hippos
splashing around. Our three-day safari,
which included game drives, accommodation, food, drinks, park fees, tips and
getting up close and personal with a
pride of lions, cost about $2,500.
Shaun O’Driscoll, a gregarious South
African, runs Lake Manze Camp with
his wife, Milli. Shaun is opinionated, direct, no-nonsense, but also deeply empathic, a man whose mosquito-bitten
legs and perma-smile reveal how much
he relishes living in the wild.
“You see, we got no gates or fences,”
Shaun explained when we arrived, sitting us down in the lodge’s dinning area,
a big thatched hut. “Anything can come
in here. Lions, elephants, buffalos, hippos, anything. You leave your tent, you
look around, ’kay? Now, for you young
guys,” he looked down at Apollo and
Asa, who were watching him raptly. “No
running. You got me? No. Run. Ing. You
never know what’s hiding in the bush.
And the last thing you want to look like is
prey.” Courtenay and I shot each other a
worried glance: We definitely didn’t
want our kids looking like prey.
That night our proximity to nature almost felt reckless. We ate dinner outside
under a sky smeared with stars, and after a tasty meal of chicken in ginger
sauce, fresh rolls, rice pilaf and chocolate mousse (it’s pretty standard to be
stuffed silly on safari), we walked back
to our family tent that consisted of two
rooms separated by a zippered enclosure. The tent was comfortable but utilitarian — a cot each for the boys, a double
bed for us, a steel basin sink, small toilet,
shower and a couple of canvas safari
chairs on the porch.
Around midnight, I heard someone
frantically trying to unzip the zipper to
our part of the tent. “Daddy! Mommy!
Daddy! Mommy!” Apollo yelled. “I just
heard a branch break! I just heard a
branch break!” Apollo jumped into our
bed, his little heart pounding.
I had no idea what had stepped on
what outside. But I knew that feeling,
that sudden terror a random crack in the
night can trigger. We quieted him down
and he drifted off and eventually so did I.
But it wasn’t for long.
A few hours later, I woke up again —
with a jolt, this time to hear, in the span
of about eight seconds, a pod of hippos
snorting, two monkeys scrambling on
our tent top and one lion a-grunting. A
lion’s grunt doesn’t sound like the MGM
roar; it’s more of a deep, rhythmic
cough. And this cough sounded as if it
was coming from the next room.
My pulse accelerated. The saliva in
my mouth dried up. My skin tingled. I
confess: I started to panic, imagining
two huge yellow eyes surfacing in the
mesh window right next to me. I sat up
in bed as alert and wired as I’ve ever
been. A lion’s claws would have shredded our tent like crepe paper.
The next morning at breakfast, in the
bright tropical sunshine, we were all
cracking up about being wimps as we
helped ourselves to scrambled eggs and
thick slices of warm banana bread. We
then headed off on a game drive — game
drives are the backbone of an East African safari, though in the Selous you always have the boat option as well.
As our open-sided Land Cruiser rolled
through the reserve, I was impressed by
how varied the landscape was. Because
of all the rivers and lakes, wide swaths
of the Selous are impenetrable — picture green, overgrown, scratchy and
thorny bush.
I can only imagine how grueling and
tortuous it was for the first batch of explorers, like Frederick Selous, the Victorian hunter and collector who the reserve was named after, to hack their
way through this place. But the Selous
also contains wide-open areas, with
wavy yellow grass and, in the distance,
jagged brown hills; in between are cool
That afternoon we found ourselves in
a cool forest. A light rain fell, more like a
mist. It softly brushed our skin, tiny
droplets sticking to the hairs on our
arms. Our falcon-eyed guide, Zacharia,
had found some lion spoor near the road
and he was tracking it deeper and
deeper into the forest. “There!” he finally said, and we all followed where his
finger was pointing. Just up ahead a
lioness and her three cubs wrestled on a
log. We drove even closer and Zacharia
cut the engine. We rolled to a stop just a
few feet away. Oblivious to us, the lions
pawed each other’s heads, pushed each
other off the slippery log, tumbled down
and hit the muddy ground and sprang
back up, training for the rigors of hunts
to come. It was as if they were playing
king of the mountain, but there was
clearly a point to it.
What made our experience even
sweeter was that we were by ourselves.
So many times when you’re on safari
and spot lions in action, the drivers get
on the radio and next thing you know,
several other trucks come chugging in,
tourists popping out the sunroofs. Here,
we were the only car for miles.
That’s the magic of this place. It’s all
I guess the dominant feeling I had in
the Selous was being free. Lake Manze
Camp made that feeling even deeper.
We didn’t have to keep anyone else’s
schedule. Shaun gave us a four-wheel
drive truck and assigned us a driver and
a guide. We could get up when we
wanted and drive (or boat) around
when we wanted and have our meals in
the bush, if we wanted.
Every part of the reserve we visited
brought the same joys: few cars, zero
garbage, trees and plants and wildflowers that couldn’t have looked much
healthier, and lots of animals.
As Shaun put it on our last evening
when we gathered for a final beer by the
fire: “There are now traffic cops in the
Kruger.” (He was referring to South Africa’s best known wildlife park, which
has paved roads cutting across it and the
occasional traffic jam.) “This,” Shaun
said, spreading his arms as wide as possible, “is the real Africa.”
Over the years, in my travels across
Africa, I’ve heard that claim many
times, in many different places. Who
knows what the “real” Africa is. So
many of us outsiders seem to be on a
search for the Africa we imagined. And
for the Africans who live in this part of
the world, what we romanticize is simply their home.
But that said, there is something undeniably special, and moving, about
these last undisturbed places. And
standing outside in the dying twilight,
surrounded by miles of bush, in the middle of one of the last great untouched
spaces left on the continent, I knew exactly what Shaun meant.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 | S1
Diego Boneta,
Hollywood star?
The former telenovela actor and teen idol is featured in a
mini-series about the Mexican singer Luis Miguel
Fan magnet
Diego Boneta in
Mexico City. Mr.
Boneta is wearing
Ermenegildo Zegna
Couture. Below, Mr.
Boneta in a scene
from the coming
Netflix mini-series
“Luis Miguel.”
The art tour kept getting interrupted.
Diego Boneta, the sleepy-eyed charmer
from shows including “Scream Queens”
and “Pretty Little Liars,” was padding
through the Palacio de Bellas Artes in
Mexico City, expounding on the sweeping murals by Diego Rivera and David
Alfaro Siqueiros.
Well, he was trying to. Every 100 feet
or so, a female fan — some were in their
teens, others in their 50s — would cut in,
diffidently asking for a selfie with this
former teen idol from Mexico City.
“Diego, me regalas una foto?”
Each time, the stubble-faced singer
and actor, looking Los Angeles casual in
a rust-colored Ermenegildo Zegna
sweater, jeans and Tom Ford sneakers,
would amiably toss his arm around their
shoulders, strike a cover-boy smile and
punctuate the encounter with a gentle
hug, looking every bit the conquering
hero in his hometown.
After a decade in Hollywood, Mr.
Boneta, a former telenovela star and
Mexican pop singer, has ridden his hazel-eyed looks and star-spangled accent
to a new status: an all-American heartthrob to watch.
After his Hollywood film debut as a
Michigan-bred headbanger in the 2012
hair-metal musical “Rock of Ages,”
alongside Tom Cruise, Mr. Boneta, 27,
has three movies in the pipeline for this
year, including “The Titan,” a science
fiction thriller starring Sam Worthington.
And he just completed a nine-month
shoot for his weightiest role yet, playing
the title role in the highly anticipated
big-budget mini-series “Luis Miguel,
the Series,” from Telemundo and Netflix, which debuts on April 22.
The 13-episode show, an authorized
biography of the Mexican superstar
Luis Miguel (Latin America’s latter-day
equivalent to Frank Sinatra), is an unflinching tell-all that serves up a series
of bombshells from the tangled past of
the fiercely private singer known as “El
Sol de México.”
So is Mr. Boneta a Hollywood star in
Mexico, or a Mexican star in Hollywood? And how does it still even matter?
“I don’t consider myself 50-50,” Mr.
Boneta said. “I’m 100 percent Mexican
and 100 percent American.”
On this balmy spring afternoon when
the city was a sea of purple jacaranda
blossoms, Mr. Boneta was still trying to
decompress after an exhausting shoot
in which, among other things, he was
tasked with performing Luis Miguel’s
famous vocal pyrotechnics himself.
(“He’s belting high Cs in almost every
single song,” Mr. Boneta said. “High Cs
are what Pavarotti used to do.”)
To reacquaint himself with a city he
moved away from at 16, Mr. Boneta decided to spend the day as a tourist,
checking out the famous murals festooning the grand buildings of the Centro Histórico.
“I love, love, love, love history, and
art,” Mr. Boneta said, pausing at top of
the main staircase of the Palacio Nacional, the seat of Mexico’s federal executive branch, to ruminate on the Spanish
conquest of the Aztecs in the 16th century, as depicted in the massive Diego
Rivera mural “The History of Mexico,”
which soared above him.
“When the Spaniards came to conquer Mexico, there were only 550 Spaniards,” Mr. Boneta said. “The Aztec city
was the most populated city in the world
back then, almost a million people. Five
hundred fifty Spaniards did not conquer
Mexico. It was because they allied with
the other tribes that hated the Aztecs.”
“That’s how they conquered Mexico,”
he said. “Mexicans conquered Mexico.”
In his own way, Mr. Boneta is hoping
to do the same with “Luis Miguel.”
He’s mindful of how Mexico has been
portrayed abroad. “Right now in the papers, you just read the negative stuff
about Mexico,” Mr. Boneta said, of the
country’s drug violence. “It really upsets me, because that’s not everything
Mexico is.”
“That’s actually one of my favorite
things about the show,” he said. “It’s the
first big Latin show that doesn’t have
anything to do with narcos. It’s a success story of the biggest Latin singer of
all time.”
Taking a moment to reflect, Mr.
Boneta said that it seemed vaguely cosmic to be talking about Luis Miguel at
the palace. A short stroll away, Mr.
Boneta said, he had first tasted fame at
age 12, performing Mr. Miguel’s “La
Chica Del Bikini Azul” in front of 140,000
people in the vast public square known
as El Zócalo for a Mexican equivalent of
“Star Search.”
“Maybe I wasn’t the best singer, but I
was a performer,” said Mr. Boneta, who
was soon rocking stadiums and opening
S2 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
This month's must-haves.
By Alex Tudela
Gordon Gekko wore it in
“Wall Street.” Jake
Gyllenhaal is its new
spokesman. And now
the Santos de Cartier
watch, created by Louis
Cartier in 1904 for a
friend, the Brazilian
aviator Alberto SantosDumont, can be
snapped up online. On
April 5, seven versions
of the rounded-square
aviator watch (including
two exclusive styles on a
black leather strap) will
be available on Mr
As army brats and survivalist types
have long known, military socks with
silver-plated nylon offer antimicrobial,
odor-eliminating properties. But the
color options were limited to drab olive
and other camouflage tones. Now
American Trench, a heritage-minded
clothing company based in Pennsylva-
nia, is offering a rainbow of crew socks
knitted with silver filaments at a familyowned factory in North Carolina, including agave green, red-rock orange
and desert-sky blue.
Santos de Cartier, $6,250
to $37,000, at mrporter
Master & Dynamic, a
New York-based audio
company, has released a
second line of premium
headphones inspired by
the look and feel of Leica
cameras, and its Germanengineered line of 0.95
accessories. The Silver
Edition include earphones
($199), over-ear headphones ($399) and wireless headphones ($549)
that pair seamlessly with
the Leica Noctilux-M lens,
which features a superbright 0.95 aperture.
Master & Dynamic for 0.95 Silver Edition collection, at
American Trench silver crew socks, $16.50
to $36, at
Noah, the street wear boutique in
NoLIta started by Brendon Babenzien,
the former creative director of Supreme, has teamed up with Vuarnet,
the French eyewear maker. The sporty
collaboration includes color-blocked
swim trunks, T-shirts and hoodies,
canvas tote bags, and, of course, vintage-style sunglasses that go effortlessly from the French Riviera to the
Far Rockaways.
Gear up for April showers with
these fashionable anoraks that
hark back to the brash colors of
1990s sportswear. Spring runways offered a zany assortment.
Burberry showed a Kelly-green
nylon windbreaker that could
have been worn by a young Liam
Gallagher of Oasis ($1,090 at Balenciaga offered an oversize color-blocked
version ($1,850 at balenciaga
.com). And Martine Rose created
retro anoraks inspired by Toronto bicycle messengers from the
’80s and ’90s ($1,912, at martine
Noah x Vuarnet, $58 to $280, at noahny
.com, the Vuarnet flagship store and Le
Bon Marché in Paris.
Sweetgreen’s Jonathan Neman on surfing, family and work
The 33-year-old, a founder of the popular salad
chain, doesn’t own a car and doesn’t miss it
“I’m always absorbing information,”
said Jonathan Neman, 33, a founder and
chief executive of Sweetgreen, the fastcasual chain known for its hearty farmto-table salad bowls. But before he plots
his workday, Mr. Neman, who was
raised in Los Angeles, usually hits the
waves near his home in Venice Beach,
Calif. Here’s how he tackles the rest of
the day. (This interview has been edited
and condensed.)
My goal every morning is to do something that grounds me, to prepare me for
that crazy day ahead. I’m usually up by
6 or 6:30. Then I have a few rituals. I
won’t check my phone in bed; I like to
start the day peacefully. Then it’s either
a surf, yoga or run.
I’m very fortunate I’m about a block
from the ocean. Surfing is one of my favorite things in the world, and I’m not
good at it at all. It’s the best kind of meditation for me, and it’s my favorite way to
start the day. Actually people in the office will notice it. They’ll say, “You’re in a
good mood today, did you surf?”
Then it’s a quick shower and I pretty
much wear the same base layer every
day: black jeans and a black T-shirt. It’s
one less thing to think about it. Maybe
I’ll add one more thing on top. I do have
an affinity for leather jackets.
I use a face wash from a line our friend
started called Panacea. Then I use whatever my wife has. Give me that good
face cream!
I live about 20 minutes from work and I
either Uber or my wife, who is a writer
and works at a WeWork nearby, will
drop me off. I don’t have a car. We do
share the car on the weekends, but going back and forth to work, it’s nice to
not have to worry about it.
Also it’s a really productive time for
me. I might catch up on phone calls. Or
I’m into podcasts recently. I’ve been into
“Masters of Scale” — Reid Hoffman
started it — because it’s really inspiring.
It gets me fired up on the way to work.
Our office is in this complex called Platform, and there are a lot of other startups here. Blue Bottle is right next to us
so I’ll grab a coffee before I go in. The
three founders, we still share an office.
What’s really special is how we work together. We’ve been working together for
11 years as best friends and partners. It
works because there is true friendship
there and love and lack of ego.
Our original headquarters was in
D.C., but we’re all based in L.A. now. We
relocated because most of our growth is
coming from here, our suppliers are
mostly here, and we wanted to be on the
front lines.
I like to have a little bit of time in the
morning to prep my thoughts. The night
before, I write a list of what needs to be
done the next day. I always take a step
back and look to see what it is that I want
to lead the company through today, this
week or this month. What’s the thing
that’s really going to move the needle?
My dad, who immigrated to the U.S. in
the late ’70s from Iran because of the
revolution, is one of my work mentors.
He had to start over and support his
family. One thing I got from him is that
the work is never done.
I don’t eat anything in the morning. I
just have my coffee. Intermittent fasting
keeps me very energized. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, but it’s become
more of a thing now. I also eat a very big
dinner so I feel like I’m still digesting it
the next day.
I do eat an early lunch. I go to the test
kitchen we have here and see what the
chef is cooking up. I stay at the office
pretty late so I’m not home until about 9
p.m. I’ve been cooking a lot more at
home lately, but it’s also a highlight
when we get to go try somewhere fun
for dinner, usually on the West Side.
I just finished “Onward” by Howard
Schultz — it’s really interesting and still
relevant now — and I just began “Principles” by Ray Dalio. I’ve gotten a lot of
inspiration from outside of our industry. It’s about looking at other business
models and brands and thinking, “How
can we apply that here?” For example,
I’ve been really interested in Disney.
This brand has lasted so long and
stayed culturally relevant. It starts
with this creative spirit layered with
storytelling and magic and the ability
to innovate and evolve over time.
I’m Persian Jewish and I have a huge
family. I’m the oldest of four boys, and I
have 20 first cousins. My wife — we got
married last June — has a similar family situation. Every Friday night we
have Shabbat. That’s a big part of our
Morning ritual
On most days,
Jonathan Neman
rides his bicycle to
the beach and surfs
before heading to
Sweetgreen, where
he meets with one
of his co-founders,
Nathaniel Ru.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018 | S3
Life is short. Buy a chateau.
The designer Pierre Yovanovitch tells stories with the rooms in his French retreat
At far left, Pierre
Yovanovitch on the
pink and pine zigzag
sofa he designed for
his chateau. At left,
a wooden stool
designed and made
by a local craftsman
sits near the fireplace.
“I love this object
because it was
given to me by a
client,” the designer
said of this folk art
owl, spotted in
Paris. “It’s a very
good memory for
An installation by
the French artist
Franck Scurti hangs
in the living room,
floating in space
like a mobile.
Pierre Yovanovitch
Interior designer; furniture designer
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France
In 2009, Mr. Yovanovitch, whose primary residence is in Paris, bought a chateau surrounded
by 90 acres of woodland that was in the same family for
centuries. He turned a separate barnlike structure
where hay was once stored into a warm, wood-filled
salon decorated with art, vintage furniture and a zigzag
sofa he designed.
Was it daunting to renovate and
furnish what amounts to a castle?
I think it was the most crazy thing I
have ever done. If you think too
much about possessing this kind of
property, you don’t, because there is
too much work, too much everything.
But for me, life is short, and you need
to do some crazy things.
The salon is fairly spare, with carefully chosen objects. What’s your
In every client project, and for my-
self, I try to make a story around the
room. Here, I don’t want to use any
shiny fabric, bronze and so on, because it was a farm. You feel that in
the architecture. I try to respect the
style of the house, but in a modern
way, a nicer way. I used simple objects, lots of wood.
The zigzag sofa made of pine is
really cool, but is it actually comfortable?
The inspiration is very brutalist,
because it’s sharp. But it’s also cozy.
Because of the shape, you’re sitting
close to each other. Very warm and
very comfortable.
I’m intrigued by the small owl sculpture.
I love this object because it was given
to me by a client. He knew that I love
owls. One day, we were at a fair in
Paris. I saw it and fell in love. I couldn’t
afford it; it was quite expensive. The
next day, I received the owl in my
office as a gift. It’s a very good memory for me.
You’re planning to open a New York
office. Will that mean less time at the
Maybe, yes. If I decide to open an
office in New York and I want to grow
in the U.S., it’s a part of the success.
But I will try to go as often as possible.
To buy this chateau gives me a lot of
energy to do other projects. I have to
work more to afford this.
A style original goes west
Anchor tenant
Josh Peskowitz
outside of Magasin,
a men’s wear store
he opened in
Culver City, Calif.
Josh Peskowitz takes his high-low pairings to California
“We have just left the Judaism corridor
and are now in Christian drop-off territory,” Josh Peskowitz said, palming the
steering wheel of his new Cadillac S.U.V.
as he piloted past rows of synagogues
and churches on the far west side of Los
It was a chilly Sunday, somewhere in
the low 40s. Late season Santa Ana
winds had scoured the winter skies to a
marine blankness. Surface streets, too,
were uncommonly empty as Mr.
Peskowitz headed toward the Santa
Monica Airport and a choice small
monthly flea market held there.
Mr. Peskowitz, a native New Yorker,
was on an expedition to ferret out local
experiences: the flea market; a visit to
Arcana, a bookstore that is an Aladdin’s
cave of rare finds; a trip up the coast to
the Reel Inn, a fish shack he called “a little bit of Sheepshead Bay in Malibu.”
Like many Angelenos, Mr. Peskowitz
is a recent West Coast transplant and a
particularly avid one. New York may be
where he cut his teeth as a fashion retailer and also where he emerged as a
kind of style hero — Instagram loves
him and whole Pinterest pages are dedicated to his sartorial doings. Yet Los Angeles, as it turns out, is where his singular mash-up of street wear, geek wear
and Italian tailoring looks most natural.
That he wound up here owed mainly
to a business opportunity. Invited by the
developers of Platform — a shiny new
hub of shops, restaurants and offices in
Culver City, roughly equidistant from
Beverly Hills and Venice, — to open a
men’s wear store as an anchor tenant,
Mr. Peskowitz and two partners created
Magasin, a sophisticated multibrand
shop that quickly established itself as a
cult destination.
Favoring the brands Mr. Peskowitz
himself wears (Common Projects, Dries
Van Noten, Kolor, Eidos Napoli, Missoni,
Tricker’s) and in the same off-kilter colors and proportions, the store functions
like a continuing self-portrait arrayed
on hangers. And it has an experimental
looseness natural to someone who
fetched up in the world of fashion almost
by happenstance.
Born in Brooklyn, raised in Washington, style schooled from afar by the hiphop legends that influenced his generation, Mr. Peskowitz, 39, honed his style
starting with a job doing window display
for Urban Outfitters and refined it over a
decade or so at editorial jobs in publications as disparate as Esquire, The Fader
and the late, lamented Cargo.
His last gig before striking out on his
own was as men’s fashion director at
Bloomingdale’s. There he concluded
that what was vanishing as department
stores withered and algorithms replaced merchants was “a real point of
view.” This seemed particularly needful
as consumers — the male ones, anyway
— flail about in search of a plausible
work uniform for an era when casual
Friday rolls around every 24 hours.
Mr. Peskowitz jokingly refers to himself as “poor man with expensive tastes
or an expensive man with simple
tastes,” which is one way of saying he favors a strenuously hybridized version of
high-low attire. Take the roomy flood
pants he is wearing. They are costly vintage Junya Watanabe and he has paired
‘You don’t ever want to be an
eyesore,’ Mr. Peskowitz says.
them with a tailored kimono-style jacket
from a design collaboration recently undertaken with Levi’s Made & Crafted label, a Magasin T-shirt, a pair of suede
Clarks Wallabees and a generic knit cap.
“My style has gotten a lot looser since
I moved to L.A.,” Mr. Peskowitz said, after parking the car and heading for the
flea market entrance. He now wears his
tailored suit jackets from the Milanese
designer Massimo Alba with dropcrotch trousers and clogs.
Setting off down aisles crammed with
vendors offering both curatorial selections of vintage work wear and the usual
unclassifiable junk, Mr. Peskowitz
stopped at Erin Powell’s Little Baby
Kitty booth, where he spotted a table full
of floral embroidered sneakers from
Thailand that looked like next-season
Gucci. He immediately purchased a pair
for his wife. Then he scoured a stand offering mint-condition denim boiler suits
and Wrangler cowboy shirts with all-important mother-of-pearl snaps. Finally
he trawled a display crammed with
what looked to be the contents of David
Crosby’s accessories drawer.
“You know, I always want to fill up on
rings, but I’m already full-up on rings,”
said Mr. Peskowitz, whose hands are
barnacled with silver.
Zeroing in on a Hopi silver ring inlaid
with white abalone, he asked to try it.
“You sure?” said the vendor, Nancy
Elby. “That’s a hippie-dippy ring from
the ’70s.”
“I’m down with that.”
Mr. Peskowitz estimates that his
wardrobe — he has never inventoried it
— runs to 700 articles of clothing, dozens
each of jackets, shirts and jeans and an
equivalent number of hats. “Some of it
has sentimental value,” he said as he
nosed the Cadillac out of the flea market
parking lot and pointed it north toward
Malibu. “I keep a lot of stuff I wouldn’t
necessarily break out on a Tuesday.”
Among those items is his paternal
grandfather’s cowboy hat. “Even
though he was from Brooklyn, he had a
thing for cowboy hats and bolos,” Mr.
Peskowitz said. Possibly it was this
same westward-leaning and sartorially
adventuresome grandfather who influenced Mr. Peskowitz’s lifelong interest
in clothes.
“I do think that there is a throughthread between our identity and the way
we dress,” Mr. Peskowitz said, as he
cruised up the Pacific Coast Highway.
“We don’t have feathers and we don’t
have fur. Being an animal, you have to
have some form of display. That’s just
how it goes.”
Well before reaching the Reel Inn, a
throwback fish joint where customers
place orders at a walk-up window after
perusing a glass case displaying the
day’s catch, Mr. Peskowitz already knew
his order. “I’m having fried oysters, fish
tacos that I ask them to make with whatever’s fresh and a bucket of French
fries,” he said. “That and a Foster’s Oil
It is easy to get the sense that, behind
the easygoing facade that is a large part
of Mr. Peskowitz’s charm, is the focused
temperament of a man seldom in any
confusion about what he desires. Each
of his many tattoos — an Urdu symbol
for nonviolence; his mother’s initials in
block letters; an Assyrian sphinx; a Japanese whale; the battle standard of Cyrus the Great — is as studiously considered as the labels displayed at Magasin.
And each of those labels is as carefully
gauged for the correspondences it sets
up with its neighbors as for its individual
designer cred.
“One thing that is sorely missing in retail is a differentiating perspective,” Mr.
Peskowitz said, as he mopped up tartar
sauce with an oyster. “While we certainly sell clothes that are colorful, interesting — perhaps even flamboyant in
certain instances — the idea we employ
in the store is that our job is contextualizing those things.”
He took a slug of beer then and wiped
his mouth with the back of his wrist.
“Since you cannot turn off anymore and
there’s no distinction between work
clothes and off-duty clothes, you need a
formula for being casual and still a presentable human that can command respect,” Mr. Peskowitz said. “It’s basically about how to wear sneakers and look
like a grown-up. You don’t ever want to
be the eyesore. You want to be the interesting guy.”
S4 | FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018
A new Hollywood idol?
for Hilary Duff. “I loved performing for
huge crowds. It’s like people jumping
out of a plane to get that adrenaline
After the visit to the presidential palace, Mr. Boneta climbed back into an armored Chevrolet Suburban flanked by
two bodyguards (a typical mode of travel for notables and the business elite in
Mexico, he said) and headed for lunch at
El Cardenal, a venerable restaurant
nearby that offers traditional dishes like
escamoles (fried ant larvae).
The actor smiled as he scooped a generous spoonful over guacamole to form
a taco. “Mexican caviar,” he said. “Very
Dangling around his neck was an escapulario (a gold religious medallion)
that belonged to a grandfather he never
met, Otto Boneta, who was a songwriter
and a psychiatrist. (Pope Francis
blessed the medallion, Mr. Boneta said,
when he performed alongside others
during a papal visit to Mexico City in
The music gene, it seems, skipped
generations. Mr. Boneta’s parents,
Lauro González and Astrid Boneta, are
engineers. (His younger siblings, Natalia and Santiago, are studying at Duke
“I’m the black sheep,” he said.
Indeed, Mr. Boneta left school in fifth
grade, and starred in a string of youthoriented telenovelas, including “Alegrijes y Rebujos” and “Rebelde,” a “Glee”style drama about a group of anthembelting private school students. During
“I don’t consider
myself 50-50,”
Mr. Boneta said.
“I’m 100 percent
Mexican and 100
percent American.” Styled by
Avo Yermagyan
at Forward Artists, left. Mr.
Boneta as Drew
Boley in “Rock of
Ages,” far left.
his tenure on that show, Mr. Boneta also
cut his first album, “Diego,” which included the hit single “Responde.”
(Looking to capitalize on his rising
profile from “Scream Queens,” he released a bilingual EP in 2015 that included a Gene Vincent-style roots rocker
single, “The Hurt,” sung in English.)
“There are no child labor laws here,”
he said. “I was working Monday
through Sunday, probably 17 to 18 hours
a day sometimes. Christmas was a halfday off.”
When Mr. Boneta was 16, the family
moved to Los Angeles, in part to be
closer to Hollywood. While he found no
shortage of work, he learned that there
was not much of a pipeline for Mexican
As the #OscarsSoWhite movement
showed, many obstacles remain. While
Latinos comprise 18 percent of the population of the United States, Latino actors
account for only about 3 percent of the
speaking roles in American films, according to a 2017 study released by the
Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg.
But Latino actors, he said, also lack a
support network. “In Hollywood, I have
a lot of Australian friends, and they’ll
have their Aussie friends sleep on their
couch,” he said. “I was in a movie with
Sam Worthington, and he was telling me
stories about how he had helped the
Hemsworth brothers, and before that,
Russell Crowe helped him. Same thing
with the Brits — ‘the wider the door, the
more we fit through.’ It’s a different
On the positive side, three Mexican directors have won four out of five of the
most recent Academy Awards for Best
Picture: Alfonso Cuarón in 2013, Guillermo del Toro this year, and Alejandro G.
Iñárritu two years in a row.
“The Mexican directors are killing it
right now,” he said. “Mexican actors
should be, too.”
It is an open question whether “Luis
Miguel” will enhance Mr. Boneta’s Hollywood clout to the point that he brings
along other Latino hopefuls in his wake.
Although the show is in Spanish, that
is hardly a deal killer in the streaming
landscape of 2018, where foreign shows
like “Narcos” (bilingual, with subtitles)
and “Dark,” (German, available with
dubbed English or subtitles) have become binge-watch favorites for Americans on Netflix — a point likely not lost
on the very Hollywood producer of
“Luis Miguel,” Mark Burnett (“The
Voice,” “Survivor”).
Mr. Miguel himself has global appeal
in Spain, Italy and even China, Mr.
Boneta said, in addition to the sizable
market in the United States. And the
story is familiar turf to fans of no-holdsbarred music biopics like “Walk the
Line” and “Ray.”
“On the one side, you’ve got the ‘Wolf
of Wall Street’ party scenes,” Mr. Boneta
said. “The fame, sex and the excess, the
drugs, mixed with a really dark family
If nothing else, the meaty role promises to vault Mr. Boneta far beyond the
teen-idol trap.
Looking ahead in his own career, Mr.
Boneta said, he looks to Tom Cruise, who
remains a mentor, as an inspiration.
“One of the best pieces of advice he
gave me is, ‘Set your goal and work
backward,’” Mr. Boneta said. “If you
want to be a big action star, you have to
learn how to ride motorcycles, fly planes
and learn to do your own stunts.”
Come to think of it, “Diego Boneta, action star” has a nice ring to it. “A shortterm goal that I have, and I know this
may sound cheesy, is being the first Latin Marvel superhero, whose character
isn’t necessarily Latin,” he said.
“Black Panther,” after all, already
proved that a nonwhite superhero movie can attain blockbuster status.
“How about ‘Pantera Negra’?” he
said with a smile.
A star rookie’s wardrobe
Mathew Barzal, a center for the New York Islanders, likes
baggy T-shirts, slim jeans and whatever ASAP Rocky wears
Off the ice Mathew Barzal near his home in Garden City, N.Y.
Mathew Barzal, a rookie for the New
York Islanders, is having a banner year.
The 20-year-old National Hockey League
center has racked up a whopping 59
assists and 20 goals this season as of
April 2. Off the ice, Mr. Barzal, who grew
up in Vancouver, British Columbia, and
lives in Garden City, N.Y., has turned up
his fashion game. Here are some of his
current style points. BEE SHAPIRO
Shirt I like my T-shirts long
sleeved, and a little bit long and a
little baggier. I love the ones from
AllSaints and John Elliott. I’ll wear
them with a hoodie. I just got a purple
hoodie from Ovadia & Sons. They have
a good hoodie game. I don’t have any
yet from Off-White; their hoodies are
sick, obviously. Everyone knows that.
But Saint Laurent is becoming my
favorite brand. I’ve been living with one
of my teammates, Dennis Seidenberg,
and his wife, Rebecca, who is into fashion. She’s becoming my stylist. She’s
been introducing me to new brands and
we’ll go online and shop together. I also
love going into Kith whenever I’m in
Brooklyn, sometimes just to see what
they have new.
Jeans If I like my top bigger, I like
my jeans slim. I especially like
ripped ones that are washed
black. Plain black is also good. But I’m
a hockey player. My legs are so big that
I have a tough time finding pants. I
need to find the stretchiest pair. I like
Seven for All Mankind. I also have two
pairs by Paige and some by Rag &
Jacket I have this camo baggy
jacket that I love. I got it in Vancouver at a store called Shuttle
Notes. This is more of a signature piece.
It’s got a bunch of little icons and
patches on it. I imagine it’s something
ASAP Rocky would wear. I like to go on
Instagram and men’s street wear sites
to see what people are wearing. I love
Travis Scott and ASAP Rocky especially. Obviously I’m not dressing like a
rapper, but it’s great to look at.
Shoes When I first moved to New
York, I had so little clothing. I
maybe had only two pairs of
shoes. Now I have maybe eight pairs. I
love sneakers. I have a pair of black
Y-3s that are reliable. I also like my
Adidas NMDs, which are in a white and
gray but still stand out. I like Vans too.
When I get more dressed up, I’ll wear
my Saint Laurent Chelsea boots.
Accessories The necklace I wear
right now is more of a spiritual
thing. It’s a lava stone. And I just
got these mala bead bracelets. My
accessories are kind of hippie.
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