More than half of Guatemalans are pureblooded Indians, descendants of the proud Maya-Quiche tribes. In their mist-shrouded villages, the Indians worship the corn god and the rain god, only vaguely concerned with the political entity known as Guatemala.

In some countries that are darlings of the West, like Egypt, everyone knows the result of national elections years in advance: The man in power always wins. In others, like Saudi Arabia, the very idea of an election is unthinkable.

The long-term strategic goals of Iran and the long-term strategic goals of Turkey are close to the long-term strategic goals of the United States.

What the United States wanted in Guatemala - and in Iran, where the C.I.A. also deposed a government in the early 1950s - was pro-American stability.

Allowing a friend to careen toward self destruction is not friendship. That is a habit the United States needs to break as it pursues a richer and more deeply supportive relationship with Israel.

The reason that Americans have not been able to see the great strategic benefit that could accrue from a closer relationship with Iran is emotion.

Guatemala's ornate presidential palace, once a terrifying fortress whose every corridor was patrolled by heavily armed soldiers in berets and camouflage uniforms, is now a normal public building where ordinary citizens enter without fear.

Samarkand, with its magnificent mosques, tombs and dazzling ensembles of ceramic tiles, is still one of the world's most awe-inspiring cities.

Turkey and Brazil, though half a world apart geographically, have much in common. Both are large countries that spent long years under military dominance, but have broken with that history and made decisive steps towards full democracy.

As recently as the 1970s, some Pashtun leaders in Afghanistan were pushing to create a new state, Pashtunistan, by joining with Pashtuns in Pakistan.

Israel is thirsting for water, and Turkey is overflowing with it.

After installing friendly leaders in Iran and Guatemala, the United States lost interest in promoting democracy in either country.

Eagles rarely fail to catch their prey. They usually kill it quickly by breaking its neck with their powerful claws.

In fairness, Latin America's elected civilian leaders have made progress in some areas. They have brought their countries back to international respectability, curbed flagrant human rights violations, and sought to build democratic political institutions.

The withdrawal of more than half a million Russian troops and dependents from Germany since 1991 is described by historians as 'the biggest pullout ever by an army not defeated in battle.'

Canada, Australia and New Zealand have apologised for their treatment of native peoples.

During the 1990s the United States sought to impose the 'Washington Consensus' on Latin American governments. It embodied what Latin Americans call 'neo-liberal' principles: budget cuts, privatization, deregulation of business, and incentives for foreign companies. This campaign sparked bitter resistance and ultimately collapsed.

One day, Mexico will have a leader who is nationalist not simply in rhetoric, but also in fact.

Many Americans, and many more people around the world, have been outraged by what they see as President George W. Bush's radical reordering of American foreign policy.

During the Cold War, America took sides not only in disputes between Arab countries, but also in debates within them.

Some major American publishing houses still seek work by foreign writers.

The U.S. has intervened more often in more countries farther from its own shores than has any power in modern history.

The two largest oil-producing countries in Latin America, Mexico and Venezuela, sold petroleum to Nicaragua at concessional rates for several years beginning in 1980. The program was curtailed because Nicaragua could not make even reduced payments.

Prairie grassland once covered much of North America's midsection. European settlers turned nearly all of it into farms and ranches, and today the prairie landscape survives mainly in isolated reserves.

Western powers remain imprisoned by the idea that the world is a dangerous place, that it needs to be managed, and that they are called upon to do the managing.

Ataturk approved of the mevlevi dervish approach to God as being 'an expression of Turkish genius' that reclaimed Islam from what he saw as hide-bound, backward Arab tradition.

The capture, taming, training and keeping of eagles is highly ritualized. Most of the birds, which have a life span of about 40 years, are caught when very young - either snatched from a nest or trapped in a baited net.

As publishers focus on blockbusters, they steadily lose interest in little-known authors from other countries.

The idea that Arabia is best run by Arabs is no more palatable to Western leaders today than it was to Napoleon or Churchill.

If a leader comes to office in a seemingly fair election and tolerates dissent, he or she qualifies for our seal of approval.

Celebrating historic triumphs is a favorite pastime for many Turks. Tales of how Turkic peoples emerged from Central Asia, crossed the steppes to Anatolia, established the Ottoman Empire and ruled for centuries over large swaths of Europe and Asia are the subject of countless legends, poems and books.

The history of Chechnya is one of imperialism gone terribly wrong. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Chechens were among the few peoples to fend off Mongol conquerors, but at a terrible cost. Turks, Persians, and Russians sought to seize Chechnya, and it was finally absorbed into the Russian Empire in 1859.

Sultan Beyazid considered his father's art collection decadent and ordered it sold at auction.

In 1984, showing extraordinary courage, a group of Guatemalan wives, mothers and other relatives of disappeared people banded together to form the Mutual Support Group for the Appearance Alive of Our Relatives.

Turkey can be a bridge to regimes and actions the United States can't reach. Turkey can talk to people the United States can't talk to.

By the late 1970s, repression and economic chaos were causing increasing unrest throughout Latin America. Army strongmen were forced to cede power in Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

Chechens are Muslim, and some share the belief that the West is engaged in a global campaign against Islam.

Pakistan is not about to crack down on terror groups or cut its military budget in order to build roads, schools and hospitals.

Foreign interventions always end badly.

Israel deserves special treatment from the United States, both for historical reasons and because there can be no regional peace without a secure Israel.

Few living figures could contribute as much as Castro to our understanding of the second half of the 20th century.

In 1983, most Nicaraguans had still not fallen to the depths of deprivation and despair which they would reach in later years, but many were already unhappy and restive.

The Afghans are probably the world champions in resisting foreign domination and infiltration into their country.

Mexico needs schools, rural development, and an independent judiciary, not high-tech weaponry.

'Operation Ajax' presents history in an entirely new way. It takes a true story and uses cutting-edge technology, never before used in this way, to bring it to spectacular life.

Afghanistan's borders are arbitrary, drawn to meet 19th-century political needs rather than to respect ethnic or religious patterns.

No one will ever be able to say what the comandantes would have done with their historic opportunity in Nicaragua if they had not been confronted with civil war.

Conflict with the United States is one of the overwhelming facts of Latin American history.

After World War II, the winds of nationalism and anti-colonialism blew through the developing world.