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David Rieff

David Rieff is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute at the New School. His books include Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West (Simon & Schuster, 1995), The Exile: Cuba in the Heart of Miami (Simon & Schuster, 1993), and Los Angeles: Capital of the Third World (Simon & Schuster, 1991).


Remembering Susan Sontag

In thinking of my mother now, more than a year after her death, I often find myself dwelling on that startling phrase in Auden’s great memorial poem for Yeats—words that both sum up what small immortality artistic accomplishment sometimes can con [...]

Miloševic in Retrospect

Summer 2006 | Essays

Looking back at it now, the death of Slobodan Miloševic seems of a piece with his life. When he reigned supreme in the Balkans, even those who claimed to know him well—and outside his immediate family circle, they were few—could never say with certainty who the “genuine” Slobodan Miloševic really was or what he stood for. Perhaps even expecting such authenticity is a Western, Judeo-Christian, or at least post-Christian-Freudian conceit, a fetishization of “essence” in the context of a man whose entire career was one of chameleonlike change that reflected the orthodoxy of the day. Baudelaire once wrote of his mistress that her eyes were deep pools of mystery behind which lay . . . nothing. My own sense is that much the same thing can be said about Miloševic. The man who went from Titoist apparatchik to reforming central banker whose views would not have seemed out of place in the Banque de France or the City of London, to Yugoslav patriot struggling to hold the Federation together, to Greater Serbian nationalist, and, finally, to Serb martyr, cannot be said to have had core beliefs—core beliefs other than in himself, that is.