Accessibility links

A Conversation With Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens at his home in Washington, D.C.
Christopher Hitchens is one of the most prolific and controversial writers in the English-speaking world. A prominent atheist, he is the author of "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything," which became an international best-seller in 2007. He has also written books on topics ranging from the partition of Cyprus to Thomas Jefferson and the Anglo-American relationship; his most recent is the memoir "Hitch-22," which was released earlier this year shortly before he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

RFE/RL writer at large James Kirchick recently interviewed Hitchens at his home in Washington, D.C., about his left-wing revolutionary past, his views on America, Iran's nuclear program, Turkey's Islamist turn, Putin's Russia, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on a variety of international figures.

In this introductory segment, Hitchens discusses his political coming-of-age amid the revolutionary fervor of the 1960s, and what "revolution" means today:

Throughout most of his professional life, Hitchens railed against what he believed to be the abuses of U.S. power, from Vietnam to the Cold War policies of the Reagan administration. He hasn't changed his mind about those matters, but he has developed a new appreciation for America and its role in the world.

Hitchens, whose support for the war in Iraq angered many of his former comrades on the left, reaffirms his support for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and predicts that a military confrontation with Iran is likely:

Hitchens' first book was a history of Cyprus, the Mediterranean island invaded by Turkey in 1974. He has closely followed Turkey's internal politics and here discusses the debate over whether it should join the European Union:

Hitchens, a fervent supporter of spreading democratic liberalism around the globe, answers the question of whether some cultures -- Russia's in particular -- are suited for democracy:

In the past year, many voices have called for a downscaling of the Western commitment to Afghanistan and a removal of NATO troops -- including individuals who initially supported the 2001 war that ousted the Taliban from power. Hitchens disagrees.

In conclusion, Hitchens offers brief thoughts on Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, Jimmy Carter, Leon Trotsky, and Vaclav Havel:

Your opinion

Show comments