Saudi Arabia Clamps Down on Little Qatar (Or, How Not To Waste Billions Trying To Be Something You’re Not)

What's a Qatar, and why should you care?  First off, it's pronounced "Qatr," with no "-ar" sound, even though that's how it's written in English.  If you insist on saying "Qat-AR," do it in your backwoods. Anyway, with Qatar having the third largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, this is one tiny country … Continue reading Saudi Arabia Clamps Down on Little Qatar (Or, How Not To Waste Billions Trying To Be Something You’re Not)

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The Advantages and Limits of Seeing Putin As Hitler

If you've done your job right as a world leader, someone has, at one point, compared you to Hitler.  The comparison is super lazy; mostly, opposition groups mean to slander somebody by saying they are the Most Evil Ever, and since nearly all of us agree Hitler was bad throwing his moustache on a photo … Continue reading The Advantages and Limits of Seeing Putin As Hitler

Little Bahrain and Its Very Big Problems

Sex! Drugs! ATM bombs!  A long-running violent uprising against the government!  What's not to love? When I first visited Bahrain in February 2011, just a few weeks before the mass uprising that would happen later that month, immigration stamped my passport with a big, "BUSINESS FRIENDLY BAHRAIN" before waving me through the mostly empty airport. … Continue reading Little Bahrain and Its Very Big Problems

What In The Hell Is Russia Doing? (Or, Mr. Putin Would Like a USSR, Please)

Okay, so they're not 100% back to their "Let's take over the world and put a statue of Lenin on the moon" ways.  But Russia is acting quite the bad boy recently; backing Bashar Assad in his murderous civil war, giving covering fire to Iran's nuclear program, and now, seemingly grabbing up the Crimea and … Continue reading What In The Hell Is Russia Doing? (Or, Mr. Putin Would Like a USSR, Please)