The Islamic State Works, But That’s No Reason for Peace

It's hard to be fair to totalitarians.  The vast majority of us English-reading folks have no concept of totalitarian systems beyond the hard-jawed stereotypes of Nazi movie villains, Thought Police boogeymen of 1984, or Kim Jong Un-like buffoonery.  We take for granted the innate moral superiority of our systems so often that we rarely think about the … Continue reading The Islamic State Works, But That’s No Reason for Peace

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How culture keeps the Russians and Ukrainians just steps away from war

The Ukrainian civil war has been easy enough to fall off the world radar; with headline grabbing terrorism striking the heart of Europe, Donald Trump running his irrational mouth, and the EU rendering itself asunder, the conflict in Donbass, the eastern province now split away from Kiev's central control, seems like a whisper of a … Continue reading How culture keeps the Russians and Ukrainians just steps away from war

What the upcoming battle of Mosul tells us about the Iraqi state

As battles go, it was a real shocker: less than 1,500 Islamic State fighters defeating perhaps 30,000 Iraqi police and troops.  In the course of 6 days, from June 4th to June 10th, 2014, IS militia conquered Iraq's second largest city using little more than suicide bombers and pick-up trucks. They should have been butchered: … Continue reading What the upcoming battle of Mosul tells us about the Iraqi state

The Arab League is useless. Abolish it. 

International organizations get a bad wrap these days; the EU gets knocked about by nationalists and the UN gets slammed for feckless dithering. But you'd be hard pressed to find a international organization more useless, more pointless, and less effective than the Arab League. It's done little for its storied history and given salve to … Continue reading The Arab League is useless. Abolish it.