The How To Guide of Defeating the Islamic State (Or: The Geopolitics of Defeating True Believers)

Defeating the Islamic State will require all the brutality of World War II and all the subtly of the Cold War. Here's how now the guide to the conditions that must be present before the Islamic State is defeated.

The view from Raqqa: The many, many challenges of the Islamic State

Welcome to a world of imagination! So you go to bed one night and you wake up the next day in the body of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - the leader of ISIS.  Now you might think you can imagine your way out of this scenario, since we're in a land of magic and wonder, but much like the … Continue reading The view from Raqqa: The many, many challenges of the Islamic State

What’s an ideal state? Well, New Zealand has some answers

On my visit here to New Zealand, it's been pretty clear this is a lovely place. Forget the mountains, snow, and scenery, which many terribly run states have (such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia). Rather, it's how easy it is to manage this state. If you die and come back as a Leader, choose a … Continue reading What’s an ideal state? Well, New Zealand has some answers

The How-To of Failing a State (Or: Just Think About How You Ruin House Parties)

In just the past six months, we've seen a veritable pantheon of countries falling into the shitter.  From South Sudan in January to Ukraine this spring and now Iraq this month, it's been a rough year to be a government.  And that's not even counting the nightmares still unfolding just out of the public eye: … Continue reading The How-To of Failing a State (Or: Just Think About How You Ruin House Parties)

The How-To of Hegemony (Or: How To Rule The World And Get Away With It)

You had a bad day.  Plans fell through; a date went badly; something you really hoped would happen didn't.  But it's cool.  As the world's hegemon, you know you'll feel better once you've sent your drones against a beach full of screaming children.  Because you're the world hegemon, and you can pretty much do whatever … Continue reading The How-To of Hegemony (Or: How To Rule The World And Get Away With It)

The How-To of Decolonization

So you wake up one day and you realize something - you're about to be leader of a country.  For a long time, some foreign power's been running the show, but they're about to skip town and leave you to your devices.  Never mind how you got there - your idiosyncratic journey doesn't change the … Continue reading The How-To of Decolonization

How To Make Your Nation Go Nuts

It’s closing time.  The bar’s about to shut up and you’ve got to get out.  But there’s that one guy, sitting over there in the corner, who’s been alone the entire night.  You can already tell he’s super drunk.  When they ask him to leave, he tells them to shove it up their asses.  A … Continue reading How To Make Your Nation Go Nuts

How To Break A Superpower in Seven Easy Steps

My last post posited on how debt was not going to be the thing that took down the American superpower.  But it did get me thinking - what could?  History's seen several superpowers come and go, starting with the Roman Empire in the ancient days to, most recently, the Soviet Union. How do superpowers fall? … Continue reading How To Break A Superpower in Seven Easy Steps