The Failure of Qatar’s Foreign Policy Has Come; Or, Everyone Conforms Eventually, Even Rich States

From 1995 until 2013, Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani had one of the best jobs a world leader could ask for.  His state, Qatar, was tiny, both in land size and population.  That meant, for his day job, he had to balance fewer competing interests; fewer people means fewer needs.  His borders were secure, having … Continue reading The Failure of Qatar’s Foreign Policy Has Come; Or, Everyone Conforms Eventually, Even Rich States

Obama Has Given Everyone A Glimpse of A World Without America

There was some positive feedback last July when I wrote about a World Without America.  The underpinning idea of the series was simple: a world with many equal powers is way more dangerous than one with just one superpower. Having a world cop isn't as bad as the alternative. Now, a bit over a year … Continue reading Obama Has Given Everyone A Glimpse of A World Without America

The Geopolitics of the United Arab Emirates (Or, A Study In How Small Places Avoid Getting Wiped Out)

As my home for four years, I got to know the United Arab Emirates quite well.  It was a strange, fucked up place full of wonders that shouldn't have been there, ranging from green parks next to sand dunes to Indian dancing girls hidden beneath swanky bars full of Emirati men leering un-Islamically while drinking … Continue reading The Geopolitics of the United Arab Emirates (Or, A Study In How Small Places Avoid Getting Wiped Out)

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)

Attention Americans! Yes, you should know where Ukraine is (and that’s just the beginning of where you should be informing your opinion)

Here now is a classic moment of why I started this website.  Americans, apparently, have stereotypically fuzzy knowledge of where Ukraine is.  If they can't even figure out where the fuck the place is, how can they decide if it's worth starting World War III over?  (Interestingly, the more ignorant, the more likely to support … Continue reading Attention Americans! Yes, you should know where Ukraine is (and that’s just the beginning of where you should be informing your opinion)

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)

Even a Small Attack in Syria Could Tip The Scales (Because Small Guys Get Knocked Over Easier)

It is, in many ways, elementary.  Bigger is better, stronger, and more able to survive punishment.  The smaller something becomes, the more fragile it is.  A lot of fretting is going into the long-term effects of an air assault on Syria.  Most of it centers on how Americans feel about themselves following eight long years … Continue reading Even a Small Attack in Syria Could Tip The Scales (Because Small Guys Get Knocked Over Easier)

Getting a Grip on Syria

As the West edges closer to yet another Middle Eastern war, there’s been loads of talk about the who, the what, the why of the Syrian civil war.  “They'’ve been doing it thousands of years” is the often-cited refrain from laymen isolationists, stating the supposed interminable history of bloodshed in the region that goes back … Continue reading Getting a Grip on Syria