What the hell is going on between America and Iran?

What in the hell is happening between America and Iran? It's been easy to get lost in the details. A complicated deal, the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Protocol of Action, just had one of its key members, the United States, pull out.  This has been painted as both stupid and brave, by the usual suspects.  America's … Continue reading What the hell is going on between America and Iran?

How Vietnam Went From American Foe to American Friend

It's easy to hold grudges; it envelopes one in a sense of superiority, a feeling of wronged righteousness, that allows irrational behavior to feel very, very good.  When someone hurts you, it can be wonderful to lord that over them forever. Few wars in American history involve as many hurt feelings as the Vietnam War. … Continue reading How Vietnam Went From American Foe to American Friend

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

2013 in Review (Or, A Cliche but Highly Traditional Way to Ring in A New Year)

I'll be off on holiday for the next few weeks, so there'll be no updates until January 6, 2014.  So why not end this year with a review of that which happened, that which didn't happen, and that which might come next, in a final geopolitical round-up of the year. It was shit to be … Continue reading 2013 in Review (Or, A Cliche but Highly Traditional Way to Ring in A New Year)

5 Leaders Who Really Mattered

Human systems often are too large, and too complicated, for single leaders to have undue influence.  We often like to think that human history would have changed had we added a good leader here or shot up a bad leader there.  But killing Hitler would not have changed the security challenge faced by a rising … Continue reading 5 Leaders Who Really Mattered

China’s New Air Defense Zone (And How It All Fits Into a Pattern)

To sum up the events of the past few days: China declared an air defense zone that overlaps Japan's as well as South Korea's.  The United States flew a B-52 through it, just to show that it could.  The Chinese were muted in response, but analysts all over are worried about escalation.  Someone dumb could … Continue reading China’s New Air Defense Zone (And How It All Fits Into a Pattern)

Iran’s Deal One Step Closer to Total American Domination (And Incidentally, One Step Closer to Peace)

First, a review. America wants a Middle East divided into a stable balance of power guaranteed by the United States  This is the working formula for Europe that ended European anarchy.  Remember that from the unification of Germany in 1871 to the end of World War II, Europe was endemically at war or near enough to … Continue reading Iran’s Deal One Step Closer to Total American Domination (And Incidentally, One Step Closer to Peace)

Geopolitical Round-up (November 22)

So let's take a quick run-around the world and see what's what in the news these days, looking how power relationships are changing as we move into the mid-point of the decade. The Middle East The Iranian nuclear negotiations go on; Saudi Arabia and Israel are not happy.  America is trying to find a way … Continue reading Geopolitical Round-up (November 22)

Why Israel Is Too Hot To Talk About (Or, Why Internet Discussions About It Descend Rapidly Into Idiocy)

Nations don't have friends, they have interests.  Thanks De Gaulle!  Such an idea underpins much in foreign relations.  Nobody out there is friends with your country, much as you might think they are.  And yet, quite stubbornly, the U.S.-Israeli relationship continues to be categorized not as a strategic one but one based on fraternal bonds … Continue reading Why Israel Is Too Hot To Talk About (Or, Why Internet Discussions About It Descend Rapidly Into Idiocy)

Saudi Arabia’s Panic Is Geopolitically Sound

If you've lived in the Persian Gulf for a while, seeing one of its countries throw a shit-fit on an international stage won't surprise you all that much.  You get used to that kind of ridiculous chaos; you see one dumb, doomed project connected to a badly-planned roundabout removal scheme merging into a seemingly nonsensical … Continue reading Saudi Arabia’s Panic Is Geopolitically Sound