Life in London

Life in London

It rained yesterday morning. The first rain of winter. The air was sharp, cold and grey. The grey light of days gone by. The wet street a deep blue-black. The grey of winter recalls what I have left behind. More»

Racial Propaganda in Macedonia

Racial Propaganda in Macedonia

Of all perplexing subjects in the world few can be more baffling than the distribution of races in Macedonia. The Turks classify the population, not by language or by physical characteristics, but by religion. More»

End Games

End Games

It’s normal to hear NATO described as an “internationalist project” in Western Europe. Even the centre-left has long stood by the Atlantic alliance. Britain was signed up to NATO by the post-war Labour government. By contrast, France withdrew from NATO under the leadership of Charles de Gaulle as part of his politics of grandeur. Yet the NATO project may not have been so lost in the Cold War as it is today. More»

Latest entries
Civilization Versus Ideology

Civilization Versus Ideology

The United States has always approached political Islam in a contradictory manner. Since the 1950s, when Washington first made common cause with anti-Communist religious leaders, US policy towards the Mideast has been characterized by a disconnect between rhetoric and politics, particularly in matters concerning Islamist mobilization. More»

My Days in Damascus: Leaving the Belly of the Whale, Part 1

My Days in Damascus: Leaving the Belly of the Whale, Part 1

Farah is a young woman living in Syria’s capital city, where she faces the daily struggles of trying to maintain a normal social and professional life in a country being ripped apart by war. More»

Can We Avoid Losing More Generations?

Can We Avoid Losing More Generations?

As President Obama headed to the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday, his last planned visit in his current capacity as head of state, he was highly cognizant of the meeting’s significance. More»

The Fifth or Sixth Human

The Fifth or Sixth Human

Der dritte oder der vierte Mensch, by the German sociologist Alfred Weber, hardly qualifies as a classic of the literature. It was published in 1953 as the first phase of the Cold War was winding down and much of the value that it retains is due to the way that it reflects the mindset of a particular moment in history. More»

White Room, Black Curtains

White Room, Black Curtains

Once you’ve seen the original photograph, this exercise in “Photoshopping” is understandable. But my first-year university students, trying to make sense of Claudia Rankine’s brilliant book Citizen have not. To them, it’s just a perplexing image of white people from long ago, turning around to look at the camera in front of the dark shape of a tree looming against an even darker sky. More»

The School Years

The School Years

It is a leisurely  five-minute walk from where I lived to the Gymnasia on Tel Aviv’s Jabotinsky street, and many long years since I dropped out in disgrace at the age of fifteen and a half. More»

ISIS in Crisis

ISIS in Crisis

Islamic State’s retreat from the Turkish border, and the arrest of multiple suicide bombers trying to cross over to hit Turkish targets this weekend, shows that the group’s strategy is changing rapidly. With Turkey still a source of illegal funds and recruits, ISIS nonetheless appears much less concerned with maintaining a “live and let live” approach with the security forces.  More»

Long Read: Game of Shrines and the Road to Darayya

Long Read: Game of Shrines and the Road to Darayya

As the Syrian government and its allied militias evacuate mostly Sunni populations from rebel-held areas, sectarian narratives are filling the vacuum. More»

Down with NATO

Down with NATO

In his latest speech, President Jean-Claude Juncker talked up the necessity of the EU creating its own military headquarters and work towards a common military force. Juncker claimed this new force would be complementary to NATO. He clearly wanted to reassure the Americans that the EU does not wish to usurp them. Yet its hard not to see the potential for a realignment here. More»

Framing the Foreign

Framing the Foreign

In his first edition of Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy, Yale’s Michael H. Hunt hoped that in describing the primacy of ideological assumptions in foreign policymaking, he could contribute to the post-Vietnam critique of American overreach in world affairs More»

Open Letter: ‘Resettlement, My Only Option to Live as a Gay Man’

Open Letter: ‘Resettlement, My Only Option to Live as a Gay Man’

In this open letter, a Ugandan man who has been assaulted for being gay pleads to be resettled to a safe country. As in many African countries, homosexuality has been legislated against in Uganda; in 2009, one politician even attempted to introduce the death penalty. More»

Analysis: How Evacuating al-Waer and ‘Other Darayyas’ Will Help Assad

Analysis: How Evacuating al-Waer and ‘Other Darayyas’ Will Help Assad

The recent ultimatum directed at the besieged city of Darayya is just one example of a larger strategy of brutal population displacement that Assad’s government will use to regain control of opposition-held Syria. More»