Geographies
Carbon Jihad

Carbon Jihad

Following the Syrian Day of Rage, on March 15th, 2011, the city of Daraa quickly became the strongest flashpoint. By March 18th, thousands of protesters were roaring across Daraa, leading to a brutal suppression by security forces. When resistance continued into late April, Assad directed thousands of troops to lay siege of the city. More»

Post-Passion Europe

Post-Passion Europe

Heroes are hard to come by in Europe. Even as the nightmare of two world wars recedes farther into the distance, the sense that they were the product of excessive belief persists. Had there been less passion to mobilize, the reasoning goes, the flames of nationalism would have petered out a lot sooner. But it is proving increasingly difficult to keep the continent bound together with “post-passion.” More»

Ukraine is Everywhere

Ukraine is Everywhere

On September 3rd, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan made a “surprise declaration” – as it is still sometimes referred to – that he would bring his country into the new Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) alongside Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Of course, it should have been anything but that. More»

French, Jewish, Jihadist

French, Jewish, Jihadist

Meyer Habib was clearly shocked when describing a Jewish woman who has joined Islamic State. “It’s the end of the world,” the Jewish MP declared. Habib was using colourful language, but his tone was appropriate. More»

Fear Trumps Morality

Fear Trumps Morality

Fear truly is the mind-killer. It has a way, when intentionally stoked and directed at some enemy, of killing a lot of people as well. In Israel, the bombardment and invasion of Gaza over the summer demonstrates what can happen when a populace is fed a consistent diet of fear, no matter how safe the society is and how meager the threat to them is. More»

Meet the New Israel

Meet the New Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu raised some eyebrows when he expressed a desire for an independent Kurdistan in June. Not only was his speech to a Tel Aviv think tank surprising. It also contradicted current American policy of trying to prevent Iraq from splitting apart. Israeli-Kurdish solidarity isn’t actually new. Israel has maintained military and financial ties with Kurdish separatists since the 1960s.  More»

The Ghost of Enoch Powell

The Ghost of Enoch Powell

The lady in Clacton-on-Sea’s library says she’ll be glad to tell me who she is voting for in the by-election taking place today. “I’m white, I’m English….he’ll help us get out of Europe. Obviously I’m going to vote for Carswell! Who do you vote for?” More»

Masque of the Reds' Death

Masque of the Reds’ Death

If you live in what Americans’ obnoxiously refer to as the Heartland or those places, as I do, where residents more obnoxiously claim the title despite their geographical and cultural liminality, you have been hearing an awful lot in the past week about how the President has failed to protect his charges. The beheadings were bad enough, but now there’s the Ebola virus to inspire panic. More»

The British Lieutenant

The British Lieutenant

It’s old news by now. The Cameron government has joined the Obama administration in its air campaign against the self-declared Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, US-led forces are effectively acting on the side of the Assad regime. The attacks, in turn, have united the affiliates of al-Qaeda with the ISIS forces that they had broken with. More»

Iran as Progressive

Iran as Progressive

In 2007, when former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared during a Columbia University appearance, “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,” many chuckled. It seemed to verify the average person’s preconceptions of the country as being primitive and socially backwards. More»

Devil May Dare

Devil May Dare

“Daredevil” is not a word that many people associate with Germany these days; certainly not the nation’s military. And that’s probably a blessing, even if its allies long for less hesitant support. The history of Germans acting boldly took a wrong turn shortly after Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door. Does anybody want to risk urging them to act now and think later? More»

The Russian Option

The Russian Option

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister, apparently took a decision that shocked many across Europe last week. He announced that the representatives of the Right Livelihoods Award, who bestow the yearly Alternative Nobel Prize, were banned from announcing this year’s winner at his ministry, something they had been doing for 18 years. More»