The Abyss Stares Back

The Abyss Stares Back

Out of respect for the editors of this fine publication, I will resist the temptation to make some joke about spending a relaxing morning sipping fine Namibian #covfefe. The Internet has been ablaze with humor on this theme, but at this point it is a matter of liberals (mostly) laughing to keep from crying. More»

The Schröder Effect

The Schröder Effect

Going into the German elections the consensus is that Angela Merkel will once again be reinstated and the grand coalition reconstituted. Many people are taking refuge in the status quo given the instability in the world today. But this election result didn’t look so certain at the start of 2017. More»

The Likely Winners in the Race to Rebuild Syria

The Likely Winners in the Race to Rebuild Syria

Author Joseph Daher examines the Syrian government’s reconstruction strategy and warns that Assad will use rebuilding to reward foreign allies and consolidate power around a small core of Syrian elite. More»

Latest entries
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»

Progress Sucks

Progress Sucks

Progress has a bad name these days. There is a certain degree of justice in this. For the vast majority of human history, things were seen to be static. What would be was what had been, at least until some sort of apocalypse brought matters to a close. Progress as a historical motif gained its greatest prominence during the Enlightenment, although it was not really new then. More»

Mining the Miners

Mining the Miners

The notion of the gem or ore prospector occupies a certain romanticism in literature, and even historical non-fiction of gold rushes past. For American audiences, a rugged individualism is the norm, and even during the heyday of Soviet extractive resource development in Siberia, concessions were made to individual initiative to encourage the miners (the ones who weren’t forced labor, anyway). More»

Starve the Trolls

Starve the Trolls

In singling out the alt-right, Hillary Clinton has done more for rebranded extremists than any amount of tweeting or memes could ever do. ‘Do not feed the trolls’ was always a sensible adage. Yet we find Hillary can’t resist giving them a rhetorical thumping. Perhaps the Democrats have a stake in provoking right-wing abuse. More»