New Book- The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House

[by Mark Safranski / a.k.a  “zen“] The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House […] by Zalmay Khalilzad Just received a courtesy review copy of The Envoy, the memoir of Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, from Christine at St. Martin’s Press. Khalilzad was part of a small group of diplomatic troubleshooters and heavy hitters for the second Bush […] Read more »

Intellectuals and their Romance with Political Barbarism

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Martin Heidegger, Eric Hobsbawm and Ezra Pound A  meandering post inspired by Reason Magazine and Charles Cameron. Reason.com is best known for giving a scrappy libertarian take on current events, crime, technology and pop culture, but recently, an article by Charles Paul Freund touched a deeper, darker vein of twentieth century history […] Read more »

New Book: 13 Hours in Benghazi by Zuckoff

13 Hours in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team I just received a courtesy review copy of 13 Hours in Benghazi from Tony at Twelve Books. 13 Hours tells the story of the terrorist attack in Benghazi from the perspective of the surviving CIA security contractors, including Kris Paronto, Mark “Oz” Geist, and John Tiegen […] Read more »

What to do About ISIS? Constructing Strategy, Weighing Options

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] ISIS or the Islamic State “Caliphate” is the focus  of a great deal of discussion and demands for action from the United States – and also inaction – from many quarters. What is to be done? That is a famous question.  In matters of geopolitics and strategy, it is more […] Read more »

The Cockroaches of War. And of Jihad

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a "zen"] John Robb had a cool post on the ultra-radical takfiri insurgency ISIS/ISIL and their self-proclaimed Sunni “Caliphate“, the Islamic State, whom he gave as an example of “the cockroaches of war”: ISIS Opens The World’s Biggest Bazaar of Violence ISIS is a marketplace — a freewheeling bazaar of violence – and it is [...] Read more »

New Book: The Lion’s Gate by Steven Pressfield

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] The Lion’s Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War by Steven Pressfield  This just arrived hot off the presses on my doorstep yesterday, courtesy of Steve and in terms of writing, The Lion’s Gate appears to be a significant departure for him. While Pressfield has done novels [...] Read more »

Making Historical Analogies about 1914

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] The Independent has a short, quasi-sensationalist, article featuring historian Margaret MacMillan discussing what is likely to become the first pop academic cottage industry of 2014….making historical analogies about 1914 and World War I! MacMillan is a senior scholar of international relations and administrator at Oxford ( where she is Warden of St Antony’s College) [...] Read more »

Manhunt: Radicalization, & comprehending the full impact of dreams

[ by Charles Cameron -- how do you intercept messages that come via dreams? I'm thinking of al-Balawi ] . My little graphic (below) may be kidding — but what of reality? ** In the bin Laden documentary, Manhunt, which I mentioned before seeing it here, and discussed briefly here, another passage (at 1.22.31) that [...] Read more »

Great question!

[ by Charles Cameron -- from Paradise Regained: Overcoming Terrorism in Star Trek Into Darkness ] . . Matt Ford, guest-blogging at Grand Blog Tarkin [includes spoilers] asks: How many young Americans learned Arabic and Pashto or studied counterterrorism and international relations because nineteen men flew three planes into a building and one into the [...] Read more »

Syria is Not Rwanda

Anne-Marie Slaughter had a short but bombastic WaPo op-ed on Syria and chemical weapons use that requires comment: Obama should remember Rwanda as he weighs action in Syria  ….The Clinton administration did not want to acknowledge that genocide was taking place in Rwanda because the United States would have been legally bound by the Genocide Convention of [...] Read more »