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 »

Of sacrament and torture, blasphemy and free speech

[ by Charles Cameron -- on torture as the inverse of sacrament: from Palin's joke to Cavanaugh's rich theology ] . ** Sarah Palin: Sarah Palin, speaking to the NRA the other day, said: waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists And I have to say that as someone brought up within Christianity with a sacramental [...] Read more »

New Article at War on the Rocks

I have a new op-ed up this morning on the Crimean crisis over at War on the Rocks: Let’s Slow Roll Any Move Toward Crimean War II: One of the more curious implicit assumptions about the crisis in Ukraine is that the subsequent occupation of the Crimea by Russia represents some kind of triumph for [...] Read more »

Close reading, Synoptic- and Sembl-style, for parallels, patterns

[ by Charles Cameron -- if we omit all mention of the Qur'an, will the jihad perhaps disappear, you think? ] . On Friday, Oct. 29, 2004, just before the 2004 US Presidential Election, a videotaped speech by Osama bin Laden was released online and variously reported: . . Being a theologian at heart, I’ve [...] Read more »

Tyrannicide and the Lost Republic

“Beware the Ides of March” T. Greer gave me a rousing recommendation that I read the following post on the death of Julius Caesar by Burt Likko of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen blog. Greer was correct, it was outstanding. You should read the post in it’s entirety: Rue the Ides ….One of my big [...] Read more »

The Day After Assad: What to Expect Based on Events in Post-Saddam Iraq

By: Robert Tollast and Nathaniel Rosenblatt Regardless of whether Britain and France arm the rebels, Syria faces more challenges than Assad’s rule. An interview with Nathaniel Rosenblatt from Caerus Ascociates by Robert Tollast. &... Read more »

Sixty Years after Stalin

Sixty years ago one of the greatest monsters in history, a mass-murderer of tens of millions many times over, the yellow-eyed, “Kremlin mountaineer”  breathed his last. We live, deaf to the land beneath us, Ten steps away no one hears our speeches, All we hear is the Kremlin mountaineer, The murderer and peasant-slayer. His fingers [...] Read more »

US Foreign Policy, Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood

The Obama administration, though they would not characterize it as such nor have much desire to acknowledge it at all, have attempted  a strategic detente with the “moderate” elements of political Islam. This policy has not been entirely consistent; Syria, for example, is a quagmire the administration has wisely refrained from wading directly into despite [...] Read more »

Nir Rosen Among the Alawites

Controversial journalist Nir Rosen is, by my standards, a left-wing extremist with carcinogenic political views. On the other hand, he is also a fearless and skillful war correspondent who goes places to report where few others dare; as a result, Rosen is usually worth reading, particularly as he seldom is treading a well-worn path: London [...] Read more »

Of a fault line, and of the Qibla

[ by Charles Cameron -- Sunni and Shia, Mecca and Qom, Saudi and Iran and the balances between them, with special attention to Mecca -- and sideways comparisons with Las Vegas and Somoza's Nicaragua ] . Consider this map: . It was ZenMeister who pointed me today, via Notes from Thermopylae, to Stephen Crittenden and [...] Read more »