Tweet and response: polling religious interest globally?

[ by Charles Cameron — Pew — Iran? Saudis? ] . Here’s the tweet: How strongly do different nationalities feel about #religion? @StatistaCharts — World Economic Forum (@wef) April 30, 2016 It looks impressive, doesn’t it? The good folks at Pew have obvisouly done their homework. And here’s the response: Where are Saudi […] Read more »

Conkers (the game) and Deep Learning

[ by Charles Cameron — offered to 3QD ] . This is my second submission attempting (and failing) to become a regular contributor at the fine web-aggregator known as 3QD — you can read my first here. On rereading this more recent attempt, I am not sure I would have selected it myself had I […] Read more »

The ROE to Nowhere

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Many of you have seen the controversial NRO essay by David French on absurdly restrictive rules of engagement that enlisted men and their NCO’s and junior officers have been forced to wrestle with in Iraq, Afghanistan and miscellaneous conflict zones. This is a problem that began under the Bush II […] Read more »

America’s Anti-Agoge

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] “….Instead of softening their feet with shoe or sandal, his rule was to make them hardy through going barefoot. This habit, if practiced, would, as he believed, enable them to scale heights more easily and clamber down precipices with less danger.” – Xenophon, The Polity of the Lacedaemonians “Be quiet! […] Read more »

Is Strategy Dead?

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a “zen“] [Photo credit: Peter Velter] Is strategy dead? Strategy seems to be widely admired in Western governmental circles, but no longer practiced in matters of state. I am not saying strategy has been forgotten. Far from it. Strategy is still debated,  honored nostalgically (“ah, Containment!”), passed on ritualistically in war colleges, […] Read more »

New Article: “Who Lost Russia?” at The Chicago Progressive

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] I have a new piece up at The Chicago Progressive: Who Lost Russia? If you are old enough to remember the iconic moment when Boris Yeltsin climbed on a tank on CNN and defied leaders of a KGB coup and then watched seventy years of Soviet communism swiftly collapse, you […] Read more »

It sure Ain’t: Elkus on Why Congress Isn’t Good at Foreign Policy

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Adam Elkus had a nice post on the sound and fury over the open letter by 47 Republican senators to the government of Iran, asserting Congressional prerogatives regarding contractual relations with in foreign powers: “Congress Isn’t Good At Foreign Policy.” In the midst of the ongoing fracas over GOP congressional […] Read more »

“Strategic Patience” has One Virtue

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] “Alas, poor Clausewitz….” The Obama administration released its National Security Strategy last Friday, shepherded by the National Security Courtier, Susan Rice. Even by the increasingly mediocre standards for this exercise the administration managed to hit a new low for vapid superficiality, muddled thought and brazen political appeals to Democratic Party […] Read more »

Arrow of mass

[by master-archer, Lynn C. Rees] The Strategikon, a Byzantine Roman military manual attributed to the Emperor Maurice Flavius Mauricius Tiberius, summarized Roman calvary training towards the end of the sixth century: He should be trained to shoot rapidly on foot, either in the Roman or the Persian manner. Speed is important in shaking the arrow loose and […] Read more »

Peter Jackson’s Cinematic Defecation on the Tolkien Estate

[Mark safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] Bilbo cowering at the approach of Smaug’s henchmen,  Darth Vader and Magneto My review of the first Hobbit movie was blistering. The second Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug, is such a travesty, I lack sufficient words to describe it. It makes the first movie look like a faithful adaptation. Most [...] Read more »