Guest Post: Why the United States cannot put Boots on the Ground to Fight ISIS

[Mark Safranski / “zen“] Today, I’m pleased to offer a guest post by LtCol. Bob Weimann, USMC (ret.) .  Weimann is the former Commanding Officer, Kilo Co., 3/1 and Weapons Company 3/1. He also served as a Marine Security Force Company commanding officer, an infantry battalion Operations Officer and the Executive Officer of 1/6 during Desert Storm. […] Read more »

Islamic State — hanging by a chad?

[ by Charles Cameron — light-hearted, almost science-fictional “butterfly-hurricane” question in geopolitics, with an Elkus follow-up ] . A scene from the 2000 Florida recount: Palm Beach County’s canvassing board chairman eyes a questionable ballot as Republican attorney John Bolton looks on. Image: Greg Lovett/AP ** Is the Islamic State an “unanticipated consequence” of Bush […] Read more »

A fantastic “bribery, corruption & recursion” DoubleTweet

[ by Charles Cameron — bribery regarding bribery in Ukraine and Iraq, form & pattern recognition as analytic markers ] . You might think it would be difficut to cap this, from Ukraine, which I quoted recently: #Ukraine busts a prosecutor who tried to pay a $10k bribe for job in anti-corruption bureau https://t.co/cALDTIPpz3 pic.twitter.com/aZfE8Q5EZK […] Read more »

On the horrors of apocalyptic warfare, 2: to spark a messianic fire

[ by Charles Cameron — it’s what we won’t notice that can blindside us ] . al-Malhamah al-Kubra, the great end-times battle ** To recapitulate: in my previous post I suggested that “apocalyptic, end-of-days” movements are qualitatively different by virtue of the immediacy of their divine / transcendant mandate. Richard Landes sums the matter up […] Read more »

The “refugee” koan

[ by Charles Cameron — considering both sides, while tilting one way or the other ] . I call it a koan because you can flip it — there are two sides to it, and very possibly a serrated edge that it can balance on, foiling your best efforts to come up with a yes-no […] Read more »

Apocalypse soon from Lapido, McCants from Sources & Methods

[ by Charles Cameron — my latest for LapidoMedia gives Sunni, Shia background, & importantly the shift from Zarqawi to Baghdadi — followed by a chaser from Will McCants ] . My latest from Lapido, opening paras: TO SENIOR military officers, intelligence analysts and policy-makers, blood and guts are more real than fire and brimstone. […] Read more »

No man’s land, one man’s real estate, everyone’s dream?

[ by Charles Cameron — borders and distinctions from Trump to Revelation, plus one ] . Donald Trump‘s “three core principles of real immigration reform”: 1. A nation without borders is not a nation. ** G Spencer-Brown wrote of his book. Laws of Form, “The theme of this book is that a universe comes into […] Read more »

West Wing Week: 08/07/15 or, “The Measure Of A Leader”

This week, the President announced a new historic action to cut harmful carbon pollution, advocated for the Iran deal, celebrated his 54th birthday, and inaugurated a new class of Mandela fellows. read more Read more »

Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 Countries

Today, President Obama visits Kenya — the 50th country he has visited during his Administration. It’s also my 50th country traveling with the President.

To mark the occasion, as I did when the President visited his 50th state, I chose one photograph from each country that we’ve visited.

Traveling abroad with the President is very different.

Often times, I am at the mercy of the host country for access. Some countries are more accommodating to me than others. I am lucky to have counterpart official photographers in many countries who are extremely helpful to me in this regard. I of course try to return the help to them when they visit the White House with their head of state.

We’re also rarely in any one country for more than a couple of days, which gives us only a partial glimpse of each place. And because of security, the sites we are able to visit are often limited too.

All that said, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to visit the Pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the Great Wall in China, Petra in Jordan, and the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). (So I really shouldn’t complain too much.)

I hope you enjoy this gallery. And stay tuned — we’ll be adding a photograph from Kenya and additionally, Ethiopia, following his visit next week.

Afghanistan, 2012

Boarding Air Force One at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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