The President’s Speech

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]           President Obama addressed the nation in the wake of the ISIS-inspired terrorism San Bernardino that killed 14 people. You can read a transcript of his speech here. A few quick comments: It is a positive, albeit small, step toward realism in the White House that the President […] 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 »

The Freikorps Revival

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen”] One of the signs that the Westphalian state system was approaching its zenith was the gradual extinction of legal private warfare in Europe (and in America , east of the frontier). While this trend predated the French Revolution with divine right absolutism monarchs taxing and regulating their nobles once formidable […] Read more »

Elite Failure and Populist Trump It

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] GOP Front Runner, Donald J. Trump A friend sent an essay by the prolific IR scholar, Professor Angelo Codevilla that had been posted at Powerline Blog.  It was good. For the unfamiliar, Codevilla often writes on national security and intelligence matters and some readers may be familiar with his (with Paul Seabury) […] 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 »

Pete Turner on “Collecting Instability”

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Pete Turner of The Break it Down Show had a powerful post that encapsulated what is wrong with the American approach to intervention in foreign societies, both in terms of our aid and development programs as well as COIN and military assistance of various kinds. Collection Center Collects Instability  ….A good […] Read more »

T. Greer on Ibn Khaldun’s Asabiyah

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] T. Greer of Scholar’s Stage has an exemplary post comparing the philosophy of English social contract theorist Thomas Hobbes with medieval Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, who described a critical component of a functional polity – asabiyah.  You should read Greer’s post in its entirety, but here is the take away […] 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 »

Political science: 1787 edition

Politics is the division of power. Or so it is axiomatic for me. Politics is also a market in violence-backed assets, with tribute, resource flows captured and secured by violence (or the threat thereof) being the most prized. Most political activity is an attempt to win and hold tributes. Conquest can be seen as an […] Read more »

To Make and Keep Peace — New Book by Angelo M. Codevilla

[by J. Scott Shipman] To Make and Keep Peace, Among Ourselves and with All Nations, by Angelo M. Codevilla Recently I had opportunity to read the latest issue of the Claremont Review of Books, and in the issue was a lengthy review of Angelo Codevilla’s latest book, To Make and Keep Peace. Codevilla is no […] Read more »