Brief brief: from cost-benefit to apocalypse

[ by Charles Cameron — a bullet train of thought re Daesh from the New Yorker ] . ** George Packer, in Why ISIS Murdered Kenji Goto a couple of days ago, connects a longer distance between ideas faster than the bullet train from Beijing to Guangzhou… The Islamic State doesn’t behave according to recognizable […] Read more »

John Quincy Adams on Gaza

[redacted with extreme prejudice by Lynn C. Rees] Our relations with Spain the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) remain nearly in the state in which they were at the close of the last session. The convention of 1802 Oslo Accords of 1991 and 1995, providing for the adjustment of a certain portion of the claims of our citizens [...] Read more »

Unequal equations

[ by Charles Cameron -- math, modeling and mapping, in that strange zone where beauty meets understanding ] . The upper equation — Euler‘s — gets as tight and definitional as one can get, yet is profound in the way the greatest haiku are… while the metaphorical “equation” mentioned in the lower panel is a [...] Read more »

Profiling Baader-Meinhof

[ by Charles Cameron -- fast cars, bumper stickers -- and no mention of loose women ] . . The sentence that drives my title is this one, from How BMW Became A Terrorist Icon In The 1970s (And How It Made Them Cool) on Jalopnik: police would set up roadblocks and stop only BMWs [...] Read more »

What all these measures will not address is the mindset

[ by Charles Cameron -- concerning the implications of the phrase "all things visible and invisible" ] . In the upper panel above, you can see a bunch of “guns and ammo” displayed on a table, and in the lower panel, a bunch of “hearts and minds” similarly displayed. Putting that another way, you can [...] Read more »

Lost and found in translation

[ by Charles Cameron -- first of two quick posts, this one's about when the same is the same and when it isn't quite ] . Dahlia Iyad, a member of Black September in the Thomas Harris novel, Black Sunday, is portrayed (above) in John Frankenheimer‘s 1977 movie of the same name by Marthe Keller. [...] Read more »

Gaza negotiations: sincerity and symmetry

[ by Charles Cameron -- sincerity and symmetry as the basis for dialog and negotiation ] . . If you read me regularly, you know I’m passionate about form as well as content. Here’s the New York Times report on the interactions between Presidents Obama and Morsi in the runup to the Gaza ceasefire negotiations: [...] Read more »

The War and Peace koan, episode n+1

[ by Charles Cameron -- glimpsing the Necker Cube effect, when the weapons of war meet the prayers of peace ] . . A while back I co-authored a book with a physician friend, Cleaves Bennett MD, on the control of high blood pressure, and since he wanted to include the idea that humor had [...] Read more »

Describing Ahmed al-Jabari, with a side of traffic patterns

[ by Charles Cameron -- this began with two quotes about the killing of Ahmed al-Jabari and ended up reminding me of traffic flows ] . So very much depends on nuance, doesn’t it? There are, after all, one-way streets and two-way streets: Surely there’s more nuance in describing al-Jabari as “the man responsible both [...] Read more »

Of hot spots and feedback loops

[ by Charles Cameron -- with a pinch of humility which, if you ask me, burns hotter than any pepper ] . . Micah Zenko at the Council on Foreign Relations‘ Politics, Power, and Preventive Action blog raised a question yesterday that I found irresistible: Well… To be more exact, and exercise just a little [...] Read more »