Four angles plus one on reading Trump

[ by Charles Cameron — on the need for an analytic open mind — or hedging one’s bets? ] . I suppose we have to start with Trumpian Fundamentalism — by wbich I mean, taking the literal meaning from whatever he says. This view is simple, even simplistic. One down, three to go. ** There’s […] Read more »

Recommended Reading—Summer 2016

[by J. Scott Shipman]   The Storm of Creativity, by Kyna Leski 2017 War With Russia, by General Sir Richard Shirreff The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough Serendipities, Language and Lunacy, by Umberto Eco Paradise, Dante Alighieri, translated by Mark Musa Undertow, by Stanton S. Coerr The White Horse Cometh, by Rich Parks Washington The Indispensable […] Read more »

Russia and Syria: What pull-out?

know it may be hard to believe after reading multiple media reports about Putin’s latest “surprise pull out from Syria” but the Kremlin did not, repeat, not, really pull its military out of Syria last week. So what were Putin's motives? Read more »

Rome, Rome, or Rome?

[ by Charles Cameron — on Graeme Wood’s latest, the goals of IS, and geographic slippage ] . Graeme Wood, who wrote the Atlantic piece that broke the apocalyptic side of the Islamic State’s ideology wide open in March of last year, has a related piece out this month: Donald Trump and the Apocalypse, with […] 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 »

National Minorities in Putin’s Russia: Diversity and Assimilation by Federica Prino – A Book Review Essay

Since National Minorities in Putin's Russia is based on Prino's doctoral dissertation perhaps she might wish to expand her research to explore the question of emigration versus assimilation (as opposed to diversity and assimilation) for members of ethnic minorities living in the former Soviet Union. Data for the Finno-Ugrics should be easy to access from Finnish, Estonian and Swedish statistical services which is lively where many of the Karelians and Ingrains now live. Read more »

Montenegro’s NATO Membership a Threat to Whom?

Last week, Montenegro, that tiny mountainous country, population of about 662,000 on the Adriatic Coast between Bosnia and Albania, was invited to join NATO. The invitation had been nine years in the making. Whereupon the Kremlin threw a hissy-fit. Ever since this outsized reaction, I’ve been puzzling as to why the Kremlin should care whether NATO offers membership to a “mouse that roared” – especially one that should be of no consequence to almost anyone – except for possible smugglers and gun runners surreptitiously moving contraband and perhaps humans across the Adriatic to Italy or travel agencies bringing Europeans to its spectacular coast on holidays. The closest I can come to an answer – besides the well-known argument that the Russian Federation somehow thinks that not getting along with NATO is better for the country than working with NATO – is that Montenegro was one of the last parts of Yugoslavia to separate from the rump state of Serbia; that its multi-religious population includes a substantial Serbian minority (28.7%); and that Russia and Serbia still seem to retain a special relationship with Russia acting as the protector of the latter. Read more »

Turkey – Russia

Actually, it would be easy for the Russians to keep their two bases on the Mediterranean if that's their bottom line - as it should be. However, it would mean a focus on real ISIS targets while dropping their fealty to Assad (and other dictators) in return for retention of those bases. Moreover, Moscow could offer Assad and family a safe haven somewhere in Russia – complete with a luxurious villa on a coast – and turn its military's attention and fire power to its real enemy - and I don't mean Ukraine. Read more »