Churchill’s oratory, American might

[ by Charles Cameron — some thoughts on Churchill while prepping a post re Cole Bunzel’s new paper ] . Let’s pre-amble around a bit, before we get to Cole Bunzel‘s important new paper, The Kingdom and the Caliphate: Duel of the Islamic States in my next post: the issue of oratory vs force is […] Read more »

Juxtaposition: chess in Wahhabism and Buddhism

[ by Charles Cameron — on the focus of similarity — sameness or differences? ] . As I said recently, juxtaposition does not imply eqivalence. It is only too easy these days to see a headline like Chess is ‘haram and a waste of time,’ says grand mufti of Saudi Arabia and view it purely […] Read more »


[ by Charles Cameron — on juxtaposition as a force-multiplier in the war of ideas ] . Two potent examples of what I term DoubleQuotes in the Wild: ‘Call of Jihad’: ISIS Turns to Video Games, Hollywood to Reach Recruits — Defense One (@DefenseOne) December 25, 2015 DefenseOne‘s ‘Call of Jihad’: ISIS Turns […] Read more »

Red mercury as scam and symbol

[ by Charles Cameron — CJ Chivers, nuclear nonsense, faux chemistry, and the alchemical imagination, with hat-tip to Cheryl Rofer ] . CJ Chivers, conflict journalist extraordinaire and author of a book about the Kalashnikov assault rifle, The Gun, today posted a remarkable account of what he terms The Doomsday Scam, with the subtitle “For […] Read more »

Simply so much.. 02

[ by Charles Cameron – omnium gatherum — USMC predicting 2045 — is 2031 The End? — Saudis. friend or foe? ] . Splitting hairs, atoms, black swans? I’m thinking of Lise Meitner as I view the Marine Corps’ ambitiously titled Security Environment Forecast 2030-2045. Who would have thought in 1919 that Hahn, Meitner and […] Read more »

Of royalty and wildlife

[ by Charles Cameron — observing with interest the slow turning of the tides ] . That was then: When King George V went to Nepal in 1911, he killed 39 tigers, 18 rhinoceroses and 4 bears. — Anup Kaphle (@AnupKaphle) August 3, 2015 This is now: Meet the houbara bustard, an endangered […] 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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Iran: The Debate We Should Be Having

By T. Greer Major religions in the Middle East Image Source: Columbia University’s Gulf 2000 Project ——– I am not a specialist in arms control or nuclear technology. I must rely on the judgement of others with relevant expertise to assess the viability of the new agreement with Iran. This makes things difficult, for the […] Read more »

Saudis Playing with Fire

Maybe, as we renegotiate our relations with Iran, we should also be asking why Saudi Arabia is not working to create a more peaceful world instead of stirring up sectarian animosity. Perhaps this relationship, too, needs to be renegotiated. A little more distance would seem to be in order. Read more »