Review: The Rule of the Clan

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] Rule of the Clan by Mark Weiner I often review good books. Sometimes I review great ones. The Rule of the Clan: What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals about the Future of Individual Freedom  by Mark S. Weiner gets the highest compliment of all: it is an academic book that […] Read more »

Human Sacrifice and State-Building

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] A while back I had a longish post that argued that the mass executions practiced by ISIS drew from the long pagan tradition of ritualistic human sacrifice. Today in the news, some social scientists see evidence of human sacrifice as the catalyst for establishing and maintaining stratified, hierarchical and (usually) oppressive […] Read more »

Guest Post: Duncan Hunter and Human Terrain System by Turner

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“]         ZP is pleased to bring you a guest post by Pete Turner, co-host of The Break it Down Show and is an advocate of better, smarter, transition operations. Turner has extensive overseas experience in hazardous conditions in a variety of positions including operations: Joint Endeavor (Bosnia), Iraqi […] 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 »

Elkus on Mad Dogs and Military History

Adam Elkus has a lengthy and meaty post at Abu Muqawama, inspired by General Mattis, one that you should really read in full: The Mattis Book Club ….But while gaining an understanding of the nature of war is useful, there are a lot of things it won’t do. This becomes most apparent in the section of the email where [...] Read more »

Octavian Manea interviews MIT’s Roger D. Peterson

Another installment of Octavian Manea’s excellent COIN interview series at SWJ. This one focuses on social science and varieties of insurgency: Breaking Down “Hearts and Minds”: The Power of Individual Causal Mechanisms in an Insurgency  ….OM: In your research you pointed out to a spectrum of conceivable individual roles in an insurgency. What is the [...] Read more »

Elkus on Policy Relevance

Intriguing and vigorously argued piece by Adam over at Abu Muqawama Relevant to Policy? Are we in a 1914 scenario in East Asia? How often do guerrillas succeed? Did counterterrorism law erode national sovereignty? These are just a few of the important questions that political science has some bearing on. Yet barely a couple months goes by without an [...] Read more »

The Controversial CTC Report

The Center for Combating Terrorism at West Point released a report on domestic terrorism that raised hackles for a number of reasons. Despite the dismissals of liberal political pundits, the reasons for objections to the CTC report are legitimate but they did not need to arise in the first place and might have been avoided with a [...] Read more »

“The Galula Doctrine”

Small Wars Journal has published another edition of the excellent COIN interview series conducted by Octavian Manea. Here he interviews A.A. Cohen, author of Galula: The Life and Writings of the French Officer who Defined the Art of Counterinsurgency  The Galula Doctrine: An Interview with Galula’s Biographer A.A. Cohen OM: Which were the role of Mao [...] Read more »