Target: innocence

[ by Charles Cameron — the DoubleQuote as déjà vu, and as moral contrast and comparison ] . The targeting of innocence seems particularly reprehensible — but in this instance, the Islamic State is only following in the footsteps of the Soviets in Afghanistan. ** Perhaps someone can help me understand whether training young boys […] Read more »

President Obama’s Iran Deal Speech Echoes John F. Kennedy

Yesterday, President Obama spoke on the Iran deal at American University's School of International Service.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy also delivered a historic foreign policy speech at American University. Just eight months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy had boldly entered into a diplomatic agreement with an adversary of the United States -- the Soviet Union. He faced criticism at home for choosing to pursue a peaceful weapons agreement with a country no one trusted.

President Kennedy addresses the American University Commencement, recieves honorary degree. 


President Kennedy's diplomatic approach succeeded in advancing the national security interests of the United States -- and the Iran deal does the same. 


50 years ago, JFK spoke of peace in a nuclear age at @AmericanU. Today, @POTUS will too. Read JFK's speech: #IranDeal

— The Iran Deal (@TheIranDeal) August 5, 2015


Both Presidents believed that a peaceful agreement was preferable to alternatives which would likely lead to military confrontation. 

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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. 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 »

Rofer on The Fall of Beria and Putin’s Vanishing Act

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Lavrenty Beria (center)  Russian President and brazen strongman Vladimir Putin reappeared Monday, looking wan and a little uncomfortable for the cameras, but jesting at the mad swirl of internet rumors sparked by his extended absence from public view. One of the rumors, which may have been true, was that Putin […] Read more »

Early Endorsement

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a “zen“] Stalin: Volume I. Paradoxes of Power 1878-1928 by Stephen Kotkin I’ve read quite a bit about old Uncle Joe. Most of the major biographies of Stalin sit on my shelf, including those from Adam Ulam, Roy Medvedev, Robert Tucker, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Dimitri Volkogonov and other historians more obscure. I’ve […] Read more »

Will the real Russia please stand up?

As I read Peter Pomerantsev's recent book The Surreal Heart of the New Russia: Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: the Surreal Heart of the New Russia about his nine years as a producer of documentaries for Russian television after the end of the Cold War, I thought back on my own experiences in the country and wondered how much had actually changed. Read more »

Poetry in the Square

[ by Charles Cameron -- the public square, that is, and specifically Tahrir Square ] . The Square, directed by Jehane Noujaim — a documentary tracking the lives of six people in Tahrir Square through the two recent Egyptian revolutions — just won the Emmy for Outstanding Directing For Nonfiction Programming, 2014, and is up […] Read more »

Finnish Model isn’t a Solution for Ukraine

The so-called “Finnish model” that has been proposed is a solution that belongs to the past and does not solve the crisis in Ukrainian-Russian relations. Ukraine can build good relations with Russia. All that is needed is for Russia to accept proposals put recently forward by the Ukrainian leadership. This too would be in Russia’s interest. Read more »

REVIEW: The Orientalist by Tom Reiss

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] The Orientalist by Tom Reiss  Some biographies are as much about the era or the milieu as the man. The Orientalist is one of them. This is not to say that Tom Reiss has written a bad book. On the contrary, it is an enlightening and informative one, even for [...] Read more »

A Low Visibility Force Multiplier – a recommendation

[by J. Scott Shipman]                         A Low Visibility Force Multiplier, Assessing China’s Cruise Missile Ambitions, Dennis M. Gormley, Andrew S. Erickson, Jingdong Yuan Through an interesting turn of events I was able to attend an event at the Center for a New American Security [...] Read more »