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 »

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. Reason.com 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 »

WARLORDS, INC BOOK LAUNCH!!!

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] “This important and terrifying book should be read by everyone who cares about the future of human civilization.” —Anatol Lieven Warlords, inc. ; Black Markets, Broken States and the Rise of the Warlord Entrepreneur, Edited by Noah Raford and Andrew Trabulsi Warlords, inc. a book to which I have contributed a […] 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 »

Adding to the Bookpile

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"]    Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq by John Dower  Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941 by William Shirer Moral Combat: Good and Evil in World War II by Michael Burleigh  Picked up a few more books for the antilibrary. Dower is best known for [...] Read more »

The Myhrvold Report and Understanding Strategic Threats

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] Several weeks ago, Cheryl Rofer wrote an important post analyzing the report “Strategic Terrorism: A Call to Action” by Microsoft billionaire, venture capitalist, theoretical mathematician and cookbook author, Dr. Nathan Myhrvold. I found Cheryl’s argument quite persuasive and would like to add a few points of my own; because while some of [...] Read more »

Guest Post: Cheryl Rofer – I Hope the Government Doesn’t Listen to Nathan Myhrvold

Cheryl Rofer, scientist, WMD expert and founder of Nuclear Diner.com and long-time friend of ZP blog, will be cross-posting here today regarding the report “Strategic Terrorism: A Call to Action” by Microsoft billionaire, venture capitalist, theoretical mathematician and cookbook author, Dr. Nathan Myhrvold.  I Hope The Government Doesn’t Listen to Nathan Myhrvold by Cheryl Rofer Shane [...] Read more »

Bomb Syria?

[by Mark Safranski a.k.a. "zen"] There is much ado about a prospective Western (i.e. American) aerial campaign to bomb the Iranian allied Alawite-Baathist dictatorship Syria over use of chemical weapons against primarily al Qaida allied Sunni Islamist extremist rebels. To what end or how that end will be brought about by a surgical use of American [...] Read more »

“Optimizing the Potential of Special Forces”

[ by Mark Safranski - a.k.a "zen"] A remarkably blunt article on SF/SOF (“special forces” is being used as an umbrella term for both) in the context of policy and strategy, from the perspective of an emerging great power by LTG Prakosh Katoch of the Indian Army. The American example of SOCOM in Afghanistan/Iraq/GWOT has obviously [...] Read more »

Moral Degeneration in the Crucible of War

  The recent post on Is 4GW Dead? stirred a great deal of interest, so I would like to extend the discussion on a point that that is critical not only for those who have responsibility for conducting military campaigns, but for statecraft and policy as well. One of more important tenets of 4GW was [...] Read more »