Small Wars and Big Thoughts

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] U.S. Marines display captured flag of Nicaraguan rebels led by Augusto Cesar Sandino While pop-centric COIN may be dead, small wars and irregular warfare will always be with us. We might say they are in the fourth or fifth generation; are an open-source insurgency; or have become “hybrid“; or exist […] Read more »

The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security by Bartholomew Sparrow In writing The Strategist, Bartholomew Sparrow has demonstrated that his talents as a biographer match his skill as a scholar. Cautious and careful, in telling the life and national security career of the highly regarded Brent Scowcroft, Sparrow […] Read more »

Manea Interviews Galeotti on Hybrid War at SWJ

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a “zen“] Dr. Mark Galeotti Octavian Manea has another excellent installment of his interviews with warriors and scholars of war over at Small Wars Journal. In this case, Russian security and transnational crime expert, Professor Mark Galeotti of NYU and In Moscow’s Shadows blog. Hybrid War as a War on Governance  As […] Read more »

T. Greer on Ibn Khaldun’s Asabiyah

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] T. Greer of Scholar’s Stage has an exemplary post comparing the philosophy of English social contract theorist Thomas Hobbes with medieval Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, who described a critical component of a functional polity – asabiyah.  You should read Greer’s post in its entirety, but here is the take away […] Read more »

So: how does it feel at World’s End?

[ by Charles Cameron — on conveying the experience of the eschatological — on the way to better understanding the allure of IS ] . ** WE ARE ENTERING PHASE TWO: I think we’re entering Phase Two of our conversations about Islamist eschatology. In Phase One, the task was to point out that apocalyptic scriptures […] Read more »

Mad Dog Mattis – Blogger

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] General James N. “Mad Dog ” Mattis, USMC (ret.), the semi-legendary, no-nonsense, fighting general of our recent wars, beloved by his Marines, has accepted a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at the highly regarded Hoover Institution, where he has been writing an online column. A fancy way of saying that General Mattis […] Read more »

In Praise of Don Vandergriff for the “Next Yoda” at ONA

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Don Vandergriff Friend of ZP blog and expert on adaptive leadership training Don Vandergriff has thrown his hat into the ring to replace the much admired, should not have been retired, Andrew Marshall,  the long time (appointed originally by Richard Nixon) head of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, affectionately […] Read more »

T. Greer on Sun Tzu the Radical

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] T. Greer at Scholar’s Stage had an outstanding post on Sun Tzu and his classic The Art of War the other day in which I learned a number of things that were new to me, which is the best kind of blog post! The Radical Sunzi When translated into English, the Sunzi […] Read more »

ISIS and the Crisis in American Statecraft

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] A Facebook friend with an astute comment pointed me toward this Wall Street Journal article by Joe Rago on the mission of General John Allen, USMC  as “Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL”. What is a “Special Presidential Envoy” ? In diplomatic parlance, a special envoy is […] Read more »

WarCouncil’s “Zero to Clausewitz”

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] The fine gents at WarCouncil.org have released the Cliff Notes of Strategy in their “WarCouncil.org 300 Word Strategic Education” . It is excellent:  Zero to Clausewitz in 60 Minutes: Your Complete 300 Word Strategic Education  Can we educate a strategist in an hour?  Some would argue this task is impossible, that it takes a lifetime, […] Read more »