America’s Spiral Into Permanent War Seems More Foolish Than Ever

“We have fallen into a self-defeating spiral of reaction and counterterror,” writes Mark Danner in his new book Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War. “Our policies, meant to extirpate our enemies, have strengthened and perpetuated them.” Danner – an award winning journalist, professor, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations who has covered war … Continue reading “America’s Spiral Into Permanent War Seems More Foolish Than Ever”

How Washington Turned Ireland Into an International Scofflaw

“We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.” So declared the Irish partisans of the Easter Rising against British rule 100 years ago. Controlling their own destiny has always been a bit of a preoccupation for … Continue reading “How Washington Turned Ireland Into an International Scofflaw”

The Humanitarian Excuse for Intervention

While the mainstream media focuses on losers and winners in the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a largely unreported debate is going on over the future course of U.S. diplomacy. Its outcome will have a profound effect on how Washington projects power – both diplomatic and military – in the coming decade. The … Continue reading “The Humanitarian Excuse for Intervention”

Turkey’s Coup: Winners and Losers

As the dust begins to settle from the failed Turkish coup, we can start to identify some winners and losers, although predicting things in the Middle East these days is a tricky business. What is clear is that several alignments have shifted, and those shifts could have an impact on the two regional running sores: … Continue reading “Turkey’s Coup: Winners and Losers”

China and the US Are Approaching Dangerous Seas

A combination of recent events, underpinned by long-running historical strains reaching back more than 60 years, has turned the western Pacific into one of the most hazardous spots on the globe. The tension between China and the United States “is one of the most striking and dangerous themes in international politics,” says The Financial Times’ … Continue reading “China and the US Are Approaching Dangerous Seas”

We May Be at a Greater Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe Than During the Cold War

“Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War,” warns William Perry, “and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.” A former U.S. defense secretary from 1994 to 1997, Perry has been an inside player in the business of nuclear weapons for over 60 … Continue reading “We May Be at a Greater Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe Than During the Cold War”

Terrorism: From the Irish Dynamite War to the Islamic State

Bombs explode in a subway. The victims are everyday people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What follows is outrage: track down the perpetrators. The people who set off the bombs are monsters and inhuman fanatics, thunder the authorities. But the year is not 2016, it is 1883 during … Continue reading “Terrorism: From the Irish Dynamite War to the Islamic State”

Adding Up the Costs of Hillary Clinton’s Wars

The Greek playwright Aeschylus – who fought at Marathon in 490 BC, the battle that defeated the first Persian invasion of Greece – had few illusions about the consequences of war. No wonder, in the tragedy Oresteia, he gave his character Agamemnon these verses: They sent forth men to battle. But no such men return; … Continue reading “Adding Up the Costs of Hillary Clinton’s Wars”

So Why Did Turkey Shoot Down That Russian Plane?

Why did Turkey shoot down that Russian warplane? It was certainly not because the SU-24 posed any threat. The plane is old and slow, and the Russians were careful not to arm it with anti-aircraft missiles. And it wasn’t because the Turks are quick on the trigger, either. Three years ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip … Continue reading “So Why Did Turkey Shoot Down That Russian Plane?”

The Saudis Are Stumbling – They May Take the Middle East With Them

For the past eight decades Saudi Arabia has been careful. Using its vast oil wealth, it’s quietly spread its ultra-conservative brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world, secretly undermined secular regimes in its region, and prudently kept to the shadows while others did the fighting and dying. It was Saudi money that fueled the Mujahedeen … Continue reading “The Saudis Are Stumbling – They May Take the Middle East With Them”