Continental Drift: Europe’s Breakaways

Happy families are all alike: every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina The opening to Tolstoy’s great novel of love and tragedy could be a metaphor for Europe today, where “unhappy families” of Catalans, Scots, Belgians, Ukrainians, and Italians contemplate divorcing the countries they are currently a part … Continue reading “Continental Drift: Europe’s Breakaways”

WikiLeaks, Ukraine, and NATO

Is the Russian occupation of the Crimea a case of aggressive expansionism by Moscow or aimed at at blocking a scheme by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to roll right up to the Russia’s western border? WikiLeaks has revealed a secret cable describing a meeting between French and American diplomats that suggests the latter, … Continue reading “WikiLeaks, Ukraine, and NATO”

Syria and the Monarchs: A Perfect Storm

The Obama administration’s decision to directly supply weapons to the Syrian opposition may end up torpedoing the possibility of a political settlement. It will almost certainly accelerate the chaos spreading from the almost three-year old civil war. It will also align Washington with one of the most undemocratic alliances on the planet, and one that … Continue reading “Syria and the Monarchs: A Perfect Storm”

Afghanistan: Is It Really the End Game?

Gunmen in Pakistan on Monday set ablaze five trucks carrying NATO equipment out of Afghanistan as the international military alliance winds down it combat mission there, officials said. -Agence-France Presse, 3/1/13 There is nothing that better sums up the utter failure of America’s longest war than international forces getting ambushed as they try to get … Continue reading “Afghanistan: Is It Really the End Game?”

Breaking Out the Bush Playbook on Korea

In the current crisis on the Korean peninsula, the Obama administration is virtually repeating the 2004 Bush playbook, one that derailed a successful diplomatic agreement forged by the Clinton administration to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons. While the acute tensions of the past month appear to be receding—all of the parties involved seem … Continue reading “Breaking Out the Bush Playbook on Korea”

Four More Years: The Asia Pivot

In March 1990, Time magazine ran an article titled “Ripples in The American Lake.” It was not about small waves in that body of water just north of Fort Lewis, Washington. It was talking about the Pacific Ocean — the largest body of water on the planet, embracing over half of humanity and the three … Continue reading “Four More Years: The Asia Pivot”

Syria and the Dogs of War

Cry “Havoc,” and let slip the dogs of war; That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1 William Shakespeare “Blood and destruction,” “dreadful objects,” and “pity choked” was the Bard’s searing characterization of what war visits upon the living. It is a … Continue reading “Syria and the Dogs of War”

Iran Sanctions: War By Other Means

Now that the talks with Iran on its nuclear program appear to be on the ropes, are we on the road to war? The Israelis threaten it almost weekly, and the Obama administration has reportedly drawn up an attack plan. But in a sense, we are already at war with Iran. Carl von Clausewitz, the … Continue reading “Iran Sanctions: War By Other Means”