Even before the recent raid that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the erstwhile head of the Islamic State, Donald Trump had spoken of how he had single-handedly defeated the caliphate. “Now, when I came, the caliphate was all over the place,” the president said apropos of nothing during a news conference with… Continue reading The Islamic State and Trump’s Delusion
Donald Trump has a plan to solve America’s drug crisis: kill the drug dealers. “We have pushers and drugs dealers, they are killing hundreds and hundreds of people,” Trump said at a recent White House summit on opioid abuse. “Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty — and by the way, they have much… Continue reading Trump to the International Community: Drop Dead
The Middle East today is enduring a replay of World War II — with the Islamic State in the role of Nazi Germany. Having seized much of Europe and parts of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany reached the peak of its expansion by the fall of 1942. Then, stopped at Stalingrad and unable to overwhelm… Continue reading The Fall of the House of ISIS
So, let me see if I’ve got this right. North Korea has been pushing its ally China to rein in the United States. Pyongyang is worried that Washington is about to launch a preemptive attack, so it has tried to use whatever minimal amount of influence it has to persuade China to use its considerable… Continue reading Trump Is from Mars
Every era has its representative figure. The Neolithic era had the Farmer. The avatar of the Middle Ages was the Monk, bent over an illuminated manuscript. For the period before and after 1492, the Explorer captured the global imagination. During the Industrial Revolution, the Worker embodied the age of manufacturing. And now we have the… Continue reading The Gunman
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the recent tragedy that left 49 dead at a gay bar in Orlando. The shooter, Omar Mateen, declared his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call he made during the massacre. President Obama and much of the news media have declared the worst mass shooting in modern U.S.… Continue reading Orlando and the Future of Terrorism
In the 13th century, the Italian town of Lucera was a Muslim island in a sea of Christendom. Here Frederick II, the head of the Holy Roman Empire, established his own shadow cabinet of scholars and advisors from among the Arabs that he invited to live in this walled city near the eastern coast of… Continue reading Life in the Gray Zone
In fairy tales, the hero makes a wish. After a few trials the wish comes true, and everyone lives happily ever after. But only in this Disney version of fairy tales is wish fulfillment so straightforward. In Goethe’s modern fairy tale, a scholar dreams of knowledge and power. A stranger grants his wish, but the… Continue reading Obama: The Fairy-Tale President?
I was listening to a German parliamentarian the other night. She was making some anodyne comments about transatlantic friendship and the importance of culture. And then she veered off to mention the recent attacks in Paris and the threat of the Islamic State. This issue, she said, required an urgent response from the “free world.”… Continue reading Trump, the Islamic State, and the Cliche of Civilizations
Imagine this new TV series coming to HBO in 2016. The planet faces an unprecedented peril. The international community brings together a team of experts, each one with a different specialty: the scientist, the general, the computer geek, the engineer, the spook. It’s their job to avert catastrophe. In the pilot episode, we see each… Continue reading Syria: Mission Possible?