The targeted assassination of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour last weekend wasn’t just another drone strike. First of all, it was conducted by the U.S. military, not the CIA, which has orchestrated nearly all drone strikes in Pakistan. Second, it didn’t take place in Afghanistan or in the so-called lawless tribal region of Pakistan… Continue reading Drones and Blowback
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?
They were the “best and the brightest” but on a spaceship, not planet Earth, and they exemplified the liberal optimism of their era. The original Star Trek,whose three-year TV run began in 1966, featured a talented, multiethnic crew. The indomitable Captain Kirk had the can-do sex appeal of a Kennedy; his chief advisor, the half-human,… Continue reading The Star Trek Fallacy
During the George W. Bush years, pundits and journalists were constantly speculating whether North Korea would be next in line for regime change. After all, Bush had included North Korea in his “axis of evil” speech in 2002. One year later, the Pentagon invaded Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a member of the trio of tyranny. Perhaps… Continue reading After Iran, Is North Korea Next?
In traditional Japanese culture, a samurai without a master is known as a ronin. The most popular tale featuring these leaderless samurai is the 18th-century Chusingura. It tells of a feudal lord who must commit ritual suicide after assaulting the court official who had insulted him. Of the lord’s several hundred retainers, 47 loyal samurai… Continue reading The 47 Republican Ronin
The description of the death of Robert-Francois Damiens, the man who attempted to kill Louis XV, is not for the faint-hearted. On March 2, 1757, in front of a crowd of spectators, Damiens was drawn and quartered, which means that his limbs were tied to four horses that were then urged to gallop toward the… Continue reading The Comparative Politics of Atrocity
It’s not easy for North Korea to grab headlines these days. Over the last couple weeks, Pyongyang launched several short-range missiles and rockets. They barely caused a ripple. The world has been focused on the showdown in Ukraine, the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the Oscars. North Korea also barely registers on the U.S. policymaking… Continue reading My Strategic Impatience