A short debate on Ukraine, February 2015

bbc_world_service_large_verge_medium_landscapeLast night, John Mearsheimer and I were invited to discuss the Ukraine crisis on the BBC World Service. Here’s the clip. I’ll have more to say about this, but as you’ll hear, John and I have no common ground: he refuses even to call the war in Ukraine an act of Russian aggression, which I find breathtaking.

Click on this  link to hear the discussion.


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Cops and soldiers, and why they’re different


There’s 35,000 of them, but they’re not an army. (Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)

So, it’s a new year, and we’re already hip-deep in horrors. I can’t even begin to write about the Charlie Hebdo massacre; I’m not an expert on terrorism or on France, and in general I agree with Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor, who’s made a good point recently on Twitter that there are too many of these “what’s it all mean” pieces and all far too soon.

Instead, I want to go back to one of the stories we were all arguing about before the Paris massacre: the tension between a significant part of the New York City police department and its mayor, Bill de Blasio. Here’s something we all need to remember, as we predictably take sides with cops, demonstrators, or politicians:

Cops are not soldiers. Continue reading →

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What did Ashton Carter actually say about North Korea?

Alex Wong/Getty

Five second warning? (photo Alex Wong/Getty)

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is going to be President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense. (Yes, that will once again make him my superior in the Defense Department, about a million steps removed. This is a good time to remember that my blog posts are my own opinions, and to review whom I speak for and for whom I don’t. Spoiler: no one but myself.)

Now that he’s headed for confirmation hearings, of course, media attention is turning to Carter’s views and previous writings. One that’s raised a few eyebrows is a piece he co-wrote with former Secretary of Defense William Perry in 2006, in which he and Perry argued for striking the North Korean ICBM prototype, the Taepodong, if all else failed to stop the North Koreans from testing it. Continue reading →

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