ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror

indexI can’t be an expert on everything. This revelation will come as a shock to many people, I know, but it’s true. But you can get smarter about things by reading.

Now, reading books does not make you an expert: I have had to hear that old saw about how “a book a month makes you an expert” for longer than I care to remember. It’s a dumb trope not least because there are a lot of bad books out there.

But reading good books makes you smarter, and any expert worth his salt reaches out to people who spend time and research on their issue. So, occasionally I plug a book besides my own. (There are a lot of good authors out there. That Winston Churchill guy wrote some good stuff back in the day. A few others.)

I’m especially glad I’ve read ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.  It’s by a journalist and writer (and my friend) named Michael Weiss and his partner, another writer named Hassan Hassan. I’m not a Middle East guy, I don’t speak any of the languages of the region, and I needed someone to lead me through this labyrinth. Continue reading →

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So, what is it you professors do all day, anyway?

A cheap shot, really. Satan works for a living.

I shall now speak in defense of my profession. Like all academic papers, this one is going to be long, but bear with me. Think of it as assigned reading.

What moved me to to do this was a gratuitous shot taken at college professors by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and the ill-tempered and ill-advised response it generated from a University of Wisconsin professor named John Sharpless. Continue reading →

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If Putin Dies


Buh bye?

Is Vladimir Putin dead?

Who knows?

What’s clear is that something has been going on in Moscow for at least a week, and whatever it is, the Kremlin prefers that it remain a secret. Continue reading →

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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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