Putin’s Hollow Legalism

The idea that Vladimir Putin would like to revive the Soviet Union, and that he formulates and executes policy accordingly, is not new or original. But I was still some combination of alarmed and amused to find so obvious an example of Soviet…

Germany’s Chronic Free-Riding

Back in October of this academic year I wrote a post prompted by Der Spiegel‘s reporting on the gross under-preparedness of the Germany military. It seems things have not gotten much better in the intervening months; on Thursday this week the Washington Post…

Dear John…

…are you fucking kidding me? The John in question here is John Brennan, current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. And below are some things that he said in a news conference late last year, in the aftermath of the…

China’s Charter 77 Moment?

The Economist ran a leader in last week’s edition arguing that Xi Jinping’s new enthusiasm for the rule of law, as indicated by a raft of new policies related to China’s constitution is “good news in two ways”: First, it…

Performance Legitimacy & Authoritarian Capitalism

Michael Ignatieff was on campus this week to give a lecture on “Human Rights and the Challenge of Authoritarian Capitalism”. It was a wonderful lecture, and in a luncheon with students beforehand he proved himself to be a thoughtful and…

Thinking Magically About Generational Spending Preferences

Writing for Vox about the striking divergence in young (less than 35 years old) and old (over 65) Americans’ views on the importance of government spending on military and defense, Dylan Matthews says: The military spending trend is where this…

Swedish Submarine Hunting & Democratic Hegemony

Sweden announced yesterday it would be halting the week-long “intelligence operation” it’s been conducting in the waters of the Stockholm archipelago, directed against what everyone assumes was some sort of Russian mini-sub. But on Wednesday, when the hunt was still…

Peculiar Commentary from Sergey Lavrov

Here is a thing that Sergey Lavrov said recently: But our western colleagues are doing little when it comes to using their influence on the Kiev authorities to persuade them that there is no alternative to sticking to the agreements…

On the Nature of Military Free Riding

On Tuesday this week Der Spiegel‘s international edition published a highly critical assessment of the readiness of Germany’s military. While in general it’s not surprising that the number of say, fighter jets, ready to deploy at any given moment is less…

Plus ça change, in the Caucasus and Iraq

It’s that time of year again, when classes have started and professors have resumed their occasional dispensation of blog-worthy anecdotes. Today’s contribution to the venerable tradition of “Guess what?!” posting (as in, “Guess what thing I heard today that maybe…