What Gary Johnson Should Have Said About Aleppo

Photo from Haaretz There’s an old saying that war is God’s way of teaching geography to Americans. These days, even that may not be enough. Now, because of Gary Johnson’s Aleppo gaffe, that city has become a little more familiar to most Americans than it was a few weeks ago. But, what’s truly regrettable about his embarrassing moment is that it puts us deeper in the dark. The media had a feast with it, and continued to neglect the conversations we need to have. Aleppo became a story with no moral… I was rooting for Johnson to get … Continue reading →

Scot Atran on Why War Is Never Really Rational

Thoughtful and cogent stuff from Scott Atran, as usual. (At Huffington Post) I wonder what he has to say about William James’ reflections on the “Moral Equivalent of War.” As I recall, the upshot of that famous article gets at the importance of feeling “owned by” an anchoring concept greater than oneself, and that concept is typically the charter myth (or charter Truth) of a group. My own take on this is that the most passionately governing ur-rule for humans is the desire to be aligned with “Truth.” For the rationalists among us, that rule would seem to … Continue reading →

No on No Fly Zone for Libya

For now, I think that declaring and enforcing a no fly zone would be a mistake for the US at this point because: 1) The best political outcome is one which popular Libyan forces achieve as much as possible on their own, without providing their opponents any pretext for charges of US interference; 2) We are already overstretched and we are not in a strong position to take on this seemingly open-ended commitment (keeping in mind that Libyan ground radar installations would have to be destroyed as an early step in the process), and; 3) We would not … Continue reading →