Contradictory Choices in the Middle East [Part I]

    Introduction and Historical Retrospective   Western policymakers and media talking-heads like to believe that the answer to the wider Middle East’s problems lies in a single, coherent regional strategy. In other words, a sufficient balance of military force and support for the proper state players will yield lasting calm and neutralize emerging ideological threats. Not only does this view starkly contrast with the approach taken | Read More »

    Heists and Revolution

    In December, 2008, the Russian government announced the creation of a state commission to study the legality of the sale of artwork, jewels and artifacts by the Soviet government in the 1920s. In so doing, Russia turned its attention to a frequently overlooked and almost forgotten chapter in its early, post-revolutionary history. That episode, with its dark consequences for Russian culture, provides a remarkably vivid illustration of | Read More »

    An Unruly Instrument – ISIS as the Hitler to the Gulf States’ Stalin

    Hitler – Stalin’s instrument run amok “Icebreaker” was Adolf Hitler’s designation by Soviet intelligence. The fall of the Soviet Union gave historians access to documentary material sealed for decades behind layers of obfuscation, lies and half-truths. Papers which Moscow consistently denied as ever having existed reporting on meetings which ostensibly never took place suddenly became public knowledge. It is not surprising, then, that a primary | Read More »

    Obama’s speech in Warsaw – Russia as Europe’s antagonizing “other”

    [Promoted from the diaries-- streiff] Obama’s speech – Russia is not a European state U.S. President Barack Obama gave a speech in Warsaw, Poland yesterday and painted a portrait of contemporary Europe which holds profound significance. In effect, Obama proclaimed that Russia and Europe are two different things (i.e., Russia is not a European country or a nation which can be countenanced as belonging to | Read More »

    Rethinking Income Inequality

    French economist Thomas Piketty is making a huge splash with his soon to be released book about income inequality — “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”.  The New Yorker’s John Cassidy provided a detailed preview, which follows growing calls by the media, public intellectuals and politicians for quick and aggressive government intervention to remedy the “crisis” of income divergence between the richest and poorest segments of the population | Read More »