Friday’s Reading List
By Taylor Marvin
What I read this week:
Factional infighting between Syria’s opposition fighters is increasing. Max Fisher asks if the fighting marks “a major shift for Syria’s two-year civil war, one with potentially disastrous implications for the country.”
Robert Mason calls for a new diplomatic initiative in Syria, stressing the need for a “comprehensive compact on violent Islamism that addresses Russia’s core concerns about Assad’s removal from power.” Barbara F. Walter sees Assad’s use of chemical weapons as a means of demonstrating to domestic and foreign fence-sitters that an American intervention in the war is not forthcoming. Danny Hirschel-Burns writes that the anti-war left needs better slogans.
Kenneth Anderson reviews two books on Saddam Hussein’s gassing of Iraqi Kurds.
Daniel Larison on why a “league of democracies” is a bad idea that refuses to die. Interestingly, the neoconservatives who typically endorse the idea seem to never think of such an organization’s view of Israel, which would likely be very unfavorable.
Erle C. Ellis on why overpopulation is not the problem: “The only limits to creating a planet that future generations will be proud of are our imaginations and our social systems.” Incidentally, overpopulation was one entry on io9’s recent list of science-fiction subgenres killed by scientific developments.
Stefan Sasse passes along an interesting take on German purists dedicated to keeping English loanwords out of their language. Aside from the effort being practically less “pro-German” and more “anti-English”, the piece raises interesting questions about loanwords themselves. If Germans refer to mobile phones as “handies” — an English word not used for phone in that language — should it be considered a loanword?
Speaking of language, lagom — the single word that sums up the Swedish psyche.
Paris thorough the lens of Nazi occupation — why vintage images showing Parisians enjoying life under German rule are controversial today.
By the way, this is my 500th blog post across this space and Prospect Journal.