Friday’s Reading List
By Taylor Marvin
Apologies for the recent lack of posts. What I read this week:
James Hasik reflects on the thesis of Robert Farley’s upcoming “kill the Air Force” book: “By the raw numbers, the country seems to be getting a raw deal entrusting air defense to the Air Force.”
Reviewing the anatomy of a bad idea: COIN best practices. In other US military analysis Micah Zenko laments the state of civil-military relations, citing officers’ increasing willingness to “express their personal opinions about interventions, while civilian policymakers are increasingly willing to disregard professional military advice.”
President Obama opened the week with a speech to the UN general assembly notable for its optimism on Iran and nearly complete neglect of Asia. David Weigel notes that “for the third year in a row, President Obama used his address to the United Nations to sing the praises of limited military action that humbles rogue states.” Erik Voeten highlights the increasing divergence between US and world opinion at the UN.
For his part Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has had an excellent week. Patrick Clawson argues that while sanctions may have brought Rouhani to the table, “providing modest sanctions relief for the people is only a small step toward supporting democracy, but half a loaf is better than none.” Akbar Ganji examines the meaning of Supreme Leader Khamenei’s “heroic flexibility.”
Tom Nichols and John R. Schindler see Obama’s deal in Syria as “one of the worst US foreign policy defeats in decades.” Brent E. Sasley disagrees, instead seeing an overreaction to Russia’s limited diplomatic influence in the region; Nichols and Schindler respond.
The Economist leads with a cover story arguing that Brazil’s economic success, recently heralded as the first-steps of an incept superpower, has faltered.
Reflecting on over a century of the simple, logical, and doomed Esperanto.
Photographing the costumes of Europe’s pagan rituals. Just fantastic (via Put this On).