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Posts from the ‘Friday’s Reading List’ Category

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Nakkash Osman, "The Ottoman Army Marching On The City Of Tunis," 1581. Via Wikimedia.

Nakkash Osman, “The Ottoman Army Marching On The City Of Tunis,” 1581. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

A German publishing company hopes to publish a print edition of the English-language Wikipedia — all 1,000 hardcover volumes of it. Given fears about the impermanence of information hosted on the internet and electronic data storage in general, I think this is a great idea.

After the prospect of Venice’s secession from Italy was recently in the news, Italian police arrest two dozen alleged violent separatists.

What did third century China think of the distant Roman Empire?

Ten potential long-term effects of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ posts from the past two weeks are enormously important.

The completely bonkers idea of converting the Soviet Mach 3 MiG-25 interceptor into a VIP transport: alas, it was not meant to be.

From Thursday, more linkage at Political Violence at a Glance.

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Sano di Pietro, "Saint Anthony Leaving His Monastery," 1435. Via the National Gallery of Art.

Sano di Pietro, “Saint Anthony Leaving His Monastery,” 1435. Via the National Gallery of Art.

What I read this week:

Brushing off Obama’s accurate reference to a “regional power,” Russia strives to shore up diplomatic support among its BRICS compatriots. This appears to have been somewhat successful — though yesterday’s UN General Assembly resolution condemning the Crimean referendum vote invalid easily passed, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa all abstained.

Ukrainian military families in Crimea face the agonizing dilemma of whether to stay in the newly Russian territory — and thus risk future retribution should Crimea ever return to Ukraine — or flee, abandoning their homes and often families.

There are ominous signs that Vladimir Putin may be planning an invasion of Ukraine beyond Crimea, which would notably could allow a contiguous land-grab stretching to Transnistria. For his part President Obama has strongly warned against any Russian move.

Flush with oil revenue, African states are going on military spending sprees that include top-flight Russian air superiority fighters, expensive aircraft useless for the low-intensity wars most common in the continent. Why? Most likely, prestige.

“Not much has changed” in the chaotic Rio de Janeiro slums the Brazilian government struggles to exert its control over (via Brazil Characters Lab).

Does the media’s tendency to sensationalize violence harm Guatemalan democracy? (Via Natalie Kitroeff.)

From earlier in the week, more links at Political Violence at a Glance.

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Master of Calamarca, "Ángel Letiel Dei." Via Wikimedia.

Master of Calamarca, “Ángel Letiel Dei.” Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

A horrific police killing in Rio de Janeiro has brought renewed criticism of Brazil’s urban policing.

On the Russian annexation of Crimea: See Fred Kaplan on the severity of Putin’s move, Steve Saideman on a reinvigorated NATO, Paul Pillar on Putin’s recent speech and challenge to Americans’ ideas of their own exceptionalismKimberly Marten on Putin’s turn towards ethnic Russian nationalism, and Janine Davidson on Russian military culture’s view of NATO and the risks of war.

For their part, mapmakers face the timeless dilemma of judging how to update their wares, a decision that is almost always politicized (via Daniel Larison).

And, in a reminder that the US and Europe are not the extent of the news-consuming world, how is the Crimea crisis playing in Latin America?

Returning to the subject of Brazil, how the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 — a mystery prestigious fighter fleets are not helpful in solving — shows that real air forces spend acquisition funds on boring stuff (via Errol Cavit and Graham Jenkins).

How Chinese citizens view America — “meat is cheap, but the price of vegetables is higher” seems to nail it.

From Tuesday, more linkage at Political Violence at a Glance.

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Luis Paret y Alcázar, "Historical Costumes," 1780. Via the National Gallery of Art.

Luis Paret y Alcázar, “Historical Costumes,” 1780. Via the National Gallery of Art.

What I read this week:

Tom Pepinsky on the politics of the, well, “the” definite article that once commonly preceded the words Ukraine and Crimea in English, and the implication that “the Ukraine” is the name of a region while “Ukraine” of a state.

Also on the politics of language, the privilege of speaking English in the international development field, via Rachel Strohm.

What does the Obama administration’s preferred “small footprint” outlook even mean?

Via ICG, a February report on Moroccan efforts to suppress protests in Western Sahara.

On the difficulties — actually, it isn’t really that hard — of balancing disapproval of US foreign policy without becoming a “dupe” for Russian aggression and authoritarianism. Additionally, support for the “people who work at RT … ” theory for the pro-Kremlin network’s conspiracy theories:

The modal career arc of an American RT reporter appears to be an ambitious but not terrible bright 20-something aspiring journalist who, faced with the alternative of grim local-news reportage, leaps at the chance to make two or three times the pay while covering world affairs, sort of.

In contrast to early questions, given the wider Argentine Church’s complicity in that country’s military dictatorship, Pope Francis may have saved many during the “Dirty War.”

Vice President Joe Biden visited neighboring Chile this week for the inauguration of Michelle Bachelet, who held her first term in the presidency from 2006 through 2010 and faces many challenges in her second term. Also see a striking pair of photos Patrick Iber highlighted on Twitter this week.

Cairo’s struggle to reclaim the city’s informal areas.

And further linkage, from today, at Political Violence @ a Glance.


Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Abraham Bloemaert, "Head of an Old Man." Via the National Gallery of Art.

Abraham Bloemaert, “Head of an Old Man.” Via the National Gallery of Art.

What I read this week:

How Putin distorts the rhetoric of the Responsibility to Protect to justify Russia’s mission in Crimea.

Ray Kwong passes along a humorous guide on bluffing your way though conversations on Crimea.

A 1940s French board game on tactics for successful colonialism.

What is behind Brazil’s timid approach to protests in Venezuela? Also on Brazil, questions about the South American giant’s approach to state-building in Africa (via Daniel Solomon).

A long New York Review of Books piece on the prospects of Scottish independence (via Peter Beinart).

Anyway, if Scotland leaves the UK, how should the Union Jack change? I’m partial to Number 4, personally.

While outdated now, on Monday morning I complied a long list of news and analysis on the Russian military intervention in Crimea.

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Charles R. Knight, 'American Mastodon,' 1897. Via Wikimedia.

Charles R. Knight, ‘American Mastodon,’ 1897. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

Why are Latin America’s democratic leaders so hesitant to criticize the Venezuelan government’s repression of demonstrators? And are the protesters leading opposition leaders, rather than the other way around?

Newsweek has a good profile of a Honduran soldier involved in anti-drug operations (via Brian J. Phillips).

Not to mock mistaken predictions, but I think reading piece arguing that Russia would not intervene in Ukraine is an interesting exercise.

Andrew O’Hagan’s mammoth London Review of Books chronicle of ghostwriting Julian Assange’s failed autobiography is a revealing look both at the narcissistic Wikileaks founder and the nature of pathological, pathetic procrastination.

And extensive linkage from Monday at Political Violence at a Glancemostly covering events in Ukraine and Venezuela.

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Raja Ravi Varma, "Shakuntala looking back to glimpse Dushyanta," 1870. Via Wikipedia.

Raja Ravi Varma, “Shakuntala looking back to glimpse Dushyanta,” 1870. Via Wikipedia.

What I read this week:

On Venezuela: Protests swell as places to rally disappear, inter-opposition splits over tactics, some background on post-Chávez Venezuelan politics, and another backgrounder on #lasalida: “The student protests as currently formulated have little chance of developing a strong cross-class alliance.”

Taking Brazil seriously.

Among the conspiracy theorists in Kiev.

We don’t say “Slav” democracy is troubled in Ukraine, so why talk about “Arab” failures? The use of the Slavic people as a unit of international geography has declined in the last few decades, while the “Arab world” has not. I’d guess the overt non-ethnic self-definition advanced by the USSR contributed to this.

Peter Munson has another strong piece on the question of intervention in Syria.

From Wednesday, linkage covering political violence at PVG.

Kaki King – Neanderthal.

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, 'Portrait of J. B. Belley, Deputy for Saint-Domingue,' 1797. Via Wikimedia.

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, ‘Portrait of J. B. Belley, Deputy for Saint-Domingue,’ 1797. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

Challenging the narrative of Latin America’s left vs. right framework, which Roberta S. Jacobson comments “attempts to sort the region’s governments by that dated rubric lead one down a confused path to contorted conclusions.” Greg Weeks agrees, noting that these labels “will persist because they offer very easy ways to show whether you approve or not of a given person/country and/or want to project a certain image of them.”

Why are the Obama administration’s political-appointee ambassadors so unqualified? (Via Graham Jenkins and Andrew Exum.)

Why did Vladimir Putin choose sub-tropical beach resort Sochi as the site of Russia’s first Winter Olympics?

What’s a responsible, progressive position on an Israeli settlements boycott? Matt Duss urges economic pressure on settlements as a road to the least-bad option of a two-state solution.

More linkage at Political Violence @ a Glance.

The Frames – Santa Maria.

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Henri Julien, 'Étude pour La Chasse-galerie'. Via Wikimedia.

Henri Julien, ‘Étude pour La Chasse-galerie’. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

The parallels between Argentina and Venezuela’s crises, both drive by the “dead-hand control” of the political ideologies of chavismo and kirchnerismo. Relatedly, Argentine policies are adrift as inflation spiral looms.

After David Axe’s recent piece on the Brazilian Air Force’s efforts to police the vast Amazon, Colin M. Snider has a very interesting article on the relation between statebuilding in the Amazon and narratives of the need for securing Brazilian territory. I think Snider’s point about regional power also applies to the NAe São Paulothe region’s one aircraft carrier.

Is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard limiting economic projects?

Egypt’s new political order: “not one dictatorial person but a host of dictatorial institutions” (via Daniel Larison).

And I have more linkage on conflict and political violence at PVGlance.

Naseer Shamma – Travelling Souls.

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

Jean-Paul Laurens, 'The Byzantine Emperor Honorius,' 1880. Via Wikimedia.

Jean-Paul Laurens, ‘The Byzantine Emperor Honorius,’ 1880. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

Autumn of the Patriarch: Why the ghost of Hugo Chávez still haunts Venezuela.

Do the military operations of the past year in Mali and CAR herald France’s re-emergence as a major global power, and is America ready for a more muscular partner in Paris?

Why Iranian President Rouhani’s nuclear diplomacy is inhibiting social reforms (via Blogs of War | Iran).

Tom Nichols hosts a USAF ICBM officer’s chilling remembrance of the fear, anger, and helplessness of September 11, 2001.

Both Politico and Sally Jenkins have pessimistic takes on the Sochi Winter Olympics.

From today, more linkage at PVGlance.

Piano Magic – The Fun of the Century.