Who’s Afraid of Radical Islam?

Given a choice, most politicians prefer a symbolic fight to a substantive one. To see how, consider the fight over the term ‘radical Islam’. Even by the low standards typically set by American politicians, the argument stands out for its inanity. It’s worth asking: what are Americans so afraid of? Continue reading

In the Wake of the Paris Attacks, the Power of Stories

Stories are how humans make sense of the world. It is perhaps our most distinctive trait. The terrorist attacks that shook Paris last Friday gave the world a stark reminder of the power of narrative. Continue reading

The Road Not Taken – Obama’s Syrian Mistake

Obama came into office promising not to repeat the errors of the George W. Bush presidency, and by and large, he hasn’t. But he’s been so zealous in implementing the lessons of the Iraq War – “don’t do stupid stuff” – that he’s built his own trap by ignoring the fact that when you’re President of the United States, you don’t have the privilege of inaction. Continue reading

Obama Pretends to Ask Congress to Approve Military Force

Last week, President Obama asked Congress to grant him explicit approval for military operations against the Islamic State. Even casual observers might find the request a bit odd, since the US has been carrying out a bombing campaign against ISIS … Continue reading