Balkans

A Soldier Explains What It Was Like In the World War I Trenches
October 22, 2014

"The trenches only came up to your knees, and no protection at all; and then there was no food."

The Solution to Violent Soccer Matches Is Not to Separate Enemy Nations
October 15, 2014

After all, political tension makes for great competition.

The Weimar Union
July 13, 2012

THE PUBLIC DISCUSSION of Europe’s economic crisis has carried a curious air of repression: When commentators have worried about worst-case scenarios—the scenarios that harken back to the dark moments in the Continent’s history—they have generally been dismissed as alarmist.  But there are good reasons to treat these dire warnings with the gravest seriousness—to place them within the realm of plausibility. One of these reasons can be found within the file cabinets of the U.S. government. In 2004, the U.S.

Have We Learned Nothing From the Nineties? Syria is the Balkans All Over Again
March 22, 2012

As the international community continues to debate high-minded principles of national sovereignty, Syria continues its downward spiral into unmitigated chaos. The bitter truth is that the longer this situation continues, the deeper the scars will be once the nation has been freed of Bashar Al-Assad. Increasingly, crimes against humanity are being committed by both sides, as the Free Syria Army struggles to incorporate and maintain control over its armed rebel brigades. But as harrowing as the details of the current situation are, the basic principles at stake are very clear.

What Are Our Military Options in Syria?
March 19, 2012

As the violence worsens in Syria, there are no great options for how to respond. The various Syrian factions and sectarian groups are far too intermingled for a Libya-like operation to work. Assad and his army are still too strong for a simple and small peacekeeping mission to succeed. And if we did invade, the specter of an Iraq-style imbroglio would loom, given Syria’s size and the multitude of nefarious actors there. It’s important, though, to think through the available military options.

Second Thoughts
March 14, 2012

There are two Democrats running at the top of the ticket this year, and only one of them is President Barack Obama. When Joe Biden’s name first came up, in 2008, as a possible running mate, I told everyone I knew that it would never happen. When Obama did choose Biden, I braced myself for disaster. But Biden turned out to be the right guy for the job. People don’t appreciate what a surprising outcome this is. My reasoning back in 2008 was grounded in observable fact.

It’s Time to Use American Airpower in Syria
March 05, 2012

After a year of bloodshed, the crisis in Syria has reached a decisive moment. It is estimated that more than 7,500 lives have been lost. The United Nations has declared that Syrian security forces are guilty of crimes against humanity, including the indiscriminate shelling of civilians, the execution of defectors, and the widespread torture of prisoners. Bashar Al-Assad is now doing to Homs what his father did to Hama. Aerial photographs procured by Human Rights Watch show a city that has been laid to waste by Assad’s tanks and artillery.

Yes, Nation-Building Can Work! And There’s a Model Out There for Libya.
August 25, 2011

The classic western High Noon culminates with a scene in which the hero, a retired sheriff played by Gary Cooper, finally confronts the dangerous gang that’s descended upon the unsuspecting town of Hadleyville. The townspeople remain in the background throughout the climactic fight, passive and frightened. Whether Hadleyville will be saved is solely in the hands of the outsider: his wisdom, his courage, his determination. Most of the policy debates in recent years on international intervention seem to have been framed around that famous plotline.

Accept Serbia
June 06, 2011

In the aftermath of the arrest of Ratko Mladic, all eyes are now on Serbia’s application for European Union membership (see, for example here, here, and here). After all, the arrest of Mladic, whom Time described as “Europe’s most wanted war-crimes suspect”, was supposed to be the major remaining obstacle to Serbia joining the EU.

Rejoicer Beware
May 30, 2011

What is it about international justice that impels so many intelligent and politically sophisticated people to spout so much utopian nonsense? Anyone doubting this needs to look at the statements that have been pouring like rain out of the United Nations, and out of the major human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, about the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the commander of Serb rebel forces during the Bosnian War and architect of the Srebrenica massacre, in which 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered in cold blood.

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