The Decline and Fall of the State Department

Ronan Farrow’s book War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence recounts episodes from the Obama-Trump militarization of U.S. foreign policy. While the book begins with and has been marketed with the story of Trump firing lots of key diplomats and leaving positions unfilled, much of its content is from the pre-Trump, Obama-era and even Bush-era erosion of diplomacy as something distinct from war and weapons sales.

The distinction between employing diplomats whose read more

Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law

Today, April 20, 2018, Senator Tim Kaine told an audience at the U of Virginia that missiles into Syria were illegal because not authorized by Congress, leaving everyone to imagine Congress could have made such a thing legal. Kaine gave a long speech on the legality of war without ever mentioning that it is illegal. So I asked him, and he admitted as much. He offered no way in which Congress could have made the missiles legal. He claimed wars are legal if a puppet “invites” you, a read more

The Day DC Was Bombed

Imagine some foreign nation sent 100 missiles into Washington D.C.

You can imagine this because Hollywood has trained you to imagine it.

Imagine that for weeks or months prior to this attack, the foreign nation’s government and public debated whether to do it.

You can imagine this because you live in the one nation on earth where such debates happen, or because you have heard about the sorts of things that go on in the United States.

Now imagine that the primary excuse for the attack settled on read more

Corbyn v Corker: UK wants representation, US royalty

Five years ago, the British Parliament said no to an attack on Syria that its prime minister wanted to join the U.S. president in launching. That action, combined with public pressure, was instrumental in getting the U.S. Congress to make clear that it would say no as well, were it absolutely forced to — you know — admit it existed and do anything at all. And that was key to preventing the attack.

So, when Britain’s prime minister this week joined the U.S. president in launching a war despite read more

Syria All Wrong and Backwards

In the park today I saw a teenager watching two little kids, one of whom apparently stole a piece of candy from the other. The teenager rushed up to the two of them, reprimanded one of them, and stole both of their bicycles. I felt like it was my turn to step in at that point, and I confronted the bicycle thief. “Excuse me,” I said, “what makes you think you can commit a larger crime just because you witnessed a smaller one? Who do you think you are?” He stared at me for a while, and replied: read more

A Poor People’s Campaign Against War

Movements that are serious about human survival, economic justice, environmental protection, the creation of a good society, or all of the above, address the problem of militarism. Movements that claim to be comprehensive yet run screaming from any mention of the problem of war are not serious.

Toward the not-serious end of the spectrum sit most activist efforts devoted to political parties in a corrupt political system. The Women’s March, the Climate March (which we had to work very hard to read more