Peace Comes to Korea: Let’s Understand Why

When peace shows its face, and weapons companies’ stocks plummet, we have to do more than just cheer. We have to avoid misunderstanding where peace comes from. We have to recognize the forces that want to destroy it. We have to work to make it last and expand.

There’s something very twisted about the belief that the primary cause of tension between the United States and North Korea is what has reduced tension there. On a personal scale I think we could grasp this. If you yell insults and threats read more

How Suzy Hansen Lost Her U.S. Exceptionalism

Suzy Hansen’s book Notes on a Foreign Country is the diary of someone going through the process of gaining the world by losing their religion, the religion of U.S. Exceptionalism. She begins as an ordinary U.S. resident, not believing anything that you would find unusual, but assuming all the certifiably insane things you assume are not even questionable:

  • The United States is the best place to live.
  • Its government generally means well.
  • It seeks to help the rest of the world whose problems it has had little to do with creating.
  • History doesn’t matter much.
  • The other 96% are all a bit backward.

Hansen’s book, focused on her experience living in Istanbul, is a powerful case for living abroad and for reshaping U.S. education and culture read more

What Mass Killers Tend to Have in Common

It may almost seem too obvious to mention, but I don’t think that’s why we so seldom mention it. I don’t mean being male, or being mentally disturbed, or having been cruel to women, or living in places like the United States where it’s easy to acquire weapons of war. These and many other factors are very significant and very often discussed, as they should be, when we consider mass killings.

There’s something else that ties a lot of mass killers together, and it’s also obvious, but read more

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