Marketing and the Delegitimization of Elections


The core issue is not one of marketing but of citizenry.

The Road to Four Months That Changed the World

Thirty years ago, on Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. This was the beginning of a period that would change the world. When...

Trump’s Mad Dog


Dec. 7, 2016 It has become rare for top military officers to stand up to their civilian leaders.

The Limits of Expertise


May 3, 2017 Beyond expertise, waging war requires wisdom.

The Geopolitics of the Novel Coronavirus

Geopolitics is a fairly slow-moving process that unfolds in predictable ways. This is usually the case. There are then moments when a wild card...

War and the Asymmetry of Interests


The United States is a global power in a world filled with asymmetric interests.

The Calculated Risk of the Coronavirus

We live in a world filled with risks, some large and some small. When we step off the sidewalk to cross the street as the light turns green, there is a risk the car to our left will suddenly accelerate and kill us. We see it stopped there, we evaluate our desire to cross the street, and we decide the threat is too small to delay us. Overwhelmingly we are right. On rare occasions, someone gets hit and dies. We do not respond to the risk by refusing to cross streets when cars are on the road. The cost of eliminating all risk is too high, and the probability of the risk materializing is too small. It’s a calculated risk, when the risk of doing something or not doing something is understood. Sometimes the calculation takes months. Sometimes it takes seconds. But it is always there, and you are always analyzing it and making decisions accordingly, rightly or wrongly. Risk and reward are at the center of human life. And to be sure, humans are not averse to risk. Many cultivate risk as a gourmand chooses from a menu. There is a pleasure in choosing to confront a risk and […]

The Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales

The British recently finished building two new aircraft carriers, the Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales. Last week, Britain announced that one of...

The Beginning of Social Dysfunction

A few weeks ago, I laid out a model for thinking about the coronavirus crisis. I argued that there were four structures operating: medical,...

Brexit and Charles de Gaulle’s Last Laugh

In many ways, de Gaulle foresaw the crisis Britain is now struggling to pull itself out of.

The Nature of Nations

Over the past few weeks, I have discussed the relationship between geography and the evolution of three countries: the United States, Australia and Hungary. A key distinction I drew between them was that the United States and Australia were invented countries while Hungary was an organic country. This week, we’ll examine this idea further. Invented Nations, Organic Nations The American and Australian nations were forged from migrants who crafted a political system that defined them. In both countries, the political system and its moral principles – along with the social principle that each newly arrived citizen must set his own course and take responsibility for his own condition – defined them. This enabled the simultaneous absorption of migrants into the system and the retention of their familial memory. It was possible, and even necessary, for migrants to graft their own psyches onto an overarching commitment to the national regime and the culture it created, while preserving a residual recollection of where they came from. This was not simply something for recent immigrants. The descendants of the first English immigrants became Americans and Australians through the regimes, but centuries later, they still remembered that they were once English and that they […]

Diplomacy as a Work of Art


It’s all about creating illusions and convincing others that they’re real.