What We’re Reading: American and Soviet Pathologies

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

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Why Obama Fears for Our Democracy An interview by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic I’ve read approximately 9 million of the 468 million presidential election post-mortems, which means that not only have I spent more time hate-reading than actually reading lately, but I arguably understand less about it now than I did on Nov. 3. I doubt I’m alone. I have my own opinions, of course, and for better or worse so does everyone else. Take former Israeli prison guard and current editor-in-chief of The Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg, who recently interviewed Barack Obama about his forthcoming memoir, the state of U.S. democracy, Donald Trump and his indifference to editors. “Why Obama Fears for Our Democracy” leaves a lot to unpack, so let’s get to it. The Good. Like him or hate him, Obama has always been an effective communicator, and he comes off no less thoughtful or affable in this interview. He’s at times optimistic, even gracious, about the state of the country, despite the “birther” accusations and racial attacks he has always had to countenance. He insists that the arc of history still bends toward progress, however fitful that process may be. Obama is uniquely able to diagnose the problems […]

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Cole Altom
Cole Altom is the managing editor at Geopolitical Futures. He oversees the publishing department, which curates the website, develops Geopolitical Futures’ editorial strategy, consults with analysts, liaises with marketing and maintains the integrity of all published material. Before joining Geopolitical Futures, Mr. Altom worked at Stratfor for seven years, during which time, as managing editor, he handled special projects, served as personnel director for the publishing department, ran the internship program, managed website taxonomy, tracked website analytics, developed new content types and edited and copyedited published material. Mr. Altom earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies and political science at Trinity University in San Antonio. He is a certified English teacher and is conversant in Spanish.
Phillip Orchard
Phillip Orchard is an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Orchard spent nearly six years at Stratfor, working as an editor and writing about East Asian geopolitics. He’s spent more than six years abroad, primarily in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where he’s had formative, immersive experiences with the problems arising from mass political upheaval, civil conflict and human migration. Mr. Orchard holds a master’s degree in Security, Law and Diplomacy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where he focused on energy and national security, Chinese foreign policy, intelligence analysis, and institutional pathologies. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He speaks Spanish and some Thai and Lao.