Asia/Africa update: July 9 2018

ASIA AFGHANISTAN Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise stopover in Afghanistan on Monday on his way back from North Korea. He gushed about the success of the US operation there even as he had to fly in and out in a matter of a few hours under extremely heavy security and without making… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: July 9 2018

Middle East update: May 22 2018

Hi. Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve been gone for a while. I’m not going to recap everything that happened while I was gone, but be forewarned that this is going to be a long post. And by “long,” I mean I’m at 1800 words as I write this and I haven’t even gotten to Iran… Continue reading Middle East update: May 22 2018

Europe/Americas update: September 12 2017

EUROPE RUSSIA Russian media is reporting that Moscow has no intention of ordering further cuts to America’s diplomatic presence in Russia. This would seem to suggest they’re hopping off the tit-for-tat see-saw they’ve been on with Washington for the past several weeks, but there could always be some other kind of diplomatic retaliation in store.… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: September 12 2017

Asia/Australia/Africa update: August 14-15 2017

ASIA UZBEKISTAN Uzbekistan may be liberalizing just a little bit: Uzbek authorities are removing large numbers of people from its blacklist of potential militants and political dissidents, state officials and media said, in a move likely to raise hopes for a more liberal climate in the ultra-secretive ex-Soviet republic. Western countries and rights activists have… Continue reading Asia/Australia/Africa update: August 14-15 2017

Middle East update: July 12-13 2017

IRAQ A number of things are happening on parallel tracks in Mosul. Most urgently, Iraqi forces are still mopping up pockets of ISIS holdouts and responding to multiple ISIS attacks on villages around Mosul. The village of Jaran was attacks on Wednesday and ISIS fighters still hold most of the village of Imam al-Gharbi. Many… Continue reading Middle East update: July 12-13 2017

Middle East update: July 6 2017

As I said on Sunday, this week was going to be a little abbreviated around here, and in that vein today’s updates will be our last until Sunday evening. Thanks for reading! IRAQ Yesterday there were signs that Iraqi authorities might (prematurely, of course) declare victory in Mosul today, but as far as I know… Continue reading Middle East update: July 6 2017


It’s challenging for me to write about things like Donald Trump’s immigration executive order, which has by now gone through so many clarifications and legal challenges that it’s hard to say exactly what it is beyond red meat to his terrified white nationalist base. My instinct is to talk about policy on the merits–in terms… Continue reading Irredeemable