Weekend Reading: 8/8 Edition

August 8, 2014

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Happy Friday once again, readers. In further proof that August is never quiet, there’s a ton going on this week, from Russia to Gaza to Africa (which is not a country, Joe). Here’s our roundup of what you should be reading this weekend:

He said it all: We loved Elliot Ackerman’s short piece in the New Yorker situating the tragic death of Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene within the broader picture of the Afghanistan war. Ackerman raises some truly wrenching questions about our strategy – or lack thereof – in that conflict. (Special thanks to TM Gibbons-Neff for pointing us to this piece – TM also had his own great piece in the Post on Maj. Gen. Greene).

Who kidnapped the Israeli teens? Or, more to the point, were the perpetrators linked with Hamas? That’s the question behind the latest dispatch from BuzzFeed’s Sheera Frenkel, who analyzes an internal Israeli report investigating the killings and speaks with a number of Israeli sources who cast doubt on the report’s conclusion.

Keep calm and treaty on: The debate over Russia’s INF treaty violations continued this week with a piece here at WOTR by Thomas Moore. Responding to Moore and others in The National Interest, the Carnegie Endowment’s James Acton argues for the importance of arms control agreements including INF and New START, and suggests that the U.S. answer should be to beef up its ability to detect cruise missiles on Russia’s borders.

What if sanctions actually worked? We love reading Julia Ioffe’s take on what’s going on in Russia and in the Kremlin in particular. In her latest for The New Republic, she tackles a question few seem to have thought about: if Western sanctions do actually bring about the downfall of Putin, are we prepared for what comes next?

Analyze That (Controversial World Leader): In POLITICO Magazine, CFR’s Steven Cook tries to unpack the complicated psyche of Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan. From his anti-Semitic rhetoric to his continued popularity to his weirdly good performance in a recent soccer game, there’s a lot to learn about this provocative prime minister.

Listen: One of the latest installments in our (W)Archives series featured historian James Lockhart on the myths and rumors surrounding Salvador Allende’s death. This week, WOTR’s Mark Stout sat down with Lockhart for a more in-depth discussion. Listen to the podcast here.

Longread: Last weekend, the New Yorker’s David Remnick published a long and detailed piece profiling Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia, against the backdrop of the rapid deterioration of relations with Putin’s Russia. McFaul’s experience is a fascinating and useful lens through which to view Russia’s changing domestic and international political situation.

A legal perspective on Libya: In an interesting piece for CNN’s Global Public Square blog, Columbia Law professor Matthew Waxman weighs in on the aftermath of the Libya intervention and what it could mean for the R2P doctrine.


Usha Sahay is an Assistant Editor at War on the Rocks.


Photo credit: Feans

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2 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: 8/8 Edition

  1. I respectfully disagree that Julia Ioffe is asking a novel question. Every critic of NATO expansion, NATO behavior toward Ukraine today– and of Michael McFaul’s diplomacy and activism — has made the same point, that people are not thinking through internal meddling and regime change.

    In fact, many of those people are painted as Putin apologists, such as Stephen F. Cohen.

    In another article here at WoTR, the point was brought up that fresh and creative thinking was needed. One way to broaden horizons is to read more widely and to consider the various criticism of favored writers.

    If Julia Ioffe is correct in this piece, than how has WoTR, even if inadvertently and well-meaning, contributed to this atmosphere?

  2. Apparently, Michael McFaul was a classmate or acquaintance of Susan Rice at Stanford? This is a common theme in american advising, the connections of presidential administrations and their advisors.

    The Clintons created a lot of problems in South Asia with their preferred advisors, some old friends from Oxford days.

    So too with the Bush administration. And now a problem with bringing the class room into a real world affair such as Ukraine. There was an article in Foreign Policy about Michael McFaul as an activist and the problems of activists as diplomats.