August 15, 2014

Happy Friday, War on the Rockers! Here is our weekly round up of the best articles and analysis on current affairs this week to get you ready for the weekend.

Remembering Robin Williams. Dan Lamothe wrote a touching tribute to Robin Williams on Tuesday for the Washington Post after social media pages exploded Monday afternoon with the news that the actor had been found dead in his home, the result of a suspected suicide. A man who could make anyone laugh, he also was an avid supporter of U.S. troops and did several tours overseas to both Iraq and Afghanistan with the United Service Organizations. For War on the Rocks, John Amble expands on this, explaining how Williams was not just willing to perform overseas, but he was proud to be there.

Dear Obama, Get it together. At Politico, Ali Khedery, the longest continuously serving American official in Iraq, wrote a letter to President Barack Obama essentially telling him that it’s time to get it together on the Middle East. Khedery offers five things that the White House can do to improve America’s vital national security interests across the Middle East, including to “stop looking at, and dealing with, the Middle East as a game of tic-tac-toe … and start looking at it as a three-dimensional chess board where numerous, interlinked dynamics are constantly shifting and endangering American interests.”

Speaking of getting it together. Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhennet, writing for the Washington Post, detail how Turkey is cracking down on Islamist militants who it once welcomed since they were fighting the Assad regime in Syria. However, the crackdown may have some too late, as an ISIL commander is quoted saying the organization is receiving enough supplies in Iraq, it does not need to rely on the Turkish border any longer.

Also writing about Turkey, Joshua Walker argues at War on the Rocks now that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been elected president, it’s time for him to step up and “unite behind an international effort to defeat ISIL or risk lasting damage to Turkey and the region as a whole.”

The rapid decline of quality journalism. Writing at his own blog, former freelance reporter Joshua Foust examines the rapid decline of high-quality journalism as a result of a shift toward measuring success through clicks, web traffic, and catch headlines that ultimately take away the incentive for investigative reporting, and seasoned journalists.

Is the American police force becoming too militarized? A narrative propagated in the mainstream media in much of 2014 is the militarization of the American police force, and the argument has only gained strength with the shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old African American by police in Ferguson, Missouri last Saturday. The shooting has caused outrage in the community, leading to riots and an aggressive response from law enforcement. In response to the shooting and community response, Jay Caspian Kang, writing for the New Yorker says, “it’s worth considering whether the typical ending to the story, wherein the outrage of the community is met with silence on the part of the authorities, has changed for the worse.”

Critical questions and insightful answers. The folks from the CSIS International Security Program offer some thorough analysis on Iraq through a series of questions and answers that range from U.S. efforts in Iraq and Syria to the emerging Obama doctrine. One critical conclusion drawn is that “without U.S. leadership, the international system that is the basis for our prosperity will continue on a path of slow disintegration. This is a moment of crisis, but also possible renewal.”

WOTR Weekly Round-up: Don’t miss these great reads by WOTR contributors this week.

Lauren Katzenberg is an assistant editor at War on the Rocks. She is also the managing editor of the veterans news and culture site Task & Purpose.


Photo Credit: Johnathan Nightingale