Weekend Reading: January 16-18

January 16, 2015

Hey WOTR readers! Want to stay fresh? Here is what you need to read this weekend.

Quote of the Week. “We don’t know if it’s five people graduate, or 100 people graduate, or no one graduates. … This is just a pilot to gain information for us to understand where we are, and then we’ll take that data and make a determination on how we want to move forward.” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Jan. 6 about female soldiers who will be participating in the first co-ed Ranger School assessment in April.

Inside the British “caliphate.” Al Jazeera America’s Omar Waraich investigates Birmingham, England, which was recently referred to as a “Muslim-only city” and no-go area for Christian and other non-Muslims by FOX News “terrorism expert” Steve Emerson. Waraich writes up his satirical exploration of the city’s mosques, streets, and local pubs in Britain’s second-largest city, sharing what he learned from local residents. Turns out, there is no caliphate there.

Visibility versus vulnerability. Over at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, Zack Cooper asks how U.S. leaders can choose between and prioritize capabilities that maximize visibility and minimize vulnerability under sequestration. One solution, Cooper poses, is to examine a wide range of potential conflict scenarios while assessing the strengths and weaknesses of visibility and vulnerability in each. These assessment will equip the Pentagon with the analysis needed to make tough choices and drive smarter investment decisions.

For your ears only. The Andrew Small of the German Marshall Fund, Stephen Tankel of American University and WOTR, and Joshua White of the Stimson Center joined Ryan Evans to offer their own assessments of East Asian politics in the latest War on the Rocks podcast.

In defense of French satire. In the French publication Mediapart, Olivier Tonneau offers an in-depth explanation of the history of Charlie Hebdo and French satire, its misinterpreted Leftist stance, and how it relates to the rise of fundamentalism in France. Tonneau writes, “[Charlie Hebdo] was precisely trying to defend the republican ideals whereby it is not religion that determines your commitments but justice. It mocked not the religion that Muslims have quietly inherited from their fathers and forefathers, but the aggressive fundamentalism that demands that everybody defines themselves – ethically, politically, geographically – in religious terms.”

Want more? In Huffington Post, Karima Bennoune offers six ideas to remember as we counter religious fundamentalism. She argues, “we must refuse to sign up for the clash of civilizations that both the Islamist terrorists and the Western far right have in mind, and cling to our principles: liberty, equality, brother-and-sisterhood, dignity, and universal human rights.”

War on the Rocks Weekly Round up: Don’t miss these great reads brought to you by yours truly.

  • Brian Fishman makes the case that jihadists are intentionally striking media targets to create publicity to ultimately recruit Muslims who is already intrigued by their worldview.
  • T.S. Allen writes that the a nationwide commitment to military service isn’t the solution to America’s problems, so quit calling for it.
  • Alex Hecht offers up some boozy recipes to keep away the cold.
  • Robert Tomes provides great historical perspective on American offset strategies.

Lauren Katzenberg is an assistant editor at War on the Rocks. She is also the managing editor of Task & Purpose, a news and culture publication covering veterans and military affairs.


Photo credit: The U.S. Army