The United States Is Making the Soviet Union’s Mistakes
Jump into your time machine and let me transport you back to another age. It’s May 2001 and the Atlantic Monthly has just arrived in the mail. I’m tantalized by the cover article. “Russia is finished,” the magazine announces. The subtitle minces no words: “The unstoppable descent into social... Read more
America’s Iran Hysteria
“Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on a mid-April 2017 visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I must admit that when I stumbled across that quote it brought up uncomfortable personal memories. East Baghdad, Jan. 25,... Read more
How Not to Build an Aircraft Carrier
Pres. Donald Trump used the Navy’s next-generation aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, as a backdrop to unveil his vision for the next defense budget in March 2017. The moment was meant to symbolize his commitment to rebuilding the military, but it also positioned the president in front of... Read more
Goodbye Pacific Pivot, Hello Pacific Retreat
Asia has been the future for more than a generation. When Americans try to glimpse what’s to come, images of the Pacific Rim flood the imagination. For movie audiences in 1982, the rain-soaked Los Angeles of Blade Runner looked like downtown Tokyo. By 2014, the City of Angels in... Read more
Senators Are Forcing the U.S. Navy to Buy Crappy Ships It Doesn’t Want
This year’s Pentagon budget originally included a small victory for taxpayers—it reduced its request for the troubled Littoral Combat Ship to only one ship for $1.2 billion. “The Navy doesn’t want them,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told Hugh Hewitt earlier this month. Yet, while sailors... Read more
I’m a Portlander. Political Extremism Is Poison
On May 26, 2017, tragedy struck my hometown when a white supremacist stabbed three people on a train. Two died of their wounds. The incident began when 35-year-old Jeremy Christian began aggressively harassing two young women riding the Portland MAX line. The women were black and one wore a... Read more
The Pentagon Is Still Worried About Climate Change
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis isn’t exactly the type of person environmentalists would typically pin their hopes on. The retired Marine general is best known to most Americans for his quotable musings on killing and the thrill of combat. However, while environmental issues may not be Mattis’ top priority he... Read more
Time Is Running Out to Avert Climate Wars
This article originally appeared at TomDispatch on Nov. 3, 2015. At the end of November 2015, delegations from nearly 200 countries will convene in Paris for what is billed as the most important climate meeting ever held. Officially known as the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) of the... Read more
When Your President Incites Violence …
How do we hold bombastic leaders accountable for violence done in their name? It’s a question with increasing relevance as right-wing populism rises around the globe. Matthew Heimbach, a white supremacist, has been charged with assaulting protesters at Donald Trump campaign rally in the fall of 2016, claimed he... Read more
Just How Many Civilians Are We Comfortable Killing in War?
On March 17, 2017, soldiers from Iraq’s special forces fighting in the Mosul Jidideh neighborhood called in U.S. air strikes on three buildings being used by Islamic State snipers. One of the buildings collapsed, and between 61 and 150 civilians died in the strikes. U.S. officials now admit that... Read more
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