Commentary

The Decline of International Studies

Foreign Affairs

Why Flying Blind Is Dangerous “In October 2013, the U.S. Department of State eliminated its funding program for advanced language and cultural training on Russia and the former Soviet Union. Created in 1983 as a special appropriation by Congress, the so-called Title VIII Program had supported generations of specialists working in academia, think tanks, and…

Happy Captive Nations Week!

Slate

It’s that time of year when we are supposed to celebrate one of the weirdest artifacts of the Cold War. “Given the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the war in Gaza, you would be forgiven for having missed the fact that we are now in the middle of America’s annual Captive Nations Week….

Forgetting Odessa

Slate

The people of this great Ukrainian port city have a long record of getting their history wrong. Sometimes, that isn’t a bad thing. ” ‘People are worried now more than ever. You hear shooting in the streets, and barricades are going up. … The police are doing nothing or even going over to the side…

How the Horrors of Crimea Shaped Tolstoy

The New Republic

How a War Made the Great Russian Novelist “Leo Tolstoy was 26 years old when he first saw the ramparts of Sevastopol. The weather in Crimea in the early winter of 1854—subtropical, cool but not cold—was a paradise compared with the harsh snow and ice farther north. The city itself, though, was in chaos. The…

Crimea, the Tinderbox

The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The Russian military intervention in Ukraine’s autonomous republic of Crimea has brought relations between the United States and Russia to their lowest level in a quarter century. It has transgressed the sovereignty of one of the most populous countries in Europe, violated the terms of a diplomatic agreement to respect Ukraine’s borders, and…

Not Your Average Chechen Jihadis

Foreign Affairs

Drawing the Wrong Conclusions About the Boston Bombing “Ever since the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were identified as ethnic Chechens, the national conversation about the incident seems to have focused on the connection between the violence and Chechnya. The two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, certainly lived in two places at once: in…

Every American Muslim’s Fear After the Boston Bombings

Daily Beast

What Makes the Tsarnaev Brothers Different from Other Mass Murderers “The naming of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was captured alive last night, have made the nightmare scenario for many American Muslims come true. The Tsarnaev brothers will forever be the poster children for a particularly…