Category Archives: Ethics

Syria: Peacemaking or prosecutions?

On October 30, representatives of Syria’s government, opposition, and civil society came together in Geneva at the inaugural meeting in Geneva of the Syrian Constitution Committee (SCC), the most promising effort yet to negotiate an end to the country’s hyper-destructive civil war. But just the day before the SCC opened, a court in Germany charged … Continue reading Syria: Peacemaking or prosecutions?

WaPo’s Ignatius gets “mugged by reality” on Iran

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius had a column in today’s paper that gave a muddled, fairly escalatory take on the continuing crisis in the Persian Gulf between the Iranian government and the forces lined up against it. His lede (intro) is fairly straightforward: It’s a good rule never to start a fight you’re not eager … Continue reading WaPo’s Ignatius gets “mugged by reality” on Iran

On “Humanitarian Intervention”

I am old enough to remember when a “humanitarian intervention” meant organizing collections of food and blankets to send to distant communities in distress. Heck, in my elementary school in England we knitted little 6-inch squares to make up such blankets: they were taken away, sewn together, and delivered to the Red Cross by the … Continue reading On “Humanitarian Intervention”

Reviving Westphalia

It is a time of great uncertainty in international affairs. U.S. troops are deploying to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 16 years, presaging an increasingly probable showdown with Iran. The Anglosphere is likely to soon see a second, intensely nationalistic and straw-maned populist rise to the seat of government. The U.S. president has … Continue reading Reviving Westphalia

The Ethics of Regime Change

Two detailed accounts have appeared recently of cloak-and-dagger operations undertaken by Western intelligence agencies to effect the defection of high-level officials of governments targeted for regime change. In his new book, Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family’s Lust for Power Destroyed Syria, journalist Sam Dagher recounts how, in 2012, French agents spirited … Continue reading The Ethics of Regime Change

The Real Plight of Idlib’s Civilians

In the northwest Syrian province of Idlib, three million civilians find themselves at the vortex of large-scale battles as the Syrian government and its allies seek to retake the area from the rebel forces that have controlled the region for nearly eight years. Idlib is now the beleaguered last redoubt within Syria of the armed … Continue reading The Real Plight of Idlib’s Civilians