Missile Firing Day: The Republic’s Inaugural Day Is Here

There is a popular and enduring American fiction that the US President is sworn into office on something called Inauguration Day, which is commemorated on January 20th in Washington DC. Seasoned students of the Republic are well aware, however, that the actual, truly meaningful, Inauguration Day is not so rigidly anchored to a particular freezingContinue reading “Missile Firing Day: The Republic’s Inaugural Day Is Here”

‘Prohibited’ and ‘Acceptable’ Weapons and Targets in War

In my last two posts on Syria on these pages–here and here–I’ve tried to express my discomfort at the threat made by the US to launch cruise missile strikes in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. In them, I was trying to make a distinction which I did notContinue reading “‘Prohibited’ and ‘Acceptable’ Weapons and Targets in War”

A Norm-Preserving Bombing

War waged to prevent the gratuitous, deliberately caused, cruel, inhuman loss of innocent life; a moral intervention, a just war. War waged to preserve an international norm, a collective sensibility of outrage and revulsion at the use of a weapon of mass destruction: a similarly moral intervention, a similarly just war? These questions, obviously, areContinue reading “A Norm-Preserving Bombing”

Chemical Weapons and the ‘Unnecessary Roughness’ Rule

Fans of the NFL will be familiar with the unnecessary roughness rule; it’s one of those features of America’s most popular game that ┬ásometimes causes bemusement, even to those who consider themselves long-time devotees. In a game memorably described as ‘young men running around risking spinal injury’ or ‘an endless series of head-on collisions’, thereContinue reading “Chemical Weapons and the ‘Unnecessary Roughness’ Rule”

Why Not A Syrian Mandelian Midwife, Mr. Friedman?

An acute application of gynaecology to international relations, conjuring up visions of revolutionaries being led gently through birthing procedures is on display–again and again, and quite possibly, again–in Tom Friedman’s latest column in the New York Times. Apparently, the Middle East–especially Syria– is pregnant with possibility, fertile with newly planted seeds of political change. ItContinue reading “Why Not A Syrian Mandelian Midwife, Mr. Friedman?”