Since the 2016 United States Presidential election, the concepts of Nationalism and Populism have received a lot more attention and consideration. One of the defining characteristics of both Nationalism and Populism is not just the ideology they identify with but almost more importantly the relationship to the ideology to which they are opposed. By emphasizing the Orwellian nature of Socialist, Democratic Socialist, or any flavor of Socialist or Communist thought, Nationalists and Populists attempt to draw crudely the dissimilarities between the ideologies. The best and easiest way to invoke this Orwellian narrative is by returning to the source material. Nationalists/Populists refer back to the works of George Orwell, most specifically the novels 1984 and Animal Farm.
There is something supremely satisfying, and a bit nostalgic, in reading classic thriller novels. The classics seem fresh, nuanced, with rich full characters that are multifaceted and contradictory. Newer forays into the genre seem cliched or formulaic. Even the newer pieces by the classic authors fall prey to this issue. Eric Ambler’s Cause for Alarm was only the fourth novel he wrote back in 1936 - publishing it in September of 1938 - and considered remarkable for its prophetic tone. Most of us in the 21st century forget, to the average person in 1938 World War 2 wasn’t inevitable, or at least so it didn’t seem.
Terrorism and terrorism studies seem to have taken a back seat in the public consciousness of late. At least it appears to have in regards to the subject of National Security. Most governments have shifted focus back to great power confrontations and the desire to escape from the long wars we have been fighting for the last 18 years and focus instead on the more familiar aspect of state on state traditional maneuver warfare. However, terrorist and terrorist attacks still occur and we are likely to see an undercurrent of terrorism studies persist.Open Source Jihad takes a meta-analysis of the academic pursuit. Not looking at terrorism itself but attempting to quantify our attempts to study this phenomenon effectively.
There’s an odd thing that happens with a long series. It happens regardless; any medium is just as susceptible as a series of novels. This odd thing is a dichotomy that develops with the work and our relationship with it. And I find sometimes… I’m really okay with that.
Everyone surely knows the story in 1984. Or at least they think they do nowadays with terms like facecrime and doublespeak being thrown around the news and social media as if we’ve all just come from a high school English Lit course. I certainly thought I did as well. 1984 warns of the dystopian future where the state has taken control of every aspect of life. Like most people though I had missed some important points by not reading the source material.
When authors or creators of long running franchises either run out of things to say or do with their properties there are a couple of courses of action they can take. The Reverse of the Medal is the eleventh book in the Aubrey Maturin saga. Just over half-way through the complete canon of twenty one books. Has the HMS Surprise finally jumped the shark with The Reverse of the Medal?
Since its discovery by Western scholars The Art of War by Sun Tzu has influenced and shaped military education, strategy, and tactics. Its impact has reached beyond military applications to affect business and social life as well. However, it seems that some of the basic tenets of the book and the lessons it teaches need are seldom accurately remembered and need to be constantly relearned by western leadership. It would serve them well to remember the words of Sun Tzu.
Running a functioning democracy is tough. It’s even tougher when you’ve never run one before. If your functioning democracy isn’t even really a functioning democracy but rather a thinly veiled repressive authoritarian single party dictatorship, well, that could get you killed.
It takes a special sort of author to open their book with one of the main characters dead. It takes a really good author to have their books main protagonist be a jaded opium addict. It takes an exceptional author to do both. The Quiet American is a parable, asking us to make sure we don’t fight just for our own ends but to truly question the world around us and make sure we make the correct hard choices.
November marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. Living in the United Kingdom, as I do at the moment, this is a significant event. The Spy Net by Henry Landau, would seem to help fill the gap. One would expect to find the stories of daring patriots risking life and limb to provide information to the Triple Entente to stop the plans of the vile Huns.