Big Oil Isn’t Going Down without a Fight

An extreme weather event hits Norway. Finally shocked into doing something radical about climate change, Norwegian citizens propel the Green Party into government, where it declares an immediate suspension of oil and gas production. The new prime minister promises to provide Europe instead with electricity from the next generation of “clean” nuclear power. The European Union, heavily...
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The Pentagon’s Potlatch

Among the Kwakiutl and several other indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest, the potlatch was a ritual of hospitality. The host would invite guests to a big feast and then distribute gifts. The distribution was a way of demonstrating the host’s status: the more significant the gifts, the more important the host. Think: swag bags for the pre-celebrity era. Although this sophisticated...
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The Children’s Crusade

In 1954, a single book destroyed the popular notion that children are innocent souls. In that book, a plane of such innocent souls crashes on a deserted island. There, in a paradise of coral and coconuts and wild pigs, the survivors soon revert to a state of nature. But such a state, author William Golding warned us, is not an idyll of flower-sniffing and poetry-writing. In The Lord of the Flies,...
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Trump: Foreign Policy’s Useful Idiot?

He wants to cut back on U.S. military commitments overseas. He calls the Iraq War “one of the worst decisions ever made in the history of our country.” He promises to make deals with America’s adversaries. He’s comfortable with the détente with Cuba. And he really pisses off the stuffed shirts at The Washington Post. So, what’s not to like about Donald Trump? Well, a great deal, of...
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To End No Wars

Jason Smith was both very unlucky and very lucky. His bad luck began on February 20, 2015, when he was walking back to his home in McAdoo, Pennsylvania on a very cold evening. He doesn’t quite remember what happened, but he thinks that he tripped and fell face down into the snow. He lost consciousness and remained that way for the next 12 hours. He stopped breathing. His heart stopped pumping...
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Wrestling with Iran

In Iran, wrestling commands the same level of public interest as football in the United States. This is no passing fad. Wrestling is intimately entwined with the history and culture of the country, going back to the legendary matches that Persian kings conducted with their rivals. It’s also a matter of national pride. At the Olympics, Iran wins more medals in wrestling than in any other...
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