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Explaining world politics: Death, courage, and human survival

By Louis René Beres

Here on earth, tragedy and disappointment seemingly afflict every life that is consecrated to serious thought. This is especially true in matters of world politics where every self-styled blogger is now an “expert” and where any careful search for deeper meanings is bound to fall upon deaf ears. Nonetheless, if we wish to better understand war, terror and genocide, we must finally be willing to search beyond the endlessly clichéd babble of politicians, professors and pundits.

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Assassinating terrorist leaders: A matter of international law

By Louis René Beres

Osama bin Laden was assassinated by U.S. special forces on May 1, 2011. Although media emphasis thus far has been focused almost entirely on the pertinent operational and political issues surrounding this “high value” killing, there are also important jurisprudential aspects to the case. These aspects require similar attention. Whether or not killing Osama was a genuinely purposeful assassination from a strategic perspective, a question that will be debated for years to come, we should now also inquire: Was it legal?

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The Limits of Legal Agreements as Security for Israel

By Louis René Beres

For millennia, states and empires have negotiated formal agreements to protect themselves. Usually known as treaties, these agreements are always in written form, and are always fashioned and evaluated according to pertinent international law. Problems arise, however, whenever particular signatories decide that continued compliance is no longer in their own “national interest.” It follows that treaties can be useful when there exists an enduring mutuality of interest, but can become more or less useless whenever such mutuality is presumed to disappear.

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To fix a broken planet

By Louis René Beres
Whatever our faith-based differences concerning immortality, death has an unassailable biological purpose — to make species survival possible. Nonetheless, we humans need not always hasten the indispensable process with utterly enthusiastic explosions of crime, war, terrorism, and genocide.

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When science may not be enough

By Louis René Beres
We live in an age of glittering data analysis and complex information technologies. While there are obvious benefits to such advancement, not all matters of importance are best understood by science. On some vital matters, there is a corollary and sometimes even complementary need for a deeper –more palpably human – kind of understanding.

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Economic Volatility, Hyper Consumption, and the “Wealth of Nations”

By Louis René Beres

Adam Smith published his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations in 1776. A revolutionary book, Wealth did not aim to support the interests of any one particular class, but rather the overall well-being of an entire nation. He sought, as every American high-school student learns, “an invisible hand,” whereby “the private interests and passions of men” will lead to “that which is most agreeable to the interest of a whole society.”

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Crowds and the slow death of America

By Louis René Beres “The crowd is untruth.” –Soren Kierkegaard Sometimes, seeing requires distance. Now, suffocating daily in political and economic rants from both the Right and the Left, we Americans must promptly confront a critical need to look beyond the historical moment, to seek both meaning and truth behind the news. There, suitably distant […]

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Technological progress and human barbarism: An unheroic coupling

By Louis René Beres

Every time I get on an airplane, I am struck by the contradictions. As a species, we can take tons of heavy metal, and transform them into a once-unfathomable vehicle of travel. At the same time, we are required to take off our shoes, and discard our bottled water, before being allowed to board. The point, of course, is not to make us more comfortable (those days are long gone), but to ensure that we don’t blow up the aircraft.

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Strategic implications of a “nuclear weapons free world”

By Louis René Beres
Barack Obama still favors the creation of a “nuclear weapons free world.” This high-minded preference is more than infeasible; it is also undesirable. For Israel, in particular, a beleaguered microstate that could ultimately suffer the full fury of this American president’s misplaced idealism, a denuclearization “solution” in any form could not be tolerated.

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Israel and Iran at the eleventh hour

Professor Louis René Beres and General John T. Chain (USAF/ret.)
In world politics, irrational does not mean “crazy.” It does mean valuing certain goals or objectives even more highly than national survival. In such rare but not unprecedented circumstances, the irrational country leadership may still maintain a distinct rank-order of preferences. Unlike trying to influence a “crazy” state, therefore, it is possible to effectively deter an irrational adversary.

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War, truth, and the shadows of meaning

Louis René Beres
It is time to look behind the news. Operation Iraqi Freedom is now officially concluded; U.S. operations in Afghanistan are reportedly moving in a similar direction. More generically, however, debate about combat strategy and tactics remains ongoing.

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Soon facing Iranian nuclear missiles

By Professor Louis René Beres
Admiral Leon “Bud” Edney
General Thomas G. McInerney

For now, the “Arab Spring” and its aftermath still occupy center-stage in the Middle East and North Africa. Nonetheless, from a regional and perhaps even global security perspective, the genuinely core threat to peace and stability remains Iran. Whatever else might determinably shape ongoing transformations of power and authority in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Saudi Arabia, it is apt to pale in urgency beside the steadily expanding prospect of a nuclear Iran.

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“We are in this to win”

Outdated goals of war in the 21st century By Louis René Beres Even now, when the “fog of war” in Iraq and Afghanistan is likely at its thickest point, our leaders and military commanders still speak in starkly traditional terms. Such ordinary emphases on “victory” and “defeat” belie the profound and critically-nuanced transformations of war […]

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Once again, “the people” prepare to elect an American president

By Louis René Beres

Apart from their obvious differences, all of the candidates, both Democrat (President Obama) and Republican, have one overriding chant in common. For each aspirant, every pitch is prefaced by sanctimonious appeals to “the people.” Whether openly, or with a quiet nod to a presumably more subtle strategy, “I want to be the people’s president” is always their conspicuously shared mantra.

This is not hard to understand. To suggest otherwise

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A core anxiety: Fear and trembling on the social networks

By Louis René Beres
A visibly deep pleasure is embraced by cell phone talkers. For tens of millions of Americans, there is almost nothing that can compare to the ringing ecstasy of a message. It also seems that nothing can bring down a deeper sense of despair than the palpable suffering of cellular silence. Perhaps half of the American adult population is literally addicted to cell phones. For them, a cell, now also offering access to an expanding host of related social networks, offers much more than suitable business contact

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