Commentary and Criticism

The Economist seized upon Van Creveld’s paradigm that nuclear proliferation is not a big deal and may even bring stability in a recent article.  In so doing, they adopt my reading of both the threat of Syria turning into a failed state and how it could have a spillover effect onto the Iran situation.

Condensations of my monograph

Democracy Digest and Shabab Libya

And Commentary from the Marbo3a forum


by Clara A Connolly   “reading events in Libya, as a non arabic speaker and reliant on the mainstream media and f/b pages mainly in English, has been like peering in the fog – until I read your piece Jason! so thank you”

And by the great Libyan diaspora intellectual and World Bank grandee Hafed Al-Ghwell, “Yes, ‎Clara A Connolly its like peering in the fog for us Arabic speakers as well 🙂 …”

Clara A Connolly also wrote a more substantive analysis, “certainly worth reading Hafed [al-ghwell] as you say. I thought that the first 20 pages – an account of what happened in the revolution and the balance of forces since – was really excellent: well sourced, clear and filling in gaps for me in the story. I was disappointed in the policy prescriptions at the end – they were all aimed at the US and how it could influence events in Libya. Given that (presumably the authors were funded to give advice to Washington not Tripoli) ) there was also helpful advice for the NTC and other players in Libya. The most controversial (but in my view very helpful) is for the NTC:: in order to win over legitimacy among the people against the dangerous power of the militias, it should challenge the militias directly by referring to their human rights record since the fall of Tripoli. For example they suggest publishing an Arabic version of the latest Amnesty International Report on abuses in detention. The authors suggest that since Libyans have appreciated the role of the hr orgs in exposing the crimes of Ghaddafi they would be likely to repond favourbely to human rights arguments, and eg encourage the militias ot disam/yiedl up their prisoners. (In reality no real lead has been given by the NTC on human rights – their pronouncements have been pretty feeble so far.) What do you all think? Would it be fatal for the NTC to turn human rights arguments against the heroes of the revoution? To be fair the report suggest other methods to disarm the militias by means of carrot rather than stick – employment, training, scholarships for those who dont want to to join the Libyan army – but this is their main suggestion in the propaganda war.”

[Just so you know I was not paid to write the monograph but our publishers did insist that we target our policy recommendations for a DC audience]


My recent article “In the Arab Spring, Watch Turkey”  in the NYT and CSMonitor has elicited a deluge of commentary, praise, and criticism.

I wanted to share the most thought provoking bits here:

Tom Barnett’s Laudatory view focusing on the rise of Turkish “soft” power.  Too bad he attributes all of the ideas entirely to Van Creveld.

-Some sharp-nosed criticism from a secular, pro-Western Turkish op-ed writer, stressing Turkish competition — rather than cooperation — with Iran, but not denying that the rise of Turkey is a primary dynamic within the Arab Spring.

– A fascinating military blog which explains how the US is creeping towards an undesirable war with Iran and towards the end cites our article as a rare piece of enlightened commentary.

-And my personal favourite, a reposting of only certain sections of our article in The Bible Blog.