Sorry for my silence through October and November. I suppose I just have to be reconciled to the fact that my blogging will always go a bit more radio silent during semesters. My mind gets so distracted by so many things--teaching, obviously, also conferences, reality, irreality, etc.. And of course we at UVA have had some extra challenges to deal with these past few weeks, once again.
In any event, I'll try to do a bit better going forward, for the forseeable future, which is not forseeable very far into the future. Baby steps.
Good explainer on the different layers of causality for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It puts the agency on Putin, which seems right to me.
And this, by Ivan Krastev, is a very useful “grammar” of sorts for the different views in Europe on the Russia-Ukraine war: realists, optimists, revisionists. Read it and see if it isn’t illuminating.
Also this seems really right to me, about Putin:
“A theme to which Arutunyan returns throughout the book, and which is also noted by others such as Mark Galeotti, is that Putin is less a master strategist than a master ditherer, someone who avoids making difficult choices (and in so doing actually makes a choice) until the last possible moment. What is assumed or seen to be strategic acumen—clearly, he must be waiting to act—is often more tactical idleness until such time as avoidance is no longer practical.”
Good report on lessons learned after six months of the Russian Ukrainian war.
A small piece that functions as an introduction to Percival Everett, a really significant author—though hard to pin down—in contemporary American writing.
An ancient Christian monastery, predating Islam, found in the Persian gulf.
That's enough for today. Be well, everyone.