Bit of topical World Cup humour there. Jokes being the furthest thing from my mind as I sit shell-shocked on the sofa from that exhausting Brazil game. Still we’re through, so I don’t have to open the blog with a sad Brazilian song. Instead, have this delight from Jorge Ben Jor. Come for the weird title, avoid the weird lyrics, and stay for the all-round positivity of it all.
First up, I’ve already linked to these on the blog, but I figure some of you must only come for the reading list posts – I’m very proud to announce my contribution to the NATO Council of Canada has gone live and can be found here and here (it’s a two-parter – you guys should know I’m nothing if not concise). There are definitely gaps, and as soon as it went up I was unhappy with bits of it, but there it is and I’m very happy.
Now, for some actual good writing.
- A number of excellent pieces prompted by the nightmare in Iraq. Wonderfully lyrical at War on the Rocks. Examination of the shifting balance of power in the Middle East by Immanuel Wallerstein*, and a consideration of the “uneasy anti-ISIS coalition” forming by David Wearing. Finally, one, two, three and (a delightfully nerdy) four pieces on the US response to the crisis and the absurdities of US foreign policy debate.
- That the CIA toppled the Shah is one of those things that I’ve tended to just take for granted, so this well-researched account of the 1979 revolution was an illuminating rebuttal to that narrative
- Good call for a more effective NATO, an interesting (if occasionally laden with dodgy politics) argument for why Germany is reluctant to pull its weight militarily, and an honest explanation for Europe’s ‘under-investment’ in defence.
- Speaking of Europe, two excellent pieces on the utterly tedious debate over the Commission presidency at the Guardian, and the BBC.
- Master Storifier Kelsey Atherton compiled these tweets in response to what sounds like a daft drone-panic piece – well worth scrolling through.
- Speaking of tweet collections, Teju Cole is on top form here on the impossibility of sustaining the caring about #BringBackOurGirls
- Don’t know if you read that dreadful Gary Oldman interview, but this is a good article on how it demonstrates the triumph of “PC gone mad” nonsense
- Great profile of the wonderful Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Though he’s off making the world a better place in Kenya (I assume), Charlie is still finding time to post reviews of bafflingly complicated books
- The excellent Mauricio Savarese has been telling us for months that the World Cup would not be the disaster everyone was predicting. This is his victory lap. On that note, this is another excellent piece giving Brazilians agency in taking advantage of the Cup – on favela residents renting out rooms in their homes for tourists – Hadley Freeman’s place in the Guardian’s World Cup team justified immediately
- While we’re on the football, this is rather lovely on supporting teams because of the people you care about (NB: If Brazil crash out embarrassingly, I’m taking this piece as a Bible). Also a great profile of the different sibling relationships in international football, and a bit of bants from Marie le Conte on being a French supporter in London – identified strongly with bits and pieces of it but it’s funny either way.
- Less lovely but important piece on the outrageous tossers who blacked up to “support” Ghana against Germany and FIFA’s lack of action in response
- Brilliant idea for an app to support people in mental health crises
- Fascinating account of how an almost unintentional decision to allow same-sex relationships saved The Sims – one of those pieces that really makes me want to re-install The Sims (fortunately Steam only has Sims 3 on sale)
- I promised I wouldn’t link to recaps every week but Mad Men isn’t airing anymore and this is more of an essay anyway – on Betty Draper and the crippling limitations women of her time faced.
And that’s that – watching Colombia thunder over Uruguay now (delicious) so I’m not confident about Brazil’s chances on Friday. There’s a chance I’ll be writing the next post through my tears. Have a good week, enjoy the rest of the second round! x
*feels like First Year IR all over again