15th of June: Last Reading List out of Madrid

Been reading a paper on insurgencies which used Vietnam as a case study so that joke didn’t seem tasteless. Sorry.

So this is one of those posts I write at 6AM with cheap beer and street-food sloshing around my system out of misplaced sense of duty – the sun is rising but I’m damned if I’ll go to bed without scheduling this week’s reading list – I’ve seen what it does to my pageviews. Not only that, but it’s the last one I’ll write in Spain – this time next week, I’ll be, probably, sick of London. So that’s exciting. Thanks for reading these past few months, I’ve enjoyed watching my stats disappoint – hope you stay with me over the summer.

Continuing the World Cup theme from last Sunday, this week’s song is a Gilberto Gil one I fell in love with again at the start of the year, so when Spotify shuffle saw fit to present it to me tonight, as I contemplate the end of this year, it felt appropriate. Come for the joyous opening, avoid the strangeness of the video, and stay for the legitimately decent romantic lyrics. Here goes!

  • So the big, non-World Cup news of the week is, unfortunately, the stunning advances ISIS made, taking over Mosul, Iraq’s second city. Scary stuff. Three good explainers here from Marc Lynch, J.M Berger, and The Arabist, as well as a poignant response to the situation from an Iraq war veteran, and an entertaining series of tweets from Kelsey Atherton (who you should follow) to cleanse the horror from your palates.
  • But just because the Middle East has kicked off again, doesn’t mean the other crises subside. Ukraine’s developing civil war rumbles on in a low-level horrific way. An interesting pair of looks at how NATO, especially (natch) the USA’s responses to the crisis have, and will play out
  • Interesting analysis of how many aircraft carriers the US really needs
  • The excellent Jude Wanga was covering the Time to Act conference on sexual violence this week – here’s the first of her reports on it.
  • Powerful piece from Cord Jefferson on the draining demands made of black writers
  • As proof that this blog isn’t just me screaming into the void – Tina at NATO Council wrote a great piece on the Fermi Paradox I linked to last month – part one of two so check back over there for the follow-up
  • Also at NATO Council, the wonderful Daniel Woodburn wrote about increasing evidence of a link between climate change and conflict. I can testify to the research and proof behind this piece, as I had the dubious (<3) pleasure of proof-reading the original thesis paper thing. Go read it please.
  • Quite funny and also informative look at China’s infrastructure programs – and stadia – in Africa
  • Football stuff! In light of all the whingeing (already!) about referees and goalies, this seems appropriate. In light of all the terrible clichéd reporting being done on Brazil, this seems necessary. And in light of the condescension, bad reporting, and mockery, this is fucking vital.
  • Provocative argument suggesting the public debt crippling most of the Western world may be illegitimate.
  • Great, thoughtful, essay on whether it’s still possible to be a “responsible” gun carrier in the US these days.
  • Important corrective from A Girl on the Net on the language we use about having “a right to sex”
  • TV-violence stuff – not fully convinced by Jessica Valenti calling the Walking Dead “good”, but her point about the lack of sexual violence is insightful – I remember a turn-off in the comic (aside from its general terribleness) being the adolescent use of rape as a shocking way to humiliate female characters. Meanwhile, at the AVClub, Soniya Saraiya has an interesting meditation on the purposes and effects of violence in Game of Thrones
  • While cheap food sounds like an unmitigated good, Jay Rayner suggests the developing supermarket price war might backfire on British food independence

Finally, and while I’m not going to give this a full Kanye-eyeroll (partly because I cannot be fucked to upload the gif), this was an annoyingly inane article – classic Owen Jones(or any prominent British leftist)-does-foreign-policy stuff really. Like, global powers have intelligence services that do nasty things. Well done there, top notch analysis. So I’m just letting you imagine the deepest sigh, possibly a theatrical eye-roll or two – you get it.

That said, probably worth reading if you have somehow lived to any age where my blog is arriving on your feeds without ever having heard of the bad stuff the CIA has done. Then again, if that’s the case you might be better off with Owen Jones to be honest.

Have a lovely week – got some pieces lined up to come sometime this week, but you should all be busy watching the Cup – it’s looking like a delight. So take that, haters.

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