Spring Break Mix

We've heard an awful lot this week about how various American pundits and politicians feel about the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, what they think they did and didn't get wrong, and what lessons the U.S. should learn for the next war (apparently "don't start one" isn't one of the answers).  But we've heard a lot less from the people most affected by the war: Iraqis.  

My FP column this week takes a hard look at the absence of Iraqi voices in the American commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.   This matters.  It isn't just an ethical blind spot, it's a strategic failing.  We might have expected the Arab uprisings and the Anbar Awakening to have changed things, directing more attention to what's happening inside Arab countries than to what the United States is doing. But not so much.  You can read it on the FP main page - I hope you find it of interest.


With the launch of Yemen's National Dialogue Conference this week, I'm happy to announce that we have just released the 19th POMEPS Brief, a free PDF collection of Middle East Channel essays on Yemeni politics and the prospects for national consensus.  The collection includes essays by an outstanding array of scholars and analysts such as Holger Albrecht, April Alley, Adam Baron, Stephen Day, Danya Greenfield, Tik Root, Peter Salisbury, Silvana Toska, Lisa Wedeen and Stacey Philbrick Yadav.  It also has an original introductory essay by me, which poses some bigger questions raised by the analysis by the Yemen experts.  Download the free PDF here.


Are you going to the International Studies Association in San Francisco this year?  Well, I've got two awesome receptions for you to consider attending:

-   On Thursday, April 4 at 7:30pm, come to the very first International Blogging Reception, hosted by Sage and the good folks at the Duck of Minerva.  There will be some presentations, a lot of your favorite bloggers, and the presentation of the first annual OAIS Awards for blogging in international studies (I'm not sure what OAIS stands for but the awards will forever be known as "Duckies.")

-   On Friday, April 5 at 6pm, come to the first POMEPS ISA reception to hang out with Middle East specialists and their friends who want free drinks and good conversation.   These have been a huge hit at the American Political Science Association and Middle East Studies Association conferences, and I'm thrilled to be able to host one for the first time at ISA.

I'm also on a panel about diffusion and the Arab uprisings on Friday afternoon.  Drop me a line if you want to try to get together at the conference about a book you're doing which you think might be a good fit for the Columbia Series on Middle East Politics which I edit, or anything else on your mind.  This is my first time at ISA in many years and I'm looking forward to it. 


Finally, I will be in Italy on a family vacation for the next week and only infrequently checking email, Twitter, or anything else besides gelato, vino, espresso and pasta.  The only exception to vacation time: I will be giving a public talk at the University of Venice on Monday, March 25, at 4pm, so if you're lucky enough to live in the Venice area definitely come by.  I'll also be in Florence and Rome (where I'm excited at the possibility of seeing the new Pope at the Good Friday Procession) but don't expect to be doing any public events.     


And just for good measure, here's this:

It was done as a birthday present by my old Williamstown friends Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson, who run the wonderful Idiot's Books mini-press and blog.  It may be my favorite thing ever.


So enjoy the rest of March, read my column, download the Yemen brief, RSVP for the ISA receptions, and root for Duke in the tourney!

Marc Lynch

We're Duke

Does this photo bother you, even though you're a serious thinker on foreign policy?

 Does this one bring back memories as awful as George Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech?

Well, then my weekly column is for you:  "America's March Madness Problem: We're Duke."   It explains why Americans struggling to understand the phenomenon of anti-Americanism should take a good look at their own feelings towards the Duke Blue Devils.  You know you want to learn about "peak Laettner", what it means that you loved Stephen Curry and hate Seth Curry, how Duke's failures in the NCAA tourney mirror America's struggles in Iraq, the limits of Obama's efforts to de-Dukify American foreign policy, and why Peter Katzenstein and Bob Keohane are must-reading for March Madness.

I had fun writing it.  I'm looking forward to the responses.   So go read it! And Go Duke!