Too Many Syrias – Why You Should Be More Confused

If anyone tells you that they understand Syria, don’t listen to them.  Actually, no, that isn’t strong enough – hit them.  People who claim to understand what’s going on with piercing clarity usually look at Syria through one of a limited number of binary paradigms, all of them hopelessly inadequate for a situation as complex as Syria’s.  Almost without exception, their relevance to Syria is the result of pre-packaged opinions being applied to the country rather than an honest look at what’s going on – people who look at the facts in Syria tend to be thoroughly perplexed (and more … Continue reading Too Many Syrias – Why You Should Be More Confused

Adventures in the Unnamed Country

In this installment of the increasingly irregular summary of my now distant Balkan tour, we turn to the (Former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia.  No article about Macedonia could be complete without addressing what Wikipedia, in its unbiased wisdom, calls the Macedonia Naming Dispute. When Yugoslavia broke apart in 1991, Macedonia was the Republic Which Got Away.  Its separation from Belgrade was painless, and the Yugoslavs were glad to move their army out – they were going to need it in Croatia.  But almost immediately, a rather large problem arose: the Greeks, to the south, didn’t like the name of the new country because they already had … Continue reading Adventures in the Unnamed Country