Sometime this summer, Daniel Larison's Eunomia blog kicked into overdrive. If you graphed all the foreign policy and political philosophy oriented blogs with quantity on the horizontal axis and quality on the vertical axis, Eunomia would be in the extreme upper right corner.
Larison is a Ph.D. student in Byzantine History at the University of Chicago and he knows an enormous amount about West Asia, which, as you may have noticed, is in the news a lot these days, and, as you may also have noticed, is not at all well understood by most commentators.
Beyond sheer knowledge, Larison (who is, I believe, a convert to the Greek Orthodox church) possesses an old man's wisdom rare in someone young enough to have that much energy.
Contrast him with David Brooks of the NYT, who recently opined:
Since 9/11, the U.S. has had little success in influencing distant groups. Americans blew the postwar administration of Iraq because they assumed they were liberating a nation sort of like their own. And yet I can’t seem to renounce my own group, which is America. It would feel like cultural suicide to repress the central truths of my society, that all human beings are endowed with inalienable rights and democracy is the most just and effective form of government.
The hard lesson of the last five years — that we live in a jagged world filled with starkly different and contesting groups — makes democracy promotion more difficult but more necessary. Only democratic habits will prevent the inevitable clash of the tribes from turning into a war of nuclear annihilation.
(As I've warned before, neocon thought patterns have a certain logic to them that is slowly propelling them -- against their conscious will -- toward eventually advocating that America commit the greatest crime in human history: the nuclear genocide of the Muslim peoples.)
Larison deftly skewers Brooks by paraphrasing Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride:
Brooks has made a curious maneuver, wrapping up the effort to spread universalist propositions in supposed loyalty to his “group,” his tribe, which he has defined in the most non-specific and un-tribal way possible. It is as if he has declared a blood debt against Iraq on behalf of the proposition nation: “Hello, my name is David Brooks. You killed my proposition, prepare to die.”
I doubt that Larison, or anybody made of flesh and blood, can keep up his output of this summer, but you should check out Eunomia regularly.