michael has tipped me off to henry c.k. liu, a hong kong born, harvard educated fella who, after teaching stints at UCLA, harvard and columbia now heads up a private investment firm and writes for the asia times online. a full collection of his ATol writings can be found here -- and he writes some lengthy but engaging stuff! -- but this particular little number caught my eye. good backgrounder on iraq. as in, i never had an explanation for why saddam invaded kuwait (and why we didn't say we'd stop him before he did it, then started a war with him afterward for going ahead and doing it). and who the ba'athists are (at least they were socialists). among many other things.
little did i realize though that this is the last of a four-parter from late summer early fall 2004:
Geopolitics in Iraq an old game (august 14 2004)
Geopolitical weeds in the cradle of civilization September 3 2004)
A poisonous geopolitical jungle (september 15 2004)
and finally The burden of being a superpower (september 17 2004)
kick back and read 'em in order like i'm going to. i actually picked up hourani's history of the arab peoples on anselm's recommendation (dan's interview with him in the poker #7 not long after it came out) but have not gotten too far into its 500 pages. i'm hoping liu will be another way in.