Antarctica – The Last Frontier

Antarctica – a land of extremes. It is the coldest, driest – and loneliest continent on Earth. Bathed in darkness for 6 months of the year, and exposed to intense radiation, wind, and snow for much of the rest – Antarctica – even after its first visit in 1821 – has never attracted more than…

The CIA – Wilderness of Mirrors

America’s chief spy masters – the Central Intelligence Agency – came into creation during the second world war, and it received official congressional funding with the National Security Act of 1947. Ever since, the CIA has been involved in every major war the United States has engaged in – officially or not – and now…

Rhodesia – Last Days of Empire

Today we are joined by a very special guest Jayoh de la Rey to talk about Rhodesia and South Africa.  After growing up in Detroit and working as a development economist in Africa, one day his convoy came under fire traversed a country road. Demonstrating his capability with a rifle, Jayoh soon found himself working…

The Philippines – Crucible of Empire

The Philippines has for centuries sat at the crossroads of foreign empires, serving as the gateway to the Pacific for the Moro, Spanish, American, and Japanese empires. As President Duterte considers aligning his country with the Chinese while leaving the relationship open to the Americans in the 21st century, we look back at the forces…

Yugoslavia – Origins and Breakup

The Yugoslavic people have a history stretching back centuries to the Ottoman Empire, but the concept of a “Southern Slav” national identity was first developed in the 20th century while within Austro-Hungarian Empire. Yugoslavia came into existence in 1918 after the end of WWI as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes as a reward…

The Iranian Revolution

After nearly two years of demonstrations against the Shah and his subsequent exile, on April 1st 1979 Iran elected by referendum Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as the Supreme Leader of a new Islamic republic, thus ending the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who had held power since WWII. To Western eyes, the Iranian Revolution may…

Collapse of the Soviet Union

Although the Soviet productive apparatus was becoming ossified by the 1970s, and aggregate economic output stagnating or declining by the early 1980s, the USSR wasn’t inherently doomed as a political entity, necessarily. Cuba and North Korea, which haven’t liberalized much, show this. Massive cuts to foreign aid and military expenditure, to free up resources, combined…

Nixon

Richard Milhous Nixon became the 37th President of the United States on 1969, and in 1974 became the first president ever to resign from the White House. In what many regarded as a brilliant administration in terms foreign policy with the ending of the Vietnam War, detente with Russia, and a re-opening of diplomatic relations…

The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle takes place in San Francisco in 1962 – with one major difference from the history books – WWII concluded in 1947, and the Axis won. The world is divided between two principle powers – the German Reich, which extends over Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia and the Americas…

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers was published in 1950s America, a time when the United States had emerged victorious from the second world war. Respect for authority and deference to the common good had demonstrated results to a battered nation still scarred by the Great Depression, and Robert A. Heinlein’s book depicts a world much like that of…

Collapse – Argentina to the United States

In 1998 Argentina slipped into an economic depression, set off by a wave of financial shocks starting in Asia and Russia, culminating in a debt default and currency devaluation in 2001. As the subsequent banking crisis led to freezes on deposits and companies to lay off employees, people began to riot, and normal people like…

A Very Thin Line – Iran-Contra

From roughly 1982 to 1986, the Reagan Administration conducted a series of clandestine operations with foreign intermediaries not officially authorized by Congress – and in many cases deemed illegal. Many of the operations were orchestrated by a group in the National Security Council, carried out most notably by Colonel Oliver North. As rival organizations such…