Bonus: What Danny is Reading This Week

Our Latest Longest War: Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan, edited by Aaron B. O’Connell.

Ok, I admit it – I’m sort of obsessed with the war in Afghanistan. It’s now our longest war, I served in it (2011-12), and I can’t fathom what we’re still doing there. Matters are worse than they’ve ever been, and even senior military officers admit the U.S. is mired in a “stalemate,” this after nearly 17 years of American efforts. This book is edited by a Marine Corps officer and former history professor at the Naval Academy. The work is a collection of excellent essays that try to explain what went wrong from a variety of angles. The essays are accessible, digestible and genuinely made me think and reconsider the course of this war. Unfortunately, the book left me even more disenchanted with this ongoing disaster. Check it out!

The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey, by Soner Cagaptay.

If you want to understand our longtime “ally” with the second largest army in NATO, then pick up this short book. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in power since 2002, and looks likely to stay at the helm well into the 2020s. This guy has grown increasing Islamist, authoritarian, anti-Western, and pro (sort of) Russian. Now, the Turks have invaded Syria, again, and are attacking the US-allied Kurdish militias. Erdogan and Turkey fear Kurdish autonomy more than nearly anything else. In short, the whole situation is a mess and Erdogan is making a power play in the region divergent from US interests. This book tells the story of Erdogan, his rise, and the history of Turkey both eloquently and succinctly. Nerds of the world – pick up this book!

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Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

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