29 October 2020

Hidden Enemies

An American history of taqiyya

Joshua Craze

TSA checkpoint, Denver International Airport, November 2010. Photo Transportation Security Administration.

The first time someone told me they knew my real identity, I was—naturally enough—in Florida. It was 2009, and a colleague and I were doing research for a piece on counterterrorism training for American law enforcement. We had attended a class in Broward County, where the trainer had gleefully joked about Muhammed’s pedophilia with Transport Security Administration officials, who then enthused that they were now ready to spot the terrorists threatening Miami International Airport. When you have a Muslim that wears a headband, the trainer told them, regardless of its color or insignia, basically what that is telling you is, “I am willing to be a martyr.”

Our next interview was to be with the director of one of Florida’s metastasizing set of minor right-wing organizations. The director, let’s call him Mark, had insisted that the conversation be filmed, and as we arranged ourselves around the table, Mark and his cameraman on one side and us on the other, it became increasingly unclear to me who was going to be interviewed.

I began by asking our standard opener: What is the greatest threat facing America today? Some of the trainers had hemmed and hawed when asked this. Those who hate our way of life, they had responded. Mark didn’t blink. Islam, he said, as if to say: you going to ask me a real question?

We pressed on. Mark had trained in the branch of Christian theology known as apologetics, and was prepared to defend the faith through reason and argument. After 9/11, he became worried. Watching the film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West convinced him. Islam was a danger to Christianity and had to be stopped. Over the next hour, we heard a story that a surprisingly large number of the counterterrorism trainers that we interviewed also told us: There is an implacable enemy bent on world domination, that enemy is hidden, and Washington is at best complicit in the conspiracy, but more likely part of it. We need to wake up. Shut down the mosques. The people we interviewed would vary in the details—sometimes the sleeper cells in Chicago were Hezbollah, sometimes Al Qaeda—but the formula remained the same: the identification of an enemy, an urgent call to action, and a liberal elite holding back true Americans from what needed to be done.

What, my colleague asked, is the relationship between Islam and jihad? Oh, Mark told us breezily, it’s the jihadists that are faithful to their religion, the rest are out of sync. Mark promised to reveal the reality hidden beneath the surface of the world and he was going to start with me. This was the real interview. A background check had been performed. We know all about you, he said. The countries I had lived in and the jobs I had done. Mark had looked deep into my soul and concluded two things: 1) That I must have had a trust fund to do all that travelling. (False.) 2) That I was a secret Muslim.

Last time I checked, I told Mark, I wasn’t a Muslim. He grinned, drawing from his deep well of secret knowledge. Do you know, he asked me, about the doctrine of taqiyya? I waffled off an amateurish answer. It’s a juridical term, principally in Shia Islam, that means one is allowed to deny one’s faith if one fears for one’s life, though it was also used in Sunni Islam, particularly in the 1500s, when Muslims were forced to convert to Catholicism on the Iberian Peninsula. My answer would have been painfully simplistic to even a novice student of Islam, but that, as it turned out, was not Mark’s problem. He grinned again. Do you think that liars tell the truth about lying?

Edwin Long, The Moorish Proselytes of Archbishop Ximenes, Granada, 1500, 1873. Long’s orientalist painting depicts Muslims being forcibly converted to Christianity after the Spanish Reconquista of Granada. Those who refused to covert were expelled.

According to Mark, taqiyya was a doctrine that meant all Muslims would lie in order to achieve world domination. He had citations to back up his claim. Endless citations. Mark took himself to be a serious scholar of Islam. His claim was that Muslims lie—that the one thing, rather improbably, that these lying liars are telling the truth about is the fact that they are liars. However, if lying was the essence of Islam, then nothing that Mark had studied could be taken at face value. Words said by Muslims were only smoke screens, instrumental vessels to be employed in a quest for worldwide domination. As a secret Muslim, my words had meaning for Mark, but only as clues about my true intention. You are lying about denying, he told me, smiling.

Mark’s vision had two presuppositions. He was certain that Muslims wished to conquer the world, and he was certain that nothing Muslims said could be trusted. This combination of certainty and skepticism meant Mark didn’t need to distinguish truth from falsehood, or parse ambiguity and context. He only had to analyze each statement made by a Muslim—secret or otherwise—and see how it advanced their goal. Liars prove very reliable once one has the key. Of course, Obama is lying when he denies being a secret Muslim. Don’t you see? That’s exactly what he would say if he were a Muslim.

The conversation with Mark stuck in my head. As we finished up our research on counterterrorism training, I felt like I was meeting versions of him in each interview, each ready to give me the key that would let me understand our world. The law enforcement trainers that we tracked in 2008–2009 were engaged in the venerable American pastime of selling nonsense. The world around us is confusing, they would say, and we need to wake up and recognize the signs of danger. At airports, one of the trainers said, you need to watch out for moving lips. If their lips are moving, he said, these guys are praying. As they are walking through an airport, every second they’re going to be praying. The trainers acted like high priests in an esoteric religion, initiating their acolytes into the world behind the veil.

Their method was the opposite of that of traditional law enforcement. At a crime scene, a detective is presented with the aftermath of a mysterious event—a body on a floor and a bloody broken bottle—whose perpetrator lacks a name and an intention. The detective’s task is to repair this rip in the fabric of reality by knitting clues into a narrative—the estranged son, the life insurance—that resolves the mystery. The first task of the trainers was to instill in law enforcement the sense that it is the world itself that feels wrong. A Muslim man walks through Queens. He buys some milk from a bodega. Nothing seems out of place. There is no crime scene. That, they insisted, is what’s wrong. That’s where the trainers stepped in. They offered an interpretive system that laced everyday banality with both assurance and dread. Don’t trust your instincts, they told the cops. Despite appearances, they preached, there is a war going on between Christianity and Islam. Know the signs. Their classes were an object lesson in the will-not-to-know, in how to learn something that means you never need to know anything about where you are or who you are encountering, for you already possess the truth.

My colleague and I published the results of our research in 2011 to furious rebuttals, one of them by a former police commissioner, who asked pointedly whether “articles of this nature are attempting to point out the shortcomings of current terrorism training or is it [sic] the practice of taqiyya (Islamic Principle of Lying for the Sake of Allah).”

• • •

I filed Mark’s claims about taqiyya under “curiosities from the war on terror” (a very full folder) and thought no more about them until 2013, when I began reading Czesław Miłosz’s The Captive Mind. His book was written shortly after he defected to France from Stalinist Poland in the 1950s, and purported to explain the mindset of intellectuals trapped behind the Iron Curtain to the sincere readers of the free world.

In the West, Miłosz tells us, people are completely relaxed. They say whatever comes into their heads. Human relations are authentic and direct. Behind the Iron Curtain, in contrast, everyone is acting. Each phrase is calculated for effect. The West should be denounced with strident oratory. A smile at the wrong moment might bring a jail sentence. Success in the game brings with it a certain satisfaction; pleasure is not about getting what you want, it’s about hiding it. Miłosz writes that it’s difficult for Westerners to understand such a life, so full of contradictions and dangers. The task is staggering: “Acting on a comparable scale has not occurred often in the history of the human race.”[1] Where to find an analogy that can convey the horrors of a world in which nothing is what it seems and everything must be masked?

Miłosz finds his clarificatory case study by turning to “the Islamic civilization of the Middle East.”[2] He describes a world defined by the notion of ketman (the action of covering, dissimulation), in which truth must never be exposed, and one should hide one’s convictions wherever possible. Those who speak the truth are despised or looked down upon as miserable blind men. Miłosz uses Islam as a frame to explain the variants of ketman that exist in Soviet Poland—the lies one tells in order to find meaning in a false life. To explain communists, one requires Muslims. Miłosz’ source is Arthur de Gobineau, the nineteenth-century French aristocrat most famous today for having developed a theory of the Aryan master race, and who developed his theory of ketman in a book called Religions and Philosophies of Central Asia. Gobineau, like many of the terrorism-studies experts of this century, had only a limited command of Arabic and Farsi, and a deeply distorted vision of Iran as an Aryan society corrupted by socialists and deceitful Islamists. In his analysis of ketman, Gobineau would write about the same supposedly deceitful practices that twentieth-century writers would analyze under the term taqiyya, and it was his work that would be foundational for analysis of the latter concept during the war on terror. The scholar in me wants to object: you cannot use a study of Iran by a scholar with dubious command of its history to explain the “Islamic civilization of the Middle East” (itself a dubious proposition); you can’t use a notion—ketman—that simply means dissimulation to discuss a religious doctrine (taqiyya) as if it were the essence of that religion.[3] Gobineau and Miłosz anticipate our own era, in which Mark and his friends are not actually interested in what taqiyya means in Shia or Sunni Islam; the term is simply a useful weapon in a polemic against the enemy.

After Miłosz’s book, ketman and taqiyya enjoyed a minor life as a way of describing communism to Westerners, before becoming dormant with the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The terms were reactivated during the war on terror, when taqiyya became a way of explaining deceitful foreigners to the US national security state. Taqiyya was delinked from the historical and theological debates in which it occurs, and instead became a homogenizing emblem for vastly different cultures, taking its place alongside Raphael Patai’s The Arab Mind as part of an essential guide for American imperialist adventures in the Middle East (and Central Asia). The Tribal Analysis Center, for instance, tells us that “it is very probable that all Afghans can lie freely to foreigners, especially those who are Christian.”[4] To buttress its claims, the center quotes from the same smorgasbord of sources that Mark employed: a decontextualized hadith here, a British colonial handbook there.

The originary reference on taqiyya for the American military establishment is an article on the term written by Ignatius Goldziher in 1906. Goldziher, a Hungarian scholar of Islam, writes that taqiyya is a term from Sunni jurisprudence that was taken up in Shia Islam by jurists looking for a way of protecting the community from persecution by a ruling Sunni majority. Under what conditions one can deny one’s faith without guilt became a theological debate. In Sunni Islam, taqiyya’s use is extremely limited, and Goldziher claims that some Sunni scholars argue one should not make such a denial even under threat of death—martyrdom is preferable to lying. In Iran, however, Goldziher goes on to warn, taqiyya was used to justify even frivolous lying, and that such a practice risked destroying the moral spirit of Islam. The footnote to that claim cites Gobineau and his warnings about ketman and deceitful asiatiques who betray the upstanding men of the West. As Yarden Mariuma notes in one of the only academic articles on the recent use of taqiyya, Goldziher established a set of references used everywhere, including in the authoritative Brill Encyclopedia of Islam, but there and elsewhere the reference to Gobineau has vanished, a colonial continuity not worth mentioning in the era of Iraqi freedom.[5]

Though often conflated, ketman and taqiyya have different stories. Ketman doesn’t have any necessarily religious meaning: it just refers to an act of dissimulation. Taqiyya has a long-debated juridical history in Shia Islam that has been significantly reinterpreted by the current Iranian regime. It is now also a key term in anti-Shia Sunni discourse. None of that is of interest to most of the polemicists and military scholars who write about taqiyya. For all its sober scholarly sources, terrorism studies takes an approach to the term that tends to flatten the differences between the national cultures it purports to explain. From its perspective, Muslims can be known thanks to a single a priori truth. Enemies can only tell lies, and so anything they say should not be taken as an expression of truth, but rather analyzed tactically: How does today’s lie advance the eternal war? What such an approach occludes is an actual conversation, in which both parties might debate as equals, and even change each other’s minds. Terrorism studies experts think they already know the Muslim mind.

Crowd gathered at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York during a visit by Mayor Bill de Blasio, 15 March 2019. Photo Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office.

Reading through the archives of the war on terror—the think tank reports and the CIA discussions of national character—I was reminded of another interview I did back in 2008, with a man who spent twenty-two years in the marines, and another ten years doing black ops, or so he said. He lived up in the hills of Orange County, amid the avocado trees, and after we met outside his house, we walked in silence to a gazebo overlooking his farm. He was holding a tin can. In Vietnam, he told me, you would do anything for a tin of peaches. Even now—nothing as fine as a peach. Back in the day, he said, you knew who the enemy was. The communists. Just as importantly, you knew where they were. As he spoke, all of Miłosz’s mysteries of life behind the Iron Curtain vanished, and I imagined a horde of communists running around Khe Sanh, wearing ushankas to aid recognition. We need to realize, he told me, that the terrorists are just as deadly as the communists.

To explain the complexities of communism, Miłosz used Islam. To explain Islam, the former marine I interviewed in Orange County was among many in the United States who have found recourse to communism. In both cases, deception is not acknowledged as an epistemological problem of war per se, but turned into the unique quality of an enemy. Taqiyya becomes a powerful fairytale that essentializes the situational. Why are the people you just bombed lying to you? Must be the nature of their souls.

• • •

It would be two years until I thought about taqiyya again. On 20 September 2015, Ben Carson, now Trump’s secretary for housing, but then still a presidential candidate, gave an interview in which he announced that he would not be in favor of a Muslim becoming president. During the interview, he made frequent reference to taqiyya, which, according to Carson, “is a component of Sharia that allows, even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals.”[6]

Two days after Carson’s interview, the Washington Post published what amounted to a rebuttal. Glenn Kessler interviewed a number of scholars, all of whom rubbished the claims made by the author of You Have a Brain.[7] Khaled Abou El Fadl, a professor of law at the University of California in Los Angeles, said, “There is no concept that would encourage a Muslim to lie to pursue a goal. That is a complete invention. Any Muslim is raised on the idea that lying is a sin.”[8]

Predictably enough, Carson’s supporters were not appeased. The day after the Washington Post published its rebuttal, Breitbart ran a piece by Pamela Geller—a notorious anti-Islamic activist—accusing the Post of consorting with Islamic supremacists.[9] Others weighed in. In the prior two years, taqiyya had become a central pillar of the far-right’s rendition of Islam. Because I am a masochist, I spent a few days trying to source all the quotations in one report, “Taqiyya about Taqiyya” by Raymond Ibrahim, a virulent Islamophobe associated with David Horowitz, the man whose Discover the Networks website is devoted to uncovering “the left’s (often hidden) programmatic agendas.”[10] Ibrahim’s report was a ragtag mixture of quotes taken out of context and statements by relatively marginal figures in Islamic history that were magically transmuted into a statement about the essential truth of Islam. It was as if one were to take Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, some Augustine, a lot of Luther, and David Koresh’s pronouncements and write a piece showing that Christianity is defined by blood sacrifice.

It would be too easy to say that distorted facts and quotations proliferate in such pieces because of a disregard for the truth. Raymond Ibrahim and his fellow Taqiyyists have inordinate regard for a central truth: that Islam is evil. This truth flattens everything else—the seventh century and the twenty-first form part of a single tapestry of intelligibility. Everything makes sense. It’s impossible to refute Ibrahim. He has certainty, where I can offer only ambiguity and nuance. That’s not much of an answer. As ever, paranoia is far more coherent than real life.

As I read more articles and doom-scrolled deeper into the universe of the right-wingers, I gave them a name: the Taqiyyists. The central tenants of their faith introduced a basic epistemological conundrum. If Muslims were liars, and many Muslims—like myself—were in hiding, how was one to tell who the real Muslims were? In 2013, for instance, Mark’s organization had made a startling discovery. John Brennan, then the director of the CIA, was a secret Muslim. While being interviewed on Mark’s radio show, a former FBI agent had made the revelation that Brennan had secretly converted in Saudi Arabia, and was now doling out jobs in American intelligence to members of the Muslim Brotherhood (hated by the Saudi royal family, but I digress…)

The Taqiyyists see taqiyya everywhere. The truth is that there is a civilizational war, and anything that aids the conspiracy of the Muslims against the Christians is ipso facto done by a secret Muslim. As the Taqiyyists reveled in Trump’s victory, they were granted a case study of their doctrine. Under the guise of supporting women’s rights, the Women’s March on 21 January 2017 was designed by Linda Sarsour to undermine Israel and the American state, and trick good citizens into marching for those who support Sharia. What other consequence could come from marching against Trump? A subject’s stated aims vanish in taqiyya, as the spirit of civilizational conflict provides an explanatory key to all phenomena.

Taqiyya, in this very American rendition of the Islamic term, is an anti-principle. Everything is suspect. Speakers speak, but what they say is never what they mean. I might be telling you that it would be a bad idea for the United States to invade Iran, but for the Taqiyyists, to understand what I am saying one would have to determine who benefits, and to do that one needs to know the truth of the civilizational conflict. It is only in reference to this truth, and not to veracity, that speech can be evaluated. Hillary Clinton turns out to have a deeply suspicious agenda as—of course—a secret Muslim.

A couple of Twitter messages with the hashtag #taqiyya from around the 2016 election provide examples of the anti-principle:

Taqiyya, far from being an un-American practice, turns out to consist in the very American conviction that everyone is pretending and the world is a scam.

• • •

For Taqiyyists like Mark, taqiyya is a narrative they spin about the enemy that allows them to tell a story about themselves. The Taqiyyists, if their Twitter feeds are any evidence, long for an era in which everything was clear and straightforward—for a 1950s world in which men were not afraid to be men and suburban housewives were happy. This is the fantastic epoch evoked by Miłosz, in which human relations were sincere and direct and people said exactly what they meant. Trump, the Taqiyyists tell us, says what he means; he is not afraid to name the enemy. If the Islamists lie, then the Taqiyyists speak the truth, and the rage with which their speech is met is all the more proof of its truth. The more I read the Taqiyyists’ articles, however, the more I began to think that the demonic enemy they see everywhere might be one looking out at them from the mirror. For how should upstanding American soldiers fight deceitful Muslims? Become the enemy they have imagined, and deploy the enemy’s tools against them. What better way to justify dealing out deceit and death globally than by imagining a deceitful, death-dealing opponent?

While most Sunni Muslims would probably struggle to discuss a relatively recondite term like taqiyya, it’s also notable that even so-called Islamists don’t mention it. Indeed, as I spent time reading Dabiq and Rumiyah, the two magazines that ISIS published from 2014 to 2017, it was clear that the organization was very upfront about what it wanted. There was no mention of ketman, taqiyya, or any related terms. Instead, ISIS appeared painfully, earnestly, to want to be taken literally. Like the Taqiyyists, it believed in authenticity and feared, as the scholar Faisal Devji has argued, deceitful enemies.[11] In an address from September 2014, the Islamic State’s chief propagandist, Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani ash-Shami, described the West as follows:

They dispute by using sorcery, falsifying events, altering realities and duping people. They deceive, incite, mobilize and amass against the people of truth. They display the people of falsehood in every guise of strength, ability, force and fierceness, in desperate and failed attempts to invalidate the truth, scare its followers and defeat them.[12]

Prayers at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York during Mayor de Blasio’s visit. Photo Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office.

Both the Taqiyyists and ISIS hold that they are true and the enemy is false. They are deceitful; we are honest. The real enemy of the two groups, however, would seem to be those who don’t recognize this black-and-white distinction. In 2015, for instance, just after the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, ISIS released a statement in Dabiq that celebrated the massacre on the grounds that it eliminated the grey zone in which Muslims and Christians co-exist. Western Muslims, the statement continued, must choose: either migrate to the Islamic State or apostatize.

Similarly, the Taqiyyists’ true enemy often seems not to be the Islamic State, but liberals at home who fail to recognize the danger of Islam and act appropriately. The Taqiyyists spend a long time studying this danger. Mark’s website, like that of Horowitz and others, is full of delighted stories about the sexual depravity of Islam. One of the counterterrorism trainers whose classes I took would shock law enforcement to attention by showing officers video after video of men, all of whom he named Mahmoud—a composite figure who represented the everyman of the Muslim world as he imagined it. He would show Mahmoud at home in Pakistan, beating his wife; Mahmoud at work, torturing someone with razor wire in the Gaza Strip; Mahmoud emigrating, arriving in America with a large family—using American kindness to immigrants as a weapon against the Homeland. This, the Taqiyyists say, is who we are up against. Our respect for the law is a weakness in this battle. The liberals are too nice: they are holding us back. Are they themselves Muslims? It’s a question.

What we need to do to ISIS, the Taqiyyists claim, is what it does to us. The Taqiyyists create a mirror in which they can watch themselves take their gloves off. Thus, the popular American enthusiasm during the war on terror (to which Trump is a belated addition) for black sites, rendition, and torture. In order to defend freedom, the Taqiyyists hold, we must embrace its opposite.

After Trump’s election, in far-right article after article, the question was posed: how to radicalize the normies? How to lie and hide the truth in order to better spread the message? The principle of taqiyya had finally been taken up by the Taqiyyists.

• • •

After the 2016 election, taqiyya retreated back into a netherworld of Twitter feeds and right-wing blogs, only to emerge occasionally in the mudflow of hate directed at the Muslim US congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Despite their invisibility, it felt to me like the Taqiyyists had won. Their worldview was in the White House and coming to dominate the way people in America talked about themselves.

Let’s reprise the basic coordinates of Taqiyyism in its American parlance:

1) All speech can be reduced to the speaker. (All you need to know about a Muslim is that they’re a Muslim. That’s the sole content of their speech—you know all you need to know about the enemy.)

2) A Muslim only ever speaks instrumentally, to advance a purpose. (Speech has no content except to pursue the Muslim plan of world domination. All their speech is instrumental, and so truth stops being a meaningful category.)

3) The proper political task is to “out” one’s enemies. (The world is full of secret Muslims. Even you, dear reader, may be a secret Muslim.)

If you replaced “Muslim” in those claims with an x (Democrat, Trump supporter, etc.), then you have a pretty good rendition of American political discourse in 2020. We live in an age of cynical enchantment. Nothing is to be taken at face value. No one is to be believed. Everyone only speaks instrumentally from their presumed subject position to advance a cause. Everything has an agenda. The Islamic State might have collapsed, and the Taqiyyists might only live on Reddit, but the world we live in is beginning to resemble the fantasies they created.

  1. Czesław Miłosz, The Captive Mind (New York: Vintage Books, 1955), p. 54.
  2. Ibid., p. 54.
  3. In Gobineau’s theory of the races, the world is divided up into white, yellow, and black, and only the white could create history. Greatest of all the white races were the Aryans. While serving as a diplomat in Iran, Gobineau became obsessed with proving that “ancient Persia” was founded by the pure Aryans. Iran’s history since then, for Gobineau, was one of decline, as Islam—which he believed to be a lowly Semitic creation—tarnished his beloved Aryans.
  4. Tribal Analysis Center, “Pashtun Reconciliation Programs” (Williamsburg, VA: Tribal Analysis Center, 2008), n. p.
  5. See Yarden Mariuma’s essay, which first introduced me to Goldziher’s work, “Taqiyya as Polemic, Law and Knowledge: Following an Islamic Legal Term through the Worlds of Islamic Scholars, Ethnographers, Polemicists and Military Men,” The Muslim World, vol. 104, no. 1–2.
  6. See Jonathan Easley, “Carson Doubles Down on No Muslims in the White House,” The Hill, 20 September 2015. Available at thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/254330-carson-doubles-down-on-no-muslims-in-the-white-house.
  7. Ben Carson, Gregg Lewis, and Deborah Shaw Lewis, You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015).
  8. Glenn Kessler, “Fact Checker: Ben Carson’s Claim that ‘Taqiyya’ Encourages Muslims ‘to Lie to Achieve Your Goals,’’ The Washington Post, 22 September 2015. Available at washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/09/22/ben-carsons-claim-that-taqiyya-encourages-muslims-to-lie-to-achieve-your-goals.
  9. Pamela Geller, “Washington Post Quotes Taqiyya Merchants against Ben Carson on Taqiyya,” Breitbart, 23 September 2015. Available at breitbart.com/politics/2015/09/23/washington-post-quotes-taqiyya-merchants-against-ben-carson-on-taqiyya.
  10. “About,” on the Discover the Networks website. Available at discoverthenetworks.org/about.
  11. See Faisal Devji’s essay, “A Life on the Surface,” originally published in TANK, no. 64 (Summer 2015), and republished here: hurstpublishers.com/a-life-on-the-surface.
  12. Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani ash-Shami, “Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful,” address delivered on 22 September 2014. Available at scholarship.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/bitstream/handle/10066/16495/ADN20140922.pdf.

Joshua Craze is a writer currently an artist-in-residence at the Embassy of Foreign Artists in Geneva, where he is writing a novel in the archive of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. This year, he has published fiction and essays in N+1, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, and Five Dials, among other publications. His website is here.

If you’ve enjoyed the free articles that we offer on our site, please consider subscribing to our nonprofit magazine. You get twelve online issues and unlimited access to all our archives.