Monday, April 30, 2018

David Scott Palmer, RIP

It saddens me to note the passing of David Scott Palmer, my colleague for 25 yrs. Scott was a skilled Latin Americanist, a fine teacher & a remarkably generous person. Scott's contributions to Boston University are just part of his legacy. I will miss him.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

US President does not have the right to unilaterally declassify materials classified by allies

  1. The claim by Andrew Exum on on PBS NewsHour that the US president has right to declassify foreign classified information is wrong on the facts and on logic. Presidential right to declassify US materials is not at issue. But by what legal authority does president have right to declassify secret materials shared by allies? As for logic, if president impetuously releases allies' shared secrets then the flow of shared materials will decline. There is no carte blanche. No good purpose--especially in a widely watched public forum--is served by inventing prerogatives that the president does not, in fact, enjoy. Add to the factual/legal and logical demerits of Exum's claim the handicaps that DonaldTrump enjoys by virtue of his incompetence.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Campagna-Kerven Lecture on Modern Turkey April 19, 2017

Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies
University of Michigan

"Minorities in Turkey: from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic"

At the Castle, 225 Bay State Road, Boston
Boston University
6:00 P.M., April 19, 2017

Michael Flynn's Field of Enemies

Review essay on Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was fired as Donald Trump's first National Security Advisor. While Flynn is now longer at the elbow of the president, many of the ideas that he espoused remain popular in White House circle, not least with Trump himself.

Runs as lead review in Middle East Policy, v. 24, no. 1, 2017.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Michael Flynn: Trump's Unsteady Security Advisor

Over the next four years, indeed, in the coming days and weeks, President Donald Trump will have to deal with an array of national security threats.  These may come in many varieties, including provocations from North Korea, terror assaults, Chinese or Russian tests of U.S. resolve, or perhaps a renewed offensive by the Syrian army and its allies.  Trump will count on his staff and particularly Michael Flynn, his national security advisor, to keep him abreast of hot button issues and to present well-considered options for responding. Indeed, even on routine days Trump will see Flynn multiple times daily.
Unfortunately, there is reason to worry about Flynn’s objectivity and judgment.  Like Trump, Flynn often shoots from the hip and he is not always aiming at the right target. Flynn, a retired army lieutenant general, has filled a variety of coveted military billets, but his actions in recent years offer cause to question his judgment.
In 2012, he became Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon’s intelligence apparatus. He was forced into retirement in April 2014, after only two years at the

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Professor Herbert Mason, R.I.P.

MASON, Herbert Warren II Of Newbury, MA, died suddenly on New Year's Day. He was Emeritus University Professor and William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of History and Religious Thought at Boston University and President of the Association des Amis Louis Massignon, Paris. Herbert Mason translated many of Massignon's works from French to English. An eminent scholar and translator, writer and poet, he has lived for long periods of time in France and Ireland, and has traveled extensively in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Japan. His books have been translated into numerous foreign languages, including French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Japanese. His verse narrative Gilgamesh, an interpretation of the ancient Sumerian epic poem transcends boundaries of age, language, religion, and time. It was nominated for a National Book Award and is taught in high schools and colleges. He is survived by his wife, Jeanine Young-Mason, his children Cathleen Mason, Paul Mason, Sarah Mason and their families and his step sons Scott Angell, Gregg Angell, and Glenn Angell and their families and his sister, Sarah Nelson and her family. A Funeral Mass will be offered at Immaculate Conception Church, Newburyport, MA on Friday, January 6, 2017 at 10:30 with interment at Mt. Auburn Cemetery immediately following the Mass. There will be a public memorial service on April 22, 2017 at Mt. Auburn Cemetery. A fuller obituary will follow at a later date. The family is establishing an International Writing Prize in his name to be awarded annually.
Published in The Boston Globe on Jan. 5, 2017- See more at:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Moral Failure In The Response To The Syrian Conflict

In the ruins of Aleppo, a moral accounting of what the world let happen.

WBUR, "On Point".  December 19, 2016.

Richard Norton, professor of anthropology and international relations at Boston University's Frederick Pardee School of Global Studies.
Martha Myers, country manager for Turkey for the ARK Group. Former country director for Syria for Save the Children International and former director of relief and social services at the UN Relief and Works Agency.
Ben Taub, contributing writer for the New Yorker. (@bentaub91)

Friday, October 07, 2016

R.I.P. Professor Rouhoullah "Ruhi" K. Ramazani

Ruhi Ramazani, the doyen of Iran scholars in North American, was a distinguished University of Virginia scholar, an elegant and optimistic human being, and a man whose generous heart was legion among those who knew him.  He and his beloved wife Nesta were wonderful hosts and keen interlocutors who often opened their home to students, young and upcoming scholars and fellow colleagues.  Ruhi's passing is a time of sadness but also an occasion to remember and celebrate his seminal work.