Foreign Affairs Archive

InfoMullet: Adjusting our Mental-Model of COVID-19

TLDRUpFront: A growing fear in the United States is that COVID-19 may kill millions. This fear is based on an incomplete mental-model of how viruses work fed by COVID-19 reporting that highlights facts in isolation from context and triggering our cognitive biases in how we evaluate risk. This InfoMullet provides a mental model for understanding

InfoMullet: CoronaVirus Mass Ejection

TLDRUpFront: The outbreak of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan province of China has resulted in 2,000 confirmed cases and as many as ten times that number may remain undiagnosed. China has quarantined 50M people in an effort to halt the spread even as the country is on the move for the New Years. As

InfoMullet: The New Young Street Escalates in Lebanon, Returns to Iraq, and Persists in Iran

TLDRUpFront: For several months now the InfoMullet has been tracking a wave of instability hitting countries lying south of 30 Degrees North that have large youth populations, systemic economic weakness, and rising distrust and disgust not just with a dictator or political party – but the entire system of governance itself. Today we review one

InfoMullet: The Young Street Returns in Iran

TLDRUpFront: After a brutal November repression of protesters in the new "Young Street" in Iran left a 1,000 dead and over 25,000 wounded; December was a quieter month for the regime in Tehran. The 40th day mourning rites for the November deaths, falling on December 25th and 26th, were preemptively disrupted by security forces which

InfoMullet: Coda to Act I & Intro to Act II in the Aftermath of Soleimani

TLDRUpFront: A week out now’s a good time to review what’s happened in the aftermath of the strike against Soleimani. In this post I walk through how erroneous mental-models caused so many to miss Iran’s de-escalation signals, what those signals were, and leveraging what we now know to make a forecast of what may happen

InfoMullet: A Backgrounder on General Soleimani

TLDRUpFront: A quick backgrounder on General Soleimani, commander of Iranian’s special forces and cornerstone of Iranian foreign policy, killed by a US military strike last night outside the Baghdad Airport. Possessing once-in-a-generation capabilities crossing military strategy and diplomacy both across state and non-state actors. Removing him creates a question as hard to answer as asking

InfoMullet: New Breed of Middle Eastern Protester: the Young Street

TLDRUpFront: Protests continue to occur in Lebanon and what had been protests turned into a limited uprising this week in Iraq. While the US was consumed with self-inflicted chaos in Syria that is still sorting itself out, the book-ends of semi-stability on either side of the country are falling apart. Not that Iraq was all

The death of al-Baghdadi and implications for ISIS

TLDRUpFront: The President’s statements on the death of al-Baghdadi and accompanying analysis. Split into "Just the Facts" and "Analysis" portions. 

InfoMullet: Friendly Fired

TLDRUpFront: A cease fire abroad, and friendly fire at home, both illustrates the risks of being within the orbit of President Trump. Friendships are transactional, subject to "You're Fired" at any moment as the Kurds in Northern Syria are realizing. And sustained close relations can lead to self-inflicted harm as Chief of Staff Mulvaney

InfoMullet: Domestic Instability Abounds Abroad

TLDRUpFront: It’s been a busy week outside the United States as well for domestic disturbances. In Iraq, Egypt, Hong Kong, France, Ecuador and Britain domestic instability that didn’t originate from President Trump took center stage. Taken as a whole it points to a gathering trend towards instability.