by Kate Dinnison, an American student of International Relations, Editor of the North America section, and Academic Secretary of the War Studies Society at King’s.
1. After creating a cult following with the first season of the Serial Podcast with This American Life on NPR, journalist Sarah Koenig told a story seemingly catered to War Studies students – the odyssey of Sargent Bowe Berghdal’s departure from his outpost in Afghanistan and subsequent experience as a POW with the Taliban for five years.
Episode one, titled DUSTWUN, begins with Donald Trump saying, “In the old days, deserters were shot” but the story laid out, told by dozens of interviews with Berghdal, fellow soldiers and officers in his platoon, lawyers involved in his court marshal, and members of the Taliban, allows the listener to decide for themselves whether he is a hero or a deserter. The podcast sucks you in like a Netflix series, but leaves you with a greater understanding of this crisis in Afghanistan and how the military’s commitment to “no man left behind” impacted that fateful summer. Subscribe here.
2. Lawfare Blog in association with the Brookings Institution is a news junkie’s one-stop-shop for current affairs analysis. Though BBC news blasts are great for keeping current with the facts, Lawfare helps you to form and criticize opinions with regard to international law. Specializing in surveillance, cybersecurity and government leaks, some of their most thought-provoking pieces in recent months include “The Good reasons Not to Charge all Terrorists With Terrorism” and “Is the US Drone Program in Yemen working?” Don’t miss their Jihadology podcast analyzing recent jihadi primary source material – they’re bound to make the tub ride to uni more interesting (or worrying).
3. Libya’s Migrant Trade short documentary from Vice News features another, often forgotten Eritrean, Gambian and Nigerian emigre populations attempting to flow through Libya across the Med. The three part series features chilling footage from a militia-run jail in Libya filled with migrants, most of whom will never see Europe’s shores. Libya’s situation is only complicated by the self-proclaimed Tripolitania Province of the Islamic State taking root in the deeply fractured political and military situation. Their feature on Libya is only one in a series of their Europe or Die short-form documentaries. Watch them here.
4. Last but certainly not least is E-IR, the holy grail of essay ideas and a great platform to publish and read fellow IR-enthusiasts’ work. They give open access to their publications, articles and interviews with experts in the field and it’s refreshing to read some IR Theory not written by men in the 1960s. Here are a few publications from those in the Department of War Studies:
The State of the Art of the English School by Filippo Costa Buranelli.
Interview – Nicholas Kristof by James Resnick.
Why Are Civil Wars so Protracted and Difficult to End by Arij Elshelmani.