Author: Drew Van Kuiken

Editor in Chief since Fall 2015

Theo Padnos, the Human Condition, and a New Look at Syrian Society

A quick scan of Google Trends, Google’s worldwide search volume analysis tool, shows the predictably one-sided view of the combatants in Syria popularized by much of the Western media. ISIS, the ubiquitous upstart terrorist group responsible for out-radicalizing al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, dominates the search interest (which is calculated proportionally). The Free Syrian… Read more »

The Death of Chess

It’s relatively clear that Bobby Fischer, the famously infuriating, enigmatic and opinionated American chess demi-god, recognized the importance of his 1972 World Championship match series against Boris Spassky. Cold War hyper-drama, a life in pursuit of literally one thing—world number one—and a realignment of the entire chess world, it was all there.  Yet Fischer, hours… Read more »

A Tale of Two Countries

The grim scenery of Stakhanov, Ukraine somehow fits the city in an appropriate way. The former industrial boomtown now plays home to a rapidly aging set of workers, where pensioners outnumber tax-paying workers three to one. The city relies on Russia to buy up to 90 percent of its industrial goods, with many factories barely… Read more »

Ukraine in Flames

The Olympics regularly goes to great pains to celebrate the togetherness of the world. Sochi was no different: both the opening and closing ceremonies proudly displayed all 2,873 athletes participating. The athletes came from 88 countries in total, with athletes hailing from everywhere from Russia to Timor-Leste. Yet for skier Bohdana Matsotska, the Olympics’ togetherness… Read more »

Boring and Proud

Visiting Berlin speaks volumes about Germany’s experience with the 20th century. The hauntingly beautiful Holocaust Memorial, a sea of different sized concrete blocks arranged in a grid pattern, occupies an entire block in central Berlin. No more than 2 blocks away, the Brandenburg Gate, center of the original Berlin wall, towers over the entire city,… Read more »