What We Are Reading Today: Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics 

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Updated 06 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics 

  • The book shows that covert interventions can help control escalation, but they are almost always detected by other major powers

 

AUTHOR: Austin Carson

Secret Wars is the first book to systematically analyze the ways powerful states covertly participate in foreign wars, showing a recurring pattern of such behavior stretching from World War I to US-occupied Iraq. Investigating what governments keep secret during wars and why, Austin Carson argues that leaders maintain the secrecy of state involvement as a response to the persistent concern of limiting war.

Keeping interventions “backstage” helps control escalation dynamics, insulating leaders from domestic pressures while communicating their interest in keeping a war contained.

Carson shows that covert interventions can help control escalation, but they are almost always detected by other major powers.

However, the shared value of limiting war can lead adversaries to keep secret the interventions they detect, as when American leaders concealed clashes with Soviet pilots during the Korean War.

Escalation concerns can also cause leaders to ignore covert interventions that have become an open secret.

From Nazi Germany’s role in the Spanish Civil War to American covert operations during the Vietnam War, Carson presents new insights about some of the most influential conflicts of the twentieth century.

Parting the curtain on the secret side of modern war, Secret Wars provides important lessons about how rival state powers collude and compete, and the ways in which they avoid outright military confrontations.

Austin Carson is assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago.


Where We Are Going Today: Bubbleology

Updated 21 February 2019
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Where We Are Going Today: Bubbleology

Connoisseurs of bubble tea in the capital do not have a lot of options as there are few places that serve the Taiwanese beverage. Bubbleology is one of the few that does — and does so in style.

For the uninitiated, bubble tea is a sweetened tea drink to which is added tapioca balls, known as boba, which can be solid and chewy or hollow and filled with different flavors of juice that is released when bitten.

The quirky, unusual drink has grown in popularity around the world in recent years, and Bubbleology takes it to another level with some unique flavor combinations, such as jasmine milk tea and ginger tea with popping lychee boba, among many others. 

The interior decor of the store is equally clever and innovative. In keeping with its name, the cafe resembles a science lab. This also reflects its belief that the preparation of bubble tea should be a precise scientific method, and they have expanded on that idea to also make the whole experience visually pleasing as well.

Bubbleology can be found in Panorama Mall, Riyadh.