Author Archives: James Thomas Snyder

About James Thomas Snyder

NATO fan, ex-diplomat, and former U.S. Congressional speechwriter. All opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. government or any employer, past or present

Joan Didion, Californian

Joan Didion seized my attention early, before I wrote for myself.  Assigned “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” in high school, I read with amazement her cool, detached descriptions of things I recognized growing up in California.  I graduated quickly to “The White … Continue reading

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The Power of Babel

For most of the last nine months I have had the extraordinary benefit of intensive foreign language training.  I had resources, faculty, structure and time all to my benefit: online and computer resources, a diverse faculty from many countries to learn different … Continue reading

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What matters most

A recent opinion article by Roger Cohen about a book and polling data demonstrating a gulf in transatlantic public opinion struck me as a windy but representative example of the unnecessary polarization in our political debate.  We find more visceral examples of this bifurcated outrage … Continue reading

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What LEGO Taught Me

For my birthday my wife bought me the LEGO kit Benny’s Spaceship.  For anyone who’s seen The Lego Movie you’ll get the joke. It’s the outrageous monster outer space cruiser the little blue 1980s LEGO astronaut with the busted helmet … Continue reading

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New Book Review: “Through a Screen Darkly”

I’m happy to post my review of Martha Bayles’ recent book on public diplomacy, Through a Screen Darkly, published this month in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy by Clingendael in The Netherlands.  The article is behind a pay wall but should be available … Continue reading

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A Patent Omission

A recent story by the Planet Money team at NPR posed the question: what would happen to business and innovation if there were no patents? For those who don’t follow the rise and flow of intellectual property law, this has been a … Continue reading

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A Divisive Concept

With Iraq on the edge of calamity, a hoary, dangerously stupid idea has again been floated by people smart enough to know better. With primarily Sunni extremists breathing down the Tigris and Euphrates river valley toward Baghdad and the mainly … Continue reading

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To Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth

Not far outside Paris stands one of the many monuments to the almost innumerable dead of World War I. This one is not unusual marking the graves of the many Americans who fought and died on European soil during that conflict. … Continue reading

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What I Learned Studying the Qur’an (II)

(Read Part I Here) This winter, during a period of unemployment, I studied the Qur’an at the Howard University School of Divinity. Here’s more of what I learned. The Book is a Conversation I can attest for those of us on … Continue reading

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What I Learned Studying the Qur’an (I)

This winter, during a period of unemployment, I studied the Qur’an at the Howard University School of Divinity. I have the course instructor, Dr. Zainab Alwani, to thank first, followed by her students and Howard University, for this extraordinary opportunity.  … Continue reading

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