As what has been a wild nine months draws to a close, I’ve been saying goodbyes and revisiting all my favorite haunts (looking at you, Princess Louise). Disappointing as some aspects of the year have been (the academics, for one), there has been so much good to come out of it. As at other schools, LSE has introduced me to some of the smartest people I’ve worked, studied, and grown close with in my life. I want to thank them and point some out in particular.
- [NAME REDACTED] writes as the Hybrid Diplomat at Hybrid Diplomacy. He’s easily the closest friend I made this year, us being in the same program and sharing two of three courses. He is a true iconoclast, “not giving a fuck” about telling it exactly like it is. His candor is refreshing. And I will miss him.
- Shannon runs The Traveling Scholar, a running diary and travelogue of her adventures while based in London. On the one hand, her travels inspire some regrets that I didn’t get outside of the city more. But on the other hand, her writing makes it easy to live vicariously through her.
- Road to Academia is the work of Juha Saarinen, and as it shifts is focus from the general to the more specific – that is, related to his dissertation on “Culture and War in the Modern Middle East: The Islamist Way of Warfare” – expect even greater things to come. Best of luck to Juha in his PhD endeavors.
- One of the more fascinating blogs I’ve read recently belongs to my friend Jonas F. Gjersø, The Civilizing Mission. He takes a very empirical approach to the history of empire, and the charts he has produced reveal some surprising, but always fascinating, results. He too is embarked on a PhD journey; I wish him the best as well.
- The Occidental Oriental is another anonymous blog by [NAME REDACTED]. As an Afghan-Texan-Persian-American, he has some rare insights into the Middle East and the rest of the world. Definitely check out his current series of posts from Syria.
And to all the others without blogs – Ross, Jasmine, Mark, Erica, Peter, Michael, Amy, Rebecca, Kita, Jimmy (and yes, even Wen) – you are just as dear. Thanks for brightening my year when the clouds invariably set in.
One more special thanks is also due to those luminaries who have helped and guided me in the wide world of milblogging. Starbuck from Wings Over Iraq, Shlok Vaidya, Mike Slagh at Secure Nation, and Japan Security Watch’s Kyle Mizokami have all been as friendly and welcoming as can be. I owe them too a debt of gratitude.
This year has been eye-opening and a learning experience, one way or another. Thank you all so much for everything. And see you soon, I hope.