At the Commonwealth Club of California with Max Brooks – on Strategy Strikes Back

On Monday, June 25, 2018, I had a great time in San Francisco at the Commonwealth Club of California with my friend & co-editor Max Brooks talking about our book Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict.

Here are the links to the audio podcast and the video from the event.

American Strategic Myths Through the Lens of Star Wars

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(Please don’t ask me to describe the above image, which is the logo or calling card for the Midrats podcast!)

On June 3, 2018, I talked myths and legends and Star Wars and the American military with the guys at the Midrats podcast. You can find it here, Episode #439.

Star Wars and American Strategic Myths

*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site.

Over the weekend, millions of Americans partook in a powerful strategic myth by heading to see the next offering from the Star Wars franchise: Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Considering its generational range and cultural reach, Star Wars may be the most important story about war since Thucydides wrote The Peloponnesian War. And it’s influence on the military has been profound: from forward-stationed soldiers calling their counter-mortar protection “R2-D2” to former four-star generals letting phrases like “disturbance in the Force” slip into their interviews; a recent, $10 billion Pentagon contract had been nicknamed “JEDI,” while, most notably, the Strategic Defense Initiative, a Reagan-era space-based missile defense program, quickly earned a catchier nickname: “Star Wars.”

While some will inevitably dismiss the films as fairy tales or space operas, their immense grip on the American imagination means that understanding them, and other myths, is important to unlocking American attitudes toward war and strategy. Continue reading “Star Wars and American Strategic Myths”

What Han Solo tells us about American heroes

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on May 27, 2018. It can also be found online here.

Han Solo is an American hero. Across Colorado, the country and the world, millions will flock this Memorial Day weekend to see “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and the young Alden Ehrenreich take on the character Harrison Ford made into a legend over the past four decades. Each ticket sold cements the reckless-rogue-turned-reluctant-rebel’s status as the quintessential (accidental) American hero. Continue reading “What Han Solo tells us about American heroes”