Welcome to the summer of 2020, and a vacation season like no other! Some of you readers may be furtively planning to escape to isolated cabins hidden away in the mountains for a week or two. But most of us will be spending our summer breaks wishing we could do something more than a “staycation” with the very same people we have been trapped with enjoying quality time with since the late spring.But no matter what your situation, we have something for you: Strategic Outpost’s Fifth Annual Summer Vacation Reading List! Just like our lists in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, we’ve once again carefully selected some of the best natsec books, articles, podcasts, and films to engage your brain and divert your attention from the distressing daily drumbeat of news. So make yourself a large quarantini, retreat into a quiet corner if you’re lucky enough to have one, and immerse yourself in this year’s picks!*
The Pandemic and Its Implications
The July/August issue of Foreign Affairs. COVID-19 has not only profoundly changed our daily lives; it is also transforming the world in which we live. The first four articles in this issue help us better understand what these changes mean. Michael Osterholm and Mark Olshaker start off with the sobering reminder that future pandemics could be far worse than this one, and suggest several important ways to improve national preparedness. Francis Fukuyama argues that the pandemic might spur a renaissance of liberal democracy, but is more likely to even further erode the current world order and strengthen global fascist movements. Danielle Allen (who appears twice on this list) argues that the fragmented U.S. response to COVID-19 not only reflects a failure of governance, but also exposes how fragile American democracy can be when the nation lacks a sense of common purpose. And Stewart Patrick laments the “dismal multilateral response” to the pandemic, and worries that global leaders will now only further undermine international institutions instead of trying to make them more effective.
Things You Should Worry About (More Than You Already Are)
The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare, by Christian Brose. This book examines the looming threats to U.S. military preeminence, especially from China, and concludes that the United States is badly prepared for a growing number of existential challenges.