About Me


(Photo: David Marker)

I am a 28-year-old writer and journalist who covers the politics of U.S. foreign policy. My work has been published in The New Republic, The Nation, Jacobin, Fellow TravelersThe Drunken Canal, and elsewhere. See a list of my work here. I am on Twitter at @GunarOlsen. My newsletter is here.

I was a research assistant at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and an editorial intern at The Nation magazine in 2017 and at Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting in 2015. I graduated from Fordham University in May 2017 with a B.A. in political science. I studied Arabic in Amman, Jordan, during the spring 2016 semester.

At Fordham, I completed a thesis, Democrats Get to Kill People, Too: The Weaponization of Law and Human Rights in Obama’s Drone Wars. My advisor for this project was Christopher Dietrich, professor of U.S. foreign relations history. I also co-founded Fordham’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, which successfully sued the university after being banned.

What I’ve been reading in 2023:

Cedric Johnson, After Black Lives Matter: Policing and Anti-Capitalist Struggle (Verso, 2023)

Kenan Malik, Not So Black and White: A History of Race from White Supremacy to Identity Politics (Oxford University Press, 2023)

Robert Brenner, The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe (Cambridge University Press, 1985)

What I read in 2022:

Howard Botwinick, Persistent Inequalities: Wage Disparity Under Capitalist Competition (Princeton University Press, 1993; Haymarket, 2018)

Peter Friedlander, The Emergence of a UAW Local, 1936–1939: A Study in Class and Culture (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1975)

Harry Braverman, Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (Monthly Review, 1974)

Vivek Chibber, Confronting Capitalism: How the World Works and How to Change It (Verso, 2022)

Michael Franczak, Global Inequality and American Foreign Policy in the 1970s (Cornell University Press, 2022)

Jamie Martin, The Meddlers: Sovereignty, Empire, and the Birth of Global Economic Governance (Harvard University Press, 2022)

Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War, America, and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931 (Viking, 2014)

Cedric Johnson, The Panthers Can’t Save Us Now: Debating Left Politics and Black Lives Matter (Verso, 2022)

Nicholas Moulder, The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War (Yale University Press, 2022)

Michael Hudson, Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire, 3rd edition (Islet, 2021)

Vivek Chibber, The Class Matrix: Social Theory after the Cultural Turn (Harvard University Press, 2022)

Denis Johnson, Angels (Knopf, 1983)

What I read in 2021:

Anne Phillips, The Enigma of Colonialism: British Policy in West Africa (Indiana University Press, 1989)

Vivek Chibber, Locked in Place: State Building and Late-Industrialization in India (Princeton University Press, 2003)

Samuel Moyn, Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2021)

David Wight, Oil Money: Middle East Petrodollars and the Transformation of US Empire, 1967–1988 (Cornell University Press, 2021)

Ervand Abrahamian, Oil Crisis in Iran: From Nationalism to Coup d’Etat (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

Brandon Wolfe-Hunnicutt, The Paranoid Style in American Diplomacy: Oil and Arab Nationalism in Iraq (Stanford University Press, 2021)

Steven Galpern, Money, Oil, and Empire in the Middle East: Sterling and Postwar Imperialism, 1944–1971 (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Vivek Chibber, Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (Verso, 2013)

Francis Gavin, Gold, Dollars, and Power: The Politics of International Monetary Relations, 1958–1971 (University of North Carolina Press, 2004)

Craig Jones, The War Lawyers: The United States, Israel, and Juridical Warfare (Oxford University Press, 2021)

Alfred Eckes, Jr., A Search for Solvency: Bretton Woods and the International Monetary System, 1941–1971 (University of Texas Press, 1975)

John Brennan, Undaunted: My Fight Against America‘s Enemies, at Home and Abroad (Celadon, 2020)

Anaïs Nin, Little Birds (Harcourt, 1979)

What I read in 2020:

Adolph Reed, Jr., Class Notes: Posing as Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene (New Press, 2000)

Diane Kunz, Butter and Guns: America’s Cold War Economic Diplomacy (Free Press, 1997)

Daniel Sargent, A Superpower Transformed: The Remaking of American Foreign Relations in the 1970s (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Stephen Wertheim, Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy (Harvard University Press/Belknap, 2020)

Patrick Porter, The False Promise of Liberal Order: Nostalgia, Delusion and the Rise of Trump (Polity, 2020)

Robert Vitalis, Oilcraft: The Myths of Scarcity and Security That Haunt U.S. Energy Policy (Stanford University Press, 2020)

Victor McFarland, Oil Powers: A History of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance (Columbia University Press, 2020)

Curt Cardwell, NSC 68 and the Political Economy of the Early Cold War (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Cedric Johnson, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics (University of Minnesota Press, 2007)

Benn Steil, The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order (Princeton University Press, 2013)

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations, 5th edition (Basic Books, 2015 [1977])

Jessica Whyte, The Morals of the Market: Human Rights and the Rise of Neoliberalism (Verso, 2019)

Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban-Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan (Oxford University Press, 2020)

Touré Reed, Toward Freedom: The Case Against Race Reductionism (Verso, 2020)

Giuliano Garavini, The Rise and Fall of OPEC in the Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Nathan Citino, Envisioning the Arab Future: Modernization in U.S.-Arab Relations, 1945-1967 (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Andrew Bacevich, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory (Metropolitan Books, 2020)

Ervand Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran (Cambridge University Press, 2008, 2018)

Lindsey O’Rourke, Covert Regime Change: America’s Secret Cold War (Cornell University Press, 2018)

Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Vintage, 2014)

Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero (Simon & Schuster, 1985)

What I read in 2019:

James Mann, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power (Viking, 2012)

Karen and Barbara Fields, Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life (Verso, 2012)

Stuart Schrader, Badges without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing (University of California Press, 2019)

Corey Robin, The Enigma of Clarence Thomas (Metropolitan Books, 2019)

David Ekbladh, The Great American Mission: Modernization and the Construction of an American World Order (Princeton University Press, 2010)

Perry Anderson, American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers (Verso, 2015)

Nils Gilman, Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (John Hopkins University, 2003)

Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire (Verso, 2012)

Quinn Slobodian, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism (Harvard University Press, 2018)

Bhaskar Sunkara, The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality (Basic Books, 2019)

Noura Erakat, Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2019)

Max Blumenthal, The Management of Savagery: How America’s National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump (Verso, 2019)

Robert Rakove, Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Greg Grandin, Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism (Metropolitan Books, 2006)

Adom Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (Cornell University Press, 2019)

Mary Dudziak, War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Malcolm Kerr, The Arab Cold War: Gamal ‘Abd al-Nasir and His Rivals, 1958-1970 (Oxford University Press, 1971)

Ben Rhodes, The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House (Random House, 2018)

John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces (Louisiana State University Press, 1980)

What I read in 2018:

Salim Yaqub, Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East (UNC Press, 2004)

Osamah Khalil, America’s Dream Palace: Middle East Expertise and the Rise of the National Security State (Harvard University Press, 2016)

Stephen Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2018)

Roham Alvandi, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Nick Cullather, The Hungry World: America’s Cold War Battle against Poverty in South Asia (Harvard University Press, 2010)

Tanisha Fazal, Wars of Law: Unintended Consequences in the Regulation of Armed Conflict (Cornell University Press, 2018)

Elisabeth Leake, The Defiant Border: The Afghan-Pakistan Borderlands in the Era of Decolonization, 1936-1965 (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Isa Blumi, Destroying Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us About the World (UC Press, 2018)

Hannah Gurman, ed., Hearts and Minds: A People’s History of Counterinsurgency (The New Press, 2013)

Samuel Moyn, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2018)

Steve Coll, Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Penguin Press, 2018)

Asad Haider, Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump (Verso, 2018)

Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge University Press, 2005)

Vladislav Zubok, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (University of North Carolina Press, 2007)

John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (Penguin Press, 2005)

William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (World Publishing Co., 1959)

Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (Yale University Press/I.B. Taurus, 2000)

Sarah Schulman, Rat Bohemia (Dutton, 1995)

What I read in 2017:

Jane McAlevey, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Nikhil Pal Singh, Race and America’s Long War (University of California Press, 2017)

George Crile, Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003)

Alfred McCoy, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Haymarket/Dispatch, 2017)

Alex Vitale, The End of Policing (Verso, 2017)

Sarah Schulman, Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016)

Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (Penguin Press, 2004)

James Forman Jr., Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017)

Chris Dietrich, Oil Revolution: Anticolonial Elites, Sovereign Rights, and the Economic Culture of Decolonization (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Greg Grandin, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman (Metropolitan Books, 2015)

Matt Karp, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy (Harvard University Press, 2016)

Chris Woods, Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Lloyd C. Gardner, Killing Machine: The American Presidency in the Age of Drone Warfare (The New Press, 2013)

Daniel Klaidman, Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)

Charlie Savage, Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency (Little, Brown and Co., 2015)

Jameel Jaffer, The Drone Memos: Targeted Killing, Secrecy, and the Law (The New Press, 2016)

Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (Farrar & Rinehart, 1944)

Brian Cook, The Second Chair Is Meant for You (self-published, 2014)

What I read in 2016:

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone (Vintage Books, 2006)

Andrew J. Bacevich, America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History (Random House, 2016)

James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (Viking, 2004)

Jonathan Katz, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster (2013)

John David Skrentny, The Ironies of Affirmative Action: Politics, Culture, and Justice in America (University of Chicago Press, 1996)

Christian Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (Viking, 2015)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Haymarket, 2016)

Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War (Pluto Press, 2016)

Anand Gopal, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War through Afghan Eyes (Metropolitan Books, 2014)

Mychal Denzel Smith, Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education (Nation Books, 2016)

Karen Greenberg, Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State (Crown, 2016)

Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin (Oxford University Press, 2011)

Adam Rapp, The Year of Endless Sorrows (2006)

What I read in 2015 and prior:

Louis A. Decaro, Jr., On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X (1996)

Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley (1965)

Michael Eric Dyson, I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. (2000)

Clayborne Carson, edited, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1998)

Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)

Max Blumenthal, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza (Nation Books, 2015)

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary (2015)

Nick Turse, Tomorrow’s Battlefiled: U.S. Proxy War and Secret Ops in Africa (Haymarket, 2015)

Joan Didion, The White Album (1979)

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2010)

Maya Schenwar, Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better (Berrett-Koehler, 2014)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (Anchor, 2013)

Patrick Cockburn, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Verso, 2015)

Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Metropolitan Books, 2014)

Max Blumenthal, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (Nation Books, 2013)

Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield (Nation Books, 2013)

One thought on “About Me

  1. My friend Trinity and I are using your article “How the Supreme Court Authorized Racial Profiling” from huffpost.com to lay down some facts on a presentation. Thank you for being so woke and so willing to expose this country as well as help us pass this class. You are awesome dude. We Stan:))))))))))


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