- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
Noted terrorism expert and FP contributor Jarret Brachman had dinner with former Pakistani
dictator President Pervez Musharraf last Friday, and wrote about it here (welcome to the world of new media, Pervez). For the record, Brachman describes Musharraf as "a gracious, humble and serious military man."
Some highlights of their conversation:
– He honestly believes that he transformed Pakistan from a backwards third-world garbage pit to a land of new opportunities and prosperity. That, for him, is the legacy that matters most.
– He seemed disengaged from al-Qaida overall, at one point forgetting the name of the jihadi godfather, Abdullah Azzam.
– He had no working knowledge of al-Qaida’s senior leadership below Bin Laden or Al-Zawahiri, which makes me think that he outsourced the entire al-Qaida portfolio.
– He stonewalled me on every question I asked involving Iran and Saudi Arabia. In fact, in his keynote addressed later that night entitled, “Internal and External Dynamics of Pakistan,” he didn’t mention either country. He also steered clear of my questions on the Pakistani ISI.
– He advanced the (now well accepted as false rumor) statement that Bin Laden is on kidney dialysis. When asked if UBL was in Pakistan, he responded by saying that’s like him asking if UBL is in the United States, “nothing more than unfounded speculation…”
– He seems to truly believe that he did everything he could against al-Qaida but that it was a series of American missteps, historically and currently, in Afghanistan that created the mess that exists today.
Makes you wonder who was running the al Qaeda portfolio in Pakistan, doesn’t it?