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Matt “Mad Dog” Duss Makes Good

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The Nation has profiled former LGM guest contributor and long-time friend of the blog Matt Duss, the current foreign policy adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders. We knew him before he made the big time!

As the Vermont senator spoke, a 6-foot-5, bespectacled bear of a man sat quietly beside him. Matt Duss, 46, has recently become one of the most significant figures reshaping progressive foreign policy in the Trump era. Since February 2017, when Sanders hired him as his foreign-policy adviser, Duss has played a key role in advancing the Yemen resolution and has deeply informed Sanders’s growing emphasis on international affairs…

In 2002, Duss transferred from community college to the University of Washington, where he finally earned his bachelor’s degree at 31 and his master’s at 34 while studying Arabic and raising a newborn. He wrote his thesis on Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who had become the political and spiritual leader of the insurgency against the US-led coalition occupying Iraq.

After finishing his academic work, Duss and his family moved back east and settled in Alexandria, Virginia. Duss quickly took to the Beltway blogosphere and started several websites, including one dedicated to monitoring the Islamophobic writings of Marty Peretz, then publisher of The New Republic. He began receiving wider recognition writing about the Middle East for The American Prospect. That eventually earned him a staff job at the Center for American Progress, where in early 2008 he became editor of the national-security team for the liberal think tank’s affiliated blog, ThinkProgress. “If TAP was like getting signed to Sub Pop,” says Duss, referring to the indie label that signed bands like Nirvana and Sleater-Kinney, “going to CAP was like a major label.”

Read the whole thing. Matt has taken an elliptical path to influence, but has done astonishingly good work at every level, while also (just as astonishingly) refraining from becoming an asshole.  Whatever your feelings about Bernie’s candidacy, Matt has helped push the foreign policy conversation in the United States in a decidedly more sensible direction.

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