September 2008 Archives



Guest Voice  |  September 2, 2008 12:47 PM

Zardari's Pakistan: Lessons from Musharraf's Presidency

By Shuja Nawaz

If the current political math holds, Asif Ali Zardari, the co-Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples' Party appears to be a shoo-in to succeed General Pervez Musharraf as the next regular President of Pakistan on September 6. But he will not have much time to exult. Pakistan today is facing an existential threat from Islamist militants in its Western half; its economy is reeling from the depredations of runaway inflation, food and power shortages, capital flight, falling foreign exchange reserves, and a political system riven by discord. The improbable coalition with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N) has fallen apart. With the object of their attacks (Musharraf) no longer around, it seems nothing more was holding them together.

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Guest Voice  |  September 10, 2008 2:15 PM

Enough of the Jerusalem Mantra

By Daniel Seidemann

I was born American. Thirty-five years ago, I chose to become Israeli. My choice in no way reflects a lack of affection for the United States. But patriotism is monogamous: I am an Israeli patriot, and a platonic friend of the land of my birth. I have never voted in a U.S. election and I belong to no U.S. political party. I see myself as an observer of, rather than a participant in, American presidential election politics.

But as a Jerusalemite, I do have a stake in the 2008 Presidential race, like it or not.

Because like in past elections, the candidates and their surrogates are trying to use me - my life, my city - to score points with voters, bolster their pro-Israel credentials, and attack their opponent.

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Guest Voice  |  September 10, 2008 11:16 AM

Palin's Dangerous Lack of Curiosity

The Current Discussion: Does it worry you that Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee talks about issues like gun rights and abortion and teaching "creationism" in school, but has no experience in foreign policy? What does her selection say to people in other countries about how U.S. politics works?

By Chuck McLean

The selection of another incurious, ill-schooled politician with no foreign policy judgment and a simplistic "the military can solve everything" view of foreign policy will continue the dramatic slide of the U.S.'s global influence. It will also dig us much deeper into a foreign policy hole that has already brought us to an international situation more dangerous than the darkest days of the Cold War.

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Guest Voice  |  September 18, 2008 8:44 AM

Isolating or Attacking Iran Won't Work

By Maziar Bahari

I did the following interview with Dr. Akbar Etemad for the British magazine New Statesman. Some may find Dr. Etemad's comments in support of current nuclear policy of the Islamic Goverment to be surprising. After all, he was a high-ranking official in the Shah's government, which was toppled by the current regime. Yet like millions of Iranians, who are not particularly fond of the Islamic Republic, Dr. Etemad thinks of the Iran's nuclear program as a national issue that doesn't have to do with any particular government in Iran.

I think in the light of the light of the upcoming meeting of permenanent members of UN Security Council and Germany, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's next week's visit to New York, Dr. Etemad's interview will provide good background to any reporting of Iran's nuclear program.

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Guest Voice  |  September 26, 2008 3:10 PM

The Web Won't Set Us Free

By Antony Loewenstein

During China's milk powder crisis, with tens of thousands of babies affected by the contaminated goods, the country's blogosphere railed against corrupt officials.

One outraged blogger wrote: "What are the people in the Government doing? They just want mistresses, they want cash, but out here we're dying!"

Another said: "When they tell us some official is sacked, they are just giving us part of the story. The rest isn't reported. They just move on to other jobs."

It was the kind of brutal honesty that the internet has brought to the world's largest online market. Millions of angry netizens were openly questioning the regime's ability and willingness to manage the crisis. As it did after May's Sichuan earthquake, when thousands of citizens used the web to organize protests against shoddy builders, the web is slowly democratizing information flow in the Communist State.

It has become almost accepted wisdom that the web is an automatic democratizer, but I never accepted this doctrine.

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Guest Voice  |  September 29, 2008 12:15 PM

Firebombing Free Speech

By Salil Tripathi

Three men are under detention here in London after allegedly tossing a petrol bomb at the home-office of Martin Rynja, who runs the Gibson Square publishing firm here. Gibson Square has shown the courage - or audacity, or foolhardiness - to publish "The Jewel of Medina", a novel based on the life of Aisha, the Prophet Muhammad's wife.

This is dangerous territory: Earlier this year, American author Sherry Jones discovered that Random House, which had decided to publish the novel and paid an advance for it, changed its mind and dropped the book. The publishing house did so after receiving unfavorable notices from a critic who was shown the manuscript, and following Internet chatter that suggested that the book would be highly controversial. Ironically, Random House publishes Salman Rushdie, who knows a thing or two about those who seek to silence others. When Random House pulled out of publishing the book, Rushdie expressed his disappointment, calling it "censorship by fear."

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