Taking notes 27: Is there a method in Syrian madness?

by Slavoj Žižek We all remember President Obama’s smiling face, full of hope and trust, when he repeatedly delivered the motto of his first campaign: “Yes, we can!” – we can get rid of the cynicism of Bush’s era and bring justice and welfare to the American people… Now that the US is approaching a decision about attacking Syria, we can imagine peace protesters shouting at Obama: “How can you advocate another military intervention?” Obama the reluctant warrior looks back at them and murmurs perplexed: “Can I? Should I?” And this time, he is right. All that was false in … Continue reading Taking notes 27: Is there a method in Syrian madness?

Taking notes 17: The good intentions that pave the road to war

by Diana Johnstone Opposing genocide has become a sort of cottage industry in the United States. Everywhere, “genocide studies” are cropping up in universities. Five years ago, an unlikely “Genocide Prevention Task Force” was set up headed by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former defense secretary William Cohen, both veterans of the Clinton administration. The Bible of the campaign is Samantha Power’s book, “A Problem from Hell”. Ms. Power’s thesis is that the U.S. Government, while well-intentioned, like all of us, is too slow to intervene to “stop genocide”. It is a suggestion that the U.S. government embraces, even to taking … Continue reading Taking notes 17: The good intentions that pave the road to war

Taking notes 7: Human Rights or Imperial Partnership?

by Zoltan Zigedy Amnesty International has a bee under its bonnet. A human rights advocate, educator, and labor attorney, Dan Kovalik, mustered the audacity to challenge the world’s most prominent and highly regarded rights-based advocacy group. Claiming over three million members since its birth in 1961, AI is the poster child for modern “non-governmental organizations” or NGOs: The hundreds of thousands of hazy entities that play an ever-growing, influential role in international affairs. Despite AI’s sterling reputation among middle class liberals in the English-speaking world, Kovalik was troubled by AI’s stance on the war in Libya and its role in … Continue reading Taking notes 7: Human Rights or Imperial Partnership?

Taking notes 6: We are fine in Gaza — How are you?

by Magid Shihade In celebrating the 85th anniversary of the Communist Party in Syria and Lebanon, the Palestinian singer and writer — Khaled El-Hibr sang these words: We are fine in Gaza How about you? We are fine under attack How about you? Our martyrs are under the rubbles Our children now living in the tents And they ask about you We are fine in Gaza How about you? …. The sea is behind us But we fight back The enemy is in front of us But we still fight back We have all what we need: Food and arms … Continue reading Taking notes 6: We are fine in Gaza — How are you?

China at century’s end

by Salvatore J. Babones One year ago I published an article in Foreign Affairs magazine predicting that China’s outsized rate of economic growth would soon slow down to the levels that are typical of other middle-income countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Russia.  Foreign Affairs published my article under the punning but (in my view) inappropriate title “The Middling Kingdom.”  There is nothing middling about China: it is the world’s largest country, the center of one of the world’s great civilizations, and in many ways the most important place on Earth.  But will its economy continue to grow at 10% per … Continue reading China at century’s end