Geographies
The Russian Option

The Russian Option

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister, apparently took a decision that shocked many across Europe last week. He announced that the representatives of the Right Livelihoods Award, who bestow the yearly Alternative Nobel Prize, were banned from announcing this year’s winner at his ministry, something they had been doing for 18 years. More»

Referendum Day

Referendum Day

“Why do you want Scotland to be independent? You’re English!” These words were spoken to me by my 99-year old Godmother, Auntie Margaret, who has known my Glaswegian mother for the past sixty years and me ever since I was born (including the five years that I was a student at Glasgow University). More»

Free of London

Free of London

In only a matter of days, Scotland will decide on its future. The Left seems to have lined up behind the Yes-side of the referendum on independence. What is the case for unionism here? Surely, there has to be a progressive angle. After all, the Union stood firm against the rising tide of fascism in the early decades of the twentieth century. What makes it unworthy of progressive politics, now? More»

No True Islam

No True Islam

Senior Muslim scholars are beginning to push back against Islamic State propaganda. Britain’s Faith Associates consultancy organized a four-minute video in July featuring many leading Sunni and Shia imams. More»

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

“So we’re not ‘against’ these people, and ‘for’ these other people. What are we really ‘for’? A more just political formation, one that would allow for equality at the level of citizenship,” Judith Butler concludes the second part of her conversation with Mark LeVine. “Religion may be extremely important, but I don’t think it should be a prerequisite for citizenship, and certainly not there.” More»

Designing Postwar Japan

Designing Postwar Japan

The debate was about who knew Japan better: the “Japan Crowd” or the “Lobby,” on the right, or the “New Dealers” in the SCAP. The story of the US Occupation from, 1945 to 1952, is the story of these camps’ shared assumptions about the limitations of the Japanese psyche. In the end,  the conservatives won, disproportionately influencing Japanese politics, and America’s imperial administration. More»

Hijacking the Arab Spring

Hijacking the Arab Spring

You’ve heard it before. Supporters of the Arab Spring always say that Islamists “hijacked the revolution.” The statement gets repeatedly invoked in reference to the crises in Libya and Syria, where the revolts ended up fostering the rise of extremist groups, who dominate the resistance, today. More»

Israel and Philosophy

Israel and Philosophy

Over the course of the past two decades, Judith Butler has become one of the world’s most important intellectual figures, inspiring controversy, not with the flamboyant generalizations of European counterparts like Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou, but with patient rhetorical analyses of both philosophical classics and contemporary political discourse. More»

Capitalism as Communism

Capitalism as Communism

The reactions were predictable. Putin perfunctorily denied it was an invasion, while the media wondered whether it was even right to even call it a war. That Russian forces were already occupying a third of Ukraine was still insufficient evidence. Nearly 15 years from the day when he first too took the reins of the presidency, the ex-KGB agent was living out the wildest of Cold War fantasies More»

The Imran Khan Fantasy

The Imran Khan Fantasy

In case you haven’t heard, Islamabad is in turmoil right now. Twin marches led by Pakistani-Canadian Imam Tahir ul-Qadri, and cricketer-turned-politican Imran Khan, have turned violent and shaken the government’s foundations. On Saturday night, a crowd of about 25 000 people marched to the Prime Minister’s statehouse, and after some protesters broke in, the police began a crackdown. More»

Stereotyping Japan

Stereotyping Japan

In 1945, The Saturday Evening Post proudly proclaimed that “The G.I. Is Civilizing the Jap” by showing the “savage” and “dirty” natives how to fix cars without breaking them, and how to go to the bathroom. A 1951 follow-up subsequently reported that the Japanese they visited six year prior, with their nightsoil gardens and Shintoism, now had gas stoves and Christianity! More»

War on Terror 2.0

War on Terror 2.0

Last Sunday I walked past the Tower of London with friends from abroad. What we saw there compelled (rather than inspired) a lap of the place out of us. Half of the old grassed over moat was filled with ceramic red poppies. Their green stalks being driven into the ground by flocks of volunteers, including army cadets and children. More»