Geographies
Bernie Sanders: Socialist Superhero?

Bernie Sanders: Socialist Superhero?

It seems fair to say that most observers of politics in the United States have been surprised by the ascent of Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the presidency. I put myself in a special category, though, with respect to that feeling of surprise. As a political scientist, I purport to have at least better than average observational skills and analytic tools focused on the world of politics. More»

The Fair State

The Fair State

You often hear the BBC described as having a ‘left-wing’ bias. This is despite all the evidence to the contrary. The logic behind such accusations seems to be that the state and its institutions are inherently ‘left-wing’. Although the BBC is somewhat removed from the market pressures heaped upon private companies, it is still subject to the same sorts of political pressures facing state bodies. More»

Politics in a New Key

Politics in a New Key

Politics in the United States is no more corrupt or crazy than anywhere else. Certainly there has been no shortage of scandals (from Teapot Dome to Watergate) and systemic corruption (Tammany Hall, Chicago up to and including the present day), but one needn’t be an avid student of history to find similar sorts of things in any the major industrialized states one cares to study. More»

Something in the Water

Something in the Water

Even amid the incessant coverage of the Republican and Democratic campaigns for President, the crisis surrounding the water supply in Flint, Michigan has stayed in the news. While the sheer it-should-not-happen-HERE horror is the primary reason, the story’s staying power also attests to the fact that so many people can use it as evidence of what is wrong with the American political landscape. More»

Clockwork Orange in Polish

Clockwork Orange in Polish

Some 22 million Europeans watched the debate on 19 January, when Polish Premier Beata Szydło defended her government against EU allegations of breaching the rule of law. More»

The Putin Set-Up

The Putin Set-Up

Last week, BBC Panorama exposed President Putin, and allegations of corruption against him. At first the programme focuses on Putin’s lifestyle – his expensive watches and tracksuits – and quickly moves on to hearing journalists, former allies and politicians dredge up old accusations: $40 billion in assets and the Cape Idokopas palace. It notes that the CIA and the FBI agree that Putin may be worth $40 billion in assets. More»

Shariati's Shoah

Shariati’s Shoah

On Monday January 25, I joined a migrant rights protest outside the UK Home Office as part of the Holocaust memorial collective Never Again Ever! I am often asked why I, as a Sunni Muslim of Pakistani descent, would join a diverse group of activists to push the boundaries on how we remember the Holocaust. I see it as politically consistent with principles outlined by Ali Shariati prior to the Islamic Revolution.  More»

Remembering Not To Forget

Remembering Not To Forget

For today’s leftists, the lingering reminders of a time when their politics were less marginal can provide considerable comfort. Sometimes, as in the case of Boomers who were part of the student movement in the 1960s and ’70s, this takes the form of reliving their “glory days.” More and more, though, it represents nostalgia for a past that precedes lived experience. More»

Do-It-Yourself Refugee Aid

Do-It-Yourself Refugee Aid

When hundreds of thousands of refugees began traveling through the Balkans last summer, established humanitarian organizations were slow to react. Concerned citizens stepped in to fill the void. Enter Refugee Aid Serbia. More»

Baghdad Sketches

Baghdad Sketches

Although never in Baghdad for long at a time, I generally had occasion to spend four or five days there every other month. The life in any city is complex and interesting, but here it was especially so. We were among a totally foreign people, but the ever-felt intangible barrier of color was not present.  More»

Iranian American Self-Hatred

Iranian American Self-Hatred

“We were white until the Arabs came and raped our women,” is the sort of thing you’ll hear Iranian Americans say, when expressing their distaste for Islam. A reverse Orientalism in a sense, they will often refer to Arabs–Gulf Arabs, mainly– as ‘locust eaters’ (malakh khor) More»

Thatcherite Wahhabism

Thatcherite Wahhabism

Saudi Arabia is facing a systemic overhaul. Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman recently indicated as much during an interview with The Economist, by answering “most certainly” to a question about whether or not Saudi Arabia is facing “a Thatcher revolution.”  More»