Geographies
American Labor’s Death

American Labor’s Death

A U.S. Supreme Court decision set to come out this summer could decide the fate of the nation’s public sector unions, and judging by the temperament of the court’s conservative five-member majority, it looks as if labor is bracing for a powerful punch to the gut. The court’s acceptance of the idea of that money is tantamount to speech means that a decision in Harris v. Quinn could mean the end of the “closed shop” in government employment. More»

Qutb's Communism

Qutb’s Communism

For all his shortcomings, I find Sayyid Qutb to be treated somewhat unfairly. This was probably inevitable. After all, Qutb’s prison writings as a disenchanted member of the Muslim Brotherhood helped inspire two of the region’s most fear-inducing ideologies: Islamism, and Salafi jihadism. More»

Austerity Rising

Austerity Rising

The broad European response to the economic downturn of the last few years has been various programmes of economic austerity: reductions of national expenditure through intense budget cuts. History shows that this is a risky tactic. Policies like this played an important role in aiding the Nazis’ rise to power at the end of the Weimar Republic More»

Muhammad the Anti-Capitalist

Muhammad the Anti-Capitalist

Would the Prophet Muhammad have been anti-capitalist?  Obviously, we cannot know. The Prophet’s experiences with mystical poetry, called “Revelation” by believing Muslims, are firmly grounded in their historical setting. They cannot offer direct insight on capitalism any more than they can provide a critique of Italian Futurism More»

Treatises of Fascism

Treatises of Fascism

If we are to maintain our vigilance in the face of the possibility, of the return of fascist forms of government to Europe, it is important to understand some of the structural causes that facilitated the rise of fascism and allowed it to gain such a hold of the populations in the countries involved.  One of these is philosophical, and another is simply how it spreads. More»

Putin's Asia

Putin’s Asia

Last year, many commentators in the West were aghast at the Russian stance on the Syrian civil war. It was in early 2013 when Russia and China presented a united opposition at the UN Security Council to intervention in Syria. Then it was flabberghasted at the Russian opposition, in the summer of 2013, to Obama’s proposed ‘punitive measures’ (e.g. indiscriminate bombing). More»

Soviet Neocons

Soviet Neocons

One of the difficulties of critically discussing the Soviet-Afghan war is conceptually imagining Soviet imperialism. Many leftists are hesitant to condemn the nature of Soviet militarism in countries like Afghanistan. While there are understandable reasons for this, it misses the crucial point. More»

Imperial Disappointments

Imperial Disappointments

Noam Chomsky, the celebrated academic and political commentator, is perhaps the most famous left-wing public intellectual alive. Since rising to widespread prominence as a fierce critic of the Vietnam War, he has developed into something of an American Solzhenitsyn: a dissident bitterly denounced at home, but admired internationally (thankfully without the gulags.) More»

Putin's Wager

Putin’s Wager

Since the invasion of Crimea, Putin’s popularity has soared. The results of the Crimean referendum were obviously welcomed in Russia. Putin gave a speech the next day, proclaiming that the languages of Russians, Ukrainians, and Crimean Tatars, would now be recognised. These events have been interpreted in the West as an illegitimate annexation.  More»

Scarlet Jihad

Scarlet Jihad

Jihad is not just an obsession in my country of Pakistan. The entire region has become enamoured with the idea, even as it rejects Salafi jihadist groups such as Al-Qaida and the Taliban. It is not because of a debate between liberalism and conservatism, or whether or not Islam is compatible with Enlightenment values. It is because for many Muslims, Islamism is the new post-Soviet Marxism.  More»

Framing Putin

Framing Putin

Seeking rationality in punditry on foreign policy is a fool’s errand in the best of times. Bombastic statements and ideological polemics are the rule of the field. But when the United States and European Union are facing off against Russia, it is worthwhile to demand some clarity and, yes, even honesty. These have been in short supply on both sides. More»

Tatar State of Mind

Tatar State of Mind

“Oh that? It is complicated, you know?” Cemal Bey was not talking about his çibörek, which is cause enough for savory surprise. Customers in his small restaurant in Çanakkale can expect a treatise on the food if he opens his mouth. But surely, there is more to Tatar culture than çibörek, no matter how delicious the half-moon pastries are? We discussed the referendum of independence in his homeland of Crimea. More»