United States
Exporting American Democracy

Exporting American Democracy

“US OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST.” The simplistic slogan was trumpeted by the radical left for many years before George W. Bush’s foray into Iraq made it a common bumper sticker. The same call could have been used by the isolationist right as well. Unfortunately, both practicality and, more importantly, morality make removing the US  from the region more complicated. More»

Sorting Through Salafism

Sorting Through Salafism

The pattern was familiar. Following the identification of the Boston Marathon bombers, US media were awash with experts, explaining the appeal of Jihad in Muslim communities. Security forces were deployed in major metropolitan areas. Returning from Pakistan a week after the attacks, a Homeland Security officer at JFK Airport asked me how often I pray, as though, because I’m South Asian, I must therefore be religious. More»

Black Like Me

Black Like Me

During the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, sociologists Mamie and Kenneth Clark received national attention. Their 1947 study, Racial Identification and Preference in Negro Children, would prove integral to the US Supreme Court’s decision to end the segregation of public schools seven years later. More»

Brain Freeze

Brain Freeze

International sanctions on Iran have devastated the country. In the past year, the latest round of US and EU sanctions due to Tehran’s nuclear development program are the toughest in Iran’s history. With a plummeting currency, medicine shortages, and rising food prices, Iranian students now find themselves struggling to gain admission to universities abroad. More»

The American Jihadist

The American Jihadist

New York means freedom of speech. With progressive groups defending a talk at Brooklyn College by two Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists in February, and right-wingers rallying around anti-Muslim demagogue Pamela Geller this week, it’d be hard to assume otherwise. Still,  the two episodes say a lot about discourse on Israel in the United States.  More»

America's Impotent Left

America’s Impotent Left

Incomes Flat in Recovery, but Not for the 1%. The New York Times headline understated the case. According to economist Emmanuel Saez, during the first year of the economic “recovery,” the top 1% of America’s population saw its income rise by over 11%, while the rest of the US saw its income decline slightly. More»

The Israel Excuse

The Israel Excuse

The US government is becoming a textbook example of dysfunction. Everyone thinks that about their government, with good reason. I will not, in this space, try to compare American dysfunction to that of any other country. But it’s time to look at how bad the situation has become, as it has been highlighted by the circus surrounding the confirmation of ex-Senator Chuck Hagel as the new Secretary of Defense. More»

In Guns We Trust

In Guns We Trust

The United States is the only country where owning a gun is considered a God-given right. For some, perhaps, it is merely held to be a constitutional right (in this, it stands with only three other countries: Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico.) But whatever level of divinity is bestowed upon it, the gun is American culture’s Golden Calf. More»

Katrina Goes New York

Katrina Goes New York

Mitt Romney thinks disaster relief should be privatized. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the idea of fobbing off FEMA’s services has been rightfully focused on for its coldness. However, given that this policy position was announced months ago, it’s surprising that Hurricane Katrina was not immediately brought to bear in criticisms of Romney’s proposal. More»

The Pretense of Democracy

The Pretense of Democracy

Election 2012 has been four (or more) years in the making, but we’re about to, mercifully, call it history. It’s not wrong to say that it has mostly been a referendum on President Obama. But this election, perhaps more than usual, has also been a referendum on democracy. What have we learned? More»

Still Life with Apache

Still Life with Apache

I was an IDF reservist stationed in the south of Israel. My base had received a new contingent of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and was testing them prior to deployment. Helicopters would ascend to 100 meters, hover for hours, and do instrument checks. A constant drone permeated our encampment. More»

Hold Your Nose and Vote

Hold Your Nose and Vote

During every presidential election in the United States, the same argument is made, mostly on the left, but also on the extreme right. The candidates don’t represent your views, so you vote for a third party candidate, or don’t vote at all. After all, the argument goes, how are we ever going to get candidates who do what we want them to do if we keep sending the same mainstream politicians to Washington? More»