Suppose you’re Alice. Through the looking glass you go, to arrive at a strange place where things don’t behave as expected and the names given to them don’t fit.
In this wonderland, you find two groups arguing about the competence, organization, and political role of the major U.S. intelligence agencies. One group – let’s call them the Tweedle Dees – consider spooky agencies like the CIA and NSA bloated, inefficient, frequently dishonest, and thoroughly politicized. The Tweedle Dums, on the other hand, assert that they work for the benefit of all of us without feathering their own nests, lying to the public, or playing political games.
So, which side is which? Once upon a time, on the pre-election side of … read more...
THE RUSSIAN PLOT: Or, How to Avoid Responsiblity for Losing a Presidential Election
The presidential campaign of 2016 presented Hillary Clinton with a seemingly irresistible opportunity, one that also coincided with her natural inclinations: to run to Donald Trump’s right on issues of foreign policy. Without a clue, even after the Bernie Sanders rebellion, that the working class was preparing to jump ship in key industrial (that is, de-industrialized) states, Clinton and her advisors labored hard to paint Trump as a Russian “puppet” who could not be depended on to protect America’s ubiquitous interests around the globe.
That the Democrats’ messages were mixed, if not contradictory, didn’t seem to matter. Assuming that most working people would have no … read more...
Memorial Day is a day when this nation stops to honor the more than 1 million citizens who died in America’s wars. About half that number perished in the Civil War, whose termination gave rise to the holiday in 1868. But what was then called Decoration Day didn’t just honor the soldiers and sailors who fought to preserve the Union; it honored the Confederate dead as well, even though they were considered enemies of the United States.
Friends, it’s time – long past time – to honor the spirit of the holiday by turning it into a day to remember the war dead of all nationalities, not just our own. Most of those who paid the ultimate price for participating … read more...
Students interested in Peace and Conflict Studies:
THERE IS STILL TIME TO APPLY TO THE 2016-17 DUAL DEGREE MASTER’S PROGRAM IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND MEDITERRANEAN SECURITY TAUGHT IN MALTA!
One of the world’s most interesting graduate programs is the intensive Master’s Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediterranean Security taught in Malta by George Mason University and University of Malta faculty, now entering its sixth year of operation.
Students study for 13 months and earn two degrees, one from each university. The degrees equip students to work in the fields of conflict resolution, diplomacy, international and community development, and humanitarian relief, among others. Graduates have gone on to successful careers in institutions ranging from NGOs to government agencies, international organizations, think … read more...
TRUTH IN LABELING: THE SCALIA SCHOOL OF LAW AT GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
My employer has done it again! The public university at which I am privileged to teach (and I mean that quite seriously) has accepted a large sum of money from the Koch Foundation and another Far Right donor on terms that require its first-tier law school to be renamed the Antonin Scalia School of Law.
George Mason is currently the largest academic recipient in the country of Koch brothers’ funds, which are used to finance a free-market research and lobbying institute called the Mercatus Center, an equally Hayekian economics department, something called the Institute for Humane Studies, and various other scholars and projects dedicated to the … read more...
The Unrest Group at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution presented a forum on February 28 at Busboys & Poets in Washington, D.C. on “Elections 2016: Could AMerica Go Fascist? What Can We Do About IT?” Five speakers made short comments and the discussion after each presentation was terrific. My comments were as follows:
COULD AMERICA GO FASCIST? WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?
Forum Presented by S-CAR at Busboys & Poets, 28 February 2016
This morning, the conservative columnist Ross Douthat wrote an op-ed in the NY Times in which he called Donald Trump “a right-wing Caesarist whose authoritarian style and outrageous promises make George W. Bush look like Cato the Younger.” What’s the point of … read more...
If Bernie Sanders were actually a socialist, what would his program for America look like?
In our current polarized political atmosphere, the right wing thinks that Bernie is at least a socialist, if not a closet Commie. Many professed leftists are sure he isn’t one of them. The confusion isn’t reduced by the fact that Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist,” which, it turns out, means that he admires European-style capitalism.
Bernie believes in taxing the rich in order to finance programs of assistance to the poor. He believes in trying to make business (especially the banking business) more competitive and socially responsible. He believes in a health insurance system like Canada’s, strong trade unions like Germany’s, and the tuition … read more...
This piece is a little long, friends, but I hope that it sheds some light on a difficult subject.
“WE ARE ALL EVERYONE”:
LESSONS OF THE PARIS ATTACKS
In the aftermath of the Islamic State’s cruel and vicious attacks in Paris, one is tempted to declare, “Nous sommes tous Paris” (“We are all Paris”). Before November 14, however, virtually no one in the West was heard to declare, “We are all Beirut” – or Baghdad, Ankara, or Moscow – notwithstanding that civilians living in all these places were killed en masse by IS militants. Nor have we ever identified ourselves in slogans or Facebook profiles with the innocent Shia, Yazidis, Assyrian Christians, and other non-Westerners executed as apostates … read more...
EUROPE’S MIGRATION CRISIS: CAUSES AND CURES
PUBLIC LECTURE AT
THE PRESIDENT’S FOUNDATION FOR WELLBEING OF SOCIETY,
VERDALA PALACE, MALTA, 16 OCTOBER 2015
Richard E. Rubenstein
THERE IS A NEW FIELD OF STUDY THAT SOME CALL THE SCIENCE OF IGNORANCE. ITS GOAL IS TO DETERMINE WHAT WE DON’T KNOW AND THEN DETERMINE HOW TO REDUCE THAT AREA OF IGNORANCE. THIS EVENING, I AM GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE MIGRATION CRISIS – A PROBLEM THAT, DESPITE THE TITLE OF THIS SPEECH, IS NOT JUST EUROPEAN BUT GLOBAL, AND THAT IS MOST OF ALL A CRISIS FOR THE MIGRANTS THEMSELVES RATHER THAN FOR THOSE WELCOMING OR REFUSING TO WELCOME THEM.
IN DEALING WITH THIS COMPLEX TOPIC, IT IS GOOD TO BEGIN BY RECOGNIZING … read more...
DONALD TRUMP AND THE POLITICS OF PERSONALITY:
To Understand Trumpism, Look Abroad!
Richard E. Rubenstein
Despite the deluge of articles, tweets, photos, and jokes about Donald Trump, there has been very little discussion of the obvious parallels to Trump and Trumpism in other countries. Perhaps, this is because it’s easier either to idolize Trump or dismiss him if one considers him a uniquely American character – a modern P.T. Barnum, or a Jay Gatsby. The Donald is an American product, of course. But we will never understand him or appreciate the seriousness of his campaign unless we look at similar figures outside our own boundaries and traditions.
Here is a quiz. Who am I talking about when I describe an … read more...