“It is quite common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle East, as if ancient societies and myriad peoples can be shaken up like so many peanuts in a jar.”

― Edward W. Said

"A developing country that wants to develop its economy must first of all keep natural resources in its own hands."
- Deng Xiaoping

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Peaceful Philosophy of Leo Strauss, Who Inspired Iraq War Neocons

The Leonard Lopate Show - Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Leo Strauss was known as a man who inspired hawkish views on national security—he inspired neoconservative champions of the Iraq War William Kristol and John Podhoretz. Yet Robert Howse argues that we might have Strauss pegged all wrong. In Leo Strauss: Man of Peace, Robert Howse analyzes Strauss’s writings on political violence, concluding that Strauss favored international law, was skeptical of imperialism, and was critical of radical ideologies.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Mexico's rising bicycle demand boosts imports from China


MEXICO CITY, Mar. 29 (Xinhua) -- Mexico's growing demand for bikes in recent years has attracted Chinese bicycle firms to enter Mexican market.
  According to data released by Mexican authorities, there has been a fourfold increase in imports of bicycles in Mexico, that is, from 75,774 units in 2010 to 318,272 units in 2014.
  Moreover, Mexico's bicycle imports have also grown by six times in value from 6.2 million U.S. dollars in 2010 to 39.2 million in 2014.
  China can be described as a big winner in this rapidly growing market. Data showed that China is Mexico's largest supplier of bicycle. It is said that about 90 percent of Mexico's imported bicycles came from China.
  Benetto is a well-known bicycle chain store in Mexico. Although the chain brand is from Italy, the bikes sold there are mostly from China.
  According to the manager of Benneteau University Avenue store, the parts and components of the bikes sold in the store are imported from China, and assembled in Mexico. Sales of the store rose by about 10 percent last year.
  "A lot of parts are imported from China, since the use of parts made in Mexico will raise costs," said the manager whose first name is Enrique.
  The Mexican government has for years taken various measures to encourage the use of bicycles in transportation in a bid to reduce congestion and carbon emissions.


Friday, March 27, 2015

John & Harriet: Still Mysterious

Cass R. Sunstein

The New York Review of Books - April 2, 2015 Issue

BOOK: Hayek on Mill: The Mill–Taylor Friendship and Other Writings by Friedrich Hayek, edited by Sandra J. Peart University of Chicago Press, 373 pp., $65.00

John Stuart Mill may well be the most important liberal thinker of the nineteenth century. In countless respects, his once-revolutionary arguments have become familiar, even part of the conventional wisdom. Certainly this is so for his great 1869 essay The Subjection of Women, which offered a systematic argument for sex equality at a time when the inferior status of women was widely taken for granted. It is also true for On Liberty, published in 1859, which famously argued that unless there is harm to others, people should have the freedom to do as they like. A strong advocate for freedom of speech, Mill offered enduring arguments against censorship. He also had a great deal to say about, and on behalf of, representative government.

Friedrich Hayek was the twentieth century’s greatest critic of socialism, and he won the Nobel Prize in economics. A lifelong defender of individual  liberty, he argued that central planning is bound to fail, even if the planners are well motivated, because they cannot possibly assemble the information that is ultimately incorporated in the price system. Hayek described that system as a “marvel,” because it registers the knowledge, the preferences, and the values of countless people. Hayek used this insight as the foundation for a series of works on freedom and liberalism. Committed to free markets and deeply skeptical of the idea of “social justice,” he is a far more polarizing figure than Mill, beloved on the political right but regarded with ambivalence by many others. Nonetheless, Hayek belongs on any list of the most important liberal thinkers of the twentieth century.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Islamic Movements Student Conference, WEDNESDAY March 11, 2015 -10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Islamic Movements Student Conference 


Portland State University
Date and Time: WEDNESDAY March 11, 2015 -10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Presenter: Anna Murphy

Presenters:Taylor Hill AND Michael Salter

Presenters: Nikki Yoke 

Presenters: Emily Wolff, Vashti Carter AND Eric Koppang

Presenter: Asifa Traore  

Presenter: Andrew Alexander

Presenters: Freshta Rezaie, Jaime Fernandez AND Sidra Siddiqui   

Presenter: Benjamin Turner

Presenter: Ali Alsaidy

Organized by Middle East Studies - Department of International and Global Studies and co-sponsored by MIDDLE EAST STUDIES CENTER AND CENTER FOR TURKISH STUDIES

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sartre on the Nobel Prize

Jean-Paul Sartre, translated by Richard Howard

The New York Review of Books - December 17, 1964 Issue

Jean-Paul Sartre explained his refusal to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in a statement made to the Swedish Press on October 22, which appeared in Le Monde in a French translation approved by Sartre. The following translation into English was made by Richard Howard.
I deeply regret the fact that the incident has become something of a scandal: a prize was awarded, and I refused it. It happened entirely because I was not informed soon enough of what was under way. When I read in the October 15 Figaro littéraire, in the Swedish correspondent’s column, that the choice of the Swedish Academy was tending toward me, but that it had not yet been determined, I supposed that by writing a letter to the Academy, which I sent off the following day, I could make matters clear and that there would be no further discussion.
I was not aware at the time that the Nobel Prize is awarded without consulting the opinion of the recipient, and I believed there was time to prevent this from happening. But I now understand that when the Swedish Academy has made a decision it cannot subsequently revoke it.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Shocking Decision at Sweet Briar

By Scott Jaschik 

Inside Higher Ed - March 4, 2015

Sweet Briar College announced Tuesday that it is shutting down at the end of this academic year.

Small colleges close or merge from time to time, more frequently since the economic downturn started in 2008. But the move is unusual in that Sweet Briar still has a meaningful endowment, regional accreditation and some well-respected programs. But college officials said that the trend lines were too unfavorable, and that efforts to consider different strategies didn't yield any viable options. So the college decided to close now, with some sense of order, rather than drag out the process for several more years, as it could have done.

Paul G. Rice, board chair, said in an interview that he realized some would ask, "Why don't you keep going until the lights go out?"

But he said that doing so would be wrong. "We have moral and legal obligations to our students and faculties and to our staff and to our alumnae. If you take up this decision too late, you won't be able to meet those obligations," he said. "People will carve up what's left -- it will not be orderly, nor fair."


The East India Company: The original corporate raiders

For a century, the East India Company conquered, subjugated and plundered vast tracts of south Asia. The lessons of its brutal reign have never been more relevant 

William Dalrymple 

The Guardian - Wednesday 4 March 2015

One of the very first Indian words to enter the English language was the Hindustani slang for plunder: “loot”. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this word was rarely heard outside the plains of north India until the late 18th century, when it suddenly became a common term across Britain. To understand how and why it took root and flourished in so distant a landscape, one need only visit Powis Castle.

The last hereditary Welsh prince, Owain Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, built Powis castle as a craggy fort in the 13th century; the estate was his reward for abandoning Wales to the rule of the English monarchy. But its most spectacular treasures date from a much later period of English conquest and appropriation: Powis is simply awash with loot from India, room after room of imperial plunder, extracted by the East India Company in the 18th century.

There are more Mughal artefacts stacked in this private house in the Welsh countryside than are on display at any one place in India – even the National Museum in Delhi. The riches include hookahs of burnished gold inlaid with empurpled ebony; superbly inscribed spinels and jewelled daggers; gleaming rubies the colour of pigeon’s blood and scatterings of lizard-green emeralds. There are talwars set with yellow topaz, ornaments of jade and ivory; silken hangings, statues of Hindu gods and coats of elephant armour.