Which side is the Egyptian military supporting? This Letter From Cairo offers on-the-ground details about false rumors of a coup, shifting allegiances toward the military, and the return of police to the streets.
Despite the successful referendum in southern Sudan, the unresolved status of a town straddling the border between North and South could spark civil war once again. Read this Letter From Abyei by Rebecca Hamilton on where a new Sudanese civil war could begin.
Last week’s mass protests in Tunisia were less a symptom of economic malaise than of a society fed up with its broken dictatorship. Should the other autocratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa be afraid? Michele Penner Angrist comments in this special snapshot.
Have a question about Palestinian statehood? CFR Senior Fellow Robert M. Danin will answer reader questions in an upcoming Q&A.
In “A Third Way to Palestine,” Danin supports Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s efforts to initiate a new pragmatic stage of Palestinian nationalism by building institutions and counting down to statehood. Danin writes that Fayyad’s vision is a promising one, and Israel should help him achieve it.
“After this week’s assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer by a bodyguard who was angered by the politician’s condemnation of Pakistan’s irrational blasphemy laws, thousands of middle-class Pakistani Facebook users joined groups that glorified the alleged killer. Many of the online supporters of this religiously inspired murderer are also graduates of Pakistan’s universities and fans of decidedly un-Islamic cultural imports such as the rap artist Lil Wayne and the television show Family Guy.”—Taimur Khan reports on the evolving social fabric of Pakistan in his Letter from Karachi.
“But Hacker and Pierson particularly zero in on instances of intentional policy drift, when policymakers deliberately sidestepped or resisted available policy alternatives that might have reduced inequality. Allowing corporate executives to be compensated with stock options is one such case; stock-option compensation tends to bend incentives toward the short-term maximization of share prices rather than planning for long-term growth. Consequently, such compensation has allowed top managers to capture jaw-dropping gains despite their companies’ often dismal performances. The long-term cost of corporate failure is borne not by CEOs and their executive minions, of course, but by rank-and-file employees, who get laid off when companies need to cut costs and whose pension investments are wiped out when companies’ stocks sink.
In the 1990s, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which regulates accounting practices, noticed this practice, correctly predicted the damage it would do to the economy, and then sought to curtail it. But Congress, spurred on by the lobbying efforts of major corporations, stopped the FASB in its tracks.”—Why the Rich Are Getting Richer | Foreign Affairs (via robot-heart-politics)
“Washington should accept that the Taliban will inevitably control most of Afghanistan’s south and east.”—Robert Blackwell explains why a de facto partition of Afghanistan, in which Washington pursues nation building in the north and counterterrorism in the south, offers an acceptable fallback.