Views Digest

January, 2014

  • 18 January

    Indonesian Polls: Anti-reform Actors Shine

    Indonesia’s democracy is being increasingly tested by the triple challenges of anti-reform actors, a high-level political malaise and popular disenchantment with the electoral process.   One indicator of this has been an increasing tendency by the Indonesian military (TNI) to reassert itself into the political debate. Indonesia is heading into legislative elections in April and presidential elections in July on the …

  • 17 January

    India’s ‘Common Man’ Coup

    Jantar Mantar Road, a short passageway through the administrative center of New Delhi, takes its name from a complex of gigantic red astronomical instruments at its north terminus, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1724. The Jantar Mantar consists of a series of geometric jungle gyms that surround the all-important shadow of the Supreme Instrument, a four-story, right-triangular sundial …

  • 17 January

    Troubled Legacy of Ariel Sharon

      Ariel Sharon (1928-2014) had slipped into a coma in 2006, as if too embarrassed by his misdeeds to face the world for his remaining eight years. A veteran of the Haganah, one of the Jewish paramilitary battalions that helped seize Palestine for Israel, Sharon became one of Israel’s best known generals and then, later, one of its most powerful …

  • 17 January

    Alaska’s Fishing Grounds Under Threat

    The Center for American Progress published an analysis in June 2013 that detailed a proposal for a massive open-pit mine project that would unearth 12 square miles of pristine Alaska wilderness. The Pebble Limited Partnership’s mining claim lies in a remote swath of Southwest Alaska between two rivers that collectively produce more than one-quarter of the planet’s sockeye salmon and support a fishery with …

  • 16 January

    Beating Back US Inequality Won’t Be Easy

    Half a century ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.” That war would soon make a real difference. In the decade following its 1964 launch, our official poverty rate dropped from 19 to 11.2 percent.   But that progress stalled in the 1970s, and a profound economic insecurity now afflicts the vast majority of Americans, poor and middle-class alike. Our top 1 …

  • 15 January

    The Real Price of Seafood

    In 2012, this country imported more than $31 billion worth of seafood If you enjoy a plate of fish sticks or a salmon burger from time to time, there’s a good chance you’re eating something that came into the United States illegally—and contributed to the death of hundreds of thousands of dolphins, whales, and sea lions.   The Marine Mammal …

  • 14 January

    Arming India into Dependency

    The blossoming of ties with the United States has become an important diplomatic asset for India in recent years. Yet, the heady glow of the much-ballyhooed strategic partnership helped obscure prickly issues that arose much before the Devyani Khobragade episode. In truth, the Obama administration’s reluctance to accommodate Indian interests on major issues, coupled with the fundamental challenge of managing …

  • 13 January

    Managing Southeast Asia’s Fractured Societies

    Political unrest, economic divisions, social turmoil, outright insurgency and civil war are common problems in the modern age. In Southeast Asia such problems are pertinent currently in Thailand and perennially in the Philippines. Elsewhere, they seem to be characteristic of the troubles in Ukraine and in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and other Arab countries. What do these countries have in common? Some have to do …

  • 13 January

    Most US Lawmakers are Millionaires

    For the first time in history, most members of U.S. Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis of personal financial disclosure data by the Center for Responsive Politics.   Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress …

  • 12 January

    Thailand on The Brink

    Thailand is no stranger to political turmoil but the current unrest looks set to be a protracted and especially bitter affair, raising the very real possibility of civil war. The stage seems set for a showdown between anti-government forces, backed by powerful vested interests, and a flawed but democratically elected government that enjoys mass support, especially in its rural heartlands. The conflict …