From The Nation, a special issue on Afghanistan: Obama's Fateful Choice. From Rolling Stone, Robert Dreyfus on The Generals' Revolt: Obama faces two insurgencies: the Taliban and the Pentagon. From Commentary, Max Boot on how we can win in Afghanistan. Remembering Afghanistan’s Golden Age: From the 1930s to the 1970s, Afghanistan had a semblance of a national government and Kabul was known as “the Paris of Central Asia”. Jason Zengerle on Rory Stewart, the T. E. Lawrence of Afghanistan. From Red Pepper, Alastair Crooke on Red Shi’ism, Iran and the Islamist revolution (and two responses). The new hostage crisis: Why Iran's rulers imprison people they know are innocent. Larry Franklin on his secret plan to overthrow the mullahs. From New Internationalist, a special issue on Islam in power. From LRB, a review of Murder in the Name of Honour by Rana Husseini; In Honour of Fadime: Murder and Shame by Unni Wikan; and Honour Killing: Stories of Men Who Killed by Ayse Onal. The introduction to Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Laden. From Foreign Affairs, a review of Forces of Fortune: The Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class and What It Will Mean for Our World by Vali Nasr; and under the leadership of the AKP, Turkey's foreign policy is becoming more Islamist — can the country's history of cooperation with the West survive? Geopolitical grandstanding, from a Turkish perspective: What a global empire based on pan-Islamism and pan-Turkism would look like, a mega-state combining the Ummah (the lands where Islam dominates) with Turan (the name for all countries and regions inhabited by Turkic people).
From NPQ, an interview with Francis Fukuyama on the "End of History", 20 years later. Winds of Change from the East: A look at how Poland and Hungary led the way in 1989. Michael Lejman (Memphis): The Left Reacts: French Leftists and the 1989 Revolutions in Eastern Europe. The first chapter from 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe by Mary Elise Sarotte (and more). From Reason, a review of The Year That Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Michael Meyer (and an excerpt) and The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War by James Mann. A review of Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment by Stephen Kotkin. From Dissent, what is to be learned? Mitchell Cohen on thinking about 1989. From Foreign Affairs, the suicide of the East: A review essay on 1989 and the Fall of Communism. From The Nation, a review essay on the revolutions of 1989; and an interview with Mikhail Gorbachev. 1989 and change in our time: Old-fashioned revolutions of the mass against the oppressors are out — history now delivers revolutionary normalisations. A look back on the unravelling of the Soviet system and the unlikely staying power of a once-ridiculed worldview (at least the sensible parts of it). What was communism? Fred Halliday investigates. Is the word "communism" forever doomed? Alain Badiou wants to know. From The New Criterion, Anthony Daniels on the intellectual irresponsibility of Soviet sympathizers. Daniel Johnson on why it was a rare privilege to have a footnote in history at the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Michaela Pfadenhauer (Karlsruhe): The Lord of the Loops: Observations at the Club Culture DJ-Desk. From The Exiled, one of this year’s more disturbing stories that were ignored was the illegal Army occupation of Samson, Alabama. The conventional paradigm for streets revolves around quickly moving cars from Point A to Point B; this has been the dominant thinking for at least 60 years, but it is beginning to change. A review of After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by John Casey. The scene that smells of zine spirit: It should have died out with flexi discs and VHS, but now a new generation is embracing the DIY world of the fanzine. Forty years of Kenneth Clark's Civilisation: Western culture wasn't always considered comical or contemptible. The game that trumps all others: Alexander McCall Smith loves bridge's endless rules, carping partners and mental challenges. From Cracked, a look at the creepiest urban legends (that happen to be true); and an article on the 5 most unintentionally racist movies about racism. Nearly universal literacy is a defining characteristic of today’s modern civilization; nearly universal authorship will shape tomorrow's. A review of One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World by Gordon Hempton and John Grossman. From Vanity Fair, it sometimes seems as if Wallis Annenberg is single-handedly funding L.A.; as she takes charge of the $1.6 billion foundation created by her late media-mogul father, Walter, Bob Colacello finds the 70-year-old heiress in full bloom. A review of Russell Kirk's Eliot and His Age.
Egbert Schuurman (ICE): Technology and the Ethics of Responsibility. The science journalism community weighs in as the new futurity.org blurs the line between reporting and public relations. A review of Cogent Science in Context: The Science Wars, Argumentation Theory, and Habermas by William Rehg. A review of Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy by Yuval Levin. Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum has a promising premise but a disappointing payoff (and more and more). An excerpt from Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style by Randy Olson. Science Creative Quarterly editor David Ng on the complicated relationship between science and art. A review of Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science by Carol Kaesuk Yoon. A review of Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves by James Le Fanu. More and more and more on Richard Holmes’s The Age of Wonder. The rise of scientific understanding transformed the world within a few centuries — why? Physicist David Deutsch proposes a subtle answer. From New Scientist, meet the superheroes of science. An interview with Roger Penrose: Physics is wrong, and the human brain — and the universe itself — must function according to some theory we haven't yet discovered. Geologist Walter Alvarez is the man who discovered what killed the dinosaurs. From PopSci, a look at ten young geniuses shaking up science today.