Scareplane: If you're wondering why we only fear terrorism at airports, it's because al-Qaeda is failing. David Brooks on The God That Fails: It would be nice if we reacted to the inevitable failures of centralized agencies with resiliency instead of rabid denunciation and cynicism. Steve Coll reads “U.S. Counter-Terrorism Strategy and al-Qaeda: Signaling and the Terrorist World-View”, by Joshua Alexander Geltzer. Will profiling make a difference? Here are 5 myths about keeping America safe from terrorism. The dual role of the U.S. as a liberal democracy and a legitimately aggrieved superpower at war creates a necessary anomaly in how justice is applied. The Carter Syndrome: Barack Obama might yet revolutionize America's foreign policy, but if he can't reconcile his inner Thomas Jefferson with his inner Woodrow Wilson, the 44th president could end up like No. 39 (and more). From Time, here's a report card on Obama's first year. Stress Reliever: How Obama's best economic policy of 2009 cost us exactly nothing. The Washington Post has run a "news" article about deficit reduction penned by The Fiscal Times, an outlet backed by Pete Peterson, the Wall Street millionaire who wants to loot Social Security. A year after the biggest bailout in US history, Wall Street lobbyists don't just have influence in Washington — they own it lock, stock, and barrel. E.J. Dionne Jr. on what Harry Reid's detractors get wrong. How — and when — can Democrats get even with Joe Lieberman? Um, pathetic: Hendrik Hertzberg on Obama and the Left. What liberal revolt? Claims that Obama's base have turned on him are based on scant evidence.

From Critical Mass, a special series on the next decade in book culture. The new country club: Are designer gyms the next hub of pretentious living? A review of Changing my Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith (and more). From Slate, a series of articles on where Russia meets China. Psychologists have begun to explore the strange impulse to put off until tomorrow what could be enjoyed today. A clutch of hackneyed jingles about how marvellous the author is is de rigueur on book covers — but do they really serve any useful role? A review of Albert Camus: From the Absurd to Revolt by John Foley. An interview with Sara Maitland on books on silence. A look at the 6 stupidest things ever done with historic treasures. A review of Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls by Stephen G. Bloom. Free David Mamet: Conservative ideas get scant attention on the American stage. GIS mapping technology is helping underprivileged communities get better services — from education and transportation to health care and law enforcement — by showing exactly what discrimination looks like. A review of 100,000 Years of Beauty. A review of Proud To Be Flesh: A Mute Magazine Anthology of Cultural Politics After the Net. Master of Money: A review of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. Et Tu, Guido: On the sappy truth about Jersey Shore (and more). A review of The Vatican Secret Archives. Here's a complete list of the different kinds of people that there are. With plenty of fascinating books you’ve never heard of and zero sense of obligation, what better way to kick of ’10 than with Bookforum’s Syllabi?

A review of The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land by Thomas Asbridge and Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades by Jonathan Phillips. Hate Radio: Jeffrey Herf on the long, toxic afterlife of Nazi propaganda in the Arab world (and a debate with Richard Wolin). A review of The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations by Lee Smith. How rockets transformed the Middle East arms race and made Russia the big winner. Were early Islamic historians the first to embrace post-modernism? Lesley Hazleton investigates. The fad element in suicide bombings: Abdulmutallab was just one of many young people who flock to the siren song of martyrdom. World history is historiography against the grain: The role of the Middle East and its inhabitants in the two world wars has barely been studied to this day. Does Islamist party Hizb-ut-Tahrir pose a threat to Western society? The answer may well be yes — but that doesn't mean it should be banned (and a response). An interview with Richard Bulliet, author of The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization. The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states; now splits within the world's oldest and largest Islamic political group indicate that it is at a decisive crossroads. A review of The Sum of All Heresies: The Image of Islam in Western Thought by Frederick Quinn. Life and Death in the Middle Belt: A look at the clash of civilizations taking place in Nigeria. An interview with Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi on the secular elements of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

From NYRB, a review of books by Louis-Ferdinand Celine. The Naked and the Conflicted: We denounce the Great Male Novelists of the last century for their sexism, but something has been lost now that innocence is more fashionable than virility, the cuddle preferable to sex. The secret of A Separate Peace: Turning 50, the classic still has something to tell us. In search of a good companion: Matthew Reisz weighs up the role of weighty tomes of literary reference in the digital age. A review of Page Fright: Foibles and Fetishes of Famous Writers by Harry Bruce. A review of Ethics and Politics in Modern American Poetry by John Wrighton. Matthew Price reviews Collected Stories by Raymond Carver and Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life by Carol Sklenicka. An interview with Elif Batuman, author of The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. Arthur C Clarke and the end of upbeat futurology: Reading the great sage of SF's Profiles of the Future makes one miss the era when the future seemed full of fantastic possibility. A review of The Junior Officers' Reading Club: Killing Time and Fighting Wars by Patrick Hennessey. An interview with Dave Eggers, the heartbreak kid. David Walsh writes in praise of George Eliot’s Adam Bede on its 150th anniversary (and part 2). The hysteric moment: Novelists have increasingly faced the challenge of trying to compete with a culture that is a step ahead of them. Only poems can translate poems: A review essay on the impossibility and necessity of translation. Toward a Theory of Surprise: In reading, we perform the nearly oxymoronic feat of seeking surprise.