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Columns and Articles by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

December 02, 2018

Can There Be a Centrist Party?

The political pendulum in this country has now swung to two extremes, making it very difficult for a more...


March 10, 2018

Let Us Take a Tour of Slavery Through History

Although slavery did not begin with America, its effects still poison the dreams of the America Blac more...


March 03, 2018

It Is Just a Little Headscarf

In 1978, Pakistan?s newly elected president, Zia ul Huq, transformed his country from an aspiring se more...


February 24, 2018

Thirteen Russians Indicted for Election Meddling

For several years now, we have heard about Information Warfare, a new way of fightin more...


February 17, 2018

Valentine's Day Has Religious Enemies

It is difficult to believe that a holiday as seemingly benign as St. Valentine's Day could a more...


February 10, 2018

In a Democracy, Character Matters.

This column is not just launching an attack on President Trump, although his character does more...


February 03, 2018

Our Better Angels

Abraham Lincoln in his first Inaugural Address, on Monday, March 4, 1861, delivered more...


January 27, 2018

The Kurds Are Transforming Islam

The Syrian city of Raqqa, recently cleared of its ISIS fanatics, is being rebuilt after near more...


January 20, 2018

Iranian Revolution Coming Apart?

At the time of this writing, street demonstrations have been roiling Iran for almost a week more...


January 13, 2018

Fake News and Conspiracy Theories

History is full of examples of misinformation being broadly believed by the gullible. There more...


January 06, 2018

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel?s Capital

I try to be a political centrist, and have done so for both Democratic and Republican presid more...


December 30, 2017

What are Laws and Norms?

Laws are rules of behavior observed and enforced by a society. These rules are mandated by w more...


December 23, 2017

Is Fear of Strangers a Human Instinct?

Is fear of strangers (xenophobia) built in to the human genetic code? If genetic, it would be instin more...


December 16, 2017

Good Manners Need a Renaissance

Our country is having an epidemic of bad manners, causing all sorts of discord. In Western C more...


December 09, 2017

Is Fundamentalism in Meltdown?

Every mainstream religion has positive elements that provide comfort and direction to its pa more...


December 02, 2017

Can There Be a Centrist Party?

The political pendulum in this country has now swung to two extremes, making it very difficult for a more...


November 25, 2017

Is Saudi Arabia Heading for Disaster?

Saudi Arabia is a unique nation-state: a kingdom named for its ruling family, the Sauds. Th more...


November 18, 2017

One World or Back to Tribalism?

The past few centuries have seen the rise of the nation-state, countries defined by a common more...


November 11, 2017

Gender Wars in Perspective

An obnoxious Hollywood mogul, a man who for decades sexually harassed seemingly every female more...


November 04, 2017

Democracy Cannot Have One Hand Clapping!

When our country was being created, our first president, George Washington, tried to avoid h more...


October 28, 2017

Leaving the Union: Pros and Cons

If American foreign policy were based on our own historic experience, we must oppose secession movem more...


October 21, 2017

Vietnam Revisited

The latest Ken Burns documentary, Vietnam, should have been as widely watched as his Civil W more...


October 14, 2017

Understanding Dangerous Weak Countries

Survival is a universal instinct among all living creatures. Nature seems to give even mice a fighting chance (they can run fast and hide in holes). The squid, not a ferocious creature, can defend itself by blinding the predator (squid ink). The weak porcupine can erect painful quills that deter the enemy from taking a bite. The skunk has a foul spray that deters the unwise.

Human societies are no different. There are strong countries (our own), with the best geography, enough food, and wealth to do almost anything. And then there are countries with so many strikes against them that they need to be wily to survive. We need to understand that weakness can also be dangerous.

Russia is a weak country. It has a terrible geography, a declining population, and a paranoid anxiety about invasion from greedy neighbors. In an open conflict with NATO, they would be outmanned and outgunned (unless they used their nukes, which would be suicidal). The spread of NATO to the very borders of Russia has made them very anxious indeed. They do not believe our constant reassurances that we have no aggressive motives; just defensive ones. And they do not believe that we have no plans of "regime change." We say that we do not, but our actions have belied that denial. We have been promoting Western style Liberal Democracy (checks and balances) since the end of World War I.

So, what does Putin do? He must use asymmetrical warfare instead: the defense tactics of the weak. He intimidates neighbors that he can: creating revolts in Ukraine, for example, for the Russian speaking part of the country and before anyone can react, he snatches the Crimean peninsula. He creates such problems for his former colony, Georgia, that they drop the notion of joining NATO. And he takes a part of Georgia too. Finally, he interferes most cleverly in subverting the American election, destroying the campaign of the one person that he fears and resents: Hillary Clinton, and promotes the victory of Donald Trump, a person who owes him quite a few financial favors (such as bailing him out with Russian money when no western banks would lend to him some years ago).

North Korea is another very weak state. It lacks resources, often lacks enough food for its population, and is a threat to its neighborhood. They compensate for their weakness by developing and threatening to use nukes. They will not give them up, citing what happened to Libya when Gadhafi gave up his nukes. They see this as a step toward "regime change."

Burma (Myanmar) is another case of a weak state that is certainly no threat to its neighbors, but it is fighting what it sees as an internal threat: Muslims from Bangladesh. Burma has been condemned by the UN and from most Western countries for committing racial cleansing, and human rights observers cannot understand why. What is Burma?s weakness? They are on the high ground, needed by neighboring Bangladesh, a country overpopulated (Burma is not) and increasingly under rising seas and torrential flooding. Any observer could see that if not constrained, Burma could eventually be overrun, and overrun by people with a religious culture that would persecute a Buddhist minority.

If analysts are sharp eyed, they could note that neighboring Buddhist state Thailand is also fighting a Muslim insurgency in the south. Muslim-majority nations do not tolerate other religions. The Buddhist countries think that they are fighting for their existence.

Russia and China, both countries with structural weaknesses, have also been ferocious when confronted with a challenge from Muslim minorities. The Russians have Chechnya, where its once mild Islam has morphed into Islamism. China fears its Central Asian Muslims, the Uigurs, who have gone militant.

And finally, there are the Palestinians who could have had a weak state, but instead have no state at all. They use the defenses of weakness: hijacking aircraft, car bombing, suicide bombing, and most cleverly, using a propaganda campaign to elicit sympathy from western Leftists. Sometimes, the underdog deserves to be an underdog.

678 words

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God's Law or Man's Law. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.


October 07, 2017

The Eternal Russia

Russia is a victim of geography; everything unpleasant, violent, paranoid, and dark can be t more...


September 30, 2017

Identity Politics?

We have heard the term "identity politics" a great deal during the last presidential electio more...


September 23, 2017

Nation Building in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan has been a problem since Alexander the Great tramped through on his way to India. It bec more...


September 16, 2017

Freedom Is a Tricky Concept.

"Freedom" is an interesting idea, one that is much used in ways that are often contradictory. Freedo more...


September 09, 2017

Destroying Sacred Icons Is Not New.

A political cartoon in the Santa Cruz Sentinel showed two Islamist Muslims cheering on the d more...


September 02, 2017

"Why Can?t a Woman Be More Like a Man?"

One of the funniest songs in My Fair Lady is when two men, a professor and his best friend d more...


August 26, 2017

Resentment and Torchlight Parades

It was unsettling, to say the least, to see a resurrection of America?s perennial underbelly more...


August 19, 2017

Iran's Simmering Rebellion

Misaugh Parsa, a Dartmouth professor, has published a fascinating book, Democracy In Iran: Why it Fa more...


August 12, 2017

Is There Democracy in Iran's Future?

I was in and out of Iran the year (1978) just before the country fell to an Islamic Revoluti more...


August 05, 2017

"Palace Intrigues" in Art and History.

Governing well is not easy, and governing well under a democracy is not the most efficient s more...


July 29, 2017

The Past and Future of Work

There are people in the lesser-developed parts of the world who do work that our modern societies ha more...


July 22, 2017

Humor Can Bring Down a State

One characteristic of nasty governments?theocracies, dictatorships, and authoritarian monarchies is more...


July 15, 2017

What do you know about Montenegro?

Montenegro was in the news in late May and early June, but it is doubtful that the vast majority of more...


July 08, 2017

Liberal or Illiberal Democracies, What Are They?

My vigilant husband has called my attention to my use of the term "Liberal Democracy." Many more...


July 01, 2017

Constitutional Crises In Our History

Looking through American history since George Washington was elected as our first president more...


June 24, 2017

True Believers, The World?s Nightmares

"True Believers," by their very process, discard any effort at critical thinking. Whatever t more...


June 17, 2017

Populism Across the Globe

Angry people with grievances are making themselves felt around the world in election more...


June 10, 2017

How Islamists Select Targets

Every time Islamists select a target, such as the recent attack in Manchester, handwringers come ou more...


June 03, 2017

Where are the University Grownups?

For some years now, we have seen a transformation in university life that does not b more...


May 27, 2017

Where Religious Tolerance is Scorned (Part 3 of 3)

On May 13, my column provided the global history of religious tolerance. On May 20, I charted the hi more...


May 20, 2017

Limits to Tolerance (Part 2 of 3)

On May 13, my column provided the global history of religious tolerance. This column feature more...


May 13, 2017

Religious Tolerance in World History

Among primitive humans, the world was frightening and animated by benign or hostile spirits. more...


Religious Tolerance in World History

Among primitive humans, the world was frightening and animated by benign or hostile spirits. Our anc more...


May 06, 2017

America?s Long Religious Heritage

Unlike the rest of the developed world, which is either tepid on religion or is fiercely sec more...


April 29, 2017

Russia?s New Global Aims

The Cold War is back, but it is a different Cold War because it is a different Russia. It is more...


April 22, 2017

America Has 250 Years of Consistent Foreign Policy

The majority of Americans, furious over the Assad regime using poison gas on his own Syrian more...


April 15, 2017

Closing the American Great Divide

Americans were the closest to being united by a common culture between 1941 and 1965. The po more...


April 08, 2017

World Happiness Report

Every year, the UN issues a report on a survey of how countries rank in terms of development more...


March 25, 2017

The Trouble With Today?s "Cassandras."

Cassandra dates back to ancient Greek mythology. Cassandra was a princess of Troy who was cu more...


March 18, 2017

Sweden Does Have an Immigrant Problem.

President Trump's recent comment about "Sweden, Sweden is a disaster" met with pushback when more...


March 11, 2017

The Role of Language in Politics

A fascinating issue arose during our recent Presidential election campaign, and continues to more...


March 04, 2017

Two-State Solution Faces Reality

It has been US and UN policy since the founding of Israel and Palestine in 1947 that two sta more...


February 25, 2017

Crisis for the Muslim World

Laina Farhat-Holzman
February 25, 2017

Islam is said more...


February 18, 2017

Vetting Immigrants and Refugees

Our country has every right to vet the flood of immigrants trying to come to this land. But more...


February 11, 2017

Ideas That Make People Kill.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Europeans engaged in mutual slaughter over religion: th more...


February 04, 2017

Islam: One Size Does Not Fit All!

Both extreme ends of the political spectrum have a problem with their assessment of Islam, t more...


January 28, 2017

The Arc of History

As a historian, I share with former President Obama the idea that there is such a thing as " more...


January 21, 2017

World Law and Reciprocity

After 75 years with a system of global norms that America created, many around the world are more...


January 07, 2017

Israel and Its Changing Neighborhood

Nothing is more divisive than discussions of the Israeli/Palestinian century old conflict. T more...


December 31, 2016

Who Are Americans? Multiethnic or Multicultural?

The populist resurgence around the world, including our own country, is about identity crisis. Belon more...


December 24, 2016


In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevya, the milkman, a poor Jewish villager trying to survive in Tzarist Russ more...


December 17, 2016

Populism?s Unanticipated Consequences: Dictatorship

I learned in my college days that when somebody on campus yelled "Power to the People!" that more...


December 10, 2016

How Our "Nation of Immigrants" Works.

We are a nation of immigrants, including even the "Native Americans" who just migrat more...


December 03, 2016

America?s History of Isolationism or Engagement.

November 11, 1918, was Armistice Day. On that date a century ago, World War I ended with a cease fi more...


November 26, 2016

Celebrating Native American Food

Laina Farhat-Holzman
November 26, 2016

I have never more...


November 19, 2016

Culture Matters Part 2

Last week, I wrote about the cultural chasm in the United States that gave rise to election results more...


November 05, 2016

E Pluribus Unum?

This Latin slogan describes the intentions of our founding father: that out of many colonies more...


November 01, 2016

Laina with October Movies

Deepwater Horizon

Catastrophes test human character, ingenuity, and endurance more...


October 22, 2016

It Can?t Happen Here?

e are just two weeks from the US Presidential election, far too late to change minds. However, many more...


October 15, 2016

Israel?s Changing Neighborhood

When Israel first became a nation, a unified Muslim world (in particular, Arab world) invade more...


October 08, 2016

Populism Is No Way to Rule.

It is good advice to hide your wallet when you hear "Power to the People." Our founding fathers knew more...


October 01, 2016

Immigrants vs Self-Radicalizing Jihadis

With the latest outrage of terror attacks by two US citizens in New York-New Jersey more...


September 22, 2016

Is There Global Rule of Law?

During President Obama?s recent visit to Asia, he spoke about Global Norms to students in La more...


September 17, 2016

Why Is Georgetown University Rewriting History?

Cherry-picking is no way to benefit from historic insight. Suddenly, it has become chic to revisit h more...


September 10, 2016

The Fuss over Headscarves

When President Ronald Reagan stood at the Berlin wall and said: "Mr. Gorbachev, Take Down This Wall. more...


August 27, 2016

Libya as an American Foreign Policy Problem

Libya is a perfect example of why it is so difficult for the US to design a good foreign policy wher more...


August 20, 2016

Culture Matters: International (Part 2 of 2)

In the 1990s, Samuel Huntington first wrote an essay, then a book, called The Clash of Civilizations more...


August 13, 2016

Culture Matters! Part 1 of 2.

When the Black Lives Matter organization adds the word "also," this removes the idea that only Black more...


August 06, 2016

Russia's Long Romance with Lying and Deception

A spotlight has been turned on Putin's Russia lately: the probability that his government had hacked more...


July 23, 2016

Iraq War Revisited with Critical Thinking

A British report released a few weeks ago roundly castigated former Prime Minister Tony Blair for hi more...


July 16, 2016

Beliefs that Kill

What people believe matters. There are some beliefs around the world that result in murder. So many more...


July 09, 2016

Profiling the Muslim Community

What is so dangerous about Donald Trump is that he sometimes, quite by accident, takes a pos more...


June 18, 2016

Religion, Sexuality, and Homosexuality

Many well-meaning people believe that the murderous aspects of today?s Muslim true-believers more...


June 04, 2016

The Mystery of Defunding Israel

When one surveys nasty governance, horrible cultures, and rampant injustice in the world, Is more...


June 02, 2016

Letters to Editors: Primary Elections and Slavery Statistics

San Francisco Chronicle
June 2, 2016


Slavery Statistics more...


May 24, 2016

Book Review on Communism's Founding Tyrants

James DeMeo: "The Hidden History of Communism's Founding Tyrants, in their Own Words: Marx, Engels, more...


May 21, 2016

Saudi Arabia: Our Troubled and Troublesome Ally (Part 2 of 2)

A country as insignificant as Saudi Arabia before oil would have mattered little to the worl more...


May 14, 2016

Saudi Arabia: Our Troubled and Troublesome Ally (Part 1 of 2)

Saudi Arabia is an excellent example of how complex our alliances can be. I have heard from more...


May 07, 2016

What Use Are Good Manners?

Being "polite" is not just a matter of saying please and thank you. Courtesy has always been the lub more...


April 30, 2016

1400 Years of Inbreeding

Worldwide Muslim marriage practices are now under fire for a spate of genetic problems now i more...


April 23, 2016

Four Middle East Water Systems Shape History

Controlling water was one of the first technological efforts at the beginning of what we call "civil more...


April 09, 2016

Genocide extends back 7,000 years.

Archaeologists have just found a 7,000-year-old Stone Age mass gravesite outside of Frankfurt, Germa more...


April 02, 2016

What is a Patriot?

The first mention of love of country occurred in Rome, under the Republic. The slogan was: D more...


March 19, 2016

Political Parties Are Not Permanent.

That the Republican Party is heading toward a demolition is no surprise by now. This is not the firs more...


March 12, 2016

Anger is No Substitute for Thinking.

One of the most difficult things about popular democracy is that it requires thought. Not al more...


March 05, 2016

With Women Like These?..

For all the vaunted "sisterhood" among women, we need to be aware that some are not always our frien more...


February 27, 2016

Was the Past Really Better?

When we revere the past to the point of worship, we are saying that those who came centuries more...


February 20, 2016

Do You Really Want a Revolution?

Being angry is not the best reason for voting for a "revolution." One might not like aspects of the more...


February 13, 2016

How Our Presidents Promote Tolerance

The United States was founded just as the European Enlightenment swept through. The Enlightenment oc more...


January 30, 2016

The Long Decline of Christians in the Muslim World.

Secular Americans and Europeans are often reluctant to rush to the defense of Christians around the more...


January 23, 2016

Europe's Good Intentions Hit the Wall of Reality.

Casandras (me included) have been writing for 20 years about Europe's failure to integrate a Muslim more...


January 16, 2016

Poll Finds Christian-Muslim Divide on Religious Freedom.

The Associated Press put out an article on December 31 on a poll taken in the United States more...


January 09, 2016

"Round Up the Usual Suspects!"

The Vichy French police chief in the delightful movie, Casablanca, hid his scorn for his Naz more...


January 02, 2016

Darwin Awards for 2015

I issue mock Darwin Awards each year for those so stupid they should be barred from adding to the ge more...


December 31, 2015

Laina at the Movies

December 31, 2015


It is amazing that a bio-pic about a more...


December 26, 2015

The History of How Religions Change.

People on both ends of the political spectrum are stumbling around in their concern about Is more...


December 19, 2015

Neither Bigot Not Apologist.

Our country is tied in knots on how to regard Militant Islam. Donald Trump, a bumptious Republican p more...


December 12, 2015

Militant Islam has a Woman Problem.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attack on America, there was a knee-jerk assumption that more...


December 06, 2015

Letter to the Editor: Ignoring the Obvious!

December 6, 2015
Santa Cruz Sentinel

Ignoring the Obvious!


December 05, 2015

Are We At War? And With Whom?

Leaders both here and in Europe are reluctant to identify those with whom we are at war. The more...


November 28, 2015

Do Refugees Have Responsibilities?

Nobody seems to be asking if refugees themselves have responsibilities to their host country more...


November 21, 2015

Is the Paris Massacre a Game Changer?

Laina Farhat-Holzman
November 21, 2015

Santa Cruz Se more...


November 14, 2015

How Can Immigrants Be Absorbed?

Immigration is not new for Europe. The first migrants who arrived from the Middle East (Homo more...


November 07, 2015

Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia: a Primer

A reader once called me a racist in response to an article I wrote criticizing Islamism. I w more...


October 31, 2015

Say Goodbye to Clock Boy!

From the moment the news swept the nation that a 14-year-old Texas Muslim boy, Ahmed Mohamed more...


October 24, 2015

Afghan Problems

With so many urgent events around the world, Afghanistan is not one we wanted to see again. more...


October 17, 2015

The Saudis Are Not Alone in Religious Stampedes.

When I was a child, my father said: "never chase an ambulance!" He warned that mobs of peopl more...


October 10, 2015

The World Has A Strange Fixation on Sex.

Human sexuality has two areas of concern for people who govern: population numbers (Reproduce and Mu more...


October 03, 2015

Whose Fault is the Immigrant Crisis?

Wouldn't you know that the moment any crisis occurs in the world that the usual comm more...


September 26, 2015

Whose Fault is the Immigrant Crisis?

Wouldn't you know that the moment any crisis occurs in the world that the usual commentators more...


Press Coverage Sometimes Skews Needed Information.

Two stories that, thanks to the press and social media, went viral, immediately raised red f more...


September 21, 2015

Another View of Pope Francis

Santa Cruz Sentinel
September 21, 2015l


As much as we a more...


September 19, 2015

Refugee Hordes Threaten Europe?s Future.

Europe has a long history of taking in refugees---and of creating them. During the French Re more...


September 12, 2015

Religious fanaticism still defies the Secular State.

While stupid killers around the world go on their endless rounds of murdering people in the more...


September 05, 2015

The United States of Europe Is Obviously Premature.

Europe is a geographic designation: the westernmost peninsula of the Eurasian continental landmass. more...



Tevye, the father living in revolutionary times of rapid change, struggled with what to do a more...


August 29, 2015

Are Arabs Losing Interest in the Palestinians?

Amir Taheri, an Iranian journalist whom I once knew as editor of the English language Tehran more...


August 22, 2015


Tevye, the father living in revolutionary times of rapid change, struggled with what to do a more...


August 01, 2015

What if the 30-Year Religious Wars Prediction Is Wrong?

Yemen, once a backwater that nobody much cared about, is now a failed state that has inflamed an ent more...


July 25, 2015

Let's Take a Long View of the Iran Deal.

The exhausted negotiators had been at it for 20 months, the last many hours of which were ne more...


July 18, 2015

Putin Has His Own Private Assassins

I don?t know how many of you remember the story of the "Sorcerer?s Apprentice," charmingly done in t more...


July 04, 2015

Human Rights Widen In the West, Vanish Elsewhere.

On June 26, the United States extended its freedoms to one more group of fellow citizens, homosexual more...


June 27, 2015

History Reveals Presidential Close Calls!

As a historian, I can be pretty dispassionate about reading things that are past and gone. K more...


June 20, 2015

Defunding Israel but Blind to Islamophobia Ripoffs?

Only in the free Western world can such asymmetrical nonsense take place. Israel, the one western co more...


June 13, 2015

Asking the Wrong Question Can Lead to War.

The United States has gone to war twice by asking the wrong questions. Fortunately for us, even thou more...


May 09, 2015

Europe?s Newest Invasion needs Tough Love.

As Europeans wring their hands over the arrival of desperate boat people swarming from an Af more...


May 02, 2015

The Nation-State Idea is Not Cast in Stone.

I remember trying to explain to my small children what a "country" is. They understood neigh more...


April 25, 2015

When is "Economic Information" Espionage?

Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian has been cooling his heels in an Iranian prison more...


April 18, 2015

"Clash of Traditions" Offer Glimmers of Hope

Samuel D. Huntington warned in his landmark book Clash of Civilizations (1996) that we were more...


April 04, 2015

What's New: Destroying One's Own Religious Treasures

The Pagan world had no problem with incorporating other people's gods. They managed to see c more...


March 14, 2015

Poor Jihadi John: People Picked on Him!

"Jihadi John" has been identified as Mohammad Emwazi, a young immigrant from Kuwait, welcome more...


March 07, 2015

What to do with Returning Jihadis?

Parents know that teenagers must make some mistakes in order to learn, and we always hope th more...


February 21, 2015

Annual Darwin Awards

Every year, I gather up notes on people so stupid that they should not add to the human gene more...


February 10, 2015

Victimization Has Become Chic---Diluting the Message.

Our country is wallowing in the blame game with endless demonstrations protesting injustice. It is s more...


January 17, 2015

Whose Fault Are the French Jihadi Murders?

After a horror such as the French-born Muslim assassinations of the editors and cartoonists more...


January 10, 2015

Terrorists: "Insult us and we kill you."

We in the Western World think our sacred cows are strong enough to withstand mockery and hum more...


It is Not Smart to Take Rule of Law for Granted.

We take "rule of law" as much for granted as we assume that our supermarkets will not run ou more...


January 03, 2015

Youth who seek "meaning" find it in bad places.

Intrepid TV journalists have managed to conduct interviews with some of the most puzzling Ji more...


December 20, 2014

Belief and Writing: It Must Be True If It Is Written Down.

Fanatics are not called "true believers" for nothing. Whether the belief is religious or pol more...


December 13, 2014

Europe Rethinks Multiculturalism

Americans, unlike Europeans, have always made room for new citizens from other countries. Since the more...


December 06, 2014

Some Thoughts on Ferguson

From the beginning of this terrible incident, I saw a few other things not really mentioned in the j more...


Is Iran?s Islamic Revolution Melting?

The Economist had a feature article (Nov. 1) that the steam has gone out of the Ayatollah Khomeini?s more...


November 29, 2014

The Women?s Revolution Threatens The Old Guard

Laina Farhat-Holzman
November 29, 2014

Of all the mo more...


November 15, 2014

We Must Put the "Crises of the Moment" in Context.

Critics of President Obama have an easy job. They do not have to make the decisions that wil more...


November 08, 2014

Debates About "Intrinsic Islam"

Some noisy public debates are going on about the sensitive issue of the "intrinsic" nature of Islam. more...


October 25, 2014

Does This War Have an End Game?

We are bad at long-term planning. It is not natural for Americans to think much beyond the next busi more...


October 18, 2014

Who?s Counting?

One issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, August 23, 2014, was representative of what is going on gl more...


October 11, 2014

What Makes a British Muslim An Executioner?

Are radicalized Muslim youth more dangerous to Europe than to the United States? It is far easier fo more...


October 04, 2014

Corruption Has Ancient Roots.

Political corruption is as old as civilization (the birth of city-states). It is a big issue in the more...


September 27, 2014

Will Islam Address Its Internal Crisis?

Muslims have lived so long with governments they cannot trust that the rumor mill serves as their so more...


September 20, 2014

This Is No Longer Your Grandfathers' Army.

If we are talking softly but carrying a big stick, as President Teddy Roosevelt advised, we need a b more...


September 13, 2014

Conflicting Views of the President's Foreign Policy

Journalists often gang up on our presidents. Dwight Eisenhower was dismissed as an i more...


September 06, 2014

Ebola Is Just The Tip of an Iceberg.

The news is full of the latest version of an old demon facing humanity: plagues and epidemics. Ebola more...


August 30, 2014

Al Qaeda Spawned A Monster Child, The Islamic Caliphate.

Middle East analysts are trying to assess this new beast that has emerged out of Islamist dy more...


August 23, 2014

Caliphates and Tooth Fairies Are Cousins.

Those Islamists who have announced that they are a new Caliphate must also look under their more...


August 16, 2014

Proxy Wars Have Unanticipated Consequences

Getting somebody else to fight while you watch is an old idea. ?Let me hold your coat,? says more...


August 02, 2014

Can Wars Be Proportional?

If columnist Amy Goodman had covered the carpet-bombing of Germany in World War II, she would have i more...


July 26, 2014

Prejudice: Is it Culture or Race?

I have been watching the splendid Cosmos, the successor to the original television series by more...


July 19, 2014

Are ISIS and ISIL Based on Religion or Ideology?

When we hear the word ISIS, we usually think of the great Egyptian goddess of antiquity. Tod more...


July 12, 2014

Alliances Have No Longevity in the Middle East.

Not only are borders shifting wildly in today's Middle East reshuffle, but alliances are too more...


July 05, 2014

The Borders in the Middle East are Changing.

A century ago, the First World War broke out and at its conclusion, the political geography more...


June 28, 2014

Does Iraq Have a Future?

The blame game is going on about Iraq?s descent into regional warfare. This is a futile exer more...


June 21, 2014

US Foreign Policy: Does History Repeat Itself? (Part 2 of 2)

Historians compare the onset of World War I exactly a century ago with our own time. At the more...


June 14, 2014

An Iranian in Exile Takes On a British MP.

Ever since the Iranian monarchy fell to a radical Islamic revolution, I have chafed over the more...


June 07, 2014

US Foreign Policy: What Are Our Goals and Priorities? (Part 1 of 2)

The vital national interests of the United States have always included:

? Pr more...


May 17, 2014

What is Boko Haram and Why Should We Care?

An army of dirt-ignorant terrorists has been running rampant in Africa for the past few year more...


May 03, 2014

What the Map Can Tell You.

I am of a generation that remembered geography as one of my favorite subjects in gra more...


April 26, 2014

Why Are We the World’s Policemen?

Cutting the defense budget in the foolish notion that we should not be the world’s policemen is bi more...


April 15, 2014


Would Brandeis University have disinvited a Holocaust survivor from receiving an honorary degree bec more...


Why We Can’t Make the World Safe for Democracy

When we believe that human beings are motivated most by economic self-interest, we are unfailingly w more...


April 05, 2014

“When They Love Their Children….”

Many years ago, Golda Meir, then Prime Minister of Israel, was asked when there would be peace with more...


March 22, 2014

Putin’s Ideological Fantasy of Russian “Spirituality.”

David Brooks had a brilliant column recently on Putin’s historic mission to restore Russia to the more...


March 08, 2014

The Russian Bear Still Has Teeth Laina Farhat-Holzman

Many of us miss the Cold War, not because it was without violence (there was, but nothing li more...


March 01, 2014

The Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost in Pakistan.

Muslim governments always blame “foreign meddling” for all their ills The once great Mus more...


February 22, 2014

Let's Give them a Big Hand: Current Darwin Awards

Periodically, I round up all the most stupid human behaviors that manage to reach the press worldwid more...


February 08, 2014

Movies are America’s Soft Power

Movies are an extremely important element of American foreign policy around the world. These more...


February 01, 2014

Al Qaeda In Africa Increases Its Violence

Yemen is in the epicenter of Al Qaeda horrors. On December 5, the brazen group took on Yeme more...


January 25, 2014

Turkey: How to Lose a Democracy

Once more, supporters of “democracy” in the Muslim world do not understand the issue. Majority more...


December 28, 2013

India and China Are Not in the Same League.

Much of our foreign policy, as well as that of Europe, has to do with the rising powers of I more...


December 21, 2013

Countries Can Be Judged By Their Internments

During the 20th century, a number of nations engaged in expelling populations or interning those dee more...


December 14, 2013

Alarms Bells Are Going Off As Al Qaeda Networks Spread.

As a historian with a long view, I avoid alarming predictions of doom and gloom. Although Militant I more...


December 07, 2013

Can We Legislate Against Sin?

From the beginning of human society, control of behavior was essential to cohesion. You cannot have more...


November 30, 2013

The Politically Correct Only Recognize “Selective Slavery.”

Many years ago, I submitted a paper for a conference on Slavery (World History Association), more...


November 26, 2013

Why Some Women Love Violence.

There is an old joke (a John Wayne movie?) that tells of why women put up with violent husbands. “ more...


November 23, 2013

Iran Has Reasons for a Deal.

That the sanctions against Iran have brought the economy close to collapse is well known. I heard fr more...


November 02, 2013

The “World Community” Has Double Standards.

The response to Bashar Assad’s use of poison gas lobbed into rebel-held suburbs of Damascu more...


October 26, 2013

We Have Always Had Turncoats.

Why would a citizen of a country that serves them well opt for betrayal? Why would a US army more...


October 19, 2013

Insane, or just “Intellectually Challenged?”

When criminal perpetrators go to court, lawyers and judges still have problems with the “insanity more...


Democracy Has Strings Attached.

Democracy means “Rule by the people.” First devised by the ancient Athenians, native fre more...


October 05, 2013

Whistle Blowing: One Size Doesn’t Fit All.

Snooping and its variations (government, industrial, commercial) is now a major issue fractu more...


September 28, 2013

The Great Utopias Have a Nightmarish History.

From the time that human beings had the leisure to think, there have always been those who did not l more...


September 21, 2013

Is the US the World's Policeman?

The question comes up in public discussions all the time: Why should we be the world's policemen? O more...


September 14, 2013

Moral Foreign Policy May Not Be Prudent Foreign Policy.

We Americans love our democracy. For all of our faults, most of us live in a society governe more...


September 07, 2013

Syria: International Norms Have No Teeth without the US

We are starting to learn from our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya that we can remove a more...


August 31, 2013

Darwin Awards: People Who Should Not Be Part of the Gene Pool

Periodically, I assemble items from around the world in which people make decisions that warrant rem more...


August 24, 2013

Genetics: Do Persistent Close-Cousin Marriages Have Consequences?

The great scientist Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) was the first to systematically explore how he more...


August 19, 2013

Egypt's Democracy is Mission Impossible

San Francisco Chronicle
August 16, 2013

President Obama more...


August 17, 2013

How Do We Know that Domestic Violence is an “Epidemic?”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has just released a report on an”epidemic” of domest more...


August 10, 2013

Europe Has an Ostrich Problem: Denial of Immigrant Violence

Despite the howls of some reactionaries against American immigration reform, it is clear tha more...


August 06, 2013

The Muslim World Is Facing an Internal Crisis.

Since the Iranian Islamic Revolution, the moribund Muslim World has begun the process that t more...


July 30, 2013

Making Excuses for Jihadis.

With the decline of religious influence on our values, the word “evil” has been largely dropped more...


July 20, 2013

Egypt’s Problems Go Beyond Morsi.

With all the hand wringing about Egypt’s army abruptly removing an elected president, more more...


July 16, 2013

Snowden No Hero

For anybody still naive enough to think that Edward Snowden is a classic whistle-blower, please note more...


July 13, 2013

Iran Had An Earlier Brush With Democracy--- in 1906.

The years 1905 and 1906 gave rise to two revolutions, Russian and Persian (today’s Iran). more...


July 06, 2013

Russia is an Enigma Wrapped in a Mystery

Russia never fails to fascinate us. The very scary Cold War has been over for several decades, after more...


June 29, 2013

How Do Religions Modernize?

Religions can modernize. When we explore the history of how human beings coped with fear, di more...


In Defense of Dead White Men

The youth and women’s revolutions of mid 1980s, attacked western civilization, particularly the tr more...


June 22, 2013

Are We in an Everlasting War?

President Obama recently declared that it was time to end our war on terror. Some consider t more...


June 15, 2013

The Chechens Are a Model of Dysfunction.

Some of us who are geographically impaired have been confusing the Chechens with the Czechs. All the more...


May 25, 2013

“I'll Eat His Liver---But Not With Chianti.”

Who doesn't remember the movie in which Hannibal Lector, the criminally insane psychiatrist, tells h more...


April 20, 2013

Time for the “Democracy Project” to go!

It is very painful to retire a foreign policy initiative that has been with us since Woodrow more...


April 06, 2013

An Important Iranian Visitor is Coming: The Cyrus Cylinder

We are accustomed to seeing Iranians as revolutionary Shiite Muslims at war with the world, more...


March 30, 2013

The Latest Global Population Numbers Produce Surprises.

Some modern historians have added geography and demography to their historic research, and not a mom more...


March 23, 2013

Both American Political Parties Have Serious Blindspots.

“Liberals” or “Progressives” care for the weak, persecuted, and downtrodden. Liberals see th more...


March 16, 2013

Foreign Policy: When Is Humanitarian Intervention in our Interest?

Most American voters don’t care about American foreign policy until something comes to bite them. more...


February 16, 2013

Here Are the Annual Darwin Awards

My annual Darwin Awards are granted to people so stupid that they should not contribute to t more...


February 09, 2013

We Are Providing the Wrong Cure to Dysfunctional Nations

What groups of human beings believe and how they behave is called their culture. Ant colonies and el more...


February 02, 2013

Algeria’s Bloody Siege Shows Al Qaeda Gone Global

In the 1990s, well before the 9/11 attack on America, historian Samuel D. Huntington, in a g more...


January 26, 2013

Europe’s Multicultural Model Is Changing.

Europeans do not have a record of religious tolerance, as can be clearly seen in their history of re more...


January 19, 2013

Sex Crimes Are Part of the War Against Women and Modernity.

Violating women and girls is as old as human existence. Incest taboos in so many cultures is testimo more...


January 12, 2013

The Dilemma of Changing IQ outcomes

We used to think that IQ (Intelligence Quotient) was something that we were born with. Some more...


January 05, 2013

The Urban-Rural Conflict is Central to Today's Global Dysfunction.

Civilization began with the rise of cities (civilization means city building), some 5,000 ye more...


December 29, 2012

E Pluribus Unum Is a Rare Commodity Today.

E Pluribus Unum is Latin for Out of Many, One. It is the motto of the United States, formed more...


December 22, 2012

Peace On Earth Is a Real Challenge.

American foreign policy has almost always been bipartisan. Responsible Democrats and Republicans fac more...


Peace On Earth Is a Real Challenge.

American foreign policy has almost always been bipartisan. Responsible Democrats and Republicans fac more...


December 15, 2012

What Can a Husband Do About a Disobedient Wife?

A month ago, an Iraqi woman was found on a roadside, beaten to death. A sign was pinned on h more...


December 08, 2012

Should National Defense be "Proportional?"

Media coverage of the Israeli/Hamas conflict has promoted the idea that Israel’s response more...


November 24, 2012

The Russians Are Looking Like Their Old Selves Again.

Russia before the Communist Revolution in 1917 had conflicting cultural characteristics: a r more...


November 17, 2012

Morphing to Murder

It is a mystery how decent, ordinary people can become murdering savages. Most human beings more...


November 10, 2012

The Real Benghazi Problem Is Not Being Addressed.

What happened or did not happen when our consulate in Benghazi was attacked has become a contentious more...


November 03, 2012

Why the Taliban Shot a Teenage Girl

The Pakistani Taliban roused the ire around the world with their latest horror, an attempted more...


October 27, 2012

The President and Challenger Tangle on Foreign Policy

We have just had a debate between President Obama and Governor Romney on Foreign Policy. Sin more...


October 20, 2012

The Sad Tale of Three Misled Young People Unfolds

Most of us who are conscientious about rearing our children try to let them learn from small more...


October 06, 2012

The Saudis Have A “Modest Proposal” for Women

In 1951, Philip Wylie, an American social critic, wrote a novel called The Disappearance. In this more...


September 29, 2012

Are Israel and the US Really Locking Horns Over Iran?

Foreign policy issues should not be a factor in election campaigns; we need to tell the worl more...


September 22, 2012

The Fog of War is Nothing to the Fog of the Muslim World.

The Arab Spring came and quickly left, followed by what we call “young democracies,” the results more...


September 15, 2012

When is Cultural Criticism “Racism?”

Mitt Romney is a diplomatic disaster, but I do want to defend one comment he made on his sum more...


August 25, 2012

Who is attacking Science?

The world we now live in is largely the product of science. Thanks to science we have doubled our li more...


August 18, 2012

Egypt Has Post-Election Blues.

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture on Egypt’s “Arab Spring” and their recent round more...


August 11, 2012

Can There Be A World Without History? Militant Islamists Think So.

Since the end of World War II, we have not seen deliberate assaults on historic landmarks th more...


August 04, 2012

Why Do We Give a Pass to Evil?

I recently wrote an editorial about Genocide, with its long trek through history—but one of my col more...


July 28, 2012

Religion Has Two Faces: Benevolent and Malevolent.

Militant atheists believe that religion is entirely negative, stupid, and harmful to human beings. R more...


July 21, 2012

Facts Have Nothing to Do With Righteous Belief!

Our society is in the throes of irrational movements on both ends of the political spectrum. more...


July 14, 2012

How Do We Stop a Genocide?

In Syria, armed thugs (with tanks) went house-to-house in a village and murdered all inhabit more...


July 07, 2012

Does Equality Mean “The Same?”

“All Men are created equal,” said Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence in more...


June 16, 2012

Can We Rescue Our Democracy?

Sometimes transformations take place under the radar. We do not see that a real change has more...


June 09, 2012

Now the Pentagon is Being Muzzled for Being “Critical of Islam.”

The Pentagon is where military preparedness is fostered. In our system of government, the mi more...


June 02, 2012

Sometimes Inaction Against Bad Guys Has Dangerous Consequences.

The most difficult political-military situation a nation must face is when to take action ag more...


May 26, 2012

What Is Making Population Numbers Crash?

The UN Population Agency reports that Europe’s fertility rate may have plummeted to the po more...


May 19, 2012

Is There a Legal Problem with “Hate Crimes?”

The definition of “hate crime” is one of those overkill legislative initiatives with unforeseen more...


May 12, 2012

Should the New York Security Police Be Called Off?

Several reporters have received the Pulitzer Prize for journalism for their investigation of the New more...


May 05, 2012

The European Uprisings of 1848 Reverberate in Today’s Arab Spring

Americans are accustomed to thinking that our 1776 revolution was the model for all others. This may more...


April 28, 2012

Fear and Loathing or Analysis and Perspective?

There are two ways to analyze the violent eruption of global terrorist attacks that have marked the more...


April 18, 2012

Why Do Shiite and Sunni Muslims Hate Each Other?

Whenever I do a public lecture, questions come up about the Shiites and Sunnis. People read about th more...


April 14, 2012

What Has Become of Academic Critical Thinking?

When I was in college, I could not tell you how my professors might vote. They were, as were my elem more...


April 07, 2012

The Clash of Civilizations Has New Venues

When historian Samuel Huntington wrote Clash of Civilizations in 1997, our already political more...


March 31, 2012

France Dropped the Ball with their Murderous Jihadi.

In a violent French shootout on March 22, Mohamed Merah, killer of four men and three children in To more...


March 29, 2012

There Are No Easy Answers for US Policy in Syria

It is distressing to see Syrian people-ordinary civilians-hunkering down in bunkers without sufficie more...


March 20, 2012

More Electoral Fraud in Egypt? What a Surprise.

In our enthusiasm for the Arab Spring and its promise of democracy, we now watch elections a more...


March 17, 2012

Denial is not a river in Egypt.

Although this headline is a joke, the facts on the ground are not. Fareed Zakaria, usually a more...


March 07, 2012

The UN Finally Identifies “Harmful Customs.”

Anthropologists have taught us not to judge other cultures, but to recognize that no matter how stra more...


March 03, 2012

Koran Burning Spurs Obnoxious Protests.

I was appalled to hear an American general abjectly apologize for the burning of some “rel more...


February 21, 2012

How Is Citizenship Determined Around the World?

There are many ways of acquiring citizenship in the modern world. This concept, being a citizen of a more...


February 18, 2012

Time to Revisit the Abused “L” Word, “L” for “Liberal.”

The term “liberal” has become a very bad word in some circles. Many conservatives today more...


February 08, 2012

What Is America’s “Worldview?”

How we vote, behave, and think is based on our view of the world. Whether consciously or not more...


February 04, 2012

Religious Intolerance is the World's Normal. Can it Be Fixed?

The West has brought an amazing baby into the world: religious tolerance. The lesse more...


January 26, 2012

Democracy Can Have a Dark Underbelly

As much as I love democracy, Western Liberal Democracy, this institution has a dark side. Th more...


January 21, 2012

Attacking the British Embassy is an Iranian Rite of Passage.

On December 1, Iranian thugs attacked the British Embassy in Tehran in hours-long violence. more...


January 11, 2012

What Happens When People Suddenly Have Choices?

The very notion that people have choices in their lives is so new that much of world is stil more...


January 07, 2012

Arab Spring Is a Conflict between Religion and Nationalism.

The enthusiasm for the Arab Spring and its birth of democracy in the Middle East gives me he more...


December 24, 2011

Immigrants and refugees: Is There Room at the Inn?

At Christmas, we hear once again about refugees---this time the family of Joseph, Mary, and more...


December 17, 2011

US Law is Wrestling with Complexities of Antiterrorism

n Boston, a trial is underway. Prosecutors say that Tarek Mahanna, a 29-year-old US-born Egyptian, more...


December 08, 2011

TV Humor and Soaps Are Potent Tools For Democracy.

One of the most devastating tools against tyranny is humor. Dictators cannot stand being lau more...


November 26, 2011

Was the Israeli and Hamas Prisoner Exchange a Good Deal?

A young Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was snatched by Hamas raiders across the Israeli bord more...


November 19, 2011

Do We Have an Epidemic of Sexual Abuse?

The modern world appears awash in sexual abuse and misbehavior. Over the past decade, we see grownup more...


November 12, 2011

Power to the People! Round Up the Usual Suspects!

Whenever you hear “Power to the People,” check youry wallet. At college, I remember the more...


November 03, 2011

Global Violence Declines---Except in the Middle East--Part 2.

As mentioned in Part 1 of our two-part look at the decline of violence in the world, daily violence more...


October 22, 2011

Is Human Violence Really on the Wane? Part 1 of 2

Despite rampant pessimism at the moment, history can show us that life has never been better. The ma more...


October 18, 2011

Community: Is Letting the Penniless Sick Die an Option?

Humans do not do well without community. Even religious hermits could not have survived without food more...


October 15, 2011

What are the Best and Worst Countries for Women? (Part 2)

Last week, I addressed a major issue for most of the world’s women: marriage. This time, t more...


October 08, 2011

How Goes It With Marriage Around the World?(Part 1)

This is a two-part series on how women are faring worldwide. Marriage is part I, and four ot more...


September 24, 2011

U.N. “Anti-Racism” Conference Attacks “Islamophobia”

Ten years ago, a UN conference in Durban, South Africa, featured “racism, xenophobia, and more...


September 17, 2011

How Did the Media Cover 9/11?

Ten years after the most horrific foreign attack on America (the British in I812 and the Jap more...


September 10, 2011

Let Us Put the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 In Context.

Ten years ago, Al Qaeda attacked New York and Washington (and more if they could have pulled more...


August 27, 2011

Does Free Speech Include Hacking and Mayhem?

We do not say often enough that freedom without responsibility is anarchy. This is exactly w more...


August 23, 2011

All the News That’s Fit To Print?

We treasure our freedom of speech, which is the very first amendment in our constitution. We conside more...


August 20, 2011

Do We Know What Makes People Evil?

What could make a nice Middle Class Norwegian murder 74 people because he hated his governme more...


August 06, 2011

We Need Perspective On Norway’s Terror Attack

Watching the terror attack on Norway on TV on July 22, I immediately thought---as did most j more...


July 30, 2011

Some People Choose Bad Bedfellows for Their Summer Vacation

It may become a Rite of Summer: dedicated dissidents trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza with more...


July 26, 2011

More Humans Can Read, But What Are They Reading?

The “Sky Is Falling” crowd says that too many Americans no longer read. I am not convinced—nor more...


July 16, 2011

Heavy Lies the Saudi Head That Wears the Crown.

Although the King of Saudi Arabia does not wear a crown, his head is heavy. His country has problems more...


July 07, 2011

How Do We (and Afghanistan) Negotiate with the Taliban?

It is a matter of doctrine that if the conflicts in Afghanistan (and Pakistan?) are to be re more...


July 02, 2011

Some Democracies Are Not Wonderful.

I recently heard an idealist complaining that President Obama was not enthusiastically suppo more...


June 25, 2011

Is Turkey Still A Secular Muslim Model?

Until now, Turkey has modeled how an Islamic state can modernize and democratize. When the Ottoman E more...


June 18, 2011

For Girls, Idealism Can Be Deadly.

President Kennedy urged American youth to consider a stint in the Peace Corps where they cou more...


June 11, 2011

Sometimes Marriage and Childbirth Customs Have Serious Consequences.

Anthropologists have been telling us for the past century that traditions and cultures have survival more...


June 04, 2011

There Are Consequences For Lying

Brain scientists tell us that when brains are scanned to see which areas light up, brains sc more...


May 28, 2011

Iran, Like Some Here, Also Believes In Apocalyptic Myths.

We live in a time of strange beliefs. The latest comes from Iran. Although a country with sk more...


May 21, 2011

Europe Has Immigration Problems on Steroids!

For all the problems we think we have with immigration, Europe’s problems far exceed ours. more...


May 14, 2011

After Arab Spring, Then What?

I was in College (UCLA) during Prague Spring, the peaceful demonstrations by the Czechs agai more...


May 10, 2011

What is the future of religion around the world?

The United States is, and has long been, a religious country, sometimes to the point of obse more...


May 07, 2011

Does the Bin Laden Decapitated Snake Still Have Life?

Was the killing of Osama Bin Laden “justice,” as President Obama has said, or was it “ more...


April 30, 2011

Beware of Robot Hummingbirds and Other Spying Creatures

I hate to see reality impinge on the colorful world of conspiracy theories—but her more...


April 23, 2011

American Foreign Policies Cannot Always Be Consistent.

All dictators are not alike. Former US Ambassador to the UN, Jean Kirkpatrick, noted that be more...


April 16, 2011

How Do We Deal With “Sticks and Stones?”

In our present day culture, we have been taught (usually at mother’s knee) that “sticks and ston more...


April 08, 2011

In a Democracy, Some Decisions Are Agonizing.

For most of human existence, leaders and priests made decisions and ordinary people either o more...


April 02, 2011

Is Peace Breaking Out in the Middle East?

We keep hearing that peace in the Middle East only requires a peace treaty between Israel an more...


March 19, 2011

Why Is There Hysteria Over Radical Islam Hearings?

Congressman Peter King's hearings on the alarming radicalization of young Muslims has met a more...


March 12, 2011

Tyrants have a long history.

Shakespeare said “Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears a Crown” Henry IV, Part Two. Throughou more...


March 05, 2011

How Goes It With Women Around the World?

By Laina Farhat-Holzman
Santa Cruz Sentinel
March 5, 2011

International more...


February 24, 2011

Iran Is Closer To Imploding

Although Iran is an Islamic dictatorship that controls its news, certain things are leaking out. The more...


February 19, 2011

Why Egypt and Not Iran?

We have just witnessed a modern popular change of government---a revolution of sorts. Most Egyptian more...


February 12, 2011

How Goes Democracy Around the World?

Democracy Project. The United States has long had a “democracy project.” After World War I, Pres more...


February 05, 2011

Can “Power to the People” Get Egyptians Democracy?

Reporters standing amidst the throngs in Independence Square in Cairo seem to be carried awa more...


January 29, 2011

Tunisia Is Not the Model For Other Arab World “Revolutions”

Tunisia, one of the more stable dictatorships in the Arab world, has erupted into what looks like a more...


January 22, 2011

Can National Cultures Really Change?

One of the best geo-political analysts and forecasters around is George Friedman, head of ST more...


January 15, 2011

Why Do We Hate Government?

Democrats and Republicans have different ideas (in theory) of what government should do. Both believ more...


January 09, 2011

A Few Surprises Are Happening in Afghanistan!

Although it seems like pushing a rock up a hill, our Afghan War may be coming to an end. We more...


January 08, 2011

What Is “American Exceptionalism?”

Most Americans believe in “American Exceptionalism,” even when they have never heard the term. T more...


December 31, 2010

What Is “American Exceptionalism?”

Most Americans believe in “American Exceptionalism,” even when they have never heard the term. T more...


December 25, 2010

Being Nice Hasn’t Protected Sweden.

• The Grinch Steals Christmas.

Sweden, a country that has prided itself on its go more...


December 11, 2010

How Fragile is Civilization and How Thoughtless is Anarchy!

We in the developed world live in a civilization that would make our ancestors giddy. We hav more...


December 10, 2010

What is National Security?

The first duty of a government is to keep its citizens (or subjects) safe. Safe from what? more...


December 03, 2010

What Can We Do About Fear of Flying?

Whenever I fly, I get patted down because my titanium hip replacement sets off the alarm. I am used more...


November 24, 2010

Time for a National Dialogue on Crime?

No matter what we do, our prisons seem to get more and more crowded. Judges are often given more...


November 19, 2010

Sometimes Important News Hides in the Back Pages.

Iran’s Problems.
The latest news from Iran: sanctions are really starting to bite more...


November 13, 2010

Let’s Round Up The Usual Suspects

Norgrove Rescue.
A young British woman, Linda Norgrove, who was working in Afghanis more...


November 06, 2010

Is the West Really Islamophobic—Or Under Attack?

An AP article on October 5/6 ran with a headline: “5 Germans killed in Pakistan with Europe on Ale more...


October 29, 2010

Some People Have to Lie to Survive.

From the beginning of time, human beings have learned that telling the truth is not always t more...


October 23, 2010

Why Are We No Longer On The Same Page?

I remember when more Americans shared core values than had contentious differences. We have always more...


October 15, 2010

Iran’s Islamic Justice Is a Message to the World

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, convicted in 2006 for having an “illicit relationship” with two men more...


October 09, 2010

“The Sky Is Falling” Is Alive and Well—Again.

We are already past the millennium year 2000 (or was it actually 2001 that began the century more...


October 02, 2010

Take Another Look at Tony Blair—Who Maybe Got It Right.

History does not necessarily validate contemporary assessments of famous politicians. Tony Blair, on more...


September 24, 2010

What “World Opinion” Are We Talking About?

Printed in Family Security Matters 9/24 and Santa Cruz Sentinel 9/25/10.

The UN’s o more...


September 20, 2010

Laina At the Movies, September, 2010

The American.
It is unusual to see George Clooney in a film that is better shown in more...


September 18, 2010

Did We Have Guns of August Again?

There must be something about late summer that turns some countries belligerent. Wo more...


September 11, 2010

Sticks and Stones Go Big Time.

An idiot preacher with a congregation of maybe 50 people threatens to burn 200 Korans on 9/1 more...


September 10, 2010

A Venetian Tradition Bites the Dust—a Woman Gondolier!

On 9/11, our country was attacked by a sect particularly offended by the equality of men and more...


Is There Any Hope for Afghanistan?

Imagine a country where:
• Five minutes out of the capital you need armed guards to travel more...


September 04, 2010

Germany Has Had a Curious Century of Islamic Relations.

Germans have been living in northern Europe for several thousand years. The Romans knew them more...


August 27, 2010

Religious Toleration Has Never Been Absolute.

The First Amendment of the US Constitution requires: Congress shall make no law respecting a more...


August 21, 2010

How About a Mosque at Ground Zero?

The proposal to build a large Islamic Cultural Center that includes a mosque two blocks from more...


August 13, 2010

When is Freedom of Speech Incitement to Kill?

We all know that freedom of speech has one commonly accepted exception: when someone falsely yells more...


August 07, 2010

When is IQ a Major Security Issue?

August 7, 2010

Katie Baker (August 2 Newsweek) cites a new study that theorizes that more...


July 29, 2010

Is Guatemala A Toxic Place for Women?

About 15 years ago, when I was running the UN Association in San Francisco, I was asked by w more...


July 24, 2010

Why Do Dead Ideas Continue to Haunt Us?

In New Orleans, there is a belief in the “undead”—zombies—who will not stay buried a more...


July 17, 2010

Are We Going to Need More Immigrants?

Immigration history in the US has always followed predictable trajectories. People around the world more...


July 10, 2010

Does Enlightened Self-Interest Rule the World?

Our founding fathers were influenced by the European Enlightenment, a movement reacting to t more...


July 03, 2010

What Are The Good Old Days?

In final exams given to my World History classes, the last question was: “If you had a time machi more...


June 19, 2010

Europe has an Identity Crisis.

There is an old Persian tale about a man who went up to a palace gate, banging on it and demanding e more...


June 12, 2010

Let’s Have Another Look at the “Humanitarian” Flotilla

A supposedly humanitarian flotilla that set out in June to break the Israeli blockade of Hamas in Ga more...


June 05, 2010

Some Bedfellows are Incomprehensible

There is an Arab adage: “The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend.” Unfortunately, this is not always more...


May 29, 2010

What is a Circassian and Why Should We Care?

Register Pajaronian

Ask anybody about genocides—the deliberate attempt to w more...


May 22, 2010

Why is Sex Such a Global Problem?

For a biological system programmed for species survival, humans have manage to turn sex into more...


May 15, 2010

Can We Ever Force Peace on Combatants?

Register Pajaronian

Historically there are two ways to end war: one s more...


May 08, 2010

Good Old “May Day” Comes Back From the Dead

On May Day in Santa Cruz, California, what was promoted as a college block party turned out more...


May 01, 2010

Annual Darwin Awards?

Darwin Awards usually refer to those whose decisions are so stupid that they remove themselv more...


April 20, 2010

What Can These Women Be Thinking?

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April 20, 2010

Since 1985, more than 250 women, Ta more...


April 17, 2010

What Makes President Karzai Tick?

One of the most difficult issues for foreign policy is to understand the default nat more...


April 10, 2010

How Was the “Christmas Bomber” Radicalized?

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National Public Radio (NPR) has been doing a fas more...


April 03, 2010

Tea Party Buffs and the Far Left are Buddies.

Recently, I heard an interview with ultra-conservative former congressman Dick Armey more...


March 27, 2010

Was There an Original Human Religion?

Who would have thought as recently as the 1970s that we would be paying attention to more...


March 20, 2010

Whose Ally is Turkey Today?

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In my college Sociology text (decades ago), was a surprising surv more...


March 13, 2010

Greece is in the Grip of Denial.

Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy and the rest of the European Union is much alarmed. The more...


February 27, 2010

Who Is “An Enemy of God?”

There is some very strange language coming out of Iran today. Unarmed Demonstrators) are bei more...


February 20, 2010

Europe is Having an Important Burqa Debate.

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Europe, with a seemingly large immigrant Muslim populati more...


February 13, 2010

Why Do Small Businesses Get So Little Respect?

A reader responding to my recent column on poisonous ideologies (Fascism, Communism, and Mil more...


February 06, 2010

Does Bad Childrearing Produce Terrorists?

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There is a long tradition on blaming mothers for creating crimin more...


October 17, 2009

Can Too Much Freedom Destroy Democracy?

We have just gone through a summer of obnoxious free speech—which the First Amendment of o more...


October 05, 2009

Is There Any Hope for Afghanistan?

Imagine a country where:
• Five minutes out of the capital you nee more...


July 18, 2009

The Iranian Revolution May Be In Phase Two

It is not easy to track the progress of the current Iranian Revolution, considering the bloc more...


January 10, 2009

Why is War Always “Disproportionate”?

Warfare has never been a ballet of equality between combatants. When World War II began, t more...