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"Tradition?? The only good traditions are food traditions. The rest are repressive."

"There are two ways to think. The first is to trust to your ancestors, your religious leaders, or your charismatic professors. The second is to question, to challenge, to explore history for meanings, and to analyze issues. This latter is called Critical Thinking, and it is this that is the mission of my web site. "

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman  

October 2017

Leaving the Union: Pros and Cons

If American foreign policy were based on our own historic experience, we must oppose secession movements. We would not like to see Spain lose part of its country to a province leaving them for independence (Catalonia) or the Kurds leaving Iraq. But does our own experience with the American slave-states trying to leave the union really compare with that of the two current potential breakaway states? And have we forgotten that we seceded from England?

Our southern states declared t more...

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September 2017

Identity Politics?


We have heard the term "identity politics" a great deal during the last presidential election campaign. Hillary Clinton. in almost every speech, listed the identities of every possible group that needed to be defended against the attacks of Candidate Trump. She and the Democrats would protect Gays, Blacks, Transgendered people, Muslims, women, Hispanics, the deaf, the handicapped, and seniors. This was a demonstration of her care for people who needed protection, government protection if more...

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Nation Building in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan has been a problem since Alexander the Great tramped through on his way to India. It became a bigger problem when the Russian Empire (Afghanistan?s neighbor) and the British Empire (recent colonizer of India) kept Afghanistan unstable between 1839-1919. Almost all of their interference ended in defeat for the attackers.

Afghanistan did not exist until the mid 19th century. It was the "wild-east" of the Persian Empire (a wild place with a few silk-route cities surround more...

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December 2016

How Our "Nation of Immigrants" Works.



We are a nation of immigrants, including even the "Native Americans" who just migrated here from Asia earlier. Human beings are a mobile species, having migrated from Africa to settle every continent 50,000-100,000 years ago. Even these early migrants had trouble with others either already there or coming from elsewhere. How else did the Neanderthals, our cousin species, get wiped out? Our species has always believed that when newcomers arrive, "there goes the neighborhood."
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August 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 where one-size-fits-all. The lingering ugliness of what happened in Benghazi is just a small part of the problem. The Benghazi issue, as a matter of fact, is more unique to Libya than to other Middle East countries. Analysis of Libya involves the following issues:

What Libya has in common with other Arab countries:

? Islam. Islam itself is not a one-size-fits-all religion more...

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