Religion

Rafsanjani Turns The Tide. What Now?
July 17, 2009

 Abbas Milani is the Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford, where he is also a co-director of Iranian studies at Stanford. His last book is Eminent Persians: The Men and Women who Made Modern Iran (Syracuse University Press, 2008). In the most anticipated speech of his storied career, Rafsanjani has finally weighed in on the side of the opposition in Iran's post-election crisis.

The New Democrats
July 15, 2009

What we are witnessing right now in the streets of Tehran is, first and foremost, a political battle for the future of the Iranian state. But closely linked to this political fight is also an old theological dispute about the nature of Shiism--a dispute that has been roiling Iran for more than a century. Shiism, like most religions, is no stranger to heated schisms. Shia and Sunnis split over the question of whether Muhammad had designated his son-in-law, Ali, as his successor (Shia believed he had).

The Bystander
July 15, 2009

In the affairs of states, lessons are often learned too late or too well. Faced with unexpected crises and unwelcome demands for prompt decision-making, governments think by analogy. And they are invariably keen to demonstrate that they have learned from their--or, more conveniently, their predecessors'--mistakes. The last time a Democrat occupied the White House, an inherited humanitarian mission in Somalia turned to disaster in the alleys of Mogadishu.

Hillary The Architect
July 15, 2009

This afternoon, Hillary Clinton gave what I thought was an excellent speech laying out the Obama administration's approach to the world. A sizeable portion of the Washington foreign policy establishment packed the Council on Foreign Relations to hear her remarks, and the secretary was accompanied by a gaggle of lieutenants, including (from my view of the room) special envoys Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, and a number of assistant secretaries, including Rose Gottemoeller, Andrew Shapiro, and P.J. Crowley.

Willa Is My God-daughter
July 09, 2009

I can't remember how many years ago this was, although it's probably at least twenty-odd, I would say. The Rt. Rev. Paul Moore Jr., bishop of the the New York diocese of the Anglican Church, an arch-liberal aristocrat of the Episcopal communion, commended Willa Brown to my care to assure her Christian education. I also can't recall his exact words. But they were stentorian and they echoed off the pillars and nave of the forever unfinished Cathedral of St.

Nyc Schools And Muslim Holidays
July 09, 2009

Last week, the New York City Council passed a resolution to close public schools on two Muslim holidays. The resolution asks that the city's Department of Education recognize the holidays, and that the state government amend education law to do the same.

Was The Obama Campaign A Lie?
June 23, 2009

Harper's publisher John R. MacArthur, writing in the Providence Journal, says that President Obama misled the American people: IT ISN’T QUITE FAIR to call Barack Obama a liar. During the campaign he carefully avoided committing to much of anything important that he might have to take back later. For now, I won’t quibble with The St. Petersburg Times’s Obamameter, which so far has the president keeping 30 promises and breaking only six. And yet, broadly speaking, Obama has been lying on a pretty impressive scale. MacAurthur goes on to list Obama's "lies." He provides four examples.

Kagan: The Reconciliation
June 18, 2009

Robert Kagan emails to contest one element of my critique of his column. I wrote: Kagan begins with the premise that the Bush administration pursued an idealistic policy of supporting the Iranian opposition, which Obama has abandoned in the name of realism: The United States had to provide some guarantee to the regime that it would no longer support opposition forces or in any way seek its removal.

Is Obama Secretly Rooting Against Iran's Liberals?
June 17, 2009

Robert Kagan has a fairly embarassing column today excoriating President Obama for failing to support the Iranian protestors. Kagan begins with the premise that the Bush administration pursued an idealistic policy of supporting the Iranian opposition, which Obama has abandoned in the name of realism: The United States had to provide some guarantee to the regime that it would no longer support opposition forces or in any way seek its removal.

Between Idealism And Realism In Iran
June 16, 2009

Peter Scoblic is the executive editor of The New Republic and the author of U.S. vs. Them, which is now out in paperback. Like my colleagues, I am rapt by the sight of the Iranian protests. In fact, listening to NPR's coverage from Tehran this morning, I found myself rapt by the sound of the protests, the kind of roar that only a stadium-sized group of people can produce. It's an inspiring moment in Iranian politics.

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