Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Arab Spring

Hillary Clinton is like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games

When I watched the third democratic debate, I was amused and horrified with the way Hillary Clinton defended the decision to intervene in Libya:

…we have to continue to do what is necessary when someone like Gadhafi, a despot with American blood on his hands, is overturned.

This is precisely the same way that George W. Bush continues to defend the Iraq War:

One thing is certain: The Iraqi people, the United States and the world are better off without Saddam Hussein in power

On these accounts, overthrowing dictators is the right decision because dictators are bad, and we should get rid of bad people. This reminds me way too much of the plot of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2Spoilers for that movie follow, if you care about such things.

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How Protests Work

Eight protesters have been arrested for blocking a Washington DC highway. The protesters were objecting to racial disparities in the criminal justice system, as well as low wages. This offers us an opportunity to discuss protests as a tool for achieving political ends. How do protests work? How do protesters use protesting to accomplish political objectives?

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You Say You Want a Revolution, but What Kind?

So in light of recent writings about Russell Brand and Robert Webb, I’ve been thinking about the concept of revolution and the connotations it carries in our society. For the average person, I imagine the word “revolution” brings to mind first and foremost the kind of comprehensive, totalizing socio-economic and political change associated with Marxism. As a result, otherwise left-leaning people tend to harbor a deep skepticism about changes that go beyond which political party is in power or the enacting or repealing of various peripheral policies and laws. However, upon further reflection, I don’t think that all revolutions fit this stereotype. Indeed, the exclusive association of the term “revolution” with the conception of revolution used by Marxists is a significant obstacle to necessary, big-picture change.

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Why are We Enemies with Iran?

An interesting question occurred to me today–why are we (we being developed countries generally, but the US in particular) enemies with the Islamic Republic of Iran? What is the fundamental problem with Iran that makes it impossible for us to trade with it, buy its oil, and otherwise maintain friendly relations with it? When I asked myself this question, I could not immediately produce a response that seemed wholly justifiable or acceptable to me. So let’s explore it further.

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Mohamed Morsi, Inept Bumbler

In the western press, it is common to perceive Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi’s recent declaration of sweeping authority as a shrewd power grab by the newest regional autocrat. In light of the most recent development–Morsi revoking his despised decree–it occurs to me that perhaps the west has been too quick to assume malevolence on Morsi’s part. What we have here is not a man seizing power through cleverness and guile. Instead we have a bumbling oaf who lacks the political nuance to effectively govern Egypt and who has not made clever moves, but a series of disastrous missteps, the consequences of which could be severe.

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