Barack Obama has a reputation as a skilful and fluent public speaker. His address to the nation on the occasion of the inauguration of his second term in Presidency underscores this reputation. But style is one thing and substance is another. The crux of his message was for American people to expect no radical changes to the general direction of policies. Although delivered in all eloquence and with a sense of importance, a careful scrutiny of its content would reveal its vapidity.
But looking at the speech as an artefact of creative writing, there is some skill in the writing and delivery. For example the organization, punctuation and rhythm of the speech, there is merit to be found. The phrasing, pauses and iterations were so conceived as fitting to an oral presentation. In this regard the speech worked well with the large audience at the Capitol Hill. One can witness members of the audience hooting, nodding or clapping in approval during pauses in the speech. The . . . Read More
After going through the 9/11 Commission Report, please describe your thoughts on how the US could have been more prepared for 9/11, or if that was impossible, what is being done to change that.
The 9/11 terror strikes were the most gruesome to have taken place on American soil. In the wake of the shocking event policy makers carried out a detailed analysis, the product of which is the 9/11 Commission Report. The report pointed to how the attacks could have been anticipated and prevented with better application of intelligence gathered by the CIA. It also highlighted structural and organizational deficiencies that hinder swift action when there is a possibility of a terrorist act. It was based on the recommendations outlined in the report that the National Security Agency was created and endowed with substantial powers to act.
On the legislative side the USA PATRIOT Act was passed, which has proved controversial in the years since. The main objection to . . . Read More
From what I’ve understood of women’s oppression across ages, I would support a new feminist humanism in which would be based on ‘democratic reconstruction’. This way, we can avert ethnocentric mistakes about what it means to be human. In order to mitigate women’s oppression, one has to recognize how it is tied to other forms of oppression. For all women gender is at all times interlocked with other systems of oppression “depending on their race, class, sexuality, physical and mental abilities, religion, nationality, age, relation to children and so on.” (Grant, 1995, p. 56) It is futile to solve women’s subordination at the exclusion of various other forms of oppression. Hence a sound motto for social change would be ‘liberation of the self’ – a liberation that applies across various axis of oppression.
In my professional practice I would take a sceptical approach to dominant ideologies of culture in order to prevent oppression. Take say the ideology of . . . Read More
Almost every major discipline under the Humanities is strongly engaged in understanding the causes of human oppression and offering solutions for its alleviation. Major fields of scholarly inquiry, including psychology, sociology, politics, philosophy, literature and linguistics, have a strong focus on the issue of human oppression.
Imperialism is often condemned for its inherently oppressive effects on the subjects of the colonies. In the field of postcolonial theory, scholars such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Edward Said have expressed the far-reaching negative consequences of imperialism on human welfare. In her seminal essay titled ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ Spivak questions the idea of the colonial ‘subject’. She criticizes European intellectuals for their presumption in ‘knowing’ the ‘other’, and in the manner in which they construct narratives of the oppressed. Through this “act of epistemic knowing/violence, the essentialization of the other . . . Read More
The book International Business: Environments and Operations is a quality and standard scholarly work by the authorial team of John Daniels, Lee Radebaugh and Daniel Sullivan. It covers a broad range of topics and is fairly in-depth in its treatment. One of the important topics dealt with is the relationship between Political Ideology and MNEs. Business leaders always keep a pulse on the political climate of the markets in which they operate. Often political decisions have significant implications for business prospects. In the era of globalization, MNEs act as investors to local economies, either inducing or reducing capital based on perceived political conditions. For example, if an MNE perceives the political ideology of a local government to be hostile to business interests, it can simply pull out of the country and invest that capital at a more favourable country. Authors Daniels et al touch upon this important facet to business practice in their book.
Just as governing . . . Read More
During the 1930s, the American Midwest region witnessed one of its most acute agricultural droughts in the history of the nation. But this tragic event does not get as much attention as it deserves in history textbooks. The main reason for this is its coincidence with the Great Depression that precipitated in 1929 with the stock market crash and continued into the next decade. The sweep and magnitude of the Great Depression was such that it overwhelmed attention to an equally catastrophic drought unfolded in several states in the Midwest. Hence the main purpose of Brad Lookingbill is to fill a perceived deficiency in scholarship pertaining to this event.
Lookingbill does a satisfactory job of covering the basis causes and the most prominent consequences of the event. As for the causes, Lookingbill identifies expansive and exploitative farming techniques and strategies as a major cause. In particular, it is the technology of mass-production, innovations in irrigation . . . Read More
Khayr Al-Din Pasha is a pivotal reformist figure in Tunisian political history. Indeed, he is such a polymath that he contributed reformist ideas in the areas of Tunisian military, socio-politics and beyond. At a time when Tunisia was suffering the excesses of Ottoman imperialism, Khayr Al-Din galvanized the spirit of the whole nation through his reform agenda. Khayr Al-Din was a truly enlightened thinker and he aspired for the most ideal Tunisian society and polity. He viewed the established conception and orthodox methods of governance as the major hindrances to real progress.
Khayr Al-Din understood the importance of the principles outlined in Aqwam al-Masalik. The work outlined how to bring about the co-operation between statesmen and theologicians and how to make them work toward a common reform agenda. Not only did Khayr Al-Din devise ingenious ways of achieving this cooperative atmosphere, but he also worked toward creating a fresh and forward-looking . . . Read More
In the brilliantly articulate essay titled ‘Muslim Politics’ by Dale Eickelman and James Piscatori, we understand that the term ‘Muslim Politics’ is a broad and sweeping conceptualization. By virtue of it being so broad in its scope, it has ended up losing a compact and technical usage. To this extent it is not to be treated as a term in sociological or political science discourse. Nevertheless, by stating its various manifestations in diverse contexts, the authors do make clear the centrality of ‘Muslim politics’ to the followers of the religion. One of the prominent expressions of Muslim politics in recent decades is the permissibility of ‘hijab’ and ‘niqab’ (a set of conservative dress codes for Muslim women) in public spaces. While this dress code is mandated in some of the orthodox Islamic nations in the Middle East and elsewhere, it is a point of debate in the context of secular and democratic settings. The recent flare up of the issue in France . . . Read More
The book in question is insightful, thought-provoking and controversial. One of the positive aspects of the book is its elaborateness. Having taken up a challenging thesis, the author goes about proving it with a rigorous scholarly approach. But as with all theses there are problems of omission and commission.
The book presents an interesting view on the European dominance of global politics in modern history. Questioning any inherent genetic superiority or innate industriousness of the European race, Diamond states that it was conditions of favorable geography and climate that accounts for this dominance. The vast East-West orientation of the Eurasian landmass offered a degree of uniformity of climate along the same latitudes. This allowed exchange of applicable agricultural technology across various parts of the continent. Eurasia also had the good fortune of tameable animals which they could employ in agricultural production and also for animal farming. . . . Read More
Karl Marx’ essay ‘On the Jewish Question’ is elaborate, insightful and addresses a pressing issue in 19th century Germany. First published in his collection of early philosophical writings, the essay considers Jewish emancipation in the realm of politics and civil society. The essay is partly a polemic to Bruno Bauer’s proposal to the Jewish Question. Marx’ primary concern is political-economy and not emancipation on the basis of religion. He has objections to Bauer’s proposal on two grounds. First, it is impossible for people to forsake their religion for gaining equal political rights. Second, even if this nominal equality is won, it won’t translate into meaningful social emancipation. (Marx, p.7) Marx cites the example of the failure of universal electoral franchise in alleviating socio-economic disparity in American society. This is so because granting equality to ‘citizens’ of the state does not lead to equality at the level of ‘species-beings’. (Marx, . . . Read More