Algeriaâ€™s Ailing President and the Problem of Succession
A Weekly Political News Magazine
Former French Defense Minister: Tehran Has Disrupted the Middle East and Arab States Have Become Hotbeds of Iranian Militias
A Weekly Political News Magazine
Issue 1738 - March - 08/03/2019
Issue 1738 - March - 08/03/2019
Transforming the Image of Fashion in Saudi Arabia www.majalla.com
ISIS in 2019: Atrocities that Remain Unpunished www.majalla.com
Editorial Nationalism is a powerful tool that can be used as force for good or evil. For instance, India’s Ghandi and Egypt’s Saad Sagloul used nationalism as means to rally people behind the need for self-determination and self-rule. More importantly they appealed to nationalism to free their states from the shackles of colonial rule. It would nevertheless be folly to ignore the negative historical episodes that was caused by nationalism, after all any high school history student can tell you that one of the underlying causes of the First World War was a rise of nationalism especially among European states. The malleability of nationalism can make it a damning force to be reckoned with, it is for this reason that one should be cautious and vigilant while embracing their love for their country. This issue of Majalla explores the differing aspects of nationalism, especially in regards to the differing forms it takes and how it can be used or misused. This week’s cover story by Roshan Qasem takes a look at the state of the Islamic State in 2019 as the group is facing its final days. As it stands, the Syrian Democratic Forces is battling the group in its final stronghold in Boughouz, Syria. The article explores the challenges facing the SDF, among such challenges include the issue former foreign IS fighters and the fact that many of their countries are refusing to take them back. The article also emphasizes the atrocities that the group committed such as its genocide of Yazidi civilians living in Syria and Iraq. Joseph Braude’s article argues that the Iranian regime is becoming ever more isolated in the global sphere, as more European states have started turning their backs on Iran. Just last week, the Netherlands withdrew its ambassador from Iran after the regime expelled two Dutch diplomats. Furthermore, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zariff’s brief resignation showed the world that the government has become deeply divided from within. Soha Jaffal interviewed Raya El Hassan, the first woman in Lebanon and the Arab world to become Interior Minister, and asked her about the challenges she will face in her new role and the way she intends to execute her new office. Yasmine El Geressi writes on the current Algerian crisis that has arisen after incumbent President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika submitted his candidacy for the upcoming elections. Having been national unifying force in the past, many young Algerians now see him as too old and recluse to rule. El Geressi explores the political structure of Algeria and the appeal to nationalism and stability that has helped Bouteflika to stay in power for so long. Jennifer Lind and William C. Wohlforth write on the challenges that the liberal global order is facing particularly from rising nationalistic/isolationist forces that have gripped many countries today. The writers argue that the order is not on the brink of demise, but states must adopt a more conservative and hands off approach of the globalist order in order to maintain it. Jill Lepore writes on the history of American nationalism and how its elasticity has been exploited to justify many acts be they good or bad. For example, for years many American politicians thought of American nationals as being exclusively white and thus used nationalism to marginalise non-white Americans. The writer then argues for the need of a new American nationalism to fit the modern age.
A Weekly Political News Magazine
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A Weekly Political News Magazine
Ties with Europe Suffer Amid Leadership 16 Iranian Crisis and Diplomatic Row
Issue 1738 - March- 08/03/2019
El Hassan: Being a Woman May Give Me a New 18 Raya Approach to National Security
32 28 The Future of the Liberal Order Is Conservative
32 36 A New Americanism
48 Competing Narratives
American-Egyptian Rami Malek: Hollywoodâ€™s Man of the Moment 3
52 The Growing Problem of an Enlarged Prostate Gland
A member of the Kurdishled Syrian Democratic Forces holds a young girl during a security check of her and her mother (unseen) after they left the ISIS groupâ€™s last holdout of Baghuz.(Getty)
Indian Muslim brides-to-be gather as they participate in a mass wedding ceremony in Ahmedabad on March 2019 ,3. (Getty) 7
U.S. Urges U.N. to Restore Tough Missile Restrictions on Iran After Tests The United States accused Iran on Thursday of defying a U.N. Security Council resolution with one ballistic missile test and two satellite launches since December and urged the council to “bring back tougher international restrictions” on Tehran. A 2015 U.N. resolution “called upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons following an agreement with six world powers. Some states argue that the language does not make it obligatory. In a letter to the -15member council, acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen said Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile on Dec. 2018 ,1, and attempted to place satellites in
orbit on Jan. 15 and Feb. 5. “Iran has carried out these three launches in defiance of the expressed will of the U.N. Security Council, and such provocations continue to destabilise the entire Middle East region,” Cohen wrote.
Saudi Air Defense Destroy Houthi Drone Saudi air defense intercepted and destroyed on Friday a drone flown by the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, announced the Saudi-led Arab coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen. Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said that the air defense detected the drone that was flying towards a residential area in the Saudi city of Abha. The defense intercepted and downed the aircraft according to the relevant
rules of engagement, he added. Four civilians were wounded from fallen debris and a number of vehicles were damaged, he revealed. After inspection, the coalition forces concluded that the drone was operated by the Houthis and manufactured by Iran. The alliance condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist Houthis for targeting civilians, vowing that it will take the necessary deterrent measures to counter their violations.
Algerian President Issues Warning to Protesters Against His Fifth Term Bid People from a wide range of social and economic backgrounds have taken to the streets across Algeria in recent weeks in what have been the biggest demonstrations in the country since the 2011 Arab spring. “Our citizens took to the streets ... to peacefully express their opinions. We welcome this maturity of our citizens, notably youth,” Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has ruled the north African country since 1999, was quoted as saying on Thursday. “We urge vigilance and caution against any possible infiltration of misleading parties, either internal or external, in this peaceful expression. Such parties may cause discord and provoke chaos … they may trigger crises and woes.” The -82year-old said the country faced “many economic, social and political challenges” but made no mention of protesters’ demands that he withdraw his candidacy from next month’s presidential elections. Instead, he raised concerns that Algeria could return to the “national tragedy” of its decade-long civil war in the 1990s.
Flash Floods, Snow and Rain Kill at Least 59 in Afghanistan Flash floods, heavy rains and snowfall have killed at least 59 people across Afghanistan during the past two weeks and left thousands homeless, with the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar the worst-hit, an Afghan official said on Wednesday. Some 5,000 people were displaced in Kandahar alone, the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) said, though a U.N. relief agency reckoned at least 15,300 people in the province had been affected by the calamitous weather. Hashmat Khan Bahaduri, spokesman for ANDMA, said the damage and casualty estimates could rise as some provinces had still to conduct assessments.
Pakistan Navy Says it Stopped Indian Submarine From Entering its Waters Pakistan stopped an Indian submarine from entering its waters, the navy said Tuesday, as tensions continue to run high between the nuclear-armed foes. The development came days after a rare aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir ignited fears of an all-out conflict, with world powers rushing to urge restraint. “The Pakistan navy stopped an Indian submarine from entering our territorial waters,” a naval spokesman said in a statement. He said “the Indian submarine was not targeted in line with the
government’s policy of maintaining peace”. It was the first incident as such since 2016, when Pakistan said it had “pushed” an Indian submarine away from Pakistani waters.
said would be against EU interests. The two sides are at an impasse over the so-called backstop aimed at ensuring that there is a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and Ireland - the only land frontier between the United Kingdom and the bloc.May is seeking legally binding assurances that Britain will not be trapped permanently in the backstop in order to win support for her exit deal, which was defeated by a record margin in parliament in January. MPs will vote again on the deal next week.
UK Conservative Party Suspends 14 Members Over Alleged Islamophobia U.S. Judge Gives Trump Ex-Aide Manafort Leniency: Under Four Years in Prison President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced on Thursday by a U.S. judge to less than four years in prison - far shy of federal sentencing guidelines - for financial crimes uncovered during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis imposed the surprisingly lenient -47month sentence on Manafort, 69, during a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, in which the veteran Republican political consultant asked for mercy but expressed no remorse for his actions. Manafort was convicted by a jury last August of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.
May Tells EU to Agree to Backstop Changes or Risk Disorderly Brexit Prime Minister Theresa May put the onus on the European Union to make concessions over the thorny issue of the Irish backstop in Brexit talks, or risk Britain leaving the EU without a deal, which she
The Conservative party has suspended 14 members for allegedly making Islamophobic comments after a string of abusive posts were uncovered on social media. The party was responding to racist and abusive remarks that were discovered and collected online by the @matesjacob Twitter account and made by people who had said or indicated they were members of the party. The suspensions come at a time of growing scrutiny of the Conservative party’s record on Islamophobia. The former Tory chairman Sayeeda Warsi again called for an internal inquiry and suggested the most senior figures in the party – including Theresa May – needed to take the problem more seriously.
ISIS in 2019: Atrocities that Remain Unpunished
Genocides, Massacres and Crimes against Humanity By: Roshan Qasem Introduction by: Ali El Shamy Despite ISIS’s large land losses and humiliating military defeats, it’s hard to forget that the terrorist group had controlled large portions of both Iraq and Syria. Since its military takeover of Mosul, Iraq and its deceleration of Caliphate back in 2014, many had feared that the group would eventually penetrate other borders throughout the region and spread beyond Iraq and Syria. Over the years, the group’s operations had spread from the Middle East to Europe in the West and Southeast Asia in the East. What’s worse is that many foreign nationals attracted to the organization’s message decided to go to IS strongholds in the region and become fighters, operatives or brides. Today, the situation in the Middle East could not be any different as the group is on the brink of being militarily destroyed. As it stands, Baghouz in Syria is the final remaining IS stronghold. Many of IS’s former fighters are arrested, detained, in hiding or seeking to go back to their homelands. Despite these victories, there are still many questions that remain unanswered such as what course of action should be taken on former IS fighters, how we avenge the ones who suffered the most from the group’s diabolical actions and how do we rebuild the lands destroyed during ISIS control? While current events present new opportunities for the people previously living under IS siege, a lot of time will be needed to heal most of the wounds inflicted.
BAGHOUZ: THE LAST STRONGHOLD As of 2019, the village of Baghouz is the only IS territory remaining, thus constituting just one per cent of the land that the group had during its zenith. It is the farthest east village from the Syrian city Deir ez-Zor and is 3 kilometers away from the SyrianIraqi border. Baghouz is known for its green and fertile land as most of its dwellers used to work as farmers, it had scenic views that delighted the many tourists who used to visit the village. But, everything changed since IS invaded the serene land and viciously destroyed it. Back in September 2017 ,9, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched the Al Jazeera Storm campaign, which set to free the Eastern front of the Deir ez-Zor countryside and has since then reached all the way to Baghouz and the SDF have been thus far successful in defeating IS forces across the Syrian-Iraqi border and returning kidnapped civilians to their homes. In September 2018, the SDF launched the final phase of Al Jazeera Storm campaign in which it battled the final IS enclaves in Hajin and its bordering towns such as Baghouz Fawqani and Sousa.
YIZIDI GENOCIDE During IS’s reign of terror, among those who had suffered the most were the Yizidis in Iraq and Syria. The Yizidis follow an ancient monotheistic gnostic faith and are considered to be devil
As it stands, Baghouz in Syria is the final remaining IS stronghold.
worshippers and heathens by ISIS. As such, IS committed a series of mass killings of Yazidis from all walks of life. The group would also abduct Yazidi women and girls and use them as sex slaves, all these targeted atrocities are widely recognized as a genocide. Majalla spoke with the Iraqi-Yazidi activist, Ali El Khansory, who told us about the status of IS in Baghouz and how they might react to their imminent defeat. He also discussed the future of the Yazidis and how they can heal from the hellish scenario they endured. According to El Khansory, the battles between the SDF and IS are still ongoing, while the SDF has tried persuading the remaining IS forces in Baghouz to surrender peacefully the offers came to no prevail. As a result, the remnants of ISIS have decided to meet their demise the hard way. El Khansory has also noted that there have been negotiations with IS to release 200 Yazidi women and children that are still held captive, the captured children are as young as 6 and the oldest among them are only 16. While, IS has allowed their own women and children to leave its camps, it refuses to let one Yazidi captives out of their sights. Furthermore, the Yazidis have been used as ransom leverage since the terrorist group asked for a safe route towards Idlib, Palmyra Desert or Al Anbar in return for the kidnapped women and children, but naturally the SDF refused to even humor such a demand. Even on its last legs, ISIS is still committing many atrocities on the Yazidi population. El Khansory recounts the most recent of said massacres that took place just days before New Year’s Eve. According to El Khansory, an IS general contacted him via
WhatsApp and advised him to rescue the captured Yazidi women because the IS leader, Abu Bakr El Baghdady had ordered the execution of an unspecified number of Yazidi women. A few days later, news had spread that 50 of the captured Yazidi women had been killed just days before the start of the New Year. That same general messaged El Khansory after the massacre and asked him why he did not do anything about it, to which he responded that he had no way of verifying the validity of the threats. The general said that the threats are 100 per cent true and that he should rescue the captives as quickly as possible since IS forces will not hesitate to kill more Yazidis as long as the SDF keeps continuing its advances. Unfortunately, at this point in time it is hard to tell what will happen to the rest of the captives. Furthermore, IS’s threats turned out to be true as a Daily Mail article reported that the International Coalition infiltrated one of the last IS enclaves in Baghouz and found 50 cut-off heads belonging to Yazidi girls and women. The report also said that the British Royal Air Force’s Special Forces found the heads inside waste bins. The Yazidi activist also showed us voice messages from an IS fighter demanding 50,000 US dollars for each Yazidi captive. Another voice message from a Moroccan IS fighter revealed that he wanted the money because he would use it to pay a smuggler to take him to Turkey. Both El Khansory and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that many IS assailants escaped to Turkey during that past few months. It is believed that at least 85 IS families paid smugglers to take them to Turkey often charging from 10,000 dollars per individual and 50,000 dollars per family. He went on to tell us that he tried to find out the nationalities of the IS fighters in Eastern Syria, but the general he’s in contact with refused to disclose such information. Nevertheless, El Khansory was able to find out that many IS fighters in his region had Canadian citizenship. The activist insisted that IS will continue to pose a threat to the Yazidis for the foreseeable future, but the bigger tragedy is the fact that many of those who committed these crimes have escaped to their villages neighboring the Shankal village thus escaping the prospect of paying for their actions. He also said that there are at least 3,000 hidden IS fighters in Mosul, Kirkuk and Diyala.
THE SINJAR MASSACRE Yazidis living in Iraq also suffered from the terrorist group’s murderous actions. Since 2014, IS has been systematically killing Yazidis living in Sinjar, Iraq as well as the city’s surrounding villages. The group has been responsible for the deaths of Yazidi men, women, children, youth and elderly. Iraqi Yazidis have been
killed in mass executions and were subsequently buried in mass graves. Women and girls faced the most inhumane acts of torture and most of them were raped, the age of the women did not matter to IS since girls as young as six were raped by members of the terrorist group.
THE UNITED NATION’S STATISTICS OF THE ONGOING GENOCIDE According to the UN, the Yazidi population in Iraq was about 550,000. However, IS’s occupation has since caused about 360,000 Yazidis to be displaced. To put IS’s viciousness into context, 1,293 Yazidis alone were killed in the early days of the occupation. ISIS is also responsible for the deaths of 2,745 Yazidi orphans. Moreover, the UN has discovered 71 mass graves and tens of individual Yazidi graves in Shankal. El Khansory would go on to say that many of those responsible for the Yazidi genocide roam free throughout Turkey and face no prospect of punishment. Even those who are in Iraqi and Syrian prisons have not been properly tried for their actions.
LEGAL PROBLEM REGARDING FOREIGN IS FIGHTERS To get a clearer picture on the legal issues surrounding foreign IS fighters, we spoke to Gheith El Tamimi the President of the Iraqi Center for Diversity Management (ICDM) and an expert in Islamist doctrine. According to El Tamimi, Iraqi courts cannot try many IS assailants who killed and tortured Iraqi citizens since many of the crimes were committed on Syrian land, which they have no jurisdiction over. It is also important to note that the Iraqi government still continues to discriminate against Yazidis and other minorities. El Tamimi thinks that the Iraqi government should set up a special tribunal court for the Yazidi genocide, given the hardships that they faced. Alas the Iraqi government idly stands by as the Yazidis continue to suffer.
JOINT QATARI-TURKISH ROLE IN AIDING JIHADIST GROUP El Tamimi has also mentioned that there are states and international actors who have went out of their way to help IS and
Since 2014, IS has been systematically killing Yazidis living in Sinjar, Iraq as well as the city’s surrounding villages.
its operations. For instance, Turkey often acted as a rendezvous state where jihadists would meet before going into Iraq and Syria, he also mentioned Qatar as one of the world’s largest funders of jihadist groups. He said that there are agreements with Turkey and Qatar in order to conceal their roles in supporting and financing ISIS, he also said that Erdogan now has the opportunity to maintain these kinds of deals given the current internal situation in Turkey.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? The United States’ decision to pull out its troops from Syria and Iraq will serve a huge blow for Syrian Democratic Forces since it will now be responsible for dealing with the almost 8,000 IS troops and fighters in the region. This will also leave the SDF with the responsibility of dealing with the foreign IS fighters. It is important to note that the SDF has already arrested many of those fighters but now faces the dilemma of countries refusing to take back their citizens. Moreover, the SDF does not have the capacity to give the prisoners long sentences or execute them. There is also the logistical problem of not having enough prisons for the fighters and the instability of the region given Turkey’s ventures in the East of the Euphrates. US President Donald Trump recently went to twitter and demanded that European states take back their nationals who went to join IS, it is estimated that there are at least 800 Europeans who joined the group. However, most if not all European states rejected these demands, for instance French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called French IS fighters “the enemy of the state” and British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, recently stripped Shamima Begum, the teenager who became a Jihadi bride, of her British citizenship. He then stripped 100 British IS members
Turkey often acted as a rendezvous state where jihadists would meet before going into Iraq and Syria, he also mentioned Qatar as one of the world’s largest funders of jihadist groups.
of their citizenships. If Europe continues to reject taking back these IS members then they will likely end up going to unstable states in the region like Libya or go in hiding in Iraq and Syria. They could even go to Pakistan and Afghanistan and carry out operations for those willing to pay. Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper recently published an article stating that Erdogan has told Trump that Turkey would transfer 800 IS fighters to the Syrian Democratic Forces, given the Turkish government’s involvement with the group it’s hard to believe that the move does not carry within it any ulterior motives.
We also spoke to Abd El Karim Omar, the head of External Relations Authority in Northern and Eastern Syria, and he said that the military defeat of IS does not mean the defeat of terrorism or extremist ideology. This is because there are stilll silent operatives that lurk throughout Iraq and Syria. There’s also the fact that the ideology that helped IS spread is still present and that cannot be defeated through military means. Finally, many IS members and fighters have gone to Idlib and Jarabulus where they disguised themselves as liberal revolutionaries when they are in fact hardline jihadists. He also said that the mission cannot be declared accomplished until Syria is rebuilt into a free and democratic state for all walks of life, it is only at that moment we can start putting an end to the fuel that drives extremist ideology. When asked about the crisis regarding foreign IS fighters, he suggested that the international community come together and establish an international tribunal that would try the former members. The international community would also need to build special prison units to hold the former fighters, which in turn would be guarded by an international security force.
Former French Defense Minister: Tehran Has Disrupted the Middle East and Arab States Have Become Hotbeds of Iranian Militias
Chevènement Says he Warned Washington Against Invading Iraq to Avoid Iranian Expansion by Shoukry bin Naseer Tunisia’s diplomatic circle recently invited former French Defense Jean Pierre Chevènement to a conference under the title, “Modernity and Authenticity: Challenges facing the Muslim World from One Century to Another” at the Central University’s auditorium (Business School). Chevènement headed several ministries including Education, Interior and Defense under former French President Francois Mitterrand. He was known for his anti-capitalist leanings and was one of the founders of the French Socialist Party. He drafted the electoral left-wing program that led Franco Mitterrand to power in 1981. Former president Francois Holland nominated Chevènement in 2016 to head the Foundation for the Islam
No one can deny Israel’s right to exist. We just have to find a solution to the issue, so that Palestinians and Israelis live beside one another.
in France which was first established in 2005 to improve relations between the state and the Muslim community and intensify integration efforts. Chevènement supported the ban on Muslim women wearing the burkini on the country’s beaches. Q- Is it possible to combine Islam and modernity? I think so, provided that we understand Islamic ideology because Islam is a widespread religion and ideology. There are more than one billion Muslims in the world, and the borders of Islamic countries stretch from Asia to the African coast. Islam, like other religions, has gone through several periods and experienced resistance. However, during the Renaissance period, when Europe was open to the freedom of free thought and industrial development, Islamic countries experienced a long period of isolation. Just like any crisis, such as periods of struggle for decolonization, independence or the Cold War, these countries will witness the rise of Arab nationalism. Q - During the Gulf War and September 11 attacks, we saw the rise of radical Islam. Is it possible that we will see a renaissance in Muslim countries? In my opinion, yes we will, and many signs prove this. There is an emergence of new Islamic forces and they are developing and catching up with the emerging countries. There is nothing preventing Islamic countries from joining the procession of these countries.
Jihadists are heading towards Bamako, and upon Mali’s request, France intervened to stop the progress of heavily armed four-wheel drive vehicles.
former French Defense Jean Pierre Chevènement
It is certainly a difficult path, but that’s one more reason to take it. It could be done by separating religion from politics because secularism is often presented as a distorted concept. It is not a question of moving away from religion, but it is about believing in a common area of citizenship. Therefore, we must update the Islamic curriculum in schools. Islamic countries must also integrate in codevelopment because we must not neglect the fact that we live in an era of multipolarity between United States, China and the rest of Asian countries. I believe that multipolarity is an opportunity for co-development. Q - Many countries are concerned about jihadists in conflict areas. Do you support the return of these fighters to their homelands? I think they should be tried for all the crimes they have committed and in the countries where they committed these crimes (Such as Syria, Iraq, Libya or any other country). However, we must find a solution for the innocent women and children. They should not be punished for crimes they haven’t committed. I think those who have committed crimes to should be tried in countries where they have committed crimes whether in Syria, Iraq, Libya or elsewhere. Q - Even if these countries don’t have a good judicial system? It is regrettable, but justice must be served. If this is not possible, that does not justify letting these individuals off. Our duty is to ensure the fair trial of these individuals, with special provision for women and children. It is up to each country to assume its responsibility. Q - You were against the war in Iraq. Did history prove you right?
Unfortunately, yes it did. When Dick Cheney asked for my opinion before invading Iraq, I told him that the United States would be making two mistakes. I told him I understand you want to weaken Iraq, but you must not forget that this country stands up to Iran and radical Shiite Islam is expanding in the region. On the other hand, I told him you would provoke a Sunni revolt against Westerners, and that even the fighters you trained in Afghanistan will turn against you. This is exactly what happened with al-Qaeda, which was formed right after. Yes, this war was a mistake because it gave a strong boost to extremism as Iran emerged as the biggest winner. Unfortunately, the Gulf War, followed by 12 years of blockade and the second war with the dissolution of the state and the army, all had dire consequences. Today, Iraq and other countries have become hotbeds for Iran and its militias which have disrupted the Middle East. Thus, we must find a way to achieve lasting peace in the region. Q - Do you think sending French troops to Africa might also be a mistake? I always prefer studying each case separately. Unfortunately, it seems that jihadists from Ansar al-Din and ISIS were heading from Mali towards Bamako. Upon the request of the legitimate authorities in Mali, France intervened to stop the progress of heavily armed four-wheel drive vehicles. No one can dispute that. There are big problems occurring in the Sahel region and France's long term presence there is important. We have no material interest that drives us to send the -5,000strong French force within Operation Barkhane. It is not a large army, but without it the local army could collapse. We must, therefore, encourage Nigerians and Chadians to show patriotism and rebuild Mali's sovereign powers. Q - What are your views on of the return of debate on antiSemitism in France? No one can deny Israel’s right to exist. We just have to find a solution to the issue, so that Palestinians and Israelis can live beside one another.
Iranian Ties with Europe Suffer Amid Leadership Crisis and Diplomatic Row 16
by Joseph Braude The past week saw a deepening of Iran’s international isolation, together with more fallout from tensions within the upper echelons of the Islamic Republic. Factional infighting prompted the leak of a 2018 speech by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in which he appeared to lower expectations of European willingness to buck American sanctions. Tacitly validating this assessment, leading European firms have reported dramatically reducing the volume of business with Iran since the US withdrawal from the JCPOA. Meanwhile, Iranian diplomatic friction with both France and the Netherlands has raised the prospect that both nations will withdraw their ambassadors from Tehran.
FURTHER FALLOUT FROM ZARIF RESIGNATION, KHAMENEI LEAKS
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Javad Zarif during a joint press conference with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission at foreign ministry building, in Tehran.
Iranian diplomatic friction with both France and the Netherlands has raised the prospect that both nations will withdraw their ambassadors from Tehran. bad,” said Khamenei. “They are really bad. I have a lot to say about the Europeans; not because of their current policies, but their mischievous nature over the last few centuries.”
EUROPEAN FIRMS WITHDRAW FROM IRAN, TOGETHER WITH DIPLOMATS
Even firms such as French seed maker Vilmorin, eager to resume commerce in the Iranian news coverage was dominated by Iranian market, have recorded steep declines the aftereffects of the aborted resignation of over %90 in the volume of business done of Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Zarif’s in Iran since the resumption of US sanctions spokesman confirmed that the resignation in 2018. was prompted by a pique at having not been informed in advance of a visit by Syrian Iran’s isolation among European powers president Bashar al-Assad. According to deepened this week, as Holland formally recalled foreign ministry spokesperson Bahram its ambassador to Tehran amid an escalating Qassemi, "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs row over an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate did not have information at any level,” and Ahwazi Iranian dissidents on Dutch soil. "one of the reasons for the resignation of Dr. Zarif was this type of lack of coordination Dutch authorities decided to recall their with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” ambassador after Iran expelled two Dutch diplomats from the country, a step that was Although Javad Zarif resumed his duties itself a response to Holland’s expulsion of two as Foreign Minister shortly thereafter, the Iranian diplomats believed to be connected to the ripples of that episode are still being felt. attempted assassination. Witness the leak on Monday of a closeddoor speech from 2018 by Iran’s Supreme In a similar vein, the semi-official Iranian Leader casting doubt on Europeans’ daily Kayhan reported that France had expelled an Iranian diplomat on the basis willingness to skirt US sanctions. of a “ludicrous accusation of attempting He said the 2015 nuclear deal did not resolve to attack a meeting of the terrorist cult of “any of the economic problems” faced hypocrites [i.e. the Mujahadeen-e Khalq] in by the country, and expressed skepticism Paris.” It demanded reciprocal expulsions that an EU-proposed mechanism to shield to punish “the insolent and vile behaviour business from U.S. sanctions would have of France in accusing and expelling our any effect. The Europeans, he said, “are diplomat from its soil.”
Raya El Hassan: Being a Woman May Give Me a New Approach to National Security An Exclusive Interview with the First Female Arab Interior Minister by Soha Jaffal The appointment of Raya Haffar El Hassan as Lebanon’s Interior Minister in Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s new government went viral locally and regionally. Hassan is the Arab world›s first female to hold this position, prising open a wider foothold for women in its overwhelmingly male political scene. Though Hassan has already held top jobs — including finance minister in 2011-2009 — her appointment to a portfolio managing security was hailed as a step forward for women in Lebanese politics. Haffar is from north Lebanon, specifically from Tripoli, and her career in the public sector began in 1995. She has a bachelor degree in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut and worked for many years as a consultant in the Ministry of Finance and Economy until she was appointed Minister of Finance in 2009. Today, she is responsible for security, local development, prisons, preparation for elections, among other sensitive issues. In her interview with Majalla, Hassan outlined a roadmap and a series of reform measures that she would like to implement during her time in office. She said that she believes that her lack of experience in national security will work to her advantage in her current mission in the ministry and enable her to handling things more smoothly. She also stressed that one of her concerns
is changing the stereotype of the Ministry and bringing it closer to the public. Q. This is the first time a woman assumes this ministerial position. What are the challenges you expect to face, considering the Interior Ministry is sovereign, and that you are responsible for security and are in direct contact with the public? I don’t see a new challenge because the Interior Ministry is a sovereign one. I previously headed a sovereign ministry, the Ministry of Finance, so nothing has changed for me. Regarding the fact that this ministry is concerned with the country’s security, I still haven’t felt any challenges. On the contrary, perhaps being a woman will give a new approach the security portfolio in terms of handling things smoothly. Q. Which security portfolios will you work on? It is true I do not have a security background, but I believe the most important thing is for relations to be good and for there to be clear coordination between the Internal Security Forces Directorate General and the General Directorate of Public Security. This framework was established at the meeting I held with Director General of the Internal Security Forces Major General Imad Osman and Director General of Public Security Major General Abbas Ibrahim. As long there remains coordination between the security forces and as long as it is transparent and within a clear framework, I do not
Raya El Hassan
think that we will face any problems in the future. Q- Do you find it difficult to transition from the world of finance to the world of security? I can say that all things are under control, especially as I’ve put in place a that includes all the aid received by the directorates of public security and internal security within a single strategy that ensures the integration of all these initiatives. I believe I have the ability to accomplish that. Q- Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s decision to appoint a woman as interior minister is a challenge. Do you feel that you have a responsibility towards the Prime Minister and Lebanese women to prove that they are capable of assuming decisionmaking posts? PM Hariri has always been at the forefront of women empowerment, and he is known to be one of the biggest believers in women’s capabilities. He already had faith in me when he appointed me to become minister of finance and today he renewed this trust by appointing me interior minister. Of course, whatever my position is, I will work very seriously and will not underestimate the responsibility given to me. I am known to work seriously and with transparency within an institutional framework, hence no matter what position I am appointed in, I would follow the same approach to my work. Q- The issue surrounding detained Islamists is considered one of the thorny topics in the interior ministry. What steps will you
We are preparing a bill on Lebanese women’s right to grant citizenship to their children. It is time to give the Lebanese woman this right. take in this regard? The issue of Islamist detainees was mentioned in the Ministerial Declaration in a clear article which promises to enact an amnesty law for prisoners who’d not receive a fair trial. A draft law is under way and it will be introduced when it is appropriate. The government is working hard to close this file, which in turn will reduce the recent tensions in prisons. In my opinion, the solution for this issue is on the right track and we are waiting for the decision to be taken and introduced to all political parties to be approved as soon as possible. Q- There is consensus that the status of prisons in Lebanon is unacceptable and tragic on all levels, especially with regard to overcrowding and humanitarian standards. Is there a plan to improve the status and organisation of prisons in the country? Prisons in Lebanon do not uphold the minimum standards of human dignity of prisoners. Not to mention that this issue affects Lebanon’s image abroad and to what extent it respects human
rights. The first step I have taken in this regard was to hold a meeting with Major General Osman, in which we discussed the prisons’ status and what can be done, especially since this falls under the remit of the ministry of justice. But in light of the current situation, we have to work with the security forces to carry out amendments until this file is returned to the Ministry of Justice as stated by law. I am currently arranging provisions by ambassadors and the international community for this purpose. There are training provisions for some prison governors in addition to many other provisions, all of which fall within the framework of improving standards in prisons. As for building new prisons, I would like to note that former Interior Minister Nohad El Machnouk launched a tender through the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) to build a new prison in Mejdlaya, northern Lebanon. I will follow up with the Council to check if the funds allocated to this project have been provided. This way, we would have contributed to solving a small part in this issue. In the long term, we will also provide credits, support and funding in order to build new prisons and alleviate the overcrowding in the current prisons on the one hand and safeguard the prisoners’ rights, dignity and integrity, on the other hand. Q- The most notable thing about your predecessor’s tenure was his success in security and terrorism. Will this also be your priority particularly as Lebanon faces continuous security threats? Proactive measures taken by the security services have certainly contributed in recent years to the stability of Lebanon’s security. Today, although the country faces many challenges, the situation is stable. We must continue on the same path, and coordination among all the security services must continue in addition to moving forward in these proactive measures. As long as the internal security forces and the public security are seriously and professionally engaged, we will be able to maintain the same path.
will be managed by the same people who ran the parliamentary elections in the interior ministry last June, and we will benefit from their experience. Moreover, regulations on preparations and actions that must be taken are also clear.
Q- By-elections are expected to take place in Tripoli next May following the dismissal of MP Dima Jamali from office. This will mark your first test in office. How are your preparing? Preparations for holding by-elections in Tripoli started when the Constitutional Council issued its decision and an electoral body was put in place. Parliamentary elections have already been held in every area in Lebanon, and they have succeeded despite the existence of some gaps. Therefore, the task will be easier this time especially that these elections will only be held in one small area. I don’t think we will face any problem because the process
Q- Regarding the issue of indiscriminate shootings, are you going to make strict decisions in this matter considering the recent rise in victims of this crime? The Internal Security Forces are working to identify and prosecute the perpetrators, and strict legal measures are taken against them. However, the problem remains in prosecuting shooters from the Palestinian camps, which don’t fall under the remit of the Internal Security Forces. Therefore, we will find a solution to address this problem not only through the interior ministry but also on a larger scale.
Q- A major political debate has been circulating in Lebanon over the issue of Syrian refugees and attempts by some political forces to normalize relations with the Syrian regime under the pretext that Syrian refugees need to return from Lebanon. What is your opinion on this? My position is clear, and it is similar to that of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. We don’t want to engage in any kind of official contact with the Syrian regime before reaching a political solution in Syria and before the Arab League adopts a clear decision regarding this regime. Although the issue is controversial among political parties in Lebanon, our [The Future Movement Party] political position is clear. Q- You accepted the challenge and promised to do all you can to improve and change people’s lives for the better. But how will you deal with political interventions that may prevent the implementation of certain reform decisions? If political interventions occur, they will certainly hinder the interior ministry’s work to provide as many services as it can for the citizens. I can also see the vast gap that still exists between citizens and state institutions, and this reflects in citizens’ lack of confidence in these institutions. We are concerned along with all political parties to rebuild this trust between citizens and the state. It is, therefore, necessary to take into consideration the citizens’ needs and improve their living conditions. This is why I don’t think that any political party will hinder any work that would develop the interior ministry’s initiatives and improve serving citizens. On the contrary, I believe we will receive support for our projects and plans. Q- Are there plans to address road traffic jams and provide traffic safety? It is noticeable that the number of victims of traffic accidents has recently increased in Lebanon, so addressing the issue of traffic safety is one of the ministry’s priorities. I will hold meetings with the concerned NGOs, the National Road Safety Council and security forces in the next few days, to examine ways of doubling the number of security elements at certain times to reduce traffic accidents and to consider other measures that can be taken as soon as possible. Q- The moment your name was announced as Interior Minister, it went viral on social media with many welcoming this step. Some activists even described you as the “Iron Woman” and there were more light heated comments too, particularly as wives in Lebanon are jokingly referred to as the ‘Interior Minister’ in Lebanon. Will you support women in Lebanon? As an interior minister serve all citizens, whether men or women. But today, the ministry is receiving complaints from women more than men because issues related to women were not taken very seriously previously. It also seems that the fact that this post was filled by a woman motivated other women and gave them confidence to speak louder.
I will try my best to change how Lebanese citizens view the Interior Ministry and bridge the gap between the ministry and the public. Q- What about the negative comments and criticisms related to the appointment of a woman in a position that is associated with security? Some people even considered PM Hariri’s decision a risky one. I don’t see this step as risky in any way, and it is wrong to classify jobs and positions in terms of whether they are suitable for women or not. Women can handle any post assigned to them, and the proof is the fact that they assume the most important positions in all parts of the world and they even head states and governments. The Lebanese woman is totally capable of assuming decision-making positions, and whoever questions that diminishes Lebanese and Arab women’s capabilities. Q- What are the women’s rights issues that you will be working on? And will the issues of women passing on their Lebanese nationality to their children and domestic violence among your priorities? The Future Movement is preparing a bill on Lebanese women’s right to grant citizenship to their children. I will do my best to support this, especially as some political parties have rejected it. It is time to give the Lebanese woman this right, and this issue must be tackled with awareness and responsibility and through discussions with political parties that have certain concerns. Thus, we must find a mechanism to overcome and understand these concerns because this right can no longer be neglected. Regarding other issues related to women, especially domestic violence, police stations that receive complaints from violated women should handle these complaints with responsibility and know how to deal with this issue and how to help the victims. This requires specific training for those officers. Women also need to be reassured that they have a safe haven and that they can file a complaint and resort to security services whenever they are subjected to domestic violence. Q- What do you promise the Lebanese citizens? I will try my best to change how Lebanese citizens view the Interior Ministry and the stereotype that it is only concerned with security and the implementation of laws. I will make sure it becomes closer to people. Providing citizens’ needs and facilitating their lives are among its responsibilities in addition to ensuring law enforcement and maintaining security.
Algeriaâ€™s Ailing President and the Problem of Succession Why it Matters to the US and EU 22
Opposition parties have struggled to unite behind a candidate and therefore there are no strong challengers or a united front against the current regime. emerges victorious in April. This failed to satisfy the thousands of demonstrators from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum who demand an end Bouteflika’s -20year reign. Many seem unable to bear the thought of prolonging his rule again. This is particularly true for the many young Algerians who feel stifled by social constraints, difficult economic conditions as %30 of Algerian youth are currently unemployed, lack of opportunities, and a political class that is unresponsive to their needs. Bouteflika is currently in Geneva for medical care but although the state of his health is a closely guarded secret, his condition is such that the Algerian ambassador in Paris had to appear on French television on Monday to affirm that Mr. Bouteflika is indeed alive. “I say it all in certitude: Abdelaziz Bouteflika is alive,” said the ambassador, Abdelkader Mesdoua. He is strapped to a wheelchair and can neither walk nor, apparently, speak. He has not been seen to speak in public in six years and the last time he ran for office, in 2014, he failed to make an appearance on the campaign trail.
Algerians shout slogans and raise signs and national flags as they protest outside the city hall in the northern coastal city of Oran, about 410 kilometres west of the capital Algiers, on March ,1 2019, during a rally against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika›s bid for a fifth term in power. (Getty)
The National Liberation Front, has remained in power since Algeria’s independence from France by Yasmine El-Geressi in 1962. In 1991, a multiparty election in Algeria sparked a decade-long, violent civil war, which Protests raged for a second week against the killed more than 200,000 people. Bouteflika and his country’s ailing and absent president, Abdelaziz party have benefited from a level of popular support Bouteflika, whose decision to run for a fifth term because he is credited with restoring stability to the has infuriated Algerians and sparked the largest anti- country by his reconciliation policies following the government crowds in over 30 years. bloodshed in the 1990. He is also the last surviving leader from the 1962 – 1954 war of independence In defiance of the biggest and most impassioned against France, a battle that has been used by displays of public fury over the weekend, Boutefilka successive regimes to give them legitimacy. These submitted his election papers at the Constitutional factors, along with the memories of the conflict, Council in Algiers on Sunday but promised to call the dread of instability and bloodshed and the for elections within one year to replace him if he unravelling chaos in neighbouring Libya, as well as
Syria, have helped Bouteflika and his party stay in power and have stagnated attempts at reform. But these arguments now carry little weight with the younger generation. Helped by oil and gas revenue, Africa’s largest nation by land mass became peaceful and richer but it is has now been plunged into crisis and the sharp fall of revenues in this oil dependent country has worsened the situation since there is a lack of funds to buy civil peace as Bouteflika has done since coming into power in 1999. NO CLEAR SUCCESSOR It is widely believed that the President, who is known as “the frame” because he is usually visible to the country only in framed portraits, has left the reins of power of the country in the hands of a tight intertwined network that includes military generals, politicians, civilian elite and his brothers, known as “le pouvoir” (the power) in recent years. Algerian news reports suggest that the ruling clique had been unable to agree on a successor and so chose to run Bouteflika again, despite his illness. Algeria’s opposition is historically weak, unorganised and divided. Opposition parties have struggled to unite behind a candidate and therefore there are no strong challengers or a united front against the current regime. During Bouteflika’s fourth term, the opposition had been unsuccessful in coming up with a clear roadmap for the future and therefore have been unable to mobilize the public. The formal opposition have also lost the trust of a lot of the population. Some 20 candidates are said to be running for the presidency, though none of them have much name recognition or will be able to mobilise state resources like Bouteflika. Two opposition parties, the Labour Party, and the Islamist Movement of Society for Peace, have said they will boycott the
election. Some within Mouwatana (Citizenship), an organisation coordinated by opposition politician Soufiane Djilali, have backed retired army general Ali Ghediri to run for president, but the group as a whole has not endorsed this and so he is unlikely to garner support as a new figure of consensus leadership. Even in light of the current political climate, the opposition have remained fractured and unorganised, further eroding their ability to serve as a viable option.
A protester holds up the Algerian flag during a rally against the Algerian president›s bid for a fifth term in office on February ,24 2019 at the Place de la Republique in Paris. (Getty)
WHY IT MATTERS Algeria boasts one of the most modern militaries in the developing world and is an important security partner to the West, especially in combating extremist groups in North Africa and the Sahel. Its stability is important to the US and the US. In recent years the Algerian government has become a key ally in the fight against terrorism in Africa and is relied upon as a bulwark against the twin challenges of terrorism and illegal immigration. With prolonged factional fighting in neighbouring
Libya, civil unrest in Algeria would leave a broad swath of North Africa unstable, with potential population flight posing challenges to its relatively stable neighbors Tunisia and Morocco, as well as to southern Europe. The protests are being watched closely with some alarm by Algeria’s partners across the Mediterranean Sea, especially in France, Italy and Spain – who have a great interest in Algeria’s stability . Algeria is also the third biggest supplier of gas to the EU including half of Spain’s natural gas imports and
the bloc is Algeria’s largest trading partner by far. However, the European Union has largely silent, with Macron’s silence being heard the loudest. Some are calling on Macron to side with the streets of the former French colony but observers warn that such a step could undermine France’s delicate strategic relationship with the regime, and that key French priorities risk being compromised if the Algeria tips into turmoil. Under Macron, France has tried to forge closer economic and security ties with Algeria. Visiting Algiers in late 2017, the president called for opening a «new chapter» with Algeria, and urged young Algerians to look to the future. An uprising resulting from long-simmering outrage in a more open society could have positive outcomes, but as the regional record shows, successful transitions to democracy are rare. It is difficult to fully predict how this political movement will end but any route the country now takes will come with a risk. If the government choose to crack down, the demonstrations could grow and become violent, an escalation that no one can afford. Steady departures from Bouteflika’s inner circle make his position untenable, raising concerns among army generals who have dark memories of the civil war in the 1990s after the Islamists took up arms when the military cancelled elections they were poised to win. Protesters have praised the military, who have said they will guarantee security and not allow a return of a bloodshed era, for staying in its barracks throughout the unrest.
An uprising resulting from longsimmering outrage in a more open society could have positive outcomes, but as the regional record shows, successful transitions to democracy are rare.
Algeria’ s Bouteflika: From Revolutionary to Ailing Recluse A fighter in the 1962-1954 war to end French colonial rule, Bouteflika became the first foreign minister of his newly independent country and one of the forces behind the NonAligned Movement that gave a global voice to Africa, Asia and Latin America. Bouteflika championed post-colonial states, challenged what he saw as the hegemony of the United States and helped turn his country into a seed-bed of 1960s idealism. He welcomed Che Guevara. Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, on the run from U.S. police, was given refuge. Cleaver held court in his Algiers safe house with Timothy Leary, the drug-taking high priest of U.S. counter-culture. A young Nelson Mandela got his first military training in Algeria, whose revolution inspired the South African. As president of the U.N. General Assembly, Bouteflika invited Yasser Arafat to address the body in 1974, a historic step towards international recognition of the Palestinian cause. By the end of the 1970s, though, Bouteflika had fallen from favour at home and went into exile. He returned to public life when Algeria was being ravaged by a conflict with Islamist militants which killed an estimated 200,000 people. First elected president in 1999, he negotiated a truce to end the fighting and wrested power from the secretive military-based establishment known as “le pouvoir” (the power). Helped by oil and gas revenues, Algeria became more peaceful and richer. But it remains mired in corruption and political and economic torpor in a region where uprisings brought changes in neighbouring countries. With a hefty cushion of foreign reserves at its disposal and its people wary of major upheaval after their civil war, Algeria avoided the Arab spring revolutions that toppled leaders across the region in 2011. But protests against poor living standards, the lack of job opportunities and services are common, and foreign investors are keen for economic reforms that will cut the red tape that often hampers business.
THIRD WORLD’S SPOKESMAN Some biographers say Bouteflika was born in Tlemcen, western Algeria, and others give his place of birth as Oujda, just over the border in Morocco. At the age of 19, he joined the rebellion against French rule as a protege of Houari Boumediene, a commander who would later become Algerian president. After independence, Bouteflika became minister for youth and tourism at the age of 25. The following year he was made foreign minister. Dressed in the tailored suits and sunglasses fashionable in the 1960s, Bouteflika became a spokesman for states emerging from colonial rule. The cachet Algeria earned from defeating France lent him added authority. Bouteflika demanded that Communist China be given a seat in the United Nations. He railed against apartheid rule in South Africa. The invitation to Arafat to address the General Assembly was explosive. Only two years before, Palestinian gunmen took hostage and killed members of the Israeli team at the Olympic Games in Munich. Bouteflika watched from the chairman’s dais as
Arafat, a gun holster on his waistband, addressed the assembly in New York. When pro-Palestinian militant Illich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as “Carlos the Jackal”, kidnapped oil ministers from an OPEC meeting in Vienna in 1975, he demanded to be flown with his hostages to Algiers. Bouteflika was shown on camera embracing Carlos at the airport before they sat down to negotiate the hostages’ release.
RETURN FROM EXILE When Boumediene died in 1978, Bouteflika lost his mentor. He was replaced as foreign minister and an investigation was launched into financial impropriety. Bouteflika said the allegations were invented as part of a political plot. He left Algeria in the early 1980s and settled in Dubai, where he became an adviser to a member of the emirate’s ruling family. He returned home in 1987 but kept a low profile, refusing offers of government posts. In the meantime, Algeria was unravelling. The military-backed government annulled a parliamentary election in 1992 which Islamists had been poised to win. In the conflict that followed, whole villages were massacred and civilians walking in city streets had their throats slit. Bouteflika, backed by the military, was elected president in 1999 with a pledge to stop the fighting. Against fierce opposition from the
establishment, he gave an amnesty to militants who laid down their arms. The violence declined dramatically. He won re-election in 2004 and again in 2009, although his opponents said the votes were rigged. Through a series of ferocious turf battles with his security forces behind the scenes, Bouteflika had, by the start of his third term, become Algerian’s most powerful president in 30 years. He consolidated that power last year by dismissing about a dozen top military officers. Little is known about his private life. Official records mention no wife, though some accounts say a marriage took place in 1990. Bouteflika lived with his mother, Mansouriah, in an apartment in Algiers, where she used to prepare his meals. Age and poor health caught up with him. French doctors operated on him in 2005 for what officials said was a stomach ulcer. Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables said he was suffering from cancer. He became weaker after his mother died in 2009. Bouteflika said in a speech in Setif, in eastern Algeria, in May 2012 that it was time for his generation to hand over to new leaders. “For us, it’s over,” he said. Months later at the start of 2013, a stroke put him into a Paris hospital for three months. He was seen little in public after returning to Algeria to convalesce. Swiss TV says he is in currently hospital in Geneva. (Source: Reuters)
The Future of the Liberal Order Is Conservative A Strategy to Save the System
Keep calm and carry on, some of its defenders argue; today’s difficulties will pass, and the order is resilient enough to survive them.
Pro-Brexit demonstrators are seen holding placards and a flag during the protest outside the Houses of Parliament as British Prime Minister Theresa May outlines her plans on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.(Getty)
By Jennifer Lind* and William C. Wohlforth* The liberal world order is in peril. Seventy-five years after the United States helped found it, this global system of alliances, institutions, and norms is under attack like never before. From within, the order is contending with growing populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism. Externally, it faces mounting pressure from a pugnacious Russia and a rising China. At stake is the survival of not just the order itself but also the unprecedented economic prosperity and peace it has nurtured. The order is clearly worth saving, but the question is how. Keep calm and carry on, some of its defenders argue;
today’s difficulties will pass, and the order is resilient enough to survive them. Others appreciate the gravity of the crisis but insist that the best response is to vigorously reaffirm the order’s virtues and confront its external challengers. Bold Churchillian moves—sending more American troops to Syria, offering Ukraine more help to kick out pro-Russian forces—would help make the liberal international order great again. Only by doubling down on the norms and institutions that made the liberal world order so successful, they say, can that order be saved. Such defenders of the order tend to portray the challenge as a struggle between liberal countries trying to sustain the status quo and dissatisfied authoritarians seeking to revise it. What they miss, however, is that for the past 25 years, the international order crafted by and for liberal states has itself been profoundly revisionist, aggressively exporting democracy and expanding in both depth and breadth. The scale of the current problems means that more of the same is not viable; the best response is to make the liberal order more conservative. Instead of expanding it to new places and new domains, the United States and its partners should consolidate the gains the order has reaped. The debate over U.S. grand strategy has traditionally been portrayed as a choice between retrenchment and ambitious expansionism. Conservatism offers a third way: it is a prudent option that seeks to preserve what has been won and minimize the chances that more will be lost. From a conservative vantage point, the United States’ other choices—at one extreme, undoing long-standing alliances and institutions or, at the other extreme, further extending American power and spreading American values— represent dangerous experiments. This is especially so in an era when great-power politics has returned and the relative might of the countries upholding the order has shrunk. It is time for Washington and its liberal allies to gird themselves for a prolonged period of competitive coexistence with illiberal great powers, time to shore up existing alliances rather than add new ones, and time to get out of the democracy-promotion business. Supporters of the order may protest this shift, deeming it capitulation. On the contrary, conservatism is the best way to preserve
the global position of the United States and its allies—and save the order they built.
A REVISIONIST ORDER Since World War II, the United States has pursued its interests in part by creating and maintaining the web of institutions, norms, and rules that make up the U.S.-led liberal order. This order is not a myth, as some allege, but a living, breathing framework that shapes much of international politics. It is U.S.-led because it is built on a foundation of American hegemony: the United States provides security guarantees to its allies in order to restrain regional competition, and the U.S. military ensures an open global commons so that trade can flow uninterrupted. It is liberal because the governments that support it have generally tried to infuse it with liberal norms about economics, human rights, and politics. And it is an order—something bigger than Washington and its policies—because the United States has partnered with a posse of like-minded and influential countries and because its rules and norms have gradually assumed a degree of independent influence. This order has expanded over time. In the years after World War II, it grew both geographically and functionally, successfully integrating two rising powers, West Germany and Japan. Supporting liberalism and interweaving their security policies with the United States’, these countries accepted the order, acting as “responsible stakeholders” well before the term was optimistically applied to China. As the Cold War played out, NATO added not just West Germany but also Greece, Turkey, and Spain. The European Economic Community (the EU’s predecessor) doubled its membership. And core economic institutions, such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), broadened their remits. After the Cold War, the liberal order expanded dramatically. With the Soviet Union gone and China still weak, the states at the core of the order enjoyed a commanding global position, and they used it to expand their system. In the Asia-Pacific, the United States strengthened its security commitments to Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and other partners. In Europe, NATO and the EU took on more and more members, widened and deepened cooperation among their members, and began intervening far beyond Europe’s borders. The EU developed “neighborhood policies” to enhance security, prosperity, and liberal practices across Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa; NATO launched missions in Afghanistan,
the Gulf of Aden, and Libya. For liberals, this is simply what progress looks like. And to be sure, much of the order’s dynamism—say, the GATT’s transformation into the more permanent and institutional World Trade Organization, or the UN’s increasingly ambitious peacekeeping agenda—met with broad support among liberal and authoritarian countries alike. But some key additions to the order clearly constituted revisionism by liberal countries, which, tellingly, were the only states that wanted them. Most controversial were the changes that challenged the principle of sovereignty. Under the banner of “the responsibility to protect,” governments, nongovernmental organizations, and activists began pushing a major strengthening of international law with the goal of holding states accountable for how they treated their own people. Potent security alliances such as NATO and powerful economic institutions such as the IMF joined the game, too, adding their muscle to the campaign to spread liberal conceptions of human rights, freedom of information, markets, and politics. Democracy promotion assumed a newly prominent role in U.S. grand strategy, with President Bill Clinton speaking of “democratic enlargement” and President George W. Bush championing his “freedom agenda.” The United States and its allies increasingly funded nongovernmental organizations to build civil society and spread democracy
A youth wears a 'Make America Great Again' cap during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 2019 ,1. (Getty)
Under the banner of “the responsibility to protect,” governments, nongovernmental organizations, and activists began pushing a major strengthening of international law with the goal of holding states accountable for how they treated their own people.
around the world, blurring the line between public and private efforts. U.S. taxpayers, for example, have footed the bill for the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit that promotes democracy and human rights in China, Russia, and elsewhere. Meddling in other states’ domestic affairs is old hat, but what was new was the overt and institutionalized nature of these activities, a sign of the order’s post–Cold War mojo. As Allen Weinstein, the co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy, admitted in a 1991 interview, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” As never before, state power, legal norms, and publicprivate partnerships were harnessed together to expand the order’s—and Washington’s—geopolitical reach. Perhaps the clearest example of these heightened ambitions came in the Balkans, where, in 1999, NATO harnessed its military power to the emerging “responsibility to protect” norm and coerced Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to acquiesce to Kosovo’s de facto independence—after which the United States and its allies openly joined forces with local civil society groups to topple him from power. It was a remarkably bold move. In just a few months, the United States and its allies transformed the politics of an entire region that had traditionally been considered peripheral, priming it for incorporation into the security and economic structures dominated by the liberal West. To say that all of this represented revisionism is not to
equate it morally with, say, Beijing’s militarization in the South China Sea or Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and electoral meddling in the United States and Europe. Rather, the point is that the order’s horizons have expanded dramatically, with state power, new legal norms, overt and covert actions, and public-private partnerships together stretching the order wider and pushing it deeper. No country these days is consistently interested in maintaining the status quo; we are all revisionists now. Revisionism undertaken by illiberal states is often seen as mere power grabbing, but revisionism undertaken by liberal states has also resulted in geopolitical rewards: expanded alliances, increased influence, and more perquisites for the chief sponsors of the order, the United States above all.
A WHOLE NEW WORLD There are appropriate times to expand, but today is not one of them. Although the liberal order is still backed by a powerful coalition of states, that coalition’s margin of superiority has narrowed markedly. In 1995, the United States and its major allies produced some 60 percent of global output (in terms of purchasing power parity); now, that figure stands at 40 percent. Back then, they were responsible for 80 percent of global defense expenditures; today, they account for just 52 percent. It is becoming more difficult to maintain the order, let alone expand it. All the while, the order is suffering from an internal crisis of legitimacy that is already proving to be a constraint, as war-weary Americans, Euroskeptical Britons, and others across the West have taken to the polls to decry so-called globalist elites. The order’s illiberal challengers, meanwhile, have gotten savvier about acting on their long-held dissatisfaction. China and Russia have insulated themselves from external influences by manipulating information, controlling the media, and deploying new information-age techniques to monitor their populations and keep them docile. They
have modernized their militaries and embraced clever asymmetric strategies to put the order’s defenders on the back foot. The result is that the United States and its allies not only command a slimmer power advantage relative to in the halcyon 1990s but also face a tougher task in sustaining the order. One might argue that the order should neutralize these challengers by bringing them in. Indeed, such was the motivation behind the U.S. strategy of engaging a rising China. But even though illiberal countries can participate productively in many aspects of the order, they can never be true insiders. Their statist approach to economics and politics makes it impossible for them to follow Germany’s and Japan’s path and accept any order that is U.S.-led or liberal. They see U.S.-dominated security arrangements as potential threats directed at them. And they have no interest in making concessions on democracy and human rights, since doing so would undermine vital tools of their authoritarian control. Nor do they wish to embrace liberal economic principles, which run afoul of the (often corrupt) role of the state in their economies. Given their fundamental aversion to the core precepts of the liberal order, it’s no wonder that illiberal powers have invested resources in creating alternative institutions reflecting their own statist principles—bodies such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the New Development Bank, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. There was never a chance that a powerful, undemocratic Russia was going to join NATO, just as there was never a chance that China was going to be satisfied with U.S. military dominance in Asia. U.S. security commitments are directed against these very states. Washington and its allies buy into rules and values that these countries see as threatening. As long as the security commitments remain in place and the
Greater conservatism would also help bolster the order against internal challenges. Although these will require domestic policies to address, because a less ambitious order would provoke less pushback from authoritarian states…
expansionist project continues, illiberal states will never fully integrate into the order. Perhaps, one might argue, the order’s authoritarian adversaries are paper tigers. In that case, the order has no reason to adopt a conservative stance; all it has to do is wait for these fragile governments to meet their inevitable demise. The problem with this bet is that it lay behind the liberal order’s recent expansion, and yet over the past couple of decades, illiberal governments have only grown more authoritarian. Indeed, history has shown that great powers’ domestic regimes rarely collapse in peacetime; the Soviet case was an anomaly. Cheering on political dissent within great powers from afar rarely succeeds, and by feeding narratives about their being encircled by threats, it often backfires. The bottom line is that the external challenges to the order are happening now. Insisting on continued expansion while waiting for adversaries to decline, liberalize, and accept American leadership is likely to only exacerbate the problems afflicting the order. If that happens, the ability of the United States and its allies to sustain the order will decline faster than will the capability of their opponents to challenge it. And a failure to head off the rising costs of maintaining the order will only increase the domestic political pressure to abandon it altogether.
CONSERVATISM IN PRACTICE A more conservative order would recognize that both internal and external circumstances have changed and would adjust accordingly. First and most important, this demands a shift to a status quo mindset in Washington and
Kosovo Albanian are reflected on a memorial wall as they view the names of 'martyrs' in the village of Marina on October 2018 ,5 during the inauguration of a memorial complex dedicated to the 157 Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) members killed by Serbian forces during the Kosovo war in -1998 1999. (Getty)
allied capitals. Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s occasional bluster about withdrawing from the world, his administration has retained all of the United States’ existing commitments while adding ambitious new ones, notably an effort to radically scale back Iran’s influence. And although the Obama administration was often accused of retrenchment, it, too, kept U.S. commitments in place and even tried its hand at regime change in Libya. Under a conservative approach, Washington would set aside such revisionist projects in order to concentrate its attention and resources on managing great-power rivalries. As part of this, the United States should reduce the expectation that it will take on new allies. At the very least, any prospective ally should bring more capabilities than costs—a litmus test that has not been applied in recent years. Because the liberal order is in dire need of consolidation rather than expansion, it makes no sense to add small and weak states facing internal problems, especially if including them will exacerbate tensions among existing allies or, worse, with great-power rivals. In July 2018, NATO, with U.S. support, formally invited Macedonia to join the alliance (reviving a dispute with Greece over the name of the country), and the Trump administration has backed NATO membership for Bosnia, too (over the objections of the Serbian minority there). These straws may not break the camel’s back, but the principle of limitless expansion might. The case of Taiwan shows what a successful conservative approach looks like in practice, demonstrating how the United States can deter a rival great power from expanding while preventing a partner from provoking it. For decades, Washington has declared that the island’s future should be
resolved peacefully. Leaders on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have sometimes sought to overturn the status quo, as when Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian began making pro-independence moves after he was elected in 2000. In response, U.S. President George W. Bush publicly warned Chen against unilaterally changing the status quo—a tough stance toward a longtime U.S. partner that helped keep the peace. This policy may be tested again, as demographic and economic trends strengthen the Taiwanese people’s sense of national identity, as China grows more assertive, and as voices in the United States call for an unambiguously pro-Taiwan policy. But Washington should hold fast: for decades, conservatism has served it, and the region, well. A conservative order would also entail drawing clearer lines between official efforts to promote democracy and those undertaken independently by civil society groups. By example and activism, vibrant civil societies in the United States and other liberal countries can do much to further democracy abroad. When governments get in the game, however, the results tend to backfire. As the political scientists Alexander Downes and Lindsey O’Rourke found in their comprehensive study, foreign-imposed regime change rarely leads to improved relations and frequently has the opposite effect. Liberal states should stand ready to help when a foreign government itself seeks assistance. But when one resists help, it is best to stay out. Meddling will only aggravate that government’s concerns about violations of sovereignty and tar opposition forces with the charge of being foreign pawns. Far from ceding power to illiberal great powers, a strategy of conservatism would directly address those external threats. Part of the reason those countries contest the order is that it exacerbates their insecurities. Restraining the order’s expansionist impulses would reveal just how much of illiberal states’ current revisionism is defensive in nature and how much is driven by sheer ambition. It could also stymie potential balancing against the order by illiberal states—China, Iran, Russia, and others. Although these revisionists have many divergent geopolitical and economic interests that currently limit their cooperation, the more their rulers worry that their grip on power is under threat from a liberal order, the more they will be inclined to overcome their differences and team up to check liberal powers. Reduce that fear, and there will be more opportunities for the liberal states to divide and rule, or at least divide and deter. A less revisionist order could take the edge off of growing great-power rivalry in another way, by fully exploiting the advantages of a defensive, rather than offensive, stance. In general, preserving the status quo is cheaper, easier, and less dangerous than overturning it, as strategists from Suntzu to Thomas Schelling have argued. The order is deeply set, legitimate, and institutionalized. When it remains committed to the status quo, it is easy for its defenders to set
redlines clarifying which challenges will be reversed and which won’t, a strategy that can help contain adversaries and limit rivalry. Yet when all the players in the game are revisionists, setting unambiguous lines becomes much more difficult; what is acceptable today could become unacceptable tomorrow. Shifting to a more clearly status quo orientation would increase the chances that the United States and its allies could strike explicit or, more likely, implicit bargains with their rivals. Like any strategic approach, conservatism offers no guarantees and requires skilled statecraft. But by setting more realistic goals, it can dramatically increase the likelihood of success. Greater conservatism would also help bolster the order against internal challenges. Although these will require domestic policies to address, because a less ambitious order would provoke less pushback from authoritarian states—and such pushback is costly to deal with—it would also be a more sustainable order. The higher the costs of maintaining the order, the more suspicion about it grows, and the harder it gets to maintain domestic support for it. Polls show that American voters like the country’s existing alliances. What many balk at are commitments they see as costly adventures unrelated to core national security concerns. Continued expansion risks feeding those perceptions and generating a popular backlash that would throw the baby out with the bath water. Conservatism, by contrast, would minimize that risk. Conservatism today need not mean conservatism forever. Any ambitious enterprise, whether it be a political movement or a corporation, undergoes phases of expansion and phases of consolidation. After a firm engages in acquisition, for example, the C-suite must ask whether
All the while, the order is suffering from an internal crisis of legitimacy that is already proving to be a constraint, as war-weary Americans, Euroskeptical Britons, and others across the West have taken to the polls to decry so-called globalist elites.
the new management and workers are fully on board with the firm’s culture and mission and must address any dislocations caused by the recent changes. Consolidation, then, should be seen as a prudent reaction to expansion. In the future, conditions may change such that the order can responsibly start looking for ways to grow, but that day has not yet arrived.
A TIME TO HEAL One might wonder whether an order grounded in liberal principles can in fact practice restraint. In the mideighteenth century, the philosopher David Hume warned that the United Kingdom was prosecuting its wars against illiberal adversaries with “imprudent vehemence,” contradicting the dictates of the balance of power and risking national bankruptcy. Perhaps such imprudence is part and parcel of the foundational ideology and domestic politics of liberal powers. As the political scientist John Mearsheimer has put it, “Liberal states have a crusader mentality hardwired into them.” Indeed, the principles of liberalism apply to all individuals, not just those who happen to be citizens of a liberal
A protester seen holding a placard saying it is not humanitarian aid during the protest. Protest against the military intervention of the United States in Venezuela, No war intervention in Madrid Spain. (Getty)
country. On what basis, then, can a country committed to liberal ideals stand idly by when they are trampled abroad—especially when that country is powerful enough to do something about it? In the United States, leaders often try to square the circle by contending that spreading democracy actually serves the national interest, but the truth is that power and principle don’t always go together. Because liberal convictions are part of their identity, Americans often feel they should support those who rise up against tyranny. Perhaps in the abstract one can promise restraint, but when demonstrators take to Tahrir Square in Cairo, Maidan in Kiev, or Bolotnaya Square in Moscow, many Americans want their government to stand with those flying freedom’s flag. And when countries want to join the order’s key security and economic institutions, Americans want the United States to say yes, even when there is scant strategic sense in it. Political incentives encourage this impulse, since politicians in the United States know that they can score points by bashing any leader who sells out lovers of liberty. There is evidence, however, that liberal countries can check their appetite for spreading virtue. Nineteenth-century British statesmen liked to think that liberal principles
and imperial interests often coincided, but when the two clashed, they almost always chose realism over idealism— as when the United Kingdom backed the Ottoman Empire for reasons of realpolitik despite domestic pressure to take action on behalf of persecuted Christians in the empire. The United States in the twentieth century had idealistic presidents, such as Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter, but it also had more pragmatic ones, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. The period of détente in U.S.-Soviet relations, which lasted throughout the 1970s, exemplifies the possibility of a liberal order going on the defensive. During this period, the West largely followed a live-and-let-live strategy informed by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s controversial maxim to not hold détente hostage to improvements in Moscow’s human rights record. Washington negotiated with Moscow on arms control and a range of other security issues and held frequent summits symbolizing its acceptance of the Soviet Union as a superpower equal. In the 1975 Helsinki Accords, aimed at reducing East-West tensions, the United States effectively accommodated itself to the reality of Soviet suzerainty in Eastern Europe. The essence of the deal was that the United States would render unto the Soviets roughly a third of the world— while making it clear that they should not dare come after its two-thirds. To be sure, super-power competition never truly ceased, and in the 1980s, détente died out altogether. But while it was in place, the strategy worked to limit U.S.Soviet rivalry and facilitate rapprochement with China. This gave the United States and its allies the breathing room they needed to get their own houses in order and patch up alliances torn apart by domestic upheavals, the Vietnam War, and wrangling over trade and monetary policy. What this history suggests is that today’s liberal order, for a time at least, can be conservative. Liberal countries can never be thoroughly status quo actors, for they foster relatively free economies and civil societies presided over by governments committed to giving those vibrant forces free rein. Left to their own devices, those forces will always be revisionist—such is the nature of liberalism. But that inherent revisionism need not prevent leaders of liberal states, responsible for dealing with the world as it is, from recognizing that conditions have changed and deciding to trim their sails and tack away from expansion. That is what those leaders must do now: to protect an order based on liberalism, they must embrace conservatism. *JENNIFER LIND is Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House. *WILLIAM C. WOHLFORTH is Daniel Webster Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. This article was originally published in the March/April 2019 issue of Foreign Affairs Magazine and on ForeignAffairs.com.
A New Americanism Why a Nation Needs a National Story By Jill Lepore Foreign Affairs In 1986, the Pulitzer Prize–winning, bowtie-wearing Stanford historian Carl Degler delivered something other than the usual pipe-smoking, scotch-on-the-rocks, after-dinner disquisition that had plagued the evening program of the annual meeting of the American Historical Association for nearly all of its century long history. Instead, Degler, a gentle and quietly heroic man, accused
his colleagues of nothing short of dereliction of duty: appalled by nationalism, they had abandoned the study of the nation. “We can write history that implicitly denies or ignores the nationstate, but it would be a history that flew in the face of what people who live in a nation-state require and demand,” Degler said that night in Chicago. He issued a warning: “If we historians fail to provide a nationally defined history, others less critical and less informed will take over the job for us.” The nation-state was in decline, said the wise men of the time.
Nationalism, an infant in the nineteenth century, had become, in the first half of the twentieth, a monster. end of the Cold War. Nationalism, the greatest remaining threat to liberalism, had been “defanged” in the West, and in other parts of the world where it was still kicking, well, that wasn’t quite nationalism. “The vast majority of the world’s nationalist movements do not have a political program beyond the negative desire of independence from some other group or people, and do not offer anything like a comprehensive agenda for socioeconomic organization,” Fukuyama wrote. (Needless to say, he has since had to walk a lot of this back, writing in his most recent book about the “unexpected” populist nationalism of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Poland’s Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte.) Fukuyama was hardly alone in pronouncing nationalism all but dead. A lot of other people had, too. That’s what worried Degler. Nation-states, when they form, imagine a past. That, at least in part, accounts for why modern historical writing arose with the nation-state. For more than a century, the nation-state was the central object of historical inquiry. From George Bancroft in the 1830s through, say, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., or Richard Hofstadter, studying American history meant studying the American nation. As the historian John Higham put it, “From the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1960s, the nation was the grand subject of American history.” Over that same stretch of time, the United States experienced a civil war, emancipation, reconstruction, segregation, two world wars, and unprecedented immigration—making the task even more essential. “A history in common is fundamental to sustaining the affiliation that constitutes national subjects,” the historian Thomas Bender once observed. “Nations are, among other things, a collective agreement, partly coerced, to affirm a common history as the basis for a shared future.” President Abraham Lincoln's first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, July 1862 ,22, engraving by Alexander Hay Ritchie, 1866, United States of America, 19th century. (Getty)
The world had grown global. Why bother to study the nation? Nationalism, an infant in the nineteenth century, had become, in the first half of the twentieth, a monster. But in the second half, it was nearly dead—a stumbling, ghastly wraith, at least outside postcolonial states. And historians seemed to believe that if they stopped studying it, it would die sooner: starved, neglected, and abandoned. Francis Fukuyama is a political scientist, not a historian. But his 1989 essay “The End of History?” illustrated Degler’s point. Fascism and communism were dead, Fukuyama announced at the
But in the 1970s, studying the nation fell out of favor in the American historical profession. Most historians started looking at either smaller or bigger things, investigating the experiences and cultures of social groups or taking the broad vantage promised by global history. This turn produced excellent scholarship. But meanwhile, who was doing the work of providing a legible past and a plausible future—a nation—to the people who lived in the United States? Charlatans, stooges, and tyrants. The endurance of nationalism proves that there’s never any shortage of blackguards willing to prop up people’s sense of themselves and their destiny
with a tissue of myths and prophecies, prejudices and hatreds, or to empty out old rubbish bags full of festering resentments and calls to violence. When historians abandon the study of the nation, when scholars stop trying to write a common history for a people, nationalism doesn’t die. Instead, it eats liberalism. Maybe it’s too late to restore a common history, too late for historians to make a difference. But is there any option other than to try to craft a new American history—one that could foster a new Americanism?
THE NATION AND THE STATE The United States is different from other nations—every nation is different from every other—and its nationalism is different, too. To review: a nation is a people with common origins, and a state is a political community governed by laws. A nation-state is a political community governed by laws that unites a people with a supposedly common ancestry. When nation-states arose out of city-states and kingdoms and empires, they explained themselves by telling stories about their origins—stories meant to suggest that everyone in, say, “the French nation” had common ancestors, when they of course did not. As I wrote in my book These Truths, “Very often, histories of nation-states are little more than myths that hide the seams that stitch the nation to the state.” But in the American case, the origins of the nation can be found in those seams. When the United States declared its independence, in 1776, it became a state, but what made it a nation? The fiction that its people shared a common ancestry was absurd on its face; they came from all over, and, after having waged a war against Great Britain, just about the last thing they wanted to celebrate was their Britishness. Long after independence, most Americans saw the United States not as a nation but, true to the name, as a confederation of states. That’s what made arguing for ratification of the Constitution an uphill battle; it’s also why the Constitution’s advocates called themselves “Federalists,” when they were in fact nationalists, in the sense that they were proposing to replace a federal system, under the Articles of Confederation, with a national system. When John Jay insisted, in The Federalist Papers, no. 2, “that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people—a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs,” he was whistling in the dark. It was the lack of these similarities that led Federalists such as Noah Webster to attempt to manufacture a national character by urging Americans to adopt distinctive spelling. “Language, as well as government should be national,” Webster wrote in 1789. “America should have her own distinct from all the world.” That got the United States “favor” instead of “favour.” It did not,
however, make the United States a nation. And by 1828, when Webster published his monumental American Dictionary of the English Language, he did not include the word “nationalism,” which had no meaning or currency in the United States in the 1820s. Not until the 1840s, when European nations were swept up in what has been called “the age of nationalities,” did Americans come to think of themselves as belonging to a nation, with a destiny. This course of events is so unusual, in the matter of nation building, that the historian David Armitage has suggested that the United States is something other than a nation-state. “What we mean by nationalism is the desire of nations (however defined) to possess states to create the peculiar hybrid we call the nationstate,” Armitage writes, but “there’s also a beast we might call the state-nation, which arises when the state is formed before the development of any sense of national consciousness. The United
US-China-immigrationhistory-minority Michael Lin, chair of the 1882 Project, a coalition of rights groups seeking a statement of regret over that year's Chinese Exclusion Act. (Getty)
States might be seen as a, perhaps the only, spectacular example of the latter”—not a nation-state but a state-nation. One way to turn a state into a nation is to write its history. The first substantial history of the American nation, Bancroft’s tenvolume History of the United States, From the Discovery of the American Continent, was published between 1834 and 1874. Bancroft wasn’t only a historian; he was also a politician who served in the administrations of three U.S. presidents, including as secretary of war in the age of American continental expansion. An architect of manifest destiny, Bancroft wrote his history in an attempt to make the United States’ founding appear inevitable, its growth inexorable, and its history ancient. De-emphasizing its British inheritance, he celebrated the United States as a pluralistic and cosmopolitan nation, with ancestors all over the world: The origin of the language we speak carries us to India; our religion is from Palestine; of the hymns sung in our churches, some were first heard in Italy, some in the deserts of Arabia, some on the banks of the Euphrates; our arts come from Greece; our jurisprudence from Rome. Nineteenth-century nationalism was liberal, a product of the Enlightenment. It rested on an analogy between the individual and the collective. As the American theorist of nationalism Hans Kohn once wrote, “The concept of national self-determination— transferring the ideal of liberty from the individual to the organic collectivity—was raised as the banner of liberalism.” Liberal nationalism, as an idea, is fundamentally historical. Nineteenth-century Americans understood the nation-state within the context of an emerging set of ideas about human rights: namely, that the power of the state guaranteed everyone eligible for citizenship the same set of irrevocable political rights. The future Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner offered this interpretation in 1849: Here is the Great Charter of every human being drawing vital breath upon this soil, whatever may be his condition, and whoever may be his parents. He may be poor, weak, humble, or black,—he may be of Caucasian, Jewish, Indian, or Ethiopian race,—he may be of French, German, English, or Irish extraction; but before the Constitution of Massachusetts all these distinctions disappear. . . . He is a MAN, the equal of all his fellow-men. He is one of the children of the State, which, like an impartial parent, regards all of its offspring with an equal care. Or as the Prussian-born American political philosopher Francis Lieber, a great influence on Sumner, wrote, “Without a national character, states cannot obtain that longevity and continuity of political society which is necessary for our progress.” Lieber’s most influential essay, “Nationalism: A Fragment of Political Science,” appeared in 1860, on the very eve of the Civil War.
THE UNION AND THE CONFEDERACY The American Civil War was a struggle over two competing ideas of the nation-state. This struggle has never ended; it has just moved around.
In the antebellum United States, Northerners, and especially northern abolitionists, drew a contrast between (northern) nationalism and (southern) sectionalism. “We must cultivate a national, instead of a sectional patriotism” urged one Michigan congressman in 1850. But Southerners were nationalists, too. It’s just that their nationalism was what would now be termed “illiberal” or “ethnic,” as opposed to the Northerners’ liberal or civic nationalism. This distinction has been subjected to much criticism, on the grounds that it’s nothing more than a way of calling one kind of nationalism good and another bad. But the nationalism of the North and that of the South were in fact different, and much of U.S. history has been a battle between them. “Ours is the government of the white man,” the American statesman John C. Calhoun declared in 1848, arguing against admitting Mexicans as citizens of the United States. “This Government was made by our fathers on the white basis,” the American politician Stephen Douglas said in 1858. “It was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever.” Abraham Lincoln, building on arguments made by black abolitionists, exposed Douglas’ history as fiction. “I believe the entire records of the world, from the date of the Declaration of Independence up to within three years ago, may be searched in vain for one single affirmation, from one single man, that the negro was not included in the Declaration of Independence,” Lincoln said during a debate with Douglas in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1858. He continued: I think I may defy Judge Douglas to show that he ever said so, that Washington ever said so, that any President ever said so, that any member of Congress ever said so, or that any living man upon the whole earth ever said so, until the necessities of the present policy of the Democratic party, in regard to slavery, had to invent that affirmation. No matter, the founders of the Confederacy answered: we will craft a new constitution, based on white supremacy. In 1861, the Confederacy’s newly elected vice president, Alexander Stephens, delivered a speech in Savannah in which he explained that the ideas that lay behind the U.S.Constitution “rested upon the assumption of the equality of races”—here ceding Lincoln’s argument—but that “our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery is his natural and moral condition.” The North won the war. But the battle between liberal and illiberal nationalism raged on, especially during the debates over the 14th and 15th Amendments, which marked a second founding of the United States on terms set by liberal ideas about the rights of citizens and the powers of nation-states—namely, birthright citizenship, equal rights, universal (male) suffrage, and legal protections for noncitizens. These Reconstruction-era amendments also led to debates over immigration, racial and
gender equality, and the limits of citizenship. Under the terms of the 14th Amendment, children of Chinese immigrants born in the United States would be U.S. citizens. Few major political figures talked about Chinese immigrants in favorable terms. Typical was the virulent prejudice expressed by William Higby, a onetime miner and Republican congressman from California. “The Chinese are nothing but a pagan race,” Higby said in 1866. “You cannot make good citizens of them.” And opponents of the 15th Amendment found both African American voting and Chinese citizenship scandalous. Fumed Garrett Davis, a Democratic senator from Kentucky: “I want no negro government; I want no Mongolian government; I want the government of the white man which our fathers incorporated.” The most significant statement in this debate was made by a man born into slavery who had sought his own freedom and fought for decades for emancipation, citizenship, and equal rights. In 1869, in front of audiences across the country, Frederick Douglass delivered one of the most important and least read speeches in American political history, urging the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments in the spirit of establishing a “composite nation.” He spoke, he said, “to the question of whether we are the better or the worse for being composed of different races of men.” If nations, which are essential for progress, form from similarity, what of nations like the United States, which are formed out of difference, Native American, African, European, Asian, and every possible mixture, “the most conspicuous example of composite nationality in the world”? To Republicans like Higby, who objected to Chinese immigration and to birthright citizenship, and to Democrats like Davis, who
“The origin of the language we (Americans) speak carries us to India; our religion is from Palestine; of the hymns sung in our churches, some were first heard in Italy, some in the deserts of Arabia, some on the banks of the Euphrates; our arts come from Greece; our jurisprudence from Rome.”
objected to citizenship and voting rights for anyone other than white men, Douglass offered an impassioned reply. As for the Chinese: “Do you ask, if I would favor such immigration? I answer, I would. Would you have them naturalized, and have them invested with all the rights of American citizenship? I would. Would you allow them to vote? I would.” As for future generations, and future immigrants to the United States, Douglass said, “I want a home here not only for the negro, the mulatto and the Latin races; but I want the Asiatic to find a home here in the United States, and feel at home here, both for his sake and for ours.” For Douglass, progress could only come in this new form of a nation, the composite nation. “We shall spread the network of our science and civilization over all who seek their shelter, whether from Asia, Africa, or the Isles of the sea,” he said, and “all shall here bow to the same law, speak the same language, support the same Government, enjoy the same liberty, vibrate with the same national enthusiasm, and seek the same national ends.” That was Douglass’ new Americanism. It did not prevail. Emancipation and Reconstruction, the historian and civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois would write in 1935, was “the finest effort to achieve democracy . . . this world had ever seen.” But that effort had been betrayed by white Northerners and white Southerners who patched the United States back together by
CIRCA 1959: people holding signs and American flags protesting the admission of the 'Little Rock Nine' to Central High School. (Getty)
the rise of Jim Crow laws, and with a regime of immigration restriction, starting with the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first federal law restricting immigration, which was passed in 1882. Both betrayed the promises and constitutional guarantees made by the 14th and 15th Amendments. Fighting to realize that promise would be the work of standard-bearers who included Ida B. Wells, who led a campaign against lynching, and Wong Chin Foo, who founded the Chinese Equal Rights League in 1892, insisting, “We claim a common manhood with all other nationalities.” But the white men who delivered speeches at the annual meetings of the American Historical Association during those years had little interest in discussing racial segregation, the disenfranchisement of black men, or immigration restriction. Frederick Jackson Turner drew historians’ attention to the frontier. Others contemplated the challenges of populism and socialism. Progressive-era historians explained the American nation as a product of conflict “between democracy and privilege, the poor versus the rich, the farmers against the monopolists, the workers against the corporations, and, at times, the Free-Soilers against the slaveholders,” as Degler observed. And a great many association presidents, notably Woodrow Wilson, mourned what had come to be called “the Lost Cause of the Confederacy.” All offered national histories that left out the origins and endurance of racial inequality.
inventing a myth that the war was not a fight over slavery at all but merely a struggle between the nation and the states. “We fell under the leadership of those who would compromise with truth in the past in order to make peace in the present,” Du Bois wrote bitterly. Douglass’ new Americanism was thus forgotten. So was Du Bois’ reckoning with American history.
NATIONAL HISTORIES The American Historical Association was founded in 1884—two years after the French philosopher Ernest Renan wrote his signal essay, “What Is a Nation?” Nationalism was taking a turn, away from liberalism and toward illiberalism, including in Germany, beginning with the “blood and iron” of Bismarck. A driver of this change was the emergence of mass politics, under whose terms nation-states “depended on the participation of the ordinary citizen to an extent not previously envisaged,” as the historian Eric Hobsbawm once wrote. That “placed the question of the ‘nation,’ and the citizen’s feelings towards whatever he regarded as his ‘nation,’ ‘nationality’ or other centre of loyalty, at the top of the political agenda.” This transformation began in the United States in the 1880s, with
Meanwhile, nationalism changed, beginning in the 1910s and especially in the 1930s. And the uglier and more illiberal nationalism got, the more liberals became convinced of the impossibility of liberal nationalism. In the United States, nationalism largely took the form of economic protectionism and isolationism. In 1917, the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, opposing U.S. involvement in World War I, began calling for “America first,” and he took the same position in 1938, insisting that “Americans should maintain the traditional policy of our great and independent nation—great largely because it is independent.” In the years before the United States entered World War II, a fringe even supported Hitler; Charles Coughlin—a priest, near presidential candidate, and wildly popular broadcaster— took to the radio to preach anti-Semitism and admiration for Hitler and the Nazi Party and called on his audience to form a new political party, the Christian Front. In 1939, about 20,000 Americans, some dressed in Nazi uniforms, gathered in Madison Square Garden, decorated with swastikas and American flags, with posters declaring a “Mass Demonstration for True Americanism,” where they denounced the New Deal as the “Jew Deal.” Hitler, for his part, expressed admiration for the Confederacy and regret that “the beginnings of a great new social order based on the principle of slavery and inequality were destroyed by the war.” As one arm of a campaign to widen divisions in the United States and weaken American resolve, Nazi propaganda distributed in the Jim Crow South
called for the repeal of the 14th and 15th Amendments. The “America first” supporter Charles Lindbergh, who, not irrelevantly, had become famous by flying across the Atlantic alone, based his nationalism on geography. “One need only glance at a map to see where our true frontiers lie,” he said in 1939. “What more could we ask than the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Pacific on the west?” (This President Franklin Roosevelt answered in 1940, declaring the dream that the United States was “a lone island,” to be, in fact, a nightmare, “the nightmare of a people lodged in prison, handcuffed, hungry, and fed through the bars from day to day by the contemptuous, unpitying masters of other continents.”) In the wake of World War II, American historians wrote the history of the United States as a story of consensus, an unvarying “liberal tradition in America,” according to the political scientist Louis Hartz, that appeared to stretch forward in time into an unvarying liberal future. Schlesinger, writing in 1949, argued that liberals occupied “the vital center” of American politics. These historians had plenty of blind spots—they were especially blind to the forces of conservatism and fundamentalism—but they nevertheless offered an expansive, liberal account of the history of the American nation and the American people. The last, best single-volume popular history of the United States written in the twentieth century was Degler’s 1959 book, Out of Our Past: The Forces That Shaped Modern America: a stunning, sweeping account that, greatly influenced by Du Bois, placed race, slavery, segregation, and civil rights at the center of the story, alongside liberty, rights, revolution, freedom, and equality. Astonishingly, it was Degler’s first book. It was also the last of its kind.
THE DECLINE OF NATIONAL HISTORY If love of the nation is what drove American historians to the study of the past in the nineteenth century, hatred for nationalism drove American historians away from it in the second half of the twentieth century. It had long been clear that nationalism was a contrivance, an artifice, a fiction. After World War II, while Roosevelt was helping establish what came to be called “the liberal international order,” internationalists began predicting the end of the nation-state, with the Harvard political scientist Rupert Emerson declaring that “the nation and the nation-state are anachronisms in the atomic age.” By the 1960s, nationalism looked rather worse than an anachronism. Meanwhile, with the coming of the Vietnam War, American historians stopped studying the nation-state in part out of a fear of complicity with atrocities of U.S. foreign policy
and regimes of political oppression at home. “The professional practice of history writing and teaching flourished as the handmaiden of nation-making; the nation provided both support and an appreciative audience,” Bender observed in Rethinking American History in a Global Age in 2002. “Only recently,” he continued, “and because of the uncertain status of the nation-state has it been recognized that history as a professional discipline is part of its own substantive narrative and not at all sufficiently self-conscious about the implications of that circularity.” Since then, historians have only become more self-conscious, to the point of paralysis. If nationalism was a pathology, the thinking went, the writing of national histories was one of its symptoms, just another form of mythmaking. Something else was going on, too. Beginning in the 1960s, women and people of color entered the historical profession and wrote new, rich, revolutionary histories, asking different questions and drawing different conclusions. Historical scholarship exploded, and got immeasurably richer and more sophisticated. In a there-goes-the-neighborhood moment, many older historians questioned the value of this scholarship. Degler did not; instead, he contributed to it. Most historians who wrote about race were not white and most historians who wrote about women were not men, but Degler, a white man, was one of two male co-founders of the National Organization for Women and
Children marching in 4th of July parade. (Getty)
Nineteenth-century Americans understood the nation-state within the context of an emerging set of ideas about human rights: namely, that the power of the state guaranteed everyone eligible for citizenship the same set of irrevocable political rights. the description of the American experiment and its challenges offered by Douglass in 1869: A Government founded upon justice, and recognizing the equal rights of all men; claiming no higher authority for existence, or sanction for its laws, than nature, reason, and the regularly ascertained will of the people; steadily refusing to put its sword and purse in the service of any religious creed or family, is a standing offense to most of the Governments of the world, and to some narrow and bigoted people among ourselves.
won a Pulitzer in 1972 for a book called Neither Black nor White. Still, he shared the concern expressed by Higham that most new American historical scholarship was “not about the United States but merely in the United States.” By 1986, when Degler rose from his chair to deliver his address before the American Historical Association, a lot of historians in the United States had begun advocating a kind of historical cosmopolitanism, writing global rather than national history. Degler didn’t have much patience for this. A few years later, after the onset of civil war in Bosnia, the political philosopher Michael Walzer grimly announced that “the tribes have returned.” They had never left. They’d only become harder for historians to see, because they weren’t really looking anymore.
A NEW AMERICAN HISTORY Writing national history creates plenty of problems. But not writing national history creates more problems, and these problems are worse. What would a new Americanism and a new American history look like? They might look rather a lot like the composite nationalism imagined by Douglass and the clear-eyed histories written by Du Bois. They might take as their starting point
At the close of the Cold War, some commentators concluded that the American experiment had ended in triumph, that the United States had become all the world. But the American experiment had not in fact ended. A nation founded on revolution and universal rights will forever struggle against chaos and the forces of particularism. A nation born in contradiction will forever fight over the meaning of its history. But that doesn’t mean history is meaningless, or that anyone can afford to sit out the fight. “The history of the United States at the present time does not seek to answer any significant questions,” Degler told his audience some three decades ago. If American historians don’t start asking and answering those sorts of questions, other people will, he warned. They’ll echo Calhoun and Douglas and Father Coughlin. They’ll lament “American carnage.” They’ll call immigrants “animals” and other states “shithole countries.” They’ll adopt the slogan “America first.” They’ll say they can “make America great again.” They’ll call themselves “nationalists.” Their history will be a fiction. They will say that they alone love this country. They will be wrong. *JILL LEPORE is David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and the author of These Truths: A History of the United States. This article was originally published in the March/April 2019 issue of Foreign Affairs Magazine and on ForeignAffairs.com.
Methane in the Atmosphere is Surging And That’s Got Scientists Worried By Julia Rosen* Scientists love a good mystery. But it’s more fun when the future of humanity isn’t at stake. This enigma involves methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Twenty years ago, the level of methane in the atmosphere stopped increasing, giving humanity a bit of a break when it came to slowing climate change. But the concentration started rising again
in 2007 — and it’s been picking up the pace over the last four years, according to new research. Scientists haven’t figured out the cause, but they say one thing is clear: This surge could imperil the Paris climate accord. That’s because many scenarios for meeting its goals assumed that methane would be falling by now, buying time to tackle the long-term challenge of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Methane is produced when dead stuff breaks down without much oxygen around. In nature, it seeps out of waterlogged wetlands, peat bogs and sediments. Forest fires produce some too.
Motorists stop to watch a large wildfire on Saddleworth Moor on February ,26 2019 near Marsden, England. (Getty)
“I don’t want to run around and cry wolf all the time, but it is something that is very, very worrying,” said Euan Nisbet, an earth scientist at Royal Holloway, University of London, and lead author of a recent study reporting that the growth of atmospheric methane is accelerating. Methane is produced when dead stuff breaks down without much oxygen around. In nature, it seeps out of waterlogged wetlands, peat bogs and
sediments. Forest fires produce some too. These days, however, human activities churn out about half of all methane emissions. Leaks from fossil fuel operations are a big source, as is agriculture — particularly raising cattle, which produce methane in their guts. Even the heaps of waste that rot in landfills produce the gas. The atmosphere contains far less methane than carbon dioxide. But methane is so good at trapping heat that one ton of the gas causes 32 times as much warming as one ton of CO2 over the course of a century. Molecule for molecule, methane “packs a bigger punch,” said Debra Wunch, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Toronto. For 10,000 years, the concentration of methane in Earth’s atmosphere hovered below 750 parts per billion, or ppb. It began rising in the 19th century and continued to climb until the mid1990-s. Along the way, it caused up to one-third of the warming the planet has experienced since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Scientists thought methane levels might have reached a new equilibrium when they plateaued around 1,775 ppb, and that efforts to cut emissions could soon reverse the historic trend. “The hope was that methane would be starting on its trajectory downwards now,” said Matt Rigby, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Bristol in England. “But we’ve seen quite the opposite: it’s been growing steadily for over a decade.” That growth accelerated in 2014, pushing methane levels up beyond 1,850 ppb. Experts have no idea why. “It’s just such a confusing picture,” Rigby said. “Everyone’s puzzled. We’re just puzzled.” Scientists have come up with various explanations. Could it be growing emissions from fossil fuels or
agriculture? An uptick in methane production in wetlands? Changes in the rate at which methane reacts with other chemicals in the atmosphere? Nisbet and his team examined whether any of these hypotheses synced up with the changing chemical signature of methane in the atmosphere. Some molecules of methane weigh more than others, because some atoms of carbon and hydrogen are heavier than others. And lately, the average weight of methane in the atmosphere has been getting lighter. That seems to implicate biological sources such as wetlands and livestock, which tend to produce light methane. Daniel Jacob, an atmospheric chemist at Harvard who was not involved in Nisbet’s study, said that explanation squares with his own research. His results suggest most of the additional methane comes from the tropics, which are home to vast wetlands and a large proportion of the world’s cattle. Estimates of emissions from coal mines and oil and gas wells suggest that fossil fuel contributions are rising too, but those sources usually release heavier molecules of methane, which would seem to conflict with the atmospheric observations. Some researchers have proposed a way to resolve this discrepancy. Fires create an even heavier version of methane, and agricultural burning — particularly in developing countries — appears to have decreased over the last decade. A drop
“The hope was that methane would be starting on its trajectory downwards now, but we’ve seen quite the opposite: it’s been growing steadily for over a decade.”
in in this source of ultra-heavy methane would make atmospheric methane lighter, on the whole, potentially masking an increase in emissions from fossil fuels. Finally, reactions that break down methane eliminate more of the lighter molecules than the heavier ones. If that process has slowed down — causing methane to build up in the atmosphere — it would leave more light gas behind, possibly helping explain the overall trend. Nisbet and his colleagues concluded they can’t rule out any of these explanations yet. “They might all be happening,” he said. One possibility is conspicuously missing from the list. Scientists have long feared that thawing
planet’s temperature in check. Slashing CO2 emissions enough to meet climate targets is a tall order even without this extra methane. “The unexpected and sustained current rise in methane may so greatly overwhelm all progress from other reduction efforts that the Paris Agreement will fail,” Nisbet and his co-authors wrote. It doesn’t help that scientists recently revised the global warming potential of methane upward by 14 percent. Regardless of what’s behind the recent increase, scientists say there are ways to reduce methane concentrations. And the benefits will accrue quickly because methane has a shorter lifetime than CO2, lingering in the atmosphere for only about a decade.
Methane gas released from seep holes at the bottom Esieh Lake ripples the surface. (Getty)
Arctic sediments and soils could release huge amounts of methane, but so far there’s no evidence of that, said Ed Dlugokencky, an atmospheric chemist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who worked on the study, which will be published in the journal Global Biochemical Cycles. Nisbet said he fears the rising methane levels could be a sign of a dangerous cycle: Climate change may cause wetlands to expand and allow the environment to support more livestock, leading to even more methane emissions. “It clearly seems as if the warming is feeding the warming,” he said. “It’s almost as if the planet changed gears.” If methane keeps increasing, the researchers say it could seriously endanger efforts to keep the
Humans account for as much as 60 percent of methane emissions, and nearly half of that may come from the fossil fuel industry, Jacob said. One priority is to plug leaks from oil and gas wells, he said. Methane is the primary ingredient in natural gas, so companies have a financial incentive to try to capture as much as possible. Often, a few culprits bear most of the blame, “which is both scary and a good thing,” because they represent big opportunities, Wunch said. At the Barnett Shale in Texas, 2 percent of the facilities produce half of the field’s methane emissions. In Southern California, the Aliso Canyon leak released roughly 100,000 tons of methane in 2015 and 2016 — the equivalent of burning 1 billion gallons of gasoline. Scientists also have ideas for reducing methane emissions from livestock. Some experiments show that changing the diet of cattle by adding fats or seaweed, for instance, can reduce the amount of methane animals expel. Capping landfills and using the methane they produce for electricity would help too. Measures like these could have a big impact, and Wunch said they give her reason to be hopeful. “We could actually reduce the amount of methane in the atmosphere on timescales that are relevant to the problem we are facing right now,” she said. *Julia Rosen is a science reporter for the Los Angeles Times writing from Portland, Ore. Originally published in the LA Times
A Weekly Political News Magazine
Issue 1738 - March - 08/03/2019
Transforming the Image of Fashion in Saudi Arabia www.majalla.com
American-Egyptian Rami Malek: Hollywood’s Man of the Moment by Moncef Mezghini Illustration by Ali Minadalou -1 Rami Malek did not come into this world alone on Tuesday May 1981 ,12 in Los Angeles. Rather, he was in the company of his twin brother Sami who was born four minutes after him. But each chose to pursue their own path: Sami opted to become a teacher while Rami became an awardwinning film and television actor. -2 Malek’s father, worked as tour guide for western tourists and later became an insurance salesman. His mother, Nelly Abdul Malil, worked as an accountant. His Egyptian Coptic Christian parents immigrated to the United States in 1978, and settled in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles. Malek said that he has Greek origins. He has sister named Yasmin who works as an emergency doctor. -3 Malek only spoke Arabic at home until the age of four. His family were eager for their children to stay connected with their family in Samalut, Egypt, by phone so that they could master the Egyptian dialect. -4 Malek’s parents wanted him to become
a lawyer, but Malek spent his time creating characters in search “for an outlet for all that energy,” as he put it. One of his teachers noticed his acting talent and encouraged him to perform in the play “Zooman and The Sign” for a competition. His parent’s positive reaction to his performance encouraged him to become an actor. “And then I ended up doing that in the competition, and my mom and dad came to see me. And I saw something happen in their faces. Like, Oh, he might be able to do something with this. It was a real emotional movement that made me feel like this could be the thing,” said Malek. -5 Malek joined Notre Dame High School and enrolled in the school’s theatre class. After graduating in 1999, Malek decided to study theatre at Evansville University, Indiana, where he graduated in Fine Arts in 2003. The College later honoured Malek with a 2017 Young Alumnus Award, which is given to those who have achieved personal success and contributed services to their community and to the university. -6 Malek’s breakthrough moment was playing the lead character of Elliott Alderson in the series Mr. Robot which premiered in 2015 on the USA Network. His performance
earned him the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2016. The award garnered the rising star more attention and he was nominated for several awards two Screen Actors Guild awards. -7 He has played supporting roles in several of major films and series, including the Night at the Museum trilogy, The Pacific (2012), The Twilight Saga: Beaking Dawn – Part 2 2012(), and Short Term 2013( 12) -8 Malek’s major box office success came when he played the British singing legend Freddy Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018. The film won him critical acclaim and on February 2019 ,25, Malek won the Oscar for Best Actor, following many other awards of equal importance. -9 Malek’s Hollywood success has rekindled the memory of the Egyptian actor, the great Omar Sharif, who played remarkable role such as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago”. -10 Malek has no choice but to stay at the top. As the Arab proverb says: “If you shoot for moon, you will not be satisfied among the stars.”
6 Designers Transforming the
Image of Fashion in Saudi Arabia Pushing Boundaries in a Growing Industry by Zara Shaker RAZAN ALAZZ0UNI Razan Alazzoun’s designs are modern, feminine and ethereal and have made a meaningful mark on the fashion industry. A favourite in the region, her coveted, beautifully detailed designs have garnered international recognition and have been worn by everyone from the region’s fashion-savvy to some of Hollywood’s hottest trendsetters. Razan sees fashion as form of expression and her delicate yet bold designs draw inspiration from culture, sculpture, and her background in fine arts.
(Source: Razan Alazzouni Instagram)
(Source: Mashael Rajhi Instagram)
MASHAEL RAJHI Mashael Al Rajhi is a pioneer in the industry. She founded her atelier which fuses street wear with couture in 2013. AlRajhi’s collections are a real blend of aesthetics, from masculine pinstripes with frothy tulle
to tapered trousers with a flowing cape. She debuted the Nike Pro Hijab in 2017 in her collection at Fashion Forward Dubai. “The Nike Pro Hijab is the perfect extension for my collection, as it symbolises femininity and independence - values that I believe are more essential than ever for women today,” said Al Rajhi.
(Source: Arwa Al Banawi Instagram)
ARWA AL BANAWI Arwa Al Banawi grew up in Jeddah, and spent most of her upbringing in Switzerland. After studying at the London College of Fashion in Dubai, she launched her namesake brand in 2015.
Her work is an eclectic mix of traditional-classical tailoring with an urban, contemporary perspective, creating an aesthetic that is subtly androgynous yet undoubtedly feminine. Her urbantailored suits in vivid prints have graced the pages of Vogue and have been spotted on street style stars around the world.
(Source: Ashi Studio Instagram)
Launched in 2007, the Beirutbased Saudi label ‘Ashi Studio’ by the designer Mohammed Ashi, has established itself as an international luxurious fashion house and has rapidly gained acclaim among celebrities and a distinct clientele from around the world including Sonam Kapoor and Lady Gaga. Ashi is a master of dramatic, architectural silhouettes, with results that manage to be both romantic and avant-garde all at once. Ashi says that his work “represents the vision of artists and designers in the Middle East who try to escape from their world into a fantasy where they can find their sensibility and express their imagination.”
(Source: Sotra Instagram)
SOTRA Sotra is the brainchild of fashion designers Mariam bin Mahfouz and Nouf Hakeem who pride themselves in designing and producing their playful, feminine and urban take on the traditional thobe and tunic
in Saudi Arabia. Sotra, which means modest in Arabic, ranges from casual attire to evening wear and often exhibits contrasts, whether it’s dark against light, tradition against modernity, oriental against occidental, masculine against feminine. The duo say, ‘an abaya is a superhero’s cape and women are the modern-day superheroes’.
(Source: Hatem Alakeel Instagram)
HATEM ALAKEEL Dubbed the Middle East’s Tom Ford, Hatem Alakeel’s designs are the embodiment of when the cherished traditional meets the contemporary in perfect harmony. Alakeel grew between Europe, The United States and Saudi Arabia and gained unrivaled fashion experience on an international scale by working with and advising some of the world's most prestigious global brands. The name of his brand – Toby – meaning “My Thobe” in Arabic, is a symbolic metaphor for personal individuality. Tony is known for transforming men's classic robes and shirts into highly crafted contemporary fashion statements for the modern man. He says he became inspired to design his own thobes, characterised by their sharp silhouettes and sophisticated tailoring, when his personal style was cramped by having to wear the standard thobe at the office every day.
Competing Narratives They Spoke Out Against Michael Jackson in ‘Leaving Neverland.’ Now, They’re Facing the Fallout 56
After the premiere of “Leaving Neverland,” the four-hour docu-series in which both men allege they suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of Michael Jackson when they were boys, hundreds of festivalgoers rose to their feet to applaud the film’s subjects.
Pop singer Michael Jackson leaves court on January 2005 ,31 after the first day of jury selection in Jackson's child molestation trial. (Getty)
By Amy Kaufman* PARK CITY, Utah — They’d told their stories before, first in the quiet confines of therapists’ offices, then explicitly in court documents. But Wade Robson and James Safechuck never felt truly heard until they stood in front of a crowd applauding them at the Sundance Film Festival last month. After the premiere of “Leaving Neverland,” the four-hour docu-series in which both men allege they suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of Michael Jackson when they were boys, hundreds of
festivalgoers rose to their feet to applaud the film’s subjects. “It’s strange to hear people clap,” said Safechuck, 40. “Yeah, you kind of don’t know what to do with it at first,” added Robson, 36. “There’s a lot of release happening for me. There’s been a lot of tears. There’s tiredness. But this is a sea change moment for me in this healing journey and in trying to be heard. And it’s happened, and that’s incredible.” It had been one day since “Leaving Neverland” was first unveiled, and the men were sitting in the conference room of a hotel. Robson, who wore a string of beads around his neck, had traveled alone from his home in Hawaii to the festival. Safechuck, who sometimes speaks so softly he is difficult to hear, had brought his wife from Simi Valley. The director of the project, Dan Reed, was also at the table for emotional support, though he mostly sat quietly, answering emails on his phone. Only a clutch of Jackson fans had turned up at Sundance to protest the docu-series, which will begin its two-night HBO run on March 3. But online, his legion of supporters were already launching websites and Twitter threads to lay out why they believe Robson and Safechuck are liars. Even before the festival, Jackson’s estate slammed “Leaving Neverland” as “yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.” In the following weeks, the estate has only ramped up its defense, releasing a -10page letter directed at HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler slamming the network for airing the project. But HBO is not wavering, and the critical reaction to “Leaving Neverland” was so strong that the network briefly explored an awards-qualifying theatrical run. A motion picture academy rule barring “multi-part” documentaries from consideration — adopted after the docu-series “O.J.: Made in America” won the Oscar in 2017 — meant that wasn’t to be. Still, the exposure on HBO is sure to ignite fierce debates. The main argument against Safechuck and Robson’s credibility centers on the fact that both men previously testified on Jackson’s behalf in child sex abuse cases brought against him
by other boys. In 1993, when Robson was 11 and Safechuck just a few years older, both said they told investigators that Jackson had never been sexually inappropriate with them. At 22, Robson reiterated that position again under oath in 2005, subsequently sitting for numerous television interviews in which he spoke positively about Jackson. As “Leaving Neverland” details, both men now say they were under immense pressure from Jackson and his lawyers to keep quiet about their alleged molestation. Robson says he was sexually abused by Jackson from age 7, shortly after he won a 1987 Australian competition in which he mimicked the performer’s dancing. Safechuck, who met Jackson that same year on the set of a Pepsi commercial, says Jackson started molesting him when he was 10 years old. “My experience with Michael’s threats was that he told me, ‘You and I, Wade, we have to save each other,’” recalled Robson. “‘We have to stop these ignorant people. If this gets out, both of our lives are gonna be over. We’re gonna be pulled apart. We’ll both go to jail for the rest of our lives.’ It was like we were in this together, you know?” Robson and Safechuck crossed paths a couple of times as boys — once on the set of Jackson’s 1991 music video, “Jam,” and another time at the singer’s Neverland Ranch, where he had organized a weekend with the filmmaker Robert Wise. But they never knew each other in any real way. In 2013, when Robson filed a lawsuit against Jackson’s estate and companies claiming the singer had sexually abused him as a boy, Safechuck felt seen. In the docu-series, he describes how Robson’s legal efforts inspired him to speak out and begin his own legal battle with Jackson’s business entities in 2014. While he wanted to go to court to “fight back” for “little James,” Safechuck was also desperate to connect with Robson over what court documents revealed to be shared childhood trauma. But due to their respective lawsuits, they had to keep their distance. The men were allowed to meet for a lawyer-supervised lunch about five years ago, though they could barely share any details about their boyhood experiences with Jackson.
In the following weeks, the estate has only ramped up its defense, releasing a -10page letter directed at HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler slamming the network for airing the project.
“The first thing we did was just hug each other for, like, five minutes,” Robson remembered. “I was pretty early on in my therapy, so I don’t know if I looked a bit shell-shocked to you,” said Safechuck. “I was still processing a lot.” Reed first approached the men about “Leaving Neverland” in 2016, after the filmmaker learned about their lawsuits. It was the pre-#MeToo era, the public hadn’t exactly embraced Robson and Safechuck’s stories. So they were wary about participating in the project. “I wanted the story to be treated with respect, and I wanted someone to really show people what it’s like to be abused,” Robson said. “I wasn’t looking for a radical movie — I didn’t want to be a part of that.” Both men’s mothers and wives are also interviewed in the film, as are Robson’s siblings and even his grandmother. With the intimate focus on the men and their families, no representatives for Jackson — who was never convicted of sexual abuse — were included in the film. “I also didn’t want it to feel like some sort of vendetta piece against Michael,” said Safechuck. “Of course, it’s partly about Michael, because he’s the abuser. But he’s dead, and he can’t abuse kids anymore. And this is not about trying to take Michael Jackson down. It’s so much bigger than that. We can’t change what happened to us, but how can we use this story to make an impact on the future for other kids?” At the time, Robson was already deep into years of therapy. With the aid of Jackson, he’d risen to fame in the late ‘90s as a choreographer for pop stars like Britney Spears and N’Sync.
Brenda Jenkyns and Catherine Van Tigem protest the film 'Leaving Neverland' screening at the Egeyptian Theatre at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on January 2019 ,23 in Park City, Utah. (Getty)
“People put him on some sort of pedestal that was just seemingly invincible,” he said. “And in my experience with him, he had some good qualities about him. He had some real levels of kindness and compassion about him. And then at the same time, a real twisted, sick urge and lack of any capability to stop himself from doing these horrible things to myself and James and I believe many other kids.” “I think, for us, instead of looking for people to mute Michael or whatever — I think it’s more of presenting an opportunity for people to reevaluate who they consider their idols,” said Safechuck. “Who do we assign to look up to? Because you can write an amazing song doesn’t mean you should be people’s moral compass.”
But in 2011, just as he was about to direct his first film, “Step Up 4,” his childhood trauma bubbled to the surface. He suffered what he calls a nervous breakdown, dropped off the film and moved to Hawaii with his wife and son. “Dance and film all got painted black for me, because it was all so connected with Michael,” Robson explained. “So how could I keep doing any of that stuff ever again? So, yeah, I quit all of it and I tried to bury it all alive, and I swore I’d never dance or make music or make films ever again. I threw a smoke bomb and moved to Hawaii. ‘Agents, managers, don’t call me. I’m done.’” By the time he met Reed, he was far down a path of healing. Though he’d discussed the details of his abuse with his therapist, he said he found “a whole new level of therapy” in telling his whole story chronologically in front of the camera. Safechuck, however, did not find the experience therapeutic. “It was difficult,” he said. “You have to sort of surrender and pour your heart out and then hope that it gets treated with respect, and that’s tough to do. … It was also before the #MeToo movement. The world has changed — is starting to change — since we started this.” “I think once the #MeToo movement kind of took off, I had some sense of hope that a consciousness shift was beginning,” said Robson. “But then also this feeling, like, ‘Yeah, that seems to be happening and that’s great, but often, those sort of things don’t seem to apply to Michael Jackson.’” Robson said he believes it’s been difficult for people to think Jackson could have been a pedophile because of his level of stardom, which made him almost inhuman.
Robson, for one, has completely distanced himself from the world of celebrity. About a year and a half ago, he finally felt the urge to return to dance — this time in a teaching capacity. He’s no longer interested in choreographing for major stars and said he’d even turn down an offer from an old collaborator like Spears should she come calling. “I don’t think dance ever went anywhere, I just kept trying to push it away because (of the) feeling that Michael gave it to me,” Robson said. “Coming to an understanding that Michael didn’t give it to me — so therefore he can’t take it away from me — I’ve taken back what’s mine. … I started dancing again, I started teaching, and trying to approach it in an extremely different way. “(It’s) the opposite way that Michael told me to approach everything in the entertainment business, which was just so intense — ‘be the best or be nothing at all, rule the world, destroy everyone.’ These heavy, grand expectations. … The approach is: How can I have fun?” Safechuck long ago left any entertainment industry ambitions behind. Though he played in a band for a while — “we exploded in a spectacular fashion” — he found a new passion in computer programming and now works as the director of innovation and technology at a digital advertising agency. He said he’s trying to set “healthy expectations” for the release of “Leaving Neverland” in order to protect himself from any further backlash. “I think the act of being heard is an accomplishment,” he said. “And if good comes of that for other people, that’s an accomplishment. And that’s it.” “Of course, as a survivor, it feels amazing when people believe you and support you,” Robson chimed in. “But there’s not an expectation of that for me. There’s been too much of the opposite for so long. … So much of this journey for me has been about trying to be heard. And at some level — at a level that has not happened for me so far — that’s starting to happen.” *Amy Kaufman is a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, where she has covered film, celebrity and pop culture since 2009. Originally Published in LA Times.
The Growing Problem of an Enlarged Prostate Gland Harvard The most common prostate problem among men over age 50, this condition can cause embarrassing urination issues By age 60, half of all men will have an enlarged prostate, a condition also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. By age 85, the proportion reaches %90. While BPH does not increase your risk of getting prostate cancer or having sexual problems, it can affect quality of life, specifically by causing annoying and embarrassing urination problems. “Since prostate enlargement happens gradually, men often think more frequent trips to the bathroom are a natural part of aging,” says Dr. Howard LeWine, chief medical editor at Harvard Health Publishing and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvardaffiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “But a little medication can help relieve symptoms, meaning
less urinary urgency and fewer nighttime awakenings to use the bathroom.” Benign prostatic hyperplasia An enlarged prostate places pressure on the urethra, which makes urine harder to expel.
FEELING THE PRESSURE As you age, your prostate can grow from the size of a walnut to about the size of a lemon. It’s not clear why the prostate grows like this, but it’s believed certain male hormones such as dihydrotestosterone tend to act more strongly on the prostate gland later in life. Because the prostate is located just below the bladder, when it becomes larger it can place pressure on the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder then out of the body. This may lead to a variety of urination problems. For example, you may have trouble beginning to
urinate, continue to dribble afterward, and feel like you have not fully emptied your bladder. Urine that doesn’t get expelled and collects in the bladder can increase the risk of infection, which in turn makes it painful to urinate and causes even more bathroom trips and potentially loss of bladder control. Urinary tract (or bladder) infections can also lead to a kidney infection. Possible cancer protection from prostate drugs Early research suggested that -5alpha-reductase inhibitors (-5ARIs), a class of drugs used to treat prostate enlargement, might increase the risk of developing more aggressive prostate cancer. However, newer studies have found that not only do the drugs appear to pose no extra risk, they may even protect against prostate cancer. For instance, research from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial study in 2013 showed that taking the -5ARI finasteride (Proscar) for seven years could lower the chance of getting low-grade prostate cancer by %25 among men ages 55 and older. A follow-up study of almost 9,500 men, published in the Nov. 2018 ,1, issue of the Journal
Man Receiving Radiotherapy Treatments for Prostate Cancer. (Getty)
of the National Cancer Institute, also showed that finasteride lowered the risk by a similar amount (%21), and found the protective effect lasted for at least 16 years.
TREATING WITH DRUGS See your doctor if you have any of these problems. A digital exam can often confirm an
As you age, your prostate can grow from the size of a walnut to about the size of a lemon. It’s not clear why the prostate grows like this, but it’s believed certain male hormones such as dihydrotestosterone tend to act more strongly on the prostate gland later in life. enlarged prostate, and your doctor may take a urine sample to check for a bladder infection that can be treated with antibiotics. If your prostate is causing symptoms, your doctor will likely offer you medication to improve and manage them. Two main classes of drugs are used: alpha blockers and -5alpha-reductase inhibitors (-5 ARIs). Your doctor may prescribe one or both types, depending on your symptoms and the size of your prostate gland. Alpha blockers. These drugs relax the muscles around the prostate and the opening of the bladder, so urine can flow more easily. Common BPH symptoms often improve within two days. They are most effective for men with normal to moderately enlarged prostates. Commonly prescribed drugs in this class include alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura), silodosin (Rapaflo), tamsulosin (Flomax), and terazosin (Hytrin). -5ARIs. Drugs in this class slowly shrink the prostate so it stops pressing on the urethra. Treatment often reduces the prostate’s size by one-quarter after six months to a year. The two common drugs are finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart). Men might opt for surgery to remove excess tissue from the prostate if medications do not relieve symptoms sufficiently or cause undesirable side effects, or if there are complications like urinary retention or recurring urinary tract infections, adds Dr. LeWine. One-daily low-dose tadalafil (Cialis) is another option for symptoms of BPH. Originally published in Harvard Men’s Health Watch