Each week, Nation interns push past the mainstream media malarkey to highlight headlines you might not have seen. Here's a rundown on what happened beyond the US presidential race, from Hugo Chavez's relelection to the ongoing appropriation of Native American culture.
Nader Atassi focuses on Middle Eastern politics and society.
“The misery of Copts in Egypt,” by Said Shehata. Ahram Online, October 2, 2012.
Coptic Christians, a minority group making up around 10 percent of Egypt's population, the rest of whom are mostly Muslim, are being discriminated against in the Egyptian legal system. Copts had high hopes after the revolution and hoped their treatment in Egypt would improve. However, faced with a government that is neglecting them as badly as Mubarak did, and an emboldened Islamist contingent in Egypt pushing for prosecution for "insults to Islam," Copts find themselves being discriminated against legally and socially in what seems to be a targeted campaign against them.
Jeff Ernsthausen focuses on domestic politics and the influence of money on public institutions.
“Canadian-owned firm's mega-donation to super PAC raises ‘legal red flags,’” by Michael Beckel. The Center for Public Integrity, October 5, 2012.
Last week, the Center for Public Integrity reported that in August, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian financial services firm Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited donated $1 million to Mitt Romney's super PAC, Restore Our Future. Readers of our recent issue on the Supreme Court know that even as the Roberts Court scaled back constraints on corporate electioneering, it has yet to strike down the ban on foreign political spending. But the law maintains significant wiggle room for foreign multinational corporations operating in the US, stating that political contributions are permissible as long as the money does not come from the foreign parent company and foreign nationals do not influence political spending decisions of their subsidiaries, rules which Fairfax maintains it followed. The donation accounted for about a seventh of the total raised by Romney's super PAC in August, and raises the concern that our elections could be swayed by foreign capital in the post-Citizens United era.
Stefan Fergus focuses on US media, the Presidency and China.
“Romney and Obama: Dueling Bostonians,” by Walter Russell Mead. The American Interest, October 7, 2012.
I have long been interested in the continuities, trends and traditions of American foreign and domestic politics. This brought Mead's most influential book, Special Providence, to my attention. In the book, he identified four foreign policy "schools" (Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, Jeffersonian and Jacksonian) "whose ideas, rivalries and interplay have shaped American foreign policy continuously from the 18th century." It was his attempt to create an American-centric categorization of American foreign policy traditions that were perhaps clearer and more nuanced than "realist, idealist, internationalist and isolationist." In this article, Mead takes a stab at adapting his formula for domestic politics, another sphere that has experienced a tremendous amount of continuity (despite what the media and rose-tinted history books would have us believe). "The domestic story is more complicated and the issues are sometimes even more tangled, but our political quarrels about domestic issues have at least as much continuity as our national battles over foreign policy."