This week at The Nation and, we were pleased to feature "An Open Letter to the Left on Libya" by Juan Cole, a Nation contributor and esteemed scholar of the Middle East and the Muslim world.
“I am unabashedly cheering the liberation movement on,” writes Cole. He is right to point out the important moral dimension of aiding Libyan civilians in pursuit of self-determination and freedom from decades of repression and brutality. But his "Open Letter" also raised a set of issues and concerns. In a telephone interview last Wednesday, I engaged Cole in a discussion of the moral issues raised in his essay, the future of the Libyan rebellion, and how America’s military action in Libya differs from the disastrous experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. Read Cole’s important essay and listen to our conversation here.
Indeed, as I pointed out on CNN’s In the Arena this week, there is a role to play in the protection of civilians and values in US foreign policy. But we’re already seeing the unintended consequences of military action. The prospect of arming Libyan rebels is highly reminiscent of America’s troubled history of arming foreign opposition forces. And ultimately, the risks of mission creep are endangering the narrative of a grassroots democratic awakening in the region.
Also this week…
BLOG: Wake Up! End the Silence on Afghanistan

Joe Scarborough was kind to write this week in POLITICO that I’m “one of the few liberals to take a principled stand against what America is doing in Libya.” Indeed, we’ve raised serious and tough questions about military intervention. He goes on to assert that “the anti-war left has been silent since Obama took office.” As I wrote in “Wake Up! End the Silence on Afghanistan,” our allies in the progressive community have to step up their activism and speak out to ensure that plummeting support for Afghanistan is reflected in the actions of policymakers as we head into a critical election year. Read my response in POLITICO here.
ACT NOW: Fair Share Politics
In “Time for Fair Share Politics,” I argue that it’s time to reset and reframe the debate about the budget. It’s just smoke and mirrors. At time when two-thirds of corporations aren’t paying their fair share of taxes, the only thing we hear has to do with budget cuts for social safety nets or when it comes to tax reform that we need to cut the corporate tax rate. This is madness.
On April 4th, progressive allies, the Nation-inspired US Uncut most notably covered by Nation guest-blogger Allison Kilkenny and people who have simply had enough of the lies, the poor and middle-class who pay the price for it, will participate in actions, teach-ins, demonstrations nationwide. Learn how you can get involved here, be sure to read my latest post, and watch out for Allison Kilkenny’s continued coverage here.
WATCH: Big Labor Under Siege
The GOP has yet again overreached in its siege against the American middle class. The fight has now extended beyond Wisconsin to Ohio, where Republican Governor John Kasich has signed a bill that deals yet another fatal blow to the ability of unions to collectively bargain.
In the nationwide struggle to protect workers rights, progressives have been much more successful in framing the debate as a fight for basic rights on the state level than they have at the national level. The Nation’s John Nichols, who has been covering this fight for months, joined Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown on MSNBC’s Hardball to discuss the strategies behind the national standoff over who will bear the brunt of austerity cuts. Watch that here.
LISTEN: LyricNation
It is with great pleasure that we announce the debut of Lyric Nation, a monthly audio feature of poets who have been published in The Nation, reading from selections of their work. At launch earlier this week, we proudly welcomed three notable contributors: Nathaniel Mackey, Jennifer Moxley and Peter Gizzi (former poetry editor of The Nation). Stay tuned as we feature a new installment on the last Monday of every month. Be sure to listen-in here.


As always, thanks for reading. I’m on Twitter–@KatrinaNation. Please leave your comments below.