Sunday’s Reading List
By Taylor Marvin
What I read this week:
The Guardian has a fascinating piece on Japanese young people’s move away from sex and relationships, relaying that “an astonishing 90% of young women believe that staying single is ‘preferable to what they imagine marriage to be like’.” Unsurprisingly, this mindset is partially due to a misogynistic culture that punishes women who opt for marriage while staying in the workforce, and disenfranchises the low-earning men that Japan’s decades-long economic malaise has produced. “”I don’t earn a huge salary to go on dates and I don’t want the responsibility of a woman hoping it might lead to marriage,” says one man.
Nima Shirazi argues that orientalist tropes about “the Persian mind” undermine diplomacy between Iran and the P5+; I’d add how tropes of Eastern irrationalism play into the ridiculous notion that Iran’s low birth rate is evidence of a national death wish, an argument that would never be made about, say… Japan.
In more positive news, back pain tips unite diplomats at Iran nuclear talks.
In a surprising move Saudi Arabia has rejected a non-permanent seat on the UNSC, ostensibly over the body’s inaction in Syria and Palestine. Thomas W. Lippman dismisses the rejection — which came as a surprise to Saudi diplomats — as “pointless theatrics” and Kevin Lees remarks that the close US-Saudi relationship may be coming to an end.
Anthony Sagliani passes along a marvelous photo of cyclones impacting South Asia:
Gershom Gorenberg’s takeaway from a visit to Catalonia is that Middle East piece schemes must account for nationalism, the scourge of potential one-state solutions, and four reasons why there will be no Catalan independence referendum.
After the end of the US federal government shutdown and averting the debt ceiling, Joshua Green writes that a generation-long realignment in American politics has made crisis the new normal. Fixing America’s apparently-chronically unstable politics will require literally changing American society. On a similar theme Kimberly J. Morgan sees Obamacare’s problematic rollout as further evidence of the way that American’s distrust of government mandates “the complicated way in which it achieves even basic tasks.”