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Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

"Kelileh o Demneh," 1429. Via Wikimedia.

“Kelileh o Demneh,” 1429. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

More on the new heavy arms spending by a number of African states.

Marginalized young Saudis risk arrest by posting protest videos on YouTube, which accuse the country’s rulers of being “totally detached from the reality of people’s lives, because they remain preoccupied with succession to the throne and grand projects, such as initiating interfaith dialogue, although they do not communicate with their own people.”

Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos will run alongside environmentalist vice presidential hopeful Marina Silva, though current president Dilma Rousseff is widely favored to win reelection. Rousseff’s expected October win would mean four back-to-back terms by her Workers’ Party in the presidency.

A not very favorable take on the state of Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who leaves office next year, though the Economist’s dig at her makeup is sexist and unwarranted.

Is Brazil’s militarized favela pacification strategy chasing security or just counterinsurgency?

Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea was unexpected, but a conflict over Ukraine’s consideration of closer ties to Europe was clearly brewing for some time. Why wasn’t the West better prepared?

Dan Nexon doubts that NATO has any credibility on Ukraine and that “escalating efforts by NATO at military deterrence actually increase the pressure on Moscow to take decisive action in the near term.” James Goldgeier attacks the common argument that post-1989 NATO expansion provoked Russia and was thus a mistake — if Russia takes such offense at its neighbors joining the Atlantic alliance, maybe it shouldn’t have given them such reason to fear it. (Via Max Fisher.)

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has failed, leaving the United States with the question of what to do next. Focusing on first developing Palestinian institutions as a road to statehood is just “a prescription for extending the occupation indefinitely by making it run smoothly,” writes Paul Pillar.

Peter Frase considers the middle ground between Star Trek utopianism and bleak hopelessness about the future many on the left seem to embrace. I think “post-history” is a good way of describing both.

From yesterday, more links at Political Violence at a Glance.

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