5 Best Sunday Columns

How Palestine is like Ireland, Beck's big day, and more

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  • What Glenn Beck's D.C. Rally Reveals About Tea Parties  The Atlantic's Chris Good reports on Glenn Beck's rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, where neither Beck nor Sarah Palin said anything overtly political. "Surprisingly, Beck's rally wasn't a political event. ... If anything, this rally exploded the notion that the Tea Party is divorced from religious sentiment and social conservatism--as hard as it tries to be--and made plain the truth that Glenn Beck holds those two worlds together in a charismatic nexus. ... Everything Glenn Beck says during the rally has to do with the discovery of faith, American history, or some connection between the two."
  • Obama's Failure in Sudan Risks Another Genocide  The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof takes the Obama administration to task for their "incoherent, contradictory and apparently failing Sudan policy. There is a growing risk that Sudan will be the site of the world’s bloodiest war in 2011, and perhaps a new round of genocide as well. This isn’t America’s fault, but neither are we using all of our leverage to avert it. ... The problem isn’t that the administration is too busy to devise a policy toward Sudan but that it has a half-dozen policies, mostly at cross-purposes. ... Sudan’s on-and-off north-south civil war could resume soon. How bad could it be? Well, the last iteration of that war lasted about 20 years and killed some two million people. Mr. Obama’s former head of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, warned this year that the place facing the greatest risk of genocide or mass killing is southern Sudan." Kristof reticently praises Bush for his Sudan policy and urges Obama to finally take action.
  • How Politics Are Sapping Economic Recovery  The New York Times' Peter Goodman writes, "a sense has taken hold that government policy makers cannot deliver meaningful intervention. That is because nearly any proposed curative could risk adding to the national debt — a political nonstarter. The situation has left American fortunes pinned to an uncertain remedy: hoping that things somehow get better. ... Even after the November election, few expect a different dynamic. 'We’re already in a gridlock situation, and nothing substantive is going to change,' says Bruce Bartlett, who was a Treasury economist in the first Bush administration. 'Clearly, a weak economy in 2012 will be very good for whoever the Republican presidential candidate is. It’s hard to see how the Republicans lose by blocking stimulus.'"
  • American Catholicism and the Mosque Madness  Notre Dame professors Scott Appleby and John McGreevy write in the New York Review of Books, "As historians of American Catholicism, and Catholics, we are concerned to see the revival of a strain of nativism in the current controversy over the establishment of an Islamic center some blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan." They draw many parallels, from language to dress, between 19th century U.S. Catholics and today's Muslim-Americans. "It took Catholics more than a full century to attain their current level of acceptance and influence, and they made their share of mistakes along the way. ... But if the Catholic experience in the United States holds any lesson it is that becoming American also means asserting one’s constitutional rights, fully and forcefully, even if that assertion is occasionally taken to be insulting."
  • What Israel-Palestine Peace Process Can Learn from Northern Ireland  Ali Abunimah writes in the New York Times, "Success in the [1998] Irish talks was the result not just of determination and time, but also a very different United States approach to diplomacy." For example, he cites "the American refusal to speak to the Palestinian party Hamas, which decisively won elections in the West Bank and Gaza in 2006." But resolution in Northern Ireland involved talking to Irish political party Sinn Fein, which had "close ties to the Irish Republican Army, which had carried out violent acts in the United Kingdom." Also, "At times, the United States put intense pressure on the British government, leveling the field so that negotiations could result in an agreement with broad support. By contrast, the American government let the Israel lobby shift the balance of United States support toward the stronger of the two parties: Israel." Abunimah says the U.S. should follow its Northern Ireland model.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.