Thursday 16 April 2015

Links 16/4/15


Is Iran's foreign policy revolutionary? 
After all, it’s not Ayatollah Khamenei who sent hundreds of thousands of troops to overthrow an Arab regime in hopes of fomenting revolution across the Middle East. The world leader who did that was George W. Bush, with enthusiastic support from Brooks and Muravchik. Since then, neoconservatives have often criticized Obama for not pursuing revolution aggressively enough in Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Russia. Obviously, America’s revolutionary ideology is completely different from Iran’s. But that just underscores the point. Criticizing Iran for exporting tyranny or theocracy or terrorism makes sense. Criticizing it for exporting “revolution,” when you want America to export revolutions of its own, does not. 
The Atlantic: Is Iran Revolutionary?, April 13, 2015
Some new questions about targeted killings (of US citizens) in the wake of a capture and conviction of a suspected terrorist.

openDemocracy analyzes the influence of conspiracy theories in geopolitical textbooks used in the Russian education system.

The Monthly makes "the case for compromise" in Australian politics and details its dysfunctionalities: 
The capacity to compromise is evidence of strength, of respect for other interests and values, of a common interest in enduring solutions, just as often as it is evidence of weakness and indecision. The really big problems Australia faces – climate change, environmental degradation, the long-term budget crisis, too few jobs, developing an effective and humane asylum-seeker policy, the transformation of our geopolitical environment with the rise of China – will only be solved with policies that have some degree of bipartisan support. Without this, one government will simply undo the previous government’s policies, as Abbott did with Labor’s ETS, and Labor would likely have done with any Medicare co-payment. 
The Monthly: The case for compromise, April 2015 
openDemocracy on the Stasi archive and how its past has changed Germany's attitude towards data collection: "No wonder Germans are more convinced than their European neighbours about the importance of the human right to privacy."

Backchannel profiles documentarian Laura Poitras, Academy Award winning director of Citizenfour, and her relationship to the surveillance state she portrays in her film. 
To express that unbelievable moment of commitment in the face of unfathomable peril, Mathilde begs Laura to reveal herself, to overrule her mad private instincts and insert herself into the scene so, “We follow her, step by step, as she discovers this man and so that we share her experience.” Laura is loathe to expose herself. Applying the rules of documentary film making to the letter, she is never seen or heard in her own films. The ghost behind the camera. Everything is suggested, never explained: Viewers need to be able to find his position, to interpret in their own way, to take what they see and put it into perspective, so they can reflect on it.
Mathilde does not give up: “It takes me months to convince Laura to let me use a mini-sequence, a subjective shot, the one we see her in the mirror of the hotel room,” she says. “Just as we would see ourselves in the mirror.” 
Backchannel: The Woman Who Hacked Hollywood, April 8, 2015

Pop Culture: 

A very interesting essay on teaching Twin Peaks in the soon-to-close Virginian women's college Sweet Briar.

Stream Tei Shi's amazing new album Verde here

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