Africa

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From the United States to Europe to the beaches of Alexandria it is all the same question: what holds a society together? Is there are social contract or is there not? Do people not kill each other because the State is stronger, controlled artificially by those in power, a power they wield only for their own selfish benefit? Or can there be something deeper that binds our societies? I would argue that this will be the fundamental question of the future. Increasingly the ties that bind are narrowly religious, while the secular social contract is thinning considerably.  That bodes ill for minorities everywhere. It is time to rejuvenate a commitment to social contract beyond religious affiliation, and only then will we be able to deal with differences and grievances. If there is no social contract then every accident, every incident, every piece of clothing, will become a casus belli, …

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Rush Limbaugh and others have been quick to associate the President with the swine flu and all other ills, it seems. Apparently this is a convenient way for Obama to get his choice for Director of Health and Human Services quickly appointed. The reality of this hate radio is shocking.

I have been thinking long and hard for many years about Richard Hofstadter’s famous essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics“. This is one of the most important essays in American history by one of the most influential and insightful of America’s historians.

Here are some critical quotes:

American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority.

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Donna Bryson reports in the Boston Globe today that Mugabe has accepted an arrangement in which Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition movement, will become Prime Minister with a variety of important responsibilities.

Protesters in Johannesburg demonstrated yesterday against Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, whose role has been a major sticking point in the contentious power-sharing talks. Protesters in Johannesburg demonstrated yesterday against Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, whose role has been a major sticking point in the contentious power-sharing talks. (jerome delay/Associated Press)

Maybe this is the beginning of the end of the Mugabe era’s destruction of Zimbabwe, and perhaps this is an important milestone for President Mbeki of South Africa who has been brokering this deal in person all week.

Tsvangirai said compromise is necessary because Zimbabweans would reject a deal “if any party is greedy.”

“We have agreed that Mr. Mugabe will be president whilst I become prime minister,” he told the SADC ministers. “We envisage that the prime minister must chair the Cabinet and be responsible for the formulation, execution and

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