FROM As'ad AbuKhalil
Diplomacy and Promises of Democracy in the Middle East The Arab summit is reaching out to Israel, led by the regional powerhouse of Saudi Arabia, where King Abdullah has taken up where Egypt left off. Despite Israel's initial rejection five years ago, Prime Minister Olmert has agreed to take another look. In Egypt itself, voters have increased the powers of President Mubarak, but the election's being criticized as a violation of his promise to increase democracy. Pakistan's President Musharraf, a guest at today's Arab summit, is another US ally accused of stifling dissent to strengthen his own position. For three years before September 11, US aid to Pakistan amounted to less than $10 million; since then, it's been more than $10 billion, with only Israel and Egypt getting more. How great is the risk of extremist takeovers in Egypt or Pakistan? Is US aid promoting democracy or propping up repressive regimes? We hear from journalists, military and political analysts, foreign policy experts, and human rights advocates.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."