The Family Man


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Now, that Trump has been thoroughly analyzed by all kinds of newspapers and news channels, the focus is shifting to his son-in-law Jared Kushner. What kind of person is he? How does he decide? Where do his loyalties lie?

He grew up in a fiercely loyal clan that flourished in large part because it understood that city councilmen and big-league developers made good bedfellows. Sometimes that coziness went too far: In 2005, Charles Kushner pleaded guilty to 18 counts of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. (He’d attempted to blackmail his sister by hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, who was planning to deliver incriminating evidence to a judge in federal district court.) Charles was dealt a two-year prison sentence, just more than half of which he served. Jared, then in his mid-20s, traveled to Alabama every week to see his father in federal prison.

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Katy Waldman — Slate

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The Ideological Threat to Islam


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Ayaan Hirsi Ali was a refugee from Somalia. Through sheer grit she has transformed herself into a forceful critic of what is wrong with Islam.

In her latest book, Hirsi Ali urges the governments of the West—and the Trump Administration in particular—to take sides in this battle for the soul of Islam. She wants Washington to develop, with some urgency, an ‘anti-dawa strategy’ that will ‘tackle the menace of dawa’. Since the ultimate goal of dawa is ‘to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with sharia’, should we not, she asks, neutralise the dawa activists first? She invokes Karl Popper, the philosopher, who wrote in 1945: ‘If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.’ America has the right, she says, to be intolerant of the intolerant in order to safeguard its primordial tolerance.

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Tunku Varadarajan — OPEN

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Russia in Maps


Today’s Needull explains ‘everything’ about Russia, from Politics to Geography to Economy to History, using 10 different maps. Let’s just say that your perception about Putin’s Russia won’t be the same after these 10 maps.

Many people think of maps in terms of their basic purpose: showing a country’s geography and topography. But maps can speak to all dimensions—political, military, and economic.

In fact, they are the first place to start thinking about a country’s strategy, which can reveal factors that are otherwise not obvious.

The 10 maps below show Russia’s difficult position since the Soviet Union collapsed and explain Putin’s long-term intentions in Europe.

Full Article Here

Business Insider – George Friedman

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How Trump’s Syria strikes play into Putin’s hand


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It is difficult to make sense of any of the geo-conflicts that are happening around the globe. Every article seems to be with its own agenda. Here is a piece from Politico.

Dragging the U.S. into another conflict in the region is a dream scenario for the Kremlin. Brinkmanship is where Putin has always excelled. He has faced far worse dilemmas than many of his Western colleagues — home-grown terrorism or the Chechen war, for example — and is far more confident. He is also way more cynical.

Trump being paraded as the Kremlin’s friend was deeply awkward for the Kremlin. The political regime in Russia is existentially dependent on the U.S. being openly hostile to it. In the aftermath of Russia’s occupation of Crimea, Putin’s approval rating soared from just over 60 percent to almost 90 percent, but support has started to evaporate since. In recent weeks, Russians have visibly warmed to the idea of street protests and opposition leader Alexei Navalny. On the eve of presidential elections in 2018, this is a big problem for the Kremlin. This conflict could be the ideal way to shore up domestic support.

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Leonid Ragozin — Politico

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Stephen King on Donald Trump: ‘How do such men rise? First as a joke’


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Stephen King talks to a few Trump supporters to understand why they supported Trump. Tons have already been written on Trump, but  still this has something new to offer.

King I think we’ve about finished, but I’d like to run one more thing by you before we break for lunch. Psychologists mention four basic traits when diagnosing a sociopathic condition known as narcissistic personality disorder. People suffering from this condition believe themselves superior to others, they insist on having the best of everything, they are egocentric and boastful, and they have a tendency to first select love objects, then find them at fault and push them aside. Comments?

[A long silence at the table.]

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Stephen King — The Guardian

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How a jacket and a briefcase shaped a partition love story


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Human stories emanating from human created tragedies.

In March 1948, the two got married. It was an austere ceremony; both families were struggling to pick up the pieces.

Ms Kaur wore her favourite jacket. Mr Maini got together his certificates and papers from his briefcase to start a new life: he joined the judicial service in Punjab, got a small house in compensation and moved to Ludhiana with Ms Kaur.

The couple had two children, who both served as civil servants. Mr Maini died some 30 years ago; Ms Kaur died in 2002.

“The jacket and the briefcase,” says Ms Maini, “are testimony to the life they lost and found together.”

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Soutik Biswas — BBC

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Does It Matter Who Pulls the Trigger in the Drone Wars?


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Drone warfare has changed engagement with adversaries at many levels. Rules of war are being rewritten. This needull looks at one of Trump’s decision related to drone warfare.

The issue being raised by some of Trump’s opponents is that the new policy will kill more civilians, as it will be carried out by an unfettered military instead of a “restrained” executive. Those additional deaths will lead to more radicalization of Muslims, which will impede America’s strategic progress toward an unclear goal—maybe a world without radicalized Muslims.

Such logic ignores the fact that President Obama approved 540 drone strikes killing 3,797 people in non-traditional war zones. No one knows how many of those bodies were civilians, although for the record the U.S. says it was precisely 324. The Council on Foreign Relations, however, estimates that drone strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan killed 3,674 civilians at last count.

Bottom line: There are already a lot of bodies out there under a policy of “restraint.”

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Peter Van Buren — The American Conservative

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