Sunday Readings

Similarities (And Differences) Between Fringe Political Groups In Europe And The US
Michael Kazin of Foreign Affairs sees similarities between the Tea Party in the US and political rallies across the Atlantic. But he also sees one big difference – their ability to influence the political class.

“In reality, what distinguishes the Tea Party from its European brethren isn’t its platform but the degree of influence it has managed to acquire. Unlike populist parties in Europe, the Tea Party has the structure of its country’s political system on its side. In the United States, there are only two parties that matter, and a well-organized faction of fervent ideologues can gain great influence by affiliating itself with just one of them,” he writes.

He adds that when groups in Europe do make it into office, “they are rarely more than very minor partners in governing coalitions that are committed to preserving the EU, a welfare state, and a relatively tolerant policy toward immigrants.”

There also is another difference – the degree of nativism and racism which permeate many fringe in Europe. For example, such as France’s Socialist Party and its leader Marine Le Pen recently gained approval from 46% of voters in a recent poll.

“That’s a lot of support for a far right politician who once compared Muslim blocking French streets during prayer times to the Nazi occupation of France in WWII,” writes Walter Russell Mead in his blog in American Interest.

“The National Front faces very long odds when it comes to gaining power at the national level, but local and European elections are a different story. Voters use these elections to send the political establishment a message, and a protest party like the Front can do very well in them. In Brussels, the eurocrats fear that a wave of anti-EU feeling across the continent could send a large bloc of anti-EU candidates to the European Parliament in 2014. This would make it even harder for Brussels to get things done.”

Syrian Refugees Find Little Safety In Egypt
Thousands of Syrians daily make the decision to flee their homeland. Many do with the hope of finding safe haven in Europe or in another Middle Eastern country. Many find they are no safer outside of Syria than they are under the brutal regime of Bashir al-Assad, writes Ava Maria Luca in Lebanon’s NOW.

“An Amnesty International report released yesterday raised concerns over how the Egyptian authorities are treating Syrian refugees. In the recent months, the Egyptian authorities imposed restrictions on Syrian nationals entering Egypt. Scores of refugees were arrested and deported after being accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which was recently outlawed by the government,” Luca details.

As it has fallen back into chaos, Egypt has tightened its borders and more aggressively enforced them intercepting at least 13 ships in the past two months, according to Amnesty International. In addition, a majority of the 946 people arrested while trying to escape Syria for Egypt remain in Egyptian custody.

Book Review: Alan Greenspan, The Map and The Territory
The Wall Street Journal’s Alexandra Wolfe reviews former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s latest book, The Map and the Territory.

“With his new book, Mr. Greenspan hopes to provide politicians and the public with a road map to avoid making the same mistakes again. His suggestions include reducing entitlements, embracing “creative destruction” by letting facilities with cutting-edge technology displace those with low productivity, and fixing the political system by encouraging bipartisanship,” she notes.


Forbes columnist George Leef argues more spending on college education does not necessarily produce a stronger economy.

Andrew Natsios, a former special envoy to Sudan, believes mounting discontent over government corruption and poverty could develop into an Arab Spring-like movement in Sudan.

Al Jazeera reports that November 23 has been set as the date for the next conference for Syrian peace talks.

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