There’s a journalistic protocol for pre-writing obituaries before their subjects have died: all the newspapers do it. After a certain age, if you are prominent enough, there’ll be an obit on file for you, eerily awaiting your demise to publish. If you reach your 90s the editors will be spell-checking it — and at 93, President Robert Mugabe’s is long due. He isn’t even buying green bananas. So let’s get ahead of the game and prepare his […]
For many years tourism to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was almost impossible for Americans. Now it isn’t, but should one go? Stalin called western sympathizers and visitors in the 1950s “useful idiots” who believed Soviet propaganda while he killed tens of millions. A similar dynamic exists in northeast Asia today. Travel agencies profiting from tourism there use the argument that grassroots connections and money in the economy are overall positives. This argument falls flat […]
The Connecticut-sized, natural gas-rich nation of Qatar in the Persian Gulf is often cited by optimists as a sane role model for Arab world. Qatar’s stated goal is to turn their hydrocarbon based economy and traditional society into more a diversified, outward looking system. This is often considered as opposition to the traditional, strict Islamic values of their population: it is a complicated and delicate balance.