History

Using credentials borrowed from sympathetic delegates from other states,a contingent of MFDP [Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party] members gained access to the [1964 Democratic National] convention floor and staged a sit-in in the Mississippi section. The sight of black Mississipians being carried from the convention floor by uniformed, white security officers was but the ultimate ironic […]

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The fact that about 17,000 blacks traveled to the courthouse attests to the persistence of the volunteers and the extraordinary courage of those attempting to register. Although only 1,600 of the completed applications were accepted by state registrars, the lonely trips to the courthouse proved to be a major step toward the democratization of voting […]

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Therein lies their significance. For historical currents do not irresistibly propel themselves and everyone in their path. No matter what their broader structural or ideological roots, they both carry along and are carried along by people, who are not merely the passengers of history, but its pilots as well. In the end, social history is […]

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The Atlantic has an interesting article by Kurt Anderson about why so many Americans believe the crazy things they do. He argues that it’s both rooted in history and particular to the ideologies and self-understanding of the United States: America was created by true believers and passionate dreamers, and by hucksters and their suckers, which […]

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The New York Times has a good piece on the late stages of the Voyager missions as they pass into interstellar space. It’s especially interesting to read about some of the unexpected faults they have encountered, and the ways they need to work within the limits of the 1977-era hardware.

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Western sources claim that China had provided Pakistan with fissile material in exchange for centrifuge technology assistance. Zia-ul-Haq hoped to exploit the close relationship with the Chinese further in order to protect Pakistan from potential preventative attacks… [T]he impact of Israeli attack on Osirak and the crash of the centrifuges in 1981 forced Zia-ul- Haq […]

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In another attempt to dissuade Pakistan from its nuclear path, Kissinger visited Pakistan in August 1976. At the same time, U.S. elections were sparking debates, and Democrat Jimmy Carter’s agenda specifically targeted Kissinger and his relaxed response to India’s nuclear test. As Dennis Kux writes, “Kissinger and Ford were under pressure to demonstrate that they […]

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Today, there are three important strategic beliefs [in Pakistan] regarding nuclear weapons that were largely absent when [Zulfiqar Ali] Bhutto took power in 1971 but have since become dominant in Pakistani strategic thought. First, nuclear weapons are the only guarantee of Pakistan’s national survival in the face of both an inveterately hostile India that cannot […]

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The fact that oil money helped develop the power of the muwahhidun in Arabia after 1930 and made possible the resurgence of Islamic political movements in the 1970s has often been noted. But it is equally important to understand that, by the same token, it was an Islamic movement that made possible the profits of […]

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Accounts of the protests that brought down the Mubarak government stressed the role of new internet-based social media, which helped organisers and supporters plan the protests. The critical event in toppling the regime, however, was the initial seizure of Tahrir Square on 25 January – a development in which the social media functioned partly as […]

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