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HKS in the News June 27, 2012

1. The Tyrant’s Brutal Legacy (Masoud) Newsweek

2. Why Germany Will Pay Up to Save the Euro (Frankel) New York Times

3. Urban design: we are falling behind (Glaeser) Montreal Gazette

4. Islam, Pancasila and atheism (Anwar) Jakarta Post

5. Counterinsurgency doctrine fundamentally flawed at outset (Moore) GlobalPost

The Tyrant’s Brutal Legacy


June 25

Commentary by: Tarek Masoud, Ash Center

Topic: Hosni Mubarak

There will be no dramatic moment of closure on the era of Muhammad Hosni al-Sayyid Mubarak, the man who ruled and misruled Egypt for 30 years before being overthrown in early 2011. There will be no choppy cellphone video of the dictator’s final helter-skelter moments, no shots of him being dragged out of a hole looking disheveled and confused, suffering unspeakable violations of his manhood before finally bleeding to death as feral young rebels pose with his lifeless corpse, as was the fate of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

But for those who need some visual evidence of Mubarak’s expiration in order to put the man behind them, there is a photograph that portrays, more arrestingly than any gallows snapshot could, the autocrat’s end. It was taken on Aug. 3, 2011, when he was first wheeled into a makeshift courtroom at the police academy to hear the litany of charges against him. Dressed in a white prison jumpsuit, lying on a stretcher, his finger firmly lodged in his nose, he was unrecognizable as the man who for almost 30 years sought to project an image of near immortality. Though it’s not a depiction of Mubarak’s death in its physical sense, that image surely represents his death in every other meaningful sense of the word.

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Why Germany Will Pay Up to Save the Euro

New York Times

June 26

Quoted: Jeffrey Frankel

Topic: Future of the Euro

To go by the pronouncements coming out of Germany over the last couple of weeks, you might naturally conclude that the euro is toast. Speaking before Parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel broadly rejected “counterproductive” proposals to pool Europe’s resources to help floundering Mediterranean nations. Germany’s “strength is not infinite,” she stressed. …

The Harvard economist Jeffrey Frankel, who was on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers when the euro came into being more than a decade ago, pointed out that skeptical German voters agreed to trade in the deutsche mark only after their political leaders assured them they would never have to bail anybody out. “It turns out German taxpayers were right and their political leaders were wrong,” Mr. Frankel said.

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Urban design: we are falling behind

Montreal Gazette

June 26

Cited: Edward Glaeser, Rappaport Institute, Taubman Center

Topic: Urban planning

In 2009, New York City converted an old elevated railroad on the west side of Manhattan into a park of ingenious design. The High Line is a triumph of civic engagement and urban planning. The park’s brilliant designers, the architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, recently unveiled exciting plans for the High Line’s final section.

Why is my own city, so rich in history and creativity, lacking similarly enchanting public spaces, and treading water when it ought to be steaming forward? …

By adopting the Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement, a comprehensive urban planning scheme that emphasizes transit-oriented development, the Montreal Metropolitan Community has taken a step in the right direction. It has wisely heeded Harvard economist Edward Glaeser’s advice to increase population density around transit hubs.

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Islam, Pancasila and atheism

Jakarta Post

June 26

Commentary by: M. Syafi’i Anwar, Ash Center

Topic: Islam in Indonesia

Should Alexander Aan live in exile, could he express atheism without facing hatred and threats of beheading? One might wonder why he prefers to live in Indonesia — a predominantly Muslim country — which was reported by the US leading magazine Newsweek as representing “smiling Islam” more than two decades ago.

Unfortunately, Aan is currently facing “angry Islam”. We might argue that the majority of Indonesian Muslims remain moderate.

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Counterinsurgency doctrine fundamentally flawed at outset


June 12

Commentary by: Jonathan Moore, Shorenstein Center

Topic: U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan

CAMBRIDGE, Mass — The current debate about US counterinsurgency doctrine, mostly examined through the Afghanistan prism, overlooks fundamental intellectual and political misunderstandings and miscalculations at the core of the policy.

These principally involve the disconnect between the military and non-military realms of the counterinsurgency doctrine, known as COIN. The huge problem of effectively pursuing security and development at the same time in fiendishly complex international interventions, such as Afghanistan, has never been solved. COIN amounted to a new effort to do so: both fighting back the Taliban and, over time, building toward an independent, democratic and viable Afghanistan.

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In the HKS TV Studio

Nicholas Burns, Belfer Center
CNN, “John King USA,” 6/26
Topic: Tensions between Syria and Turkey

This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

To submit an item please email Jane Finn-Foley

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