Nightcap

  1. The decline and fall of Western civilization, 1992 Dan Nadel, New York Review of Books
  2. The Hitlers in our own country Clive Webb, History Today
  3. A history of Singapore, from 1299 to the present Frank Beyer, Asian Review of Books
  4. A specter is haunting Xi’s China: ‘Mr. Democracy’ Ian Johnson, ChinaFile

Nightcap

  1. Israel’s political balagan Michael Koplow, Ottomans & Zionists
  2. A summary of the rights of British America Thomas Jefferson, Avalon Project
  3. Studying Singapore before it was famous Frank Beyer, Asian Review of Books
  4. The mystic life of Hermann Hesse Philip Hensher, Spectator

Nightcap

  1. Abu Raihan al-Biruni, an Islamic scholar from Central Asia, may have discovered the New World centuries before Columbus S. Frederick Starr, History Today
  2. Gendun Chopel: Tibet’s Modern Buddhist Visionary John Butler, Asian Review of Books
  3. Toru Dutt’s strangeness from India and the French Revolution Blake Smith, Coldnoon
  4. Singapore in translation Theophilus Kwek, Times Literary Supplement

Nightcap

  1. Antarctica’s long, dark winter Sarah Laskow, Atlas Obscura
  2. The worst volcanic eruption in US history Rick Brownell, Historiat
  3. Aftershocks from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake Ian Johnson, NY Review of Books
  4. Put the “human” back into human capital Parag Khanna, Strait Times

Nightcap

  1. Singapore, capitalism, and market socialism Scott Sumner, EconLog
  2. China’s Creditor Imperialism Brahma Chellaney, Project Syndicate
  3. Chairman Xi, Chinese Idol Ian Johnson, New York Review of Books
  4. Trump may be rude, but that doesn’t make him a tyrant Ted Galen Carpenter, the Skeptics

Nightcap

  1. What Causes Cities to Become Sites of Revolution? David Bell, the Nation
  2. William Farquhar – the founder of Singapore Alex Colville, Spectator
  3. American History Needs Defenders Amity Shlaes, City Journal
  4. U.S. Once Had Lots of Norwegian Immigrants Nurith Aizenman, Goats and Soda

Power and Happiness (President Obama in India)

There is widespread confusion around between two ideas that should be easy to separate from each other. I keep bumping into it. I had several lengthy discussions of it with strangers on Facebook. Some were of the left, some of the right. I found it in my morning paper under the pen of no less than columnist David Brooks of the New York Times (“Midwest at Dusk”11/7/1)).

I refer to the confusion between the happiness of a country’s citizens and the country’s standing in the world. David Brooks wrote:

“If America can figure out how to build a decent future for the working-class people in this (mid-Atlantic) region, then the US will remain a predominant power. If it can’t, it won’t.”

Like this.

President Obama’s post- “shellacking” visit to India is a good time to clear the confusion.

It may be that there is some sort of connection between the happiness of a country’s citizens (or some) and being a “predominant power.” It may be but it’s far from obvious. You would have to demonstrate it. It would be hard; casual evidence does not support the idea. Deeper research does not either. Continue reading