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About Jessica Loudis

Jessica Loudis is a writer who works for Slate Magazine and is an associate editor of Conjunctions

Articles by Jessica Loudis

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Haiti's 'restaveks'

Less than a month after Haiti was brought to its knees by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake, another story emerged from the island that briefly arrested international attention and interrupted the torrent of post-disaster coverage...

Beauty is power

Davide Panagia’s The Political Life of Sensation asks whether there is an aesthetics in democracy.

The "rights of nature"

Ecuador's new leftist government is considering bestowing legal "rights" upon nature. What would Hannah Arendt think?

¿Si se puede?

As John McCain and Barack Obama prepare to wage their foreign policy battles over the middle east, another much closer region remains a lacuna in the ongoing contest. Latin America has barely featured in the race, despite its historical and persisting centrality in US strategic thinking and despite the growing population of Latinos in the country. Obama will have to hope that his Latin American silence proves golden.

Latin America came up briefly during the primary season. In the November/December 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs, Hillary Clinton laid out her foreign policy blueprint for a Clinton presidency, declaring rather blandly that her stance was one of "vigorous engagement" with Latin America. The strategy behind this statement was twofold: first, to call attention to Bush's failed promise to build stronger relations throughout the continent (and perhaps to critique the administration's Cold War approach to the so-called "rogue" Latin American socialist states) and also to cater to her active and substantial Hispanic voter base.

Not to be outdone, Obama, the soon-to-be Democratic nominee, followed suit, also calling for more "vigorous engagement" with the continent, distinguishing himself from Clinton only in terms of his views on Cuba. Clinton's Foreign Affairs article was published several months after she promised to uphold the administration's draconian approach towards travel restrictions to Cuba, which Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation aptly described as "a policy in which people have to choose between attending their mother's funeral, or their father's." (The current policy allows Cuban-Americans to return to the island once every three years, and only after clearing a veritable Olympic course of bureaucratic hurdles). Smelling blood, at a Cuban Independence Day celebration in Miami in late May, Obama unveiled his own approach towards Cuba, emphasizing a greater leniency towards travel and a willingness to relax the 46-year trade embargo (a policy only a year younger than Obama himself).

Crisis darkens in Burma

The junta tightens its grip in Burma as the country continues to suffer in the wake of Cyclone Nargis. Suicide bombers kill 18 in western Afghanistan. A trial begins in Italy around the US policy of "extraordinary rendition". "Indian Mujahideen" claim responsibility for Jaipur blasts. All this and much more in today's security briefing.

Pentagon plants "surrogates" in US TV

The NYT reveals that the Pentagon manipulated news analysis with its sophisticated media machine. Fighting continues in northern Sri Lanka as government forces clashes with rebel Tamil Tigers. Germany conducts a nation-wide raid in an attempt to quash radical Islamists. Libya sparks Security Council walk-out with Nazi analogy. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Basra turmoil continues

The Iraqi army faces its first massive test in taming restive Basra. The Taliban ready for Operation Unforgettable Lesson. African Union troops defeat rebel Comoros commander. And much more in today's update.

Cold War approach to terror offers chilly results

US and EU intelligence agencies reevaluate their tactics in the wake of continued failures, and bin Laden issues a threat to the EU over the republication of the Danish cartoons. China bumps up military spending in an effort to modernize the People's Liberation Army, and Tibetan protesters remain the target of international attention and an increasing Chinese crackdown. This and more in today's briefing.

Israel's language of violence

Yonatan Mendel analyses the politics of language in the Israeli media. A Janjaweed leader claims he received support from Khartoum, including arms and orders to undertake campaigns in Darfur. Serbia's parliament dissolves after recent conflict over the issue of Kosovo and Serbia's future in the EU. This and more in today's security briefing.

Palestine's Iran-Contra?

In the wake of Hamas' electoral triumph in 2006, US officials backed Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan in escalating tensions and violence between the factions in Gaza. Bhutto's widower Zardari has corruption charges against him dropped. Conflict returns to Nagorno-Karabakh. Notorious arms dealer arrested in Thailand. That and much more in today's update.
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