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Syria: What Ought to be Done?  

Many people have been criticizing President Obama for dithering over what to do in Syria. Not me; dithering seems an entirely rational response to what’s going on there. The difficulty is that we don’t really know what we want to …



What Obama Omitted  

Dissent is a magazine for people who worry. So here is something to worry about, highlighted by Barack Obama’s inaugural address. I am certainly glad that it was his inauguration, but what he said or, better, didn’t say, illustrates one …



Becoming a Dissentnik  

Now that I am about to become an ordinary Dissentnik, I want to describe how that happened once before—in 1954, when I held the first issue of the magazine in my hands. I grew up in the Popular Front, reading …



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Targeted Killing and Drone Warfare  

Here is the difficulty with drones: the technology is so good that the criteria for using it are likely to be steadily relaxed. That’s what seems to have happened with the U.S. Army or with the CIA in Pakistan and Yemen.



Feminism and Me  

A feminist friend asked me to write a piece addressed to this question: How would my work have been different if I had engaged with and learned from the feminists of the late 1960s and 1970s? I have tried to …



Planted For Another Climate  

I can’t speak for the tens of thousands of people who were hurt very badly by Hurricane Sandy and who are still in need, several months later, of a government that is big, strong, effective, and genuinely committed to the …



The Paradox and Tragedy of Israeli-Palestinian Politics  

Here is the paradox and the tragedy of Israeli-Palestinian politics in a few words. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is committed to the establishment of a state alongside Israel; its officials work hard to repress Palestinian terrorists, in close cooperation with …



Is America Ready for Democracy?  

Is this country ready for democratic elections? That’s a question we often ask about countries emerging from despotic rule or civil war. But it’s a good general question; it invites political introspection and collective self-criticism. With regard to our own …



Michael Walzer Responds  

Click here to read James B. Rule’s reply to Michael Walzer (and here for Rule’s initial essay, “Israel: The Great Disconnect.”) Jim Rule has provided us with a useful example of a critique of Israel that is fairly common in …



Horst Brand, 1919–2012  

Horst Brand, a longtime editor and contributing editor of Dissent, died on August 25. At the time of his death, he was at work on what would have been his fifty-seventh article for Dissent. His first article appeared in our …





Social Movements and Election Campaigns  

Social movements can be very grand. Years ago, Richard Rorty wrote an article in Dissent describing Christianity and Marxism as prototypical social movements (“Movements and Campaigns,” Winter 1995)—they aimed to transform the world and to create “new” men and women. …