Iran: The Calligraphic Challenge

Mehdi Saeedi turns words into art. The Iranian graphic artist has transformed Farsi script into posters, paintings, and other works. He has taken a traditional form, calligraphy, and made something even more startling and beautiful from it. In Saeedi’s posters, a line of script turns into a bird, with an olive branch in its beak. Don Quixote rides a horse of words, a reminder that the...
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Syria as Metaphor

The war in Syria is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for all the civilians who suffer from constant aerial bombardment, who are trapped without food and medical assistance inside crumbling cities, who experience the retribution of either the Islamic State or the regime in Damascus. It’s a nightmare for those who try to escape and face the prospect of death in transit or limbo in refugee...
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Can Korea Save the Global Economy

Over the last five years, South Koreans have worried that their economy has slipped deeper into stagnation. Growth rates have hovered between 2 and 3 percent. Consumer spending is weak, and household debt has risen to record levels. Because global demand has fallen, the world is not buying Korean exports as eagerly as before. This is not just an economic crisis. It is an identity crisis. South...
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YOLO Economics

The economy, we have been taught, is a cat with considerably more than nine lives. The bottom might drop out of the stock market, but it will rebound — again and again. The Chinese were on top of the world, economically, for a thousand years or more, but then the colonial powers cut the country down to size — and now China has regained its former glory. Laptops, which once boosted...
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NATO’s Expiration Date

If the number of eager applicants on a waiting list determines the strength of a club, then the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is in fine fettle. At its most recent gathering in July, NATO welcomed its 29th member — Montenegro — which means that the alliance now outnumbers the European Union. Nearby Macedonia has been waiting for 17 years to be let in the door only to have Greece...
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Trump and the Transformation of Politics

The history of political parties is rather boring. Not much has changed since the French Revolution, which produced the the terms “Left” and “Right” to reflect where people sat in the National Assembly. The early 20th century saw the rise of Communist parties on the far left. Shortly later, fascist parties began to emerge on the far right. Aside from these challenges from the margins,...
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