David Smith: America has never been truly isolationist, and Trump isn’t either

Donald Trump is often called an “isolationist”. Some commentators argue he has revived a dormant isolationist tradition that goes all the way back to the Revolution. His slogan “America First”, which featured prominently in his inauguration speech, evokes the movement of the same name that fought to keep the United States out of the second world war. Since assuming the presidency, Trump has not backed down… Read more
Donald Trump, isolationism, American politics, social science

Scott Hamilton: Trump, the Pacific, and unintended consequences

On his popular Kiwiblog, the National Party pollster and advisor to John Key David Farrar is vainly trying to convince his audience that Donald Trump should not become president of the United States. Many of Kiwiblog’s readers are social conservatives partial to conspiracy theories about ethnic minorities, and Trump’s orations against Muslims and Mexicans have delighted them. I haven’t seen any… Read more

Saul Newman – Whither anarchy: ownness as a form of freedom

Freedom, that most familiar of concepts in political theory, strikes us today as ever-more ambiguous and opaque. While freedom has long been the ideological emblem of the liberal capitalist West, it seems increasingly difficult to identify with any real clarity or certainty. Its meaning has been contorted by the rationality of neoliberalism, which offers us only a very narrow notion of freedom through the market… Read more

A Yank in Kiwiland Part 4: A Reflection on My Time Here

I came to New Zealand two months ago with hardly any idea of what’s going on here in terms of social issues and government, save for the flag debate and ponytail gate. Having interviewed Members of Parliament David Clendon, Paul Foster-Bell, and Grant Robertson I have a better informed grasp of the political landscape and current affairs. I’m sure each of these politicians would be eager to assert that which distinguishes… Read more

Time to tighten the reins on politicians and their ‘truths’

Labor’s “Mediscare” campaign. The Coalition and industry claims that Labor’s housing policy would deflate – and inflate – property prices. The Brexiteers’ pitch that the leaving the European Union would free up £350 million a week for the UK health system. These are not Goebbelsian “big lies”. But when campaigns are built on manipulation and occasional mendacity, trust in democratic politics… Read more

A Yank in Kiwiland Part 2: Paul Foster-Bell

Early last week National Party list MP Paul Foster-Bell was kind enough to discuss party principles and policy, the New Zealand political process, and issues such as poverty and the Trans-Pacific Partnership with me. This proved to be an enlightening discussion as the MP was well-versed in American legislature and had quite a different perspective on the present state of things than Green Party MP David Clendon, with… Read more

Book Review: Transnational Neofascism in France and Italy by Andrea Mammone

On 20 April 1945, Adolf Hitler turned fifty-six years old. In contrast to previous years, his birthday sparked only a modest celebration as the collapse of the Third Reich neared with each passing hour. Confined to a bunker underneath Berlin, the once vaunted Führer alternated between periods of stolid resignation and fits of unbridled rage. As the Red Army approached the gates of the city, he received more unwelcome… Read more

Finding a dignified resolution for West Papua

On Monday 03 May Indonesian police arrested nearly 1,500 protestors in Jayapura, Papua. They were rallying in support of a coalition of groups representing West Papuans’ aspirations for independence. The police stopped the protesters, who were heading to the local parliament, forced them to board military trucks, and took them to the Mobile Brigade compound. The protesters were demonstrating their support… Read more

Amanda Taub: The rise of American authoritarianism

The American media, over the past year, has been trying to work out something of a mystery: Why is the Republican electorate supporting a far-right, orange-toned populist with no real political experience, who espouses extreme and often bizarre views? How has Donald Trump, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly become so popular? What’s made Trump’s rise even more puzzling is that his support seems to cross… Read more

To flag or not to flag, that is the question

According to our Prime Minister, this month is the last chance we’ll have to change the flag before New Zealand becomes a republic. There are many emotive reasons both for and against changing the flag, which have been thrashed out by the media over the last year, however there is one part of the debate that has yet to be touched on in any detail: Cost. It may be slightly gauche to discuss money in the face of ANZAC veterans’… Read more