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WORLD POLICY ON AIR

World Policy Journal is proud to share our weekly podcast, World Policy On Air, featuring former Newsweek On Air host David Alpern with timely insights from global affairs analyst Michael Moran of Transformative.io, risk and geostrategy consultants. Click here to subscribe on iTunes!

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William D. Hartung: Bush's Arms Sales Boom Continues

Since I wrote my piece on the arms trade for the 25th anniversary issue of World Policy Journal, the Bush boom in arms exports has actually accelerated. Major offers that were made between mid-September and early October of this year include a $7 billion agreement to sell a Lockheed Martin missile defense system to the United Arab Emirates; a $15 billion deal for Israel to receive the United States' latest fighter plane, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (another Lockheed Martin product, in partnership with Boeing); and over $6 billion in offers to Taiwan for anti-missile systems, attack helicopters, and anti-ship missiles. The Obama administration will inherit these mega-deals, which are very hard to roll back once an official offer has been made. These deals come at an ideal time for Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and other arms makers. The economic crisis will force some sort of re-evaluation of the Pentagon's record budget, which is now at its highest level since World War II. Weapons systems on the chopping block could include Lockheed Martin's F-22 and F-35 combat aircraft, Boeing's costly and complicated Future Combat System (FCS) for the Army, and Northrop Grumman's Virginia-class attack submarine. The big contractors won't be out on the street begging for change, but they will be scrambling to support themselves in the style to which they have become accustomed during the Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney years.

Michele Wucker: Citizenship and the Veil

Michele WuckerIn the uproar over France's denial of Faiza Mabchour’s citizenship application over her wearing of the niqab, many commentators have found it easy to condemn France for being racist/religionist/whatever-ist you want to call it. But the reality is that people are uncomfortable with people who look different—and societies adopt clothing as a political tool for many different purposes and in many different contexts. In a delicious irony, as American pundits were wringing their hands over France and the veil, a small Illinois town passed a law banning baggy pants that reveal underwear—a case of preventing (mainly) men from revealing too much, as opposed to punishing a woman for revealing too little. Many Westerners—and yes, even we New Yorkers who believe ourselves to be sophisticated and tolerant—would be deeply uncomfortable when faced with the prospect of more and more people on the street whose faces we cannot see. It is folly to ignore that visceral reaction. How can France address the deep-seated fears about the niqab? The answer turns out to be the same as the answer to how it can protect Muslim women’s rights and French values.

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