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WORLD POLICY ON AIR

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Andrew Nagorski: Jack Bauer's Secret Weapon

As any devoted fan knows, the Fox hit show “24” is in its eighth and final season.

Azubuike Ishiekwene: Coming to America…a Personal Experience of the New Security Measures in the Wake of Amdulmutallab

So, this is what it means to be “pat-down.” I first heard the words after the Christmas Day attempt by the 23-year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to blow up a Northwest plane over Detroit, Michigan. It was, however, not until nine days and nearly 9,000 miles later before the meaning of the words hit home, with a personal force. My daughter and I departed Lagos on the night of January 4 and by morning had cleared two international airports—Lagos and Frankfurt—without fuss. We had one more stop to make at Dulles International Airport, in Washington, on our way to Austin, Texas. At the Lagos airport, little had changed. It was business as usual. Check-in and airport security officials were happy to do things a bit quicker and to return a smile or two in exchange for a Christmas kola nut. I also did not notice any remarkable changes in security at Frankfurt from when I last passed through in early summer 2009. The officials looked just as cold and stern as they ushered transit passengers through the metal-detectors. Luggage, as usual, was scanned separately. I didn’t observe any fuss, pat downs, or special lanes. The only hint of a tougher time ahead was the frequent announcement at the airport that travelers to the United States must be prepared to comply with restrictions about items they could bring into the country. For me, that was nothing to worry about. On this trip, I had prepared myself for the worst—or so I thought. I had excluded from my suitcases anything I suspected could cause delays and totally ruled out all foodstuffs, including noodles, my daughter’s favorite meal. Before we left Lagos, I took the extra precaution of stripping our suitcases and getting familiar with all their contents before padlocking them, just to be sure. I also recalled the sad experience of another Nigerian traveler who caused alarm (and made headlines) for an overly long stay in the lavatory of a plane some two days later, and on the same route, of that which Abdulmutallab had attempted to bring down. I decided on this trip that once I was boarded, I would not stir for the duration of the flight. No in-flight exercises, no walking up and down the aisle, no food, little or no water. Nothing, I was determined, would make me take a step from my seat. And so it was that in the six hour and twenty minute flight from Lagos to Frankfurt, I was a self-made couch potato in seat 14A. I was flying Business Class, but it would not have made any difference had I been in the luggage hold. Better to be still than sorry. Yet, nothing could have prepared me for the ordeal at we were to face at Dulles.

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Around WPI

Jihad in Sub-Saharan Africa 

This paper, “Jihad in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenging the Narratives of the War on Terror,” examines the history of Islamic movements in Africa's Sahel region to contextualize current conflicts.

World Economic Roundtable with Vicente Fox 

In this World Economic Roundtable, former Mexican President Vicente Fox discusses his current quest to make his country a hub for technology. 

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Al Gore presides over Arctic Roundtable 

As the United States prepares to assume chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015, this inaugural convening of the Arctic Deeply Roundtables launches a vital conversation for our times. 

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Get the facts from Amitai Etzioni in “Avoiding War with China.”


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