This is the first of what will become weekly posts highlighting outside articles that made us think. If you came across articles that made you think this week, please post them in the comments!
From Matt: What ISIS really wants (Graeme Wood, The Atlantic). What should we do to combat the Islamic State? Most agree that something needs to be done, both to stop the ongoing genocide abroad and to protect ourselves at home, but there is quite a lot of disagreement on what to do, particularly in Canada and the U.S. A wide array of strategies have been proposed or piloted, including military escalation, education and messaging, and expanding police and spy powers, to name a few. In one of the most in-depth pieces I’ve seen on the subject, Wood argues, among many other things, that ground military escalation from the west is what ISIS wants as part of an apocalyptic ideology. He proposes that continuing to slowly bleed them through the current aerial campaigns and support of local resistance may be the best among bad options; and that ultimately we should take the time to get to know our enemy, whose predictability, not unpredictability, might be their downfall. I’m not sure I agree with everything he says, but he offers an angle I haven’t seen before, and has certainly done a lot of homework.
Keystone solution runs through Canada (Michael R. Bloomberg, Bloomberg News). Michael Bloomberg makes a new and interesting suggestion for how to resolve the Keystone XL saga: attach its approval to a new climate agreement between the U.S. and Canada. If the climate actions Canada committed to under such an agreement were meaningful, this might not be a bad idea.
From Ian: Planting false memories fairly easy, psychologists find (Sarah Barmak, Toronto Star). Raises some interesting questions about the boundaries on prosecutorial ethics. Related to this, another piece in Slate (Why are so many Americans in Prison? – Leon Neyfakh) probes the role of prosecutorial zeal in U.S. incarceration rates.
From Niya: Fifty Shades of Gilded Cages (Arthur Chu, Daily Beast). Chu’s piece poses an interesting set of opinions and draws parallels between sex, class and consumerism – specifically around how much society is willing to let people get away with when they have the “right” job titles. His conclusion that “Healthy sex, no matter how kinky, doesn’t need a sugar-coating of luxury brands and corporate respectability to make it somehow not be abuse.” is one well worth pondering, as is the growing shift or return to the perception that sex is a transaction and women’s value is still primarily determined by their position as sexual gatekeepers.