Thomas Friedman on the Chinese Blogosphere The New York Times columnist wonders how long China will be able to keep up its "gentle giant act" in the face of a rising "third party"--some 70 million Chinese bloggers schooled on "the notion that the U.S. and the West want to keep China down." These mostly youthful bloggers are becoming the "de facto voice of the people" in lieu of democratic elections. And now they "have their own megaphones to denounce any Chinese official who compromises too much as 'pro-American' or 'a traitor.'" U.S. officials, in turn, are also reaching out to this blogosphere in order "to get America's message out without filtering by China's state-run media."
David Weigel on a 'Requiem for Mike Castle' The Slate columnist would like you to know that he's from Delaware, and knows the political landscape well enough to call out some of the nonsense regarding Christine O'Donnell's surprise primary victory over Mike Castle in the GOP Senate primary. For example: those conservatives who think that O'Donnell's win means that she can further "upset the establishment and win the seat"? "These conservatives are not from Delaware," he explains." No one like O'Donnell, a pure ideological candidate, has won a statewide race in Delaware in modern times. ... the most likely scenario is that a shocked Delaware electorate elevates Coons to the U.S. Senate while waiting to see if it can give Castle another crack at statewide office in 2012."
Robert Wright on the Meaning of the Koran The New York Times opinion writer points out striking parallels between the Bible and the Koran that are often ignored, particularly in the heated debate around the Cordoba House controversy and the would-be Koran-burning pastor. Wright cites two passages that appear in both holy books: the appearance of the "word as flesh" and the recognition that the Israelites are a "chosen people." He does this in the hopes of educating "guardians of Judeo-Christian civilization who might still harbor plans to burn the Koran." He addresses sections in the Koran that advocate violence, including the infamous "sword verse" (the jihadi call-to-arms), by noting similarly unflattering sections in the Bible that Christians often downplay. He concludes: "All the Abrahamic scriptures have all kinds of meanings--good and bad--and the question is which meanings will be activated and which will be inert."
Enrique Krauze on Mexico's New War Writing in The New York Times on the eve of Mexico's bicentennial as an independent nation, Krauze compares the country's violence in 2010 with its revolutionary struggles in 1810 and 1910. Instead of fighting for freedom or democracy, drug cartels today have "unleashed a blood-soaked and utterly illegitimate wave of violence against the Mexican government and Mexican society." This war will have to be resolved "within the rules of democracy," Krauze writes, and will require the United States to share the burden of halting the bloodshed. "The drug war will have to be resolved on both sides of the border" in order for Mexico to move forward.
Steve Malanga on the Big Labor Backlash November is still a few months away, but if the primary results are any indication, the country could be ready to send labor unions a message, argues Malanga in The Wall Street Journal. If candidates can duplicate the success of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who swept into office by pledging to reform the state's teachers' union, 2010 "may mark a historic shift in American politics." Malanga blames public unions' "relentless campaigning for higher taxes" for driving away voters. Even Democratic candidates seem hesitant to embrace labor this campaign season. It's a situation that reminds Malanga of "what happened in the late 1970s, when tax revolts in a handful of states created a nationwide momentum that eventually elected Ronald Reagan."