Made in China?

Right now, the markets are focused on two stories: the continuing unwinding of the sub-prime mess and the increasing number of recalls of products made in China. At this point, the roiling of the financial markets is the bigger of these two stories. However, the drum beat of negative press about China may have equally significant consequences going forward. With stories such as “More Ripples From Chinese Product Troubles,” (New York Times, August 15), and “Tainted Imports: Are You Next?” (BusinessWeek SmallBiz, Aug/Sept 2007), and even recent posts on the HuffingtonPost (gasp!), the chorus has been growing that China, in more ways than one, represents a threat to the United States. If it’s not currency “manipulation” then it’s unsafe products, from tires to pet food to toys. Already, there is legislation being prepared that would take a harder line against China and the twin effects of currency and the trade deficit. Whatever version of the bill actually gets passed is likely to be more muted than the rhetoric, but the very fact of it demonstrates the growing anti-Chinese sentiment that is almost certain to get worse before it gets better.

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Enough Already with “The Trouble with Islam”

In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial titled “The Trouble with Islam,” the author regurgitated all of the familiar canards about the inherent backwardness of Islam: that the religion at core promotes violence toward unbelievers and toward women, that the Quran calls for death to the Jews, that all attempts of interfaith dialogue in the West are based on a hopeless naivete and that the violence in Iraq proves that Muslims are prone to violence.

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Peace Be Upon You

Zachary Karabell talked about his book Peace Be upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence, published by Knopf. Mr. Karabell traces the historical instances of peaceful coexistence between Muslim, Christian, and Jewish people. The author contended that throughout the past fourteen centuries the different faiths have found common ground; from peaceful debate amongst scholars in the courts of the caliphs in Baghdad to medieval Spain where Jewish sages, Muslim philosophers, and Christian monks translated the meaning of God together. The author argued that the current state of religious tensions are solvable if one studies the past. Mr. Karabell responded to questions from the audience.

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The Greening of America?

When the zeitgeist shifts, it really shifts.

The beginning of 2007 saw one of the warmest Januaries on record, and instead of snow, we were treated to a flurry of articles, announcements, conferences, and high level public speeches that demanded action on the part of countries, individuals and companies to begin to address the issue of global warming.

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