This article examines the complex interplay between the American military governor and German political leaders through an analysis of two crises that occurred over the making of the Basic Law. Why did a trial of strength between General Lucius Clay and the Social Democratic Party leadership in March and April 1949 come about? Understanding Clay's intervention in the politics of constitution-making in occupied Germany requires a more probing investigation than references to the temperament of a “proconsul” or a bias against a left-wing party. The analysis of Clay's intervention in this account shows how the Social Democrats evaded and challenged directives from the occupation authorities, and illuminates the limits of his influence over German framers of the Basic Law.
Angela Merkel remains arguably the most powerful politician in Europe, now in her third term as chancellor. While she enjoys popularity at home, seen as pragmatic and reliable, she faces numerous outward expectations and pressures that challenge Germany's foreign policy of restraint. Some argue that Germany does not pull its weight in foreign policy, particularly militarily, or at least is reluctant to do so. This view is not only an external one, but also is shared by Germany's leaders—both Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and President Joachim Gauck, among others, have expressed their desire for an increased German role in the world. Many politicians, however, do not see an advantage to focusing on foreign issues in their export-heavy economy. Other challenges, including disillusionment among Germans regarding their tenuous relationship with Russia and damaged trust between the U.S. and Germany as a result of the NSA scandal, will force Merkel to set an agenda that balances domestic concerns with her allies' expectations.
Danny Kaplan, The men we loved: Male friendship and nationalism in Israeli culture. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007, 190 pp., ISBN 1845451937.
Meaningful illness and military victimhood
Zoë H. Wool
Finley, Erin. 2011. Fields of combat: Understanding PTSD among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 240 pages.
Kilshaw, Susie. 2009. Impotent warriors: Gulf War syndrome, vulnerability and masculinity. Oxford: Berghahn Books. 282 pages.
Sentimentalism, Love, and Cultural Difference in the Eighteenth Century
William M. Reddy
Sentimentalism became a widely accepted practical code among the educated European elite in the late eighteenth century. In the 1790s, however, it went into rapid decline. One reason is that when Europeans tried to establish families and polities in line with the dictates of sentimentalism, these efforts often ended in failure. A noteworthy example is provided by the career of Benoît Leborgne, later known as Bennett de Boigne, who rose to fame as a soldier of fortune in India, founding a kind of anti-empire in collaboration with Mahadaji Sindhia between 1784 and 1795. The collapse of his state building efforts—and of his marriages—clearly demonstrate the pitfalls of "following one's heart" in the eighteenth-century manner.
Mordechai Bar-On, Moshe Dayan: Israel’s Controversial Hero (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 247 pp.
Stuart Cohen, Divine Service? Judaism and Israel’s Armed Forces (Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2013), 201 pp.
Yagil Levy, Israel’s Death Hierarchy: Casualty Aversion in a Militarized Democracy (Warfare and Culture) (New York: New York University Press, 2012), 269 pp.
Gabriel Sheffer and Oren Barak, Israel’s Security Networks: A Theoretical and Comparative Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 184 pp.
The Boy Citizen-Solider on the Cold War Screen
This paper examines the ways in which instructional films, television shows, and television commercials both depicted and sought to construct the experience of American boyhood in the decades immediately following World War II. During the Cold War, many American adults feared that boys lacked the “masculine” qualities required by future defenders of the United States. Believing that boys needed additional instruction in appropriate gender behavior, educators turned to a new film genre: the classroom instructional film. Films in this genre emphasized the importance of patriotism, respect for order and authority, and the need for emotional and physical discipline in American males. Television shows and toy commercials also encouraged boys to envision themselves as future soldiers and defenders of freedom.
Prisons, Checkpoints, and Walls in the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle
Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have been subject to increasing confinement, starting with prisons in the 1970s and 1980s and growing into a regime of checkpoints and walls that encircle entire towns and villages. After a historical review of the incremental stages of this incarceration, the article examines the overall impact of prisons, checkpoints, and walls, based on observations garnered from more than a dozen research trips over two decades and a review of research by others. Although these architectures are built and used in the name of security, findings show that mass imprisonment debilitates the Palestinian economy, forcing Palestinians to flee or resist. The final section compares the Israeli carceralization of the Occupied Territories to the US occupation of Iraq, suggesting that similar, albeit more violent, processes are underway.
This essay is concerned with where the current of global political and economic events runs. It addresses this concern by erecting an argument in three stages. First, a string being theory (SBT) is outlined. Second, this theory is used to formulate an SBT approach to imperialism, one that might be imagined as Lenin by alternative (theoretical) means, emphasizing the role of violent force. The 'seven deadly sirens'—generalizations that predict the exercise of violent force under different conditions in imperial systems—are introduced. Third, certain post-1945 US government uses of violence are analyzed in terms of their fit with the seven sirens' predictions. Oil depletion is considered as contributing to systemic crisis in capital accumulation, and its role in Gulf War II is explored. It is concluded that US government violence is consistent with the sirens' predictions. The essay terminates with speculation about where the current runs.
Anthropologists and repressive state elites
Gustavo Lins Ribeiro
The most important political and ethical issues in North American anthropology today concern anthropologists' relationships with the "security and intelligence communities." The call for anthropological participation in warfare has never been so intense, yet recruitment of anthropologists is not new for hegemonic anthropologies. Their relationships with state power have a long history of contradictory political and professional engagements. After a brief discussion of the notion of national security and its intimate relations to nation-state projects and elites, I consider the importance of culture and anthropological knowledge for politicians and conclude first that anthropologists need to be aware of how the discipline and its uses are part of much larger power relations and constraints, and second that anthropological knowledge is already always political.