Adele M. Stan

Adele M. Stan is senior editor at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Benazir Bhutto: An Imperfect Feminist

However disappointing Bhutto was in her actions on behalf of Pakistan's women, she was a potent symbol of their potential empowerment. And symbols matter.

Female supporters of Pakistan's slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto take part in a candle light ceremony in Lahore, Pakistan. (AP Photo/K M Chaudary)
From the moment she appeared on the international scene, she was destined to be an icon. To the West, Benazir Bhutto, the first democratically-elected woman to lead a Muslim nation, looked like a Disney drawing of a beautiful fairytale princess from an animated fable set somewhere in the mysterious Orient. Deftly wielding her Ivy League education, she had plenty of intelligence to accompany her beauty and charm, as well as an uncanny ability to synthesize the aspirations of her South Asian nation with the longings of its Western patrons. To the West at large, she spoke the language of secular democracy. To American women, Bhutto spoke the language of feminism , filling a void left by the absence of a female American counterpart to mirror her ascent to power in Pakistan. Even after she was put out of office on corruption charges during her second stint as prime minister (1993 to 1996), she remained a romantic figure in the annals of popular feminism. In Beijing, at the 1999 United...

GENUINE ANTI-POLITICS.

Good stuff from Kos and Josh Marshall taking on the latest iteration (this time from Newsweek 's Evan Thomas ) of the perennial elite DC press chestnut that partisanship and polarization depress mass political engagement. Of course, empirical evidence and not a small degree of basic common sense have indicated for a while now that this thesis is essentially the opposite of correct. Thomas's argument erroneously puts the media at the center of a story that has far more to do with structural political changes and the decades-spanning process of southern electoral realignment. His argument for the growing disaffection of the center largely hinges on a single reference to the 1960 peak in national voter turnout, which, as Kos notes, obscures the fact that the modern developments Thomas is specifically bemoaning happened decades later and have correlated with, if anything, a period of (modestly) higher-turnout elections since they emerged. (And as Nathan Newman used to point out , even the...

IS EDWARDS MUSHARRAF'S PICK?

Among the more perplexing moments to occur during the aftermath of the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was yesterday's call from Pakistan's dictator, Pres. Pervez Musharraf , to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards . As Edwards explained it last night to CNN's Wolf Blitzer while the latter acted as Larry King 's guest host, Edwards had reached out to Pakistan's Ambassador to the U.S., and asked him to pass word to Musharraf to give a jingle to Edwards, who had met the Pakistani strongman in Islamabad some years ago. (He gave the same explanation to Radio Iowa; the interview is here , via Talk Left.) Edwards' advice to Musharraf, as he himself reported it, was wise: allow an international team of experts to investigate the assassination -- a move that could help calm the nation's troubled populis. Yet as violence spilled into the streets of Pakistan's teeming cities, it seems odd to me that the nation's leader should be spending time on the...

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES WAGE EPIC STRUGGLE FOR CIVILIZATION -- AND NOMINATION.

As Brother Tom noted here , the presidential candidates spent yesterday, after news broke of the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto , falling over themselves in an effort to show that they would know better than the current occupant of the White House how to deal with the troubled South Asian nation. The response of Republican candidates was predictable: the assassination was obviously the work of al Qaeda, showing why we need to fight all the harder against the purveyors of "terror". Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson said Bhutto's killing revealed a contest between "the forces of civilization and the forces of anarchy." Thompson concluded, "It's us against them." Arizona Sen. John McCain used the event to sell his experience in foreign policy, according to the Associated Press : "My theme has been throughout this campaign that I'm the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment," [McCain said.] So perhaps it may serve to enhance those...

BUSH: "MURDEROUS EXTREMISTS" KILLED BHUTTO

President George W. Bush , in his statement on the assassination of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto , pinned her killing on "murderous extremists." News reports say that the administration does not yet know who ordered or executed the attack on Bhutto. If that is the case, it would appear that Bush is seeking to deflect attention from Pakistani dictator Pres. Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani military as potential suspects. The phrase "murderous extremists" immediately brings to the Western mind the image of an Islamist terrorist, but of course an extremist is anyone who is extreme in his or her views. It's an artful use of language. Hard to argue that anyone who would assassinate a politician is neither murderous nor extreme. So, it's accurate on its face. But the face that comes to mind, that's another thing. Overshadowed by the story of Bhutto's killing is today's attack on Musharraf's other rival for power, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif , whose rally in...

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