Watch List

Kevin Lewis

December 28, 2009

Emerging sacred values: Iran's nuclear program

Morteza Dehghani, Rumen Iliev, Sonya Sachdeva, Scott Atran, Jeremy Ginges & Douglas Medin
Judgment and Decision Making, December 2009, Pages 930-933

Sacred values are different from secular values in that they are often associated with violations of the cost-benefit logic of rational choice models. Previous work on sacred values has been largely limited to religious or territorial conflicts deeply embedded in historical contexts. In this work we find that the Iranian nuclear program, a relatively recent development, is treated as sacred by some Iranians, leading to a greater disapproval of deals which involve monetary incentives to end the program. Our results suggest that depending on the prevalence of such values, incentive-focused negotiations may backfire.


Ongoing Victim Suffering Increases Prejudice: The Case of Secondary Anti-Semitism

Roland Imhoff & Rainer Banse
Psychological Science, December 2009, Pages 1443-1447

Some people have postulated that the perception of Jews' ongoing suffering from past atrocities can result in an increase in anti-Semitism. This postulated secondary anti-Semitism is compatible with a number of psychological theories, but until now there has been no empirical evidence in support of this notion. The present study provides the first evidence that ongoing suffering evokes an increase in prejudice against the victims. However, this effect became apparent only if respondents felt obliged to respond truthfully because of a bogus pipeline (BPL); without this constraint, the perception of ongoing victim suffering led to a socially desirable reduction in self-reported prejudice. The validity of the BPL manipulation was confirmed by the finding that it moderated the relation between explicit and implicit anti-Semitism, as measured with an affect misattribution procedure.


The Political Incorporation of Muslims in America: The Role of Religiosity in Islam

Matt Barreto & Karam Dana
University of Washington Working Paper, October 2008

Previous scholars have argued that Islam as a religion and a culture is incompatible with liberal, democratic American values. Not only is Islam inconsistent with the West, but it poses a direct conflict according to some scholars. This viewpoint has been popularized in American and European media and by government officials who declare fundamentalist Muslims as enemies of freedom and democracy. However, there is no evidence that the grounds of conflict are based on religious ideology. Are the most devout Muslims really opposed to political incorporation in the U.S., or are other traditional non-religious factors such as socioeconomic status and acculturation more important in understanding political alienation? To date, nearly every study of Islam and Western values has been qualitative, anecdotal or philosophical in nature, leaving most questions unanswered, at least empirically. Using a unique national survey of Muslim Americans, we find that more religiously devout Muslims are significantly more likely to support political participation in America - in contrast to prevailing wisdom. We conclude that there is nothing inconsistent with Islam and American democracy, and in fact, religiosity fosters support for American democratic values.


Exploring Uranium Resource Constraints on Fissile Material Production in Pakistan

Zia Mian, A.H. Nayyar & R. Rajaraman
Science & Global Security, May 2009, Pages 77-108

This paper evaluates possible scenarios for Pakistan's uranium enrichment and plutonium production programs since the late 1970s by using Pakistan's supply of natural uranium as a constraint. Since international sanctions have prevented Pakistan from importing uranium for decades, it has had to rely on domestic uranium production-currently estimated as approximately 40 tons a year. The paper divides the development of Pakistan's uranium enrichment and plutonium production programs into three broad periods: from the beginning in the late 1970s until the 1998 nuclear tests; from 1999 to the present; and from the present to 2020; and considers how Pakistan could allocate its domestic uranium between its uranium enrichment and plutonium production programs for each period. This assessment is completed for enrichment capacities ranging from 15,000 to 75,000 separative work units (SWU) and takes into account the construction of the second and third plutonium production reactors at Khushab. The study finds that Pakistan may have sufficient natural uranium to fuel the three reactors, if they are approximately 50 MWt each, but that for some of these enrichment capacities, there will be a shortfall of natural uranium by 2020. The paper considers the impact of alternative sources of enrichment feed such as depleted tails from previous enrichment activity and reprocessed uranium from low-burn-up spent fuel from the Khushab reactors. There are signs Pakistan early on may have enriched some reprocessed uranium, possibly acquired from China. It finds that by 2020, Pakistan could have accumulated approximately 450 kg of plutonium from the Khushab reactors and 2500-6000 kg of highly enriched uranium (HEU) (90 percent enriched) for enrichment capacities ranging from 15,000-75,000 SWU. These stocks would be sufficient for perhaps 100-240 simple fission weapons based on HEU and for 90 plutonium weapons. Pakistan may be able to produce more weapons if it either increases its rate of uranium mining or has more advanced weapon designs requiring less fissile material in each weapon.


The Current Arab Work Ethic: Antecedents, Implications, and Potential Remedies

Yusuf Sidani & Jon Thornberry
Journal of Business Ethics, January 2010, Pages 35-49

This article begins with the premise that market-oriented development strategies require more than the free movement of the factors of production from one use to another; they also require a positive work ethic and an energetic and committed workforce. However, the existing Arab work ethic does not seem conducive to development and change. This article assesses some antecedents that might have led to the emergence of the existing work ethic. First, we address the potential role of religion in developing a value system that is not conducive to growth and development. We also tackle family dynamics in the Arab world and the impact of family structures on personal and group development. Then, we move our attention to the educational system in the Arab world trying to uncover any common patterns in the various educational approaches in the Arab world that could have had lasting impressions on power dynamics in Arab societies. We also address power and leadership relationships and focus our attention on how groups actually function in the Arab world. Thereafter, we tackle what has emerged out of these societal institutions and relationships, and offer some implications marking out paths for international managers.


Does Terrorism Demoralize? Evidence from Israel

Dmitri Romanov, Asaf Zussman & Noam Zussman
Hebrew University Working Paper, November 2009

We study the effect of terrorism on the happiness of Israelis during a recent period of violent conflict with the Palestinians (the second Intifada). The analysis relies on detailed daily data on terrorism and on daily responses to a subjective life satisfaction question recorded in social surveys. We control for important determinants of happiness but add to them daily fatality figures which capture the intensity of terrorism. The main finding of the analysis is that terrorism had a very limited effect: happiness remained stable in the period examined despite a large variation in the intensity of terrorism over time.


Terrorist Threat, Leadership, and the Vote: Evidence from Three Experiments

Jennifer Merolla & Elizabeth Zechmeister
Political Behavior, December 2009, Pages 575-601

From 9/11 in the U.S. to train, subway, and airport bombings elsewhere, individuals frequently must make political decisions in the shadow of terrorist attacks. To date, few studies have examined how times of terror threat influence voters' decision-making processes. Using data generated from three experiments we show that, in times of terrorist threat (compared to good times), individuals weight leadership more heavily in the voting booth. Our results also shed light on how much weight is given to other determinants of the vote (issues and partisanship) across these two conditions.


Explosive Properties of Reactor-Grade Plutonium

Carson Mark, Frank Von Hippel & Edward Lyman
Science & Global Security, May 2009, Pages 170-185

The following discussion focuses on the question of whether a terrorist organization or a threshold state could make use of plutonium recovered from light-water-reactor fuel to construct a nuclear explosive device having a significantly damaging yield. Questions persist in some nonproliferation policy circles as to whether a bomb could be made from reactor-grade plutonium of high burn-up, and if so, whether the task would be too difficult for a threshold state or terrorist group to consider. Although the information relevant to these questions is in the public domain, and has been for a considerable time, it is assembled here for use by policy makers and members of the public who are concerned about preventing the spread of nuclear explosives.


Kashmir: Ripe for resolution?

Moeed Yusuf & Adil Najam
Third World Quarterly, December 2009, Pages 1503-1528

This paper documents and analyses 46 proposals made between 1947 and 2008 for resolving the India-Pakistan dispute over Jammu and Kashmir. We conduct a content analysis to recognise the patterns that emerge from these formulations and identify the key elements that recur over time. Our analysis suggests that the dispute may be more 'ripe' for resolution today than it has ever been in the past. For the first time in the dispute's history, there is growing convergence over a core element of the solution, ie granting autonomy to Kashmiris. This is matched by a virtual consensus on the 'catalysts', namely soft borders to allow relatively free human and economic exchange within Jammu and Kashmir, the notion of Kashmiri involvement in any negotiations on the issue and demilitarisation of the state. Ripeness alone, however, does not lead to resolution. Over the years various dynamic proposals have been made, which means that this particular convergence could also dissipate, as some of the prior ones have. There is a potential window of opportunity today, but it will not last indefinitely.


Women's "Justification" of Domestic Violence in Egypt

Kathryn Yount & Li Li
Journal of Marriage and Family, December 2009, Pages 1125-1140

We explored the influences of women's social learning, marital resources and constraints, and exposure to norms about women's family roles on their views about wife hitting or beating among 5,450 participants in the 2005 Egypt Demographic and Health Survey. One half justified wife hitting or beating for some reason. Women from rural areas who were exposed to domestic violence more often justified such acts. Dependent wives whose husbands had more schooling, were blood relatives, and were coresident more often justified such acts. In settings where women tended to marry at older ages, women less often justified such acts. Women's resources and constraints in marriage accounted for the largest share of the variability in their attitudes about domestic violence against women.


From Islam en France to Islam de France: contradictions of the French left's responses to Islam

Gino Raymond
Patterns of Prejudice, December 2009, Pages 481-496

The political class in France, especially the left, has been profoundly shaped by the revolutionary heritage of 1789. Determined to combat the determinisms that fractured French society under the ancien reacutegime, such as religion, the individual was reconfigured, first as a citizen and then, by the left, as indistinguishable from a class, the proletariat. While in both cases the conceptualization of the individual had the benefit of unity and clarity, the abstract nature of these notions too often left out those very factors that are most significant to those individuals themselves for their self-definition. Moreover, the social transformation of France since the 1960s has exposed the culture-specific conditioning that underlay the apparent neutrality of the conceptualization of the individual bequeathed by 1789. Raymond explores how the left has struggled with its intellectual heritage in its relationship with minorities, especially Muslims, from the xenophobic populism of the Communists in the early 1980s to the recognition proposed by some Socialists during their last period in government. Paradoxically, the institutional accommodation reached with the Islamic community by the centre-right governments of the past decade, notably the creation of the Conseil Franccedilais du Culte Musulman (French Council of the Muslim Faith) in 2002, built on the initiatives of previous Socialist administrations. They set the course for a better integration of the Muslim community by transforming Islam en France (Islam in France) into an Islam de France (French Islam). But in spite of the initial impetus given by the Socialists to the institutional assimilation of Islam, their reactions to the emergence of a French Islamic identity remain contradictory. The question therefore persists as to whether the left in France, impregnated by a historically conditioned secularism, can be reconciled with a community defined by its faith through the emergence of a 'Gallican' Islam, or whether the time has come for a fundamental reappraisal of the ideology of the French left, and even the Republic itself.

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