To Yemen and Back
As some of you may know, I recently took a short trip to Yemen to see for myself how things on the ground had changed since Salih was forced to step down as president. I had several productive interviews and meetings and I'm currently writing up some of what I found. Many of my impressions and thoughts from my trip will soon find their way, in various forms, onto Waq al-waq.
But for this introductory post I wanted to point out two things that really surprised me during this latest visit.
1. How popular the Huthis have become in Yemen. This is something I will be writing about extensively in the days to come. But for a group that fought Yemen and Saudi Arabia as recently as 2010 and were, at the time, fairly narrowly defined, the Huthis appear to have broadened out their appeal and now appeal to many more people than they used to.
2. The second thing that surprise me is how many in the international community and Yemeni government continue to act as though Yemen is a unified country. The central government does not have control over parts of the country - there is most definitely some drift taking place, and I don't think the central government has the capability to bring these regions back under its control. This, of course, has major implications for the National Dialogue, which I don't believe will work, at least not in the way the US and UN seem to think it will.
We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.
- When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
- American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
- We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.
- Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
- The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
- Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
- French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.