19 Sep

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


  • New York governor says ‘possible foreign connection’
  • Five suspected bombs found in wake of weekend Manhattan bombing
  • One exploded as robot tried to disarm it
Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, is being sought in connection with the Chelsea bombing

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, is being sought in connection with the Chelsea bombing Photograph: NYPD/Twitter

Tensions rise between nuclear neighbours after deadly raid on army base close to disputed border with Pakistan

Indian soldiers arrive at the base in Uri, west of Srinagar, in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Indian soldiers arrive at the base in Uri, west of Srinagar, in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Photograph: Mukhtar Khan/AP

India has directly accused Pakistan of involvement in a deadly raid on a Kashmir army base that killed 17 soldiers, labelling its neighbour “a terrorist state”.

Sunday morning’s attack on the army camp near the disputed border with Pakistan was among the deadliest against security forces in Kashmir history, and sparked grief and anger across India.

The death toll could yet grow, with about 35 soldiers injured, some critically.

Four fedayeen – highly trained militants on what are essentially suicide missions – died in the three-hour assault on the base at Uri, near the militarised “line of control” that divides Indian Kashmir from the Pakistan-controlled side.

The Indian army’s director of general military operations (DGMO) said none of the four men was from the Indian side and that some of their equipment had Pakistani markings.

It claimed they were members of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a militant group alleged to have links to elements within the Pakistani government.

About 13 or 14 of the soldiers died in fires started by the militants’ incendiary ammunition, which consumed the temporary shelters and tents in which they had been sleeping. A rotation of units was under way, meaning more soldiers had been stationed on the base than usual, the DGMO said.

  • Previous evidence of racism in county’s segregation only anecdotal
  • Parking fees and homeowner association rules said to support segregation
Two boys run near Huntington Beach pier.

Two boys run near Huntington Beach pier. Orange County is known for being white and politically conservative, but is now more diverse than ever and largely segregated. Photograph: KPA/Zuma /Rex Features

It was another sun-kissed afternoon in Huntington Beach this week, the seafront a playground. Surfers skimmed the waves. Volleyballers leaped and shrieked. Sunbathers splayed on the sand. Families paraded the boardwalk.

Almost everyone had brown skin, though really they were white, just with tans. Those with permanent brown skin, Latinos, were mostly miles inland, on the other side of the 405 freeway.

“It’s called life. In this world, no one gets along, so you hang out with your own kind,” said Ruben Montanez, 54, in shorts and shades, perched on a bench.

His heritage was Puerto Rican, but Montanez did not identify with, nor yearn to see, the absent Latinos. Huntington Beach was fine just as it was. “When a neighborhood goes downhill, people leave.”

There is little chance the social services worker will feel forced to flee his home, at least not on account of Latinos.

Orange County, a cluster of cities and freeways tucked between Los Angeles and San Diego, is known for being white and politically conservative. California’s Republican bastion, it helped launch Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who called it the place “where all the good Republicans go to die”.

It led the state’s crackdown on illegal immigration in the 1990s. A sub-group of neo-Nazi surfers acquired notoriety for daubing swastikas on boards. The Real Housewives of Orange County, a reality TV show, has bolstered the impression of a white enclave.

In fact, over the past two decades, the county has become diverse to the point that whites are no longer a majority. They make up 44% of the population of 3 million, with Latinos comprising 34% and Asians 18%.

But melting pot it is not. Most whites live in tracts that are at least 60% white, many of them coastal cities such as Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and San Clemente. The inland city of Santa Ana, in contrast, once predominantly white, is now 78% Latino.

Economics explains much of this. Whites are wealthier and can afford pricey coastal real estate. Most Latinos cannot. Many observers have long suspected racism, too, but the evidence has been anecdotal.

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US politics

Election 2016

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It’s race and immigration, stupid

Michael Paarlberg

The secret of Trump’s success isn’t the ravages of globalisation. It’s that the country is looking less and less like some voters believe it should
Donald Trump
‘If all you know about someone is how hard they were hit by the recession, you’re no more likely to predict their vote than a coin toss. But if all you know about them is how they feel about black people and Muslims, you can make a pretty good guess.’ Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Under prevailing theories of economic voting, “Make America Great Again” should not be a good slogan for a time when poverty and unemployment are falling, and household income is rising, as the latest Census report shows. The fact that Trump’s faux-populist appeal resonates at all despite this should be evidence enough that it’s not about the economy. In any case, Trump’s more explicit promises about walls and religious tests should make it clear what American greatness really means to him.

Yet there are many who take Trump’s claims to an economic populist mantle seriously, including some on the left. So eager are they to find any evidence at all of a burgeoning American class consciousness that they project it onto an unlikely source, one who spends more on hair transplants than most Americans make in a year.

The argument, made by Frank, Taibbi, Moore, and others goes roughly like this: trade is a huge issue ignored by Washington elites. Trump supporters are those who have been economically left behind, particularly by trade. Liberals who say it’s about racism and nativism have their heads in the sand. Trump supporters are simply voting their class interests. This is why Trump will win.

I don’t believe any of these things are true. For better or worse, trade is not a major issue in American politics. Neither American voters generally nor Trump voters specifically rank it among their top concerns: only 36% of Trump supporters polled said trade was a critical issue to them, well behind terrorism and immigration. Trump supporters are not, overall, economically worse off. A Gallup study found Trump supporters have higher median incomes than non-Trump supporters, and are no more likely to live in areas affected by trade. Curiously, wealthy Trump supporters report feeling the same level of economic anxiety as poor non-Trump supporters – which is to say, they think they’re doing worse than they are. This is probably because, as political scientist Michael Tesler’s research shows, voters’ perceptions of how the economy is doing have a lot more to do with their party identities, and attitudes on race, than how the economy is actually doing.

And when you test economic v racial issues against each other as predictors of Trump support, the significance of the economic ones disappears. It isn’t about trade, it isn’t about jobs, it isn’t about economic performance. It’s about demographics, and the sense that the country is looking less and less like what a portion of the electorate imagines it should look like – a perception that is also exaggerated, since Trump supporters are also no more likely to live in areas affected by immigration.

Let’s be clear what this does not mean: it does not mean that Trump supporters are all cross-burning racists. It does not mean that racial resentment is exclusive to Trump supporters; Daniel Byrd and Loren Collingwood found some (though not as many) of Clinton and Sanders supporters reported similar attitudes. It does not mean “America is already great” or that working class Americans haven’t been left behind. It does not mean that there are not many people who support Trump because they feel (real or imagined) economic stress. It means that for every person who votes for Trump because they feel economic stress, there is another person who votes for Clinton for the same reason. If all you know about someone is how hard they were hit by the recession, you’re no more likely to predict their vote than a coin toss. But if all you know about them is how they feel about black people and Muslims, you can make a pretty good guess.


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