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January 27, 2015
A January Trio
Here are three fine, short articles by classmates (and a grad school colleague) on underlying issues in current news -- about the US's longest war in history (Afghanistan), taxation, and our increasingly-close neighbor, China. Even if you don't follow these subjects or agree with these viewpoints, they'll at least make you feel better informed.
Reprinted from the January 16 Wall Street Journal. Fred Starr was invited to speak at the American University in Kabul partly on the strength of Lost Enlightenment, his recent book presenting the rich intellectual history of Central Asia. It was excerpted in our August 19, 2014 issue.
Dueling Mosques and an American Beacon in Afghanistan
The Saudis and Iranians are building outposts in Kabul. Meanwhile, a U.S. university there needs bolstering.
By Fred Starr
Two new initiatives focused in Kabul but originating in the Middle East threaten to draw Afghanistan into the vortex of Middle Eastern strife and to undermine prospects for a secular government. America will need to present an alternative to forces that seek to roll back much of what has been accomplished in Afghanistan.
In November, Saudi Arabia launched a huge new mosque and Islamic Center on a hill in Kabul's center. The Saudi ambassador declared unconvincingly that the mosque's purpose is to fight terrorism and "present a moderate and true face of Islam." Iran is also constructing a mosque in central Kabul and, if asked, would probably make the same claim. Click here to read on.
Could Companies Fleeing US Taxes Abroad Actually Generate More US Tax Revenue?
Ed note: The counterintuitive answer to the above question is "yes," according to Roman Weil in a talk he gave recently at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. He seeks to refute an argument that came up, among other times, when President Obama nominated Antonio F. Weiss, a Yale graduate who is head of investment banking at Lazard, to be an undersecretary of the treasury. (Mr. Weiss eventually withdrew but will become a consultant to Treasury.) As phrased by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, companies moving abroad often "are trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes." Roman's view is below. C'mon, you financial types: Is he right? Click here to elucidate your reactions.
Corporate "Inversions" Benefit US Tax Collections
By Roman Weil
Emeritus Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Did I get your attention? My thesis is so at odds with the current Administration's view (the President has called inversions "unpatriotic"), and with the views sometimes expressed in the press, that you may think I'm nuts.
Follow the cash to understand the arguments. I begin with some scenarios that have nothing to do with so-called tax "inversions," but only with US companies with foreign operations. Click here to follow the cash with Roman.
Sir John Boyd Praises New Biography of Deng Xiaoping, Laments Loss of Deng's Global Rapport
Though known to a relatively few undergraduates, two significant future experts on China were at Yale with us as graduate students, living in Berkeley College as Clare Fellows. They were the prolific China historian Jonathan Spence, now a Yale professor, and Sir John Boyd, who went on to join the British diplomatic service, serving in China and as British Ambassador to Japan, and being knighted. He now is Chairman of Asia House in London. In a book review he published recently in China Report, he touches on his service in Beijing and points up the "drift" of today's China away from the fruitful approaches that re-energized the country after the Cultural Revolution. Click here to read John's views.
We are sad to report the deaths of James Bayne, Charles McKee, Jack Pirozzolo and Lee M. Von Rhau, which were recently reported to us. We will post full obituaries for them as soon as we are able to prepare them. In this issue of our website, we have a newly posted obituary for William Noble.
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