Barack Obama has so far won the debates and is surging ahead in the polls—which is why he has more to fear from his opponents than than ever before, writes Susan Jacoby. For the past eight years, anti-rationalism of every sort been the defining strategy of right-wing American politics, so we can expect to hear a lot about how there’s something sinister and “un-American” about Obama’s education, reason, and logic in the weeks to come.
Meanwhile, Paul Collier looks at the impact that Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president-assumed, might have on the future of African democracy and prosperity. With the spike in global demand for commodities, the continent as a whole has an unprecedented opportunity to lift itself out of poverty—but will bad politics get in the way?
Also, Anshuman Mondal defends his call for a “Muslim middle way” against criticism from the Quilliam Foundation’s Ed Husain. Husain, Mondal argues, seems to think that all Islamists eventually become terrorists. But why single them out? What about racists, left wing sympathisers, or even people who care about animals and the environment?
And Max Nathan of the IPPR takes aim at Prospect editor David Goodhart’s famous “diversity versus solidarity” thesis. A new IPPR study suggests that migration and diversity is benefitting Britain economically—with little sign that the country will suffer US-style racial divisions.