Smart Reads August 21, 2013

By Catherine Contiguglia

♦ It takes more than a weaker currency to reshape an economy, Sarah O’Connor writes in her FT analysis of why British exporters have not seen the boon they might have expected from sterling’s post-crisis fall.

“It was always delusional” to see the changes in Arab political culture as a “matter of seasons rather than the work of a generation”, David Gardner writes, reflecting on the sense of “counter-revolution” in Egypt symbolized by the release of Hosni Mubarak.

♦ If reports that 1,200 people were killed by chemical weapons are not the “red line” defined by US President Barack Obama for intervention against the Assad regime, it isn’t clear what is, the Economist writes on its Pomegranate blog. Assad is calculating on the ambiguity afforded by chemical attacks, but only time will tell if he is right.

♦ Despite a promise to change his “calculus” in the event of chemical weapon use in Syria, the Obama administration seems to remain reluctant to intervene in Syria – the Washington Post’s Max Fisher gives a rundown of reasons why.

♦ Ever since the publication of his bestselling book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour rule” has practically become part of American vernacular – and has received some searing criticism as well, which he explains overlook the complexity of the theory.