Analysis

The ethics of resigning public office

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Last of 2 parts First word I DECIDED to write this two-part series on the ethics of resigning public office, on account of the effect on governance of non–performing executives who cling to their posts long after they have lost effectiveness and public support. YEN MAKABENTA The Manila Times This column continues my summation of J. Patrick Dobel’s article (“The Ethics of Resigning”), which presents a moral theory of resignation. It surveys the various reasons why public officials leave office, ... Read More »

Winning the Post-ISIS Battle for Iraq in Sinjar

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Though the Islamic State (ISIS) is beaten in Iraq, the battle for the country’s political soul is not over. Baghdad should act to restore local governance in Sinjar, where ISIS terrorised the local community, and encourage the district’s displaced people to return home. ICG What’s new?  The Islamic State (ISIS) is defeated in Iraq, and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidis in Sinjar has ended. But Iran-backed Shiite militias – Popular Mobilisation Units – now control the district. Much of ... Read More »

Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics

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Dunder-Mifflin as Troll Farm The Mueller indictment made public on Friday charges 13 Russian nationals with trolling the American electoral process to ‘sow discord’ by falsely representing themselves as American dissident personas. Rob Urie CounterPunch Once the field of presidential aspirants had been narrowed in 2016, their goal became to support Donald Trump’s candidacy while disparaging Hillary Clinton. There is no charge that the outcome of the 2016 election was changed by these actions. The form of the alleged conspiracy ... Read More »

The secret on the ocean floor

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A wave of pioneers is poised to scoop up treasure from the deep sea. But was this ocean mining boom sparked by a 1970s CIA plot? By David Shukman BBC In the summer of 1974, a large and highly unusual ship set sail from Long Beach in California. It was heading for the middle of the Pacific where its owners boasted it would herald a revolutionary new industry beneath the waves. Equipped with a towering rig and the latest in ... Read More »

Turkey is following footsteps of Russia and China in policing diaspora

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Erdogan’s purge is a threat to Turks living abroad and, more dangerously, to the rule of law everywhere. Transnational repression is increasingly woven into the fabric of the international order Francis Ghiles The Arab Weekly The globalisation of travel and finance and the spread of instantaneous communication, notably through social media, benefit civil society and woven links that encourage broad dialogue across borders. What is less often commented on is that countries have been handed useful and cheaper ways of ... Read More »

Kosovo is still locked out of the EU ten years after declaring independence – why?

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As Kosovo prepared to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of its declaration of independence, it was hit with a bitter blow: on February 6, the EU Commission released its strategy for the accession of the Western Balkans, which made it clear that Kosovo’s prospects of joining the EU are remote. Dr Aidan Hehir The Conversation Reeling from high unemployment, perennial corruption and a series of recent crises, the people of Kosovo badly needed a boost – instead the EU’s strategy delivered ... Read More »

Polish Ambassador: Why the Antidefamation Law is Justified

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“Holocaust denial is not only denial of German crimes, but also other ways of falsifying history.” Piotr Wilczek The National Interest Over the past several days there have been many voices around the world commenting on Poland’s recently passed antidefamation legislation. Some unfortunately misinterpreted the wording of the legislation, others expressed concern, but almost all who spoke did so out of care for the memory of the Holocaust. This at its core, is Poland’s principle concern as well. The memory ... Read More »

Be realistic – demand the impossible: the legacy of 1968

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The events of May 1968 in Paris and then France more generally still resonate as a graphic illustration of the potential for relatively peaceful and wealthy societies to explode in spontaneous anger. Simon Tormey The Conversation May 1968 was not an uprising against tyranny or manifest injustice of a kind that animated the civil rights movement. Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings quickly gathered momentum in a manner that almost defies explanation. Part ... Read More »

What’s Actually Behind Cape Town’s Water Crisis

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Blame austerity-obsessed technocrats, irresponsible development, and willful ignorance. RICHARD POPLAK The Atlantic The city of Cape Town was plonked by its founders onto a peninsula not far from where the Indian and Atlantic oceans merge, often violently, beneath the imposing banks of Table Mountain. To its north lie the fertile fruit and wine farms that weigh down the city’s restaurant tables with unimaginable bounty. Every day when the clock strikes noon, a cannon blast echoes from Signal Hill, a reminder ... Read More »

Guns and the British empire

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Eighteenth-century Indian arms were as sophisticated as European. Then came the British Empire to drive industry backwards Priya Satia Aeon In the mid-18th century, advanced areas of northwest Europe and east and south Asia enjoyed roughly comparable life expectancy, rates of consumption, and potential for economic growth. But around 1800, in what scholars call the ‘great divergence’, the power and wealth of the West suddenly and dramatically eclipsed that of India, China and the Ottoman Empire. The British in particular ... Read More »

Capitalism isn’t an ideology — it’s an operating system

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Bhu Srinivasan researches the intersection of capitalism and technological progress. Today’s TED Talk Instead of thinking about capitalism as a firm, unchanging ideology, he suggests that we should think of it as an operating system — one that needs upgrades to keep up with innovation, like the impending take-off of drone delivery services. Learn more about the past and future of the free market (and a potential coming identity crisis for the United States’ version of capitalism) with this quick, ... Read More »

Why our obsession with GDP ignores harm done to welfare and the world

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One of the first things economics students learn about is Gross Domestic Product (GDP) GDP is also a central concept in many political debates, including Brexit. The Converstion Will it rise? Will it fall? What effect will this have on our lives? Gross Domestic Product measures the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country, calculating the net value added by each economic “actor”. So if you produce a car sold for £10,000 but you bought parts ... Read More »

Emotional intelligence: What it is and why you need it

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When emotional intelligence first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. Travis Bradberry World Economic Forum This anomaly threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed was the sole source of success—IQ. Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. Emotional ... Read More »

Turkey may choose isolation over Western allies – analyst

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A wave of “anti-Western hostility” and “rampant nationalism” in Turkey has magnified the risk of a decisive break with its traditional allies in the West, even though it has not lined up any alternatives, according to an article Nicholas Danforth, a senior analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Ahval Danforth describes in the piece how the fear of “losing Turkey”, a constant refrain since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, is now dangerously close ... Read More »

Guide to the classics: Sappho, a poet in fragments

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For those who have read the fragmented remains of the Greek poet, Sappho the loss of most of her poetic corpus is something to regret. Marguerite Johnson The Conversation With a mere two complete poems extant from nine books of verse, much is left to the imagination in the reconstruction of the output (and life) of this most mysterious of ancient poets. In a world dominated by male voices whose view of life, the universe and everything was the loudest and most ... Read More »

The Female Quran Experts Fighting Radical Islam in Morocco

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“The women scholars here are even more important than men.” DINA TEMPLE-RASTON The Atlantic Morocco is in a region vulnerable to terrorist recruitment, but it hasn’t had a significant attack on its own soil since 2011, when terrorists bombed a Marrakesh café. Yet ethnic Moroccans have been at the center of ISIS attacks in Europe. The only alleged survivor of the 2015 Paris rampage is a Frenchman of Moroccan origin; his trial began last week. The men behind the Brussels ... Read More »