Analysis

The far-right may think they own ‘nationalism’, but we can reclaim it as a force for good

We see the word “nationalism” as problematic. The weekend rally on St Kilda beach, organised by far-right activist Neil Erikson, reminds us nationalism is the territory of fringe groups who hold bigoted views, particularly towards people who… Rachel Busbridge The Conversation Nationalism means: Identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations. We often think about nationalism in these terms. To be a nationalist means loving your ... Read More »

Here’s why doctors are backing pill testing at music festivals across Australia

For many years experts in the field of drug policy in Australia have known existing policies are failing. Authors: The Conversation Crude messages (calls for total abstinence: “just say no to drugs”) and even cruder enforcement strategies (harsher penalties, criminalisation of drug users) have had no impact on the use of drugs or the…. Whether we like it or not, drug use is common in our society, especially among young people. In 2016 43% of people aged 14 and older reported ... Read More »

The case for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump

The presidential oath of office contains 35 words and one core promise: to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” David Leonhardt Brisbane Times The New York Times Since virtually the moment Donald Trump took that oath two years ago, he has been violating it. He has repeatedly put his own interests above those of the country. He has used the presidency to promote his businesses. He has accepted financial gifts from foreign countries. He has lied ... Read More »

Ireland loves exactly what Britain hates about Europe

London and Dublin’s mental geographies have embarked on different trajectories Bobby McDonagh The Irish Times Although Ireland will be deeply affected by Brexit, we have to an extraordinary extent been unaffected by the Brexit debate. The main arguments and fears of the Brexiteers are essentially alien to us. We don’t share their wish to return to an imagined past. Unlike the UK today, we are confident about our ability to promote our interests in the modern interdependent world. Xenophobia in ... Read More »

The euro at 20: An enduring success but a fundamental failure

New Year’s Day 1999 saw the largest monetary changeover in history. Barry Eichengreen The Conversation On that date, just 20 years ago, 12 members of the European Union formally adopted a brand-spanking-new currency, the euro. Today seven additional EU member states use it, along with Montenegro, Kosovo, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City. If survival is the ultimate gauge of success, then this grand monetary experiment can be said to have succeeded. But as investment advisers say, past performance ... Read More »

Competitive elections are good for democracy – just not every democracy

The 2018 U.S. midterm elections were fierce, expensive and full of upsets, with political newcomers ousting long-tenured incumbents and Democrats unseating Republicans to retake the House of Representatives. Authors: The Conversation That makes them an exemplary democratic exercise from a political science standpoint: American voters booted the congressional representatives who they believed did not fight for their interests. That’s exactly what elections are meant to do: Hold politicians accountable. But it doesn’t work that way everywhere. In younger democracies, our ... Read More »

Why the Singapore model won’t work for the UK post-Brexit

The city state has a strange appeal to some Tories yet even its prime minister doubts its approach would work in Britain Patrick Wintour The Guardian The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on a visit to Singapore to learn how such a relatively isolated city state has become so successful is only the latest, but most explicit, of a long line of Tory ministers to extol it as the model for the UK post-Brexit. Quite how Singapore, an authoritarian state capitalist economy akin ... Read More »

America’s New Democracy Movement

While media coverage since the 2018 US midterm elections has focused squarely on Donald Trump, a growing movement of citizens and activists from across the political spectrum is thinking more broadly about the future of… Laura Tyson and Lenny Mendonca The Project Syndicate And progressive political reforms have been winning support in some unexpected places. BERKELEY – In last November’s US midterm elections, voters sent a clear message about the concerns weighing on their minds and the values they hold most ... Read More »

China’s Atlantean ambition for the South China Sea

Beijing’s futuristic plan for an artificial intelligence-driven deep-sea submarine base promises to churn the contested sea’s already volatile waters Richard Javad Heydarian Asia Times Αs Southeast Asian nations look ahead to 2019, competition for control of the South China Sea looms large on the horizon. That strategic contest could enter a new destabilizing phase if China introduces as reported a new Atlantis-like deep-sea submarine base in the already volatile maritime area. The proposed new base, which could in theory be ... Read More »

How to negotiate infrastructure deals with China: four things African governments need to get right

“You don’t negotiate with China !” I was quickly told when I started interviewing African public servants about their infrastructure deals with Beijing. Folashade Soule The Conversation There is a widespread view in Africa that you accept whatever terms are offered, for fear that the money might go somewhere else instead. China is the leading infrastructure finance provider on the continent – as demonstrated by a recent pledge of US$60 billion (£47 billion), most of which is for infrastructure projects. Big projects on the slate include hydropower plants ... Read More »

A Call to Arms at the Supreme Court

Conservative judges worry that the Second Amendment has become “a second-class right.” Linda Greenhouse The New York Times A specter is haunting the Supreme Court — disrespect for the Second Amendment. Perhaps you haven’t realized that the Supreme Court’s disinclination to expand on its landmark 2008 decision creating an individual right to gun ownership means that the justices are treating the… A “watered-down right.” A “disfavored right.” If you are unaware of these outlandish claims, then you haven’t tuned into the rising chorus of ... Read More »

Solar storm could cause trillions of damage to Earth – Bill Jamieson

Ultima Thule shows how much we need the Sun’s warmth, but we might be a bit too close for comfort with an estimated 12 per cent chance of a major solar storm between 2012 and 2022, writes Bill Jamieson. The Scotsman Chaos, risk, uncertainty: how these words have come to define our world. But such definitions shrink before the chaos and uncertainty of the planetary sort. The New Year opened with radio signals travelling some four billion miles from the ... Read More »

The President Who Wants to Break Up His Own Country

Once praised by Madeleine Albright as “a breath of fresh air,” Bosnia’s new president, Milorad Dodik, now threatens a fragile U.S.-brokered peace accord. Maxim Edwards The Atlantic SARAJEVO—Few national leaders would call their own country an “impossible state.” Fewer still would actively advocate for it to be broken up. Almost none would risk a decades-old peace accord to do so. And then there is Bosnia’s Milorad Dodik. “I am a Serb … Bosnia is only my place of employment,” Dodik ... Read More »

Can Anyone Succeed As Trump’s Chief of Staff?

It’s a near-impossible job. But here are a few basic rules Mick Mulvaney can follow to avoid disaster. Chris Whipple Politico It’s no wonder Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s new White House chief of staff, wanted “acting” in his job title. James A. Baker III, Ronald Reagan’s quintessential gatekeeper, tells every incoming chief the same thing when asked for his advice: “Congratulations, you’ve got the worst f—ing job in government.” The position is so relentless and punishing that Dick Cheney blames ... Read More »

To feel happier, we have to resolve to the life we evolved to live

When we have to give a talk to a group of people, we feel anxious and experience the bodily fear responses that do not make sense now: The system is not meant to function in this safe context. Arash Javanbakht The Conversation As a psychiatrist specialized in anxiety and trauma, I often tell my patients and students that to understand how fear works in us, we have to see it in the context where it evolved. Ten thousand years ago, ... Read More »

Ending austerity: give everyone a pay rise

In 2018 real earnings were 4% below what they were in 2008 in the UK. The decade since the global financial crisis was a lost decade for British workers; their living standards have stagnated. Engelbert Stockhammer The Conversation Wages have not even kept up with inflation. This is in sharp contrast to numerous decades before 2008. For example, from 1998 to 2008 wages, adjusted for inflation, grew by 25%. For most households, wages are the most important source of income, ... Read More »