Analysis

US ‘picking and choosing’ from the Law of the Sea

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A recent article argues that China is ‘selectively choosing the parts of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that it likes and is ignoring or reinterpreting the parts that it does not like or… Mark J Valencia EastAsiaForum The argument is made on the basis that China sent a ‘spy ship’ to observe the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world’s largest joint naval exercise, held in June and July 2018. But this account ignores that ... Read More »

Four centuries of trying to prove God’s existence

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Whether God exists or not is one of the most important philosophical questions there is. And the tradition of trying to establish God’s existence involving evidence is a long one, with a golden age during the 17th and 18th centuries – the early modern period. Lloyd Strickland The Conversation Attempts to prove God’s existence continue today. But they are on nothing like the same scale as they were hundreds of years ago, with secularism now being as common among philosophers ... Read More »

This new Defense Department map shows how China says one thing and does another with its military operations at sea

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China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea and its broad interpretations of international law often lead it to protest what many other countries consider to be normal naval maneuvers in the area. Christopher Woody Business Insider But farther afield, Beijing’s activity indicates that it doesn’t abide by the standard it applies to others. China frequently protests military operations by US and other countries in its Exclusive Economic Zone, which can extend up to 230 miles from a country’s coast. ... Read More »

Golden Dawn: how the Greek far right wrote the playbook others now use to go mainstream

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Around the world it seems far-right groups can infiltrate the mainstream regardless of a given country’s political present or past. Authors: The Conversation The question is, then, how do they do it? The far-right movement Golden Dawn, based in Greece, is a prime example of how fringe groups can become major political forces. Since it first emerged in the early nineties, the group has adapted to change, seized political opportunities, and diversified and expanded its base. Golden Dawn first came ... Read More »

Friday essay: where is the Great Australian Opera?

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In 1986, the Adelaide Festival staged an operatic adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning writer Patrick White’s 1957 novel Voss, a pivotal work in the Australian literary canon. Michael Halliwell The Conversation The opera, with music by a leading figure of the classical music avant-garde, Richard Meale, and libretto by acclaimed novelist and poet, David Malouf, was conceived in the period leading up to the Bicentennial celebrations in 1988. It certainly tapped into the zeitgeist. The 1980s saw increased questioning of the ... Read More »

Vital Signs: Turkey shows the economic pain of global democratic backsliding

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As American baseball legend Yogi Berra once supposedly quipped, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Three years ago the crisis was in Greece, now it’s Turkey. Richard Holden The Conversation Another European summer and another European economic crisis. It’s tempting to say that being in Europe is all the two situations have in common. Greece’s population is a little over 10 million; Turkey’s is nearly 80 million. Greece’s troubles were triggered by out-of-control government debt; Turkey’s government debt-to-GDP ratio is ... Read More »

Homelessness: what people get wrong about it

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The UK is experiencing rising levels of rough sleeping and homelessness. It’s not the only nation where this is happening – there are clear parallels in Australia, too. Nicholas Pleace The Conversation As a UK academic researching homelessness, who recently attended Australia’s National Homelessness Conference in Melbourne, I know that both nations must be keen to find an effective response to this extreme form of… But answers will remain elusive, until everyone can understand its causes. Policies to end homelessness ... Read More »

Most Europeans still believe in Europe – new study suggests

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In the ongoing chaos and confusion of Britain’s departure from the EU, news that many UK constituencies are shifting from being leavers to remainers offers the opportunity to look at the Brexit debate from an unusual viewpoint: do citizens consider the EU as something more than just an… Simone Baglioni The Conversation The current Brexit debate focuses mainly on economic considerations, as if the only thing worth reflecting on at the end of a 45-year marriage – just like the ... Read More »

How sheds can help men stave off loneliness after retirement – according to our new research

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When people hear the word shed, they may think about a rickety wooden building at the bottom of a garden crawling with spiders, filled with old paint tins, a lawnmower and out-of-date weedkiller. Jenny Fisher The Conversation It has also been associated with the term “man cave” – a space where a man spends time on his own, tinkering with junk or avoiding his partner. But our new research found there was more to the humble shed than meets the ... Read More »

Erdoğan, Trump, and the Strongman Politics Devastating Turkey’s Economy

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The usually bustling open market in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul was half full on Sunday. Shop owners had increased their prices twenty per cent over the past two weeks. Fariba Nawa The New Yorker The cost of a package of eggs had risen by fifty per cent in a week; the price of bananas imported from Latin America had doubled. Aynur Keskin, a homemaker with two school-aged children, bought a few items and shook her head, dismayed at the ... Read More »

Kabila Shows His Hand in DR Congo’s Electoral Poker

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As election preparations in the Democratic Republic of Congo proceed, President Joseph Kabila has announced he will not run for re-election. He may hope this important move will relieve outside pressure for free and fair elections. International actors should keep up the scrutiny. Hans Hoebeke ICG On 8 August 2018, the filing deadline, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s ruling majority coalition announced that Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari would be its candidate in the presidential election slated for 23… The announcement ... Read More »

Europe Needs Its Own Charles de Gaulle

Gen, Charles de Gaulle leads a triumphant procession down Champs-Elysees as part of the celebration of the liberation of Paris. To the right of de Gaulle is General Jacques-Philippe Leclerc, Commander of the French Armored Division. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

There’s nothing wrong with today’s European Union that France’s legendary 20th-century leader didn’t see coming—and didn’t try to fix when he had the chance. Βy Bruno Maçães FP Julian Jackson’s new biography of Charles de Gaulle is a gripping and enlightening reflection on political power and its mysteries. The book fulfills the minimum requirements, of course, by recounting the major events of de Gaulle’s life: his heroic service in World War I, his prescient warnings in the interwar years about ... Read More »

America is Addicted to Sanctions

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Ukraine is a good case study in the ineffectiveness of sanctions. The best way to think about the role of sanctions in American foreign policy is to regard it as an addiction. Nicolai N. Petro The National Interest Think about it. The inability to change the behavior of even the most rinky-dink nations must be enormously frustrating to those at the helm of the world’s lone superpower. This leads, not surprisingly, to the search for ways to assuage this sense ... Read More »

Fighting the vanilla thieves of Madagascar

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A barefoot farmer is making his way through a forest. Quiet drops of rain tumble steadily through the night, picked out in the light from his torch. Nancy Kacungira * BBC The rusty machete he holds isn’t for cutting down vines or chopping away stubborn branches – it is a defence against thieves. Lots of other men – farmers like him – are out in the rain, patrolling the forest. For the past three months, they have left their homes ... Read More »

Truth to power: my time translating Behrouz Boochani’s masterpiece

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The GM picks me up from the airport. I call him the GM because after the PNG Supreme Court ruled the Manus Island immigration detention centre illegal, this man was able to leave the prison and… Omid Tofighian The Conversation Behrouz Boochani has arranged for me to stay at that lodge. The GM’s Manusian colleague and another refugee accompany him. Driving into town we see police blocking part of the road beside a school; some locals are dispersing, others are ... Read More »

Why Jewish giving to Israel is losing ground

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American Jews donate at high levels to charity. One way they support causes in the U.S., Israel and other places is collective, often through large grant-making organizations. Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim The Conversation In researching this organized philanthropy, I’ve observed that the proportion of Jewish institutional giving to Israeli causes has fallen since 2009. I believe that several factors, including demographic and social changes, a diminishing perception of Israel as being in need and concerns over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have ... Read More »