Analysis

EL PAÍS analyzes 10 claims commonly made by separatists to support their cause

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The Catalan pro-independence movement bases its claims on a set of emphatic and oft-repeated assertions These range from historical beliefs (that there was, for example, a war of secession in 1714 that resulted in a subjugated Catalonia) to economic maxims (Spain is robbing us, we’d be richer outside Spain). EL PAÍS These assertions are all false. EL PAÍS has analyzed 10 of the myths that are used to support the separatists’ story, and found that not one of them withstands ... Read More »

Are America and North Korea Destined for War?

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Last Friday National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster emphatically told reporters that despite what many have said to the contrary, “there is a military option” for North Korea. Daniel L. Davis, Harry J. Kazianis The National Interest Tuesday afternoon at the United Nations, President Trump went even further, saying that if he felt certain conditions warranted it, then he would have no choice “but to totally destroy North Korea.” The president and his national security advisor, however, are wrong. Engaging in a “preventive war” with ... Read More »

Courageous quests: Keats, art and refugees

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The great sensualist Romantic poet John Keats arrived in Rome in late 1820 with his friend, painter Joseph Severn This was not to be a grand tour of Italy in the typical sense. Amanda Frances Johnson  The Conversation Fortune did not smile on Keats’s lungs or his bank balance; one year later he was dead. Passionate letters from sweetheart Fanny Brawne lay unopened and were buried with him, as he requested, in the tranquil oasis of the English Cemetery in ... Read More »

The Dying Art of Disagreement

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This is the text of a lecture delivered at the Lowy Institute Media Award dinner in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday, Sept. 23. The award recognizes excellence in Australian foreign affairs journalism. Bret Stephens The New York Times Let me begin with thanks to the Lowy Institute for bringing me all the way to Sydney and doing me the honor of hosting me here this evening. I’m aware of the controversy that has gone with my selection as your speaker. I ... Read More »

What the stunning success of AfD means for Germany and Europe

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The radical right party profited from the fact immigration was the number one election issue. But can its breakthrough last? Cas Mudde The Guardian n 1991 Belgium had its (first) black Sunday, when the populist radical right Flemish Block gained 6.8% of the national vote. Since then many other western European countries have gone through a similar experience, from Denmark to Switzerland. And now, even the ever stable Germany has its own schwarzer Sonntag, and it’s blacker than most people ... Read More »

China’s audacious and inventive new generation of entrepreneurs

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Industries and consumers around the world will soon feel their impact “NEW era, new revolution. I am a MAKER, for the hearts of the dream.” The Economist So goes a rallying cry carved in giant letters on the wall of a warehouse in Shekou, a seaside enclave near Hong Kong. Many of China’s most promising entrepreneurs flocked there recently for a conference organised by TechCrunch, a technology publisher from Silicon Valley. Yet Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—established Chinese internet giants collectively ... Read More »

Whose interests? Why defining the ‘public interest’ is such a challenge

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The “public interest” is a political concept that’s regularly trotted out along with other democratic principles such as transparency and accountability. Jane Johnston  The Conversation And, like transparency and accountability, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what it means. Former NSW Ombudsman Chris Wheeler has pointed out: ”… while it is one of the most used terms in the lexicon of public administration, it is arguably the least defined and least understood … identifying or determining the appropriate public interest ... Read More »

Kexit: How Kurdish Independence Could Reshape the Middle East

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Washington needs to realize that abandoning the Kurds after the defeat of ISIS in Syria is akin to turning that territory over to Assad. Matthew RJ Brodsky The National Interest As world leaders gathered in Turtle Bay, New York, for the annual United Nations General Assembly convergence, there was no shortage of international crises to address. The nuclear issues with North Korea and Iran rightfully dominated President Trump’s first speech before the UN gathering, however, Middle East challenges tend to ... Read More »

Why we need the welfare state more than ever

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Shocked by the ‘poverty cycle’, British reformers created a safety net for casual workers. Now precarious working conditions are back, and the welfare state is under attack. By Chris Renwick The Guardian Tucked away behind York Minster – the grand cathedral adorned with medieval stained-glass windows that dominates the North Yorkshire city’s skyline – is a cobbled street that has become an informal labour exchange. Each day, just before lunch, couriers dressed in the distinctive mint green and black uniform ... Read More »

Explainer: what legal benefits do married couples have that de facto couples do not?

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Opponents of marriage equality often say that married and de facto couples already have the same rights To what extent is this true? Hannah Robert  Fiona Kelly  And, in legal terms, how much do the differences matter? The Conversation In an opinion piece last week, former prime minister Tony Abbott claimed: ”Already, indeed, same-sex couples in a settled domestic relationship have exactly the same rights as people who are married.” This isn’t true. At the most fundamental level, same-sex couples ... Read More »

In Ireland, Israel’s Religious Right Engages with Ideas for Peace

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Our Israel Senior Analyst Ofer Zalzberg joins nine leaders of Israel’s national religious community as they seek ideas for peace in meetings with the architects of Northern Ireland’s peace process. Unexpectedly, he finds the trip inspires subtle shifts in their thinking – and in his own. Ofer Zalzberg ICG BELFAST, Northern Ireland – So much is stuck in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that it makes sense to question habitual premises and take a new approach. For me, that means deepening ... Read More »

Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis Meets Reality

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The news coverage of Myanmar over the past several months has led many people to conclude that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the country, has abandoned her responsibility to protect human rights. Kevin Rudd * The New York Times Hundreds of thousands of people from the Rohingya ethnic minority are being expelled by the military from lands in western Myanmar, where they have lived for centuries. By any standard, we are witnessing the most fundamental ... Read More »

Donald Trump wheels jumble of contradictions onto world stage at UN

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Washington: March into the United Nations, name-calling and threatening destruction, and the chances are there’ll be push-back. Paul McGeough The Age Going one up on George W. Bush’s three-strong “axis of evil”, US President Donald Trump went after a four-strong “small group of rogue regimes” in his first speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The inward rhetoric of his campaign notwithstanding, Trump issued a contradictory demand for patriotism and sovereignty for all nations that would be policed by his administration. If he ... Read More »

How to Mitigate the Risks of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Referendum

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A century-long quest for an independent Kurdistan has encouraged Iraqi Kurds to exploit Iraq’s ongoing crises and schedule a referendum on 25 September 2017. Maria Fantappie  ICG But the referendum is more a reflection of Iraq’s disorder than the Kurds’ readiness for statehood, and the vote’s outcome could exacerbate internal and regional… On 25 September, barring a last-minute postponement, the Iraqi Kurdistan region will hold an independence referendum.  Voters will be asked whether they want “the Kurdistan region and the ... Read More »

What Awaits the Rohingya in Bangladesh?

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s moral conscience has seemingly taken a backseat to cold, hard politics. Michael Kugelman  The plight of the Rohingya community is truly one of the saddest stories of our times. The National Interest It is a tragic tale of perpetual persecution, major marginalization and mass migration. In Burma, where this Muslim community’s numbers are the highest—about a million, according to most estimates—its members are denied citizenship and land. They also live on the fringes of society in India and ... Read More »

What that missile deal really means for Turkey

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The Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile array has been described as the most sophisticated air defense system in the world. It can track up to 80 targets at the same time, aiming two missiles at each one. Yasar Yakis It can destroy aircraft, cruise missiles, medium range missiles, drones and other airborne surveillance systems. And now Turkey has bought it from Russia. Arab News “My colleagues have already signed a deal on S-400s. A deposit has also been paid as far ... Read More »