Analysis

Big coal no more

JACKERATH, GERMANY - JANUARY 09: Mining machines operate in the open-strip coal mine in Garzweiler, in Jackerath, Germany, on January 9, 2018. The village of Immerath will be completely razed in order to make way for the expansion of the nearby Garzweiler open-pit coal mine. RWE, the utility that operates the mine, is moving Immerath's approximately 1,400 residents to a new settlement about 8km west. Protesters decry the expansion of Garzweiler as unnecessary as Germany has committed itself to heavy investment in renewable energy sources.  (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

The industry once ruled Europe. Now it’s struggling to survive. Sara Stefanini Politico The coal lobby used to be a Brussels power player. No more. Euracoal’s staff peaked in the 1970s. The 60-year-old industry association was a force to be reckoned with as it lobbied hard for the fuel that had powered Europe’s industrial revolution and was still a crucial part of its energy mix. Today, Euracoal has just three staffers, and this year the organization left its old spacious offices ... Read More »

Will the Putin-Xi era supersede the Western liberal (dis)order?

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Perhaps a Confucian path would be the right direction toward Eurasian integration Pepe Escobar Asia Times The Chinese constitutional amendment allowing Xi Jinping the possibility of further presidential terms — staying in power long enough to bring “national rejuvenation” combined with the Russian election re-confirming Vladimir Putin in the presidency have assured consistency and continuity for the Russia-China strategic partnership way into the… This will facilitate the interaction between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and… Will the Putin… Read More »

Taking Offense at the Opera

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‘Turandot’ is musically irresistible, but can it survive today’s cultural sensitivities? Nicholas M. Gallagher The Weekly Standard When French president (then-candidate) Emmanuel Macron waxed lyrical about his passion for the composer Gioachino Rossini in spring 2017, the transatlantic chattering classes gushed in admiration (and… But when British foreign minister Boris Johnson was caught on a hot mic a few months later quoting Rudyard Kipling’s imperial-era poem “Mandalay” on a trip to Myanmar, the reaction was swift, sharp, and negative. Not ... Read More »

Will Putin follow in Brezhnev’s footsteps?

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What should Russia and the world expect in the next six years? Mariya Petkova Al Jazeera On Friday, Russia‘s Central Electoral Commission released the final results of this week’s presidential elections, makingVladimir Putin‘s landslide victory official. The Russian president, who won 76.69 percent of the vote, will be inaugurated for a fourth term in May. “In the coming six years, will we see a new Putin or an old one?” Kremlin correspondent Andrei Kolesnikov askedthe president at the… Will Putin follow… Read More »

Americans Will Pay the Price for Trump’s Toughened Approach with China

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American firms may not profit from a trade war with China, but both Airbus and Brazilian farmers have to be salivating at the prospect. Colin Grabow The National Interest It appears that President Trump is going to get his much-desired trade war with China. Citing the country’s harmful intellectual property and innovation policies, President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the pending imposition of tariffs on $60 billion worth of imports as well as restrictions on Chinese investment. Trump may have ... Read More »

The lost children of the Empire and the attempted Aboriginal genocide

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The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has concluded that British children who suffered abuse when they were forcibly sent abroad should now be paid compensation from the government. David Pilgrim The Conversation The inquiry has looked into the cases of children who were sent to Australia and parts of the British Empire from 1945 to 1970 by charities and the Catholic church. Its findings are damning. But if society is looking for a fuller social and historical account of ... Read More »

Time running out to save the Earth’s plants and animals

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Five new reports unveiled at a UN biodiversity summit in Colombia are sounding the alarm over the rapidly deteriorating state of biodiversity on our planet. Dave Keating DW But they also provide the tools to fight back. Delegates at a major international summit on biodiversity in Medellín, Colombia have been rattled after being presented with stark new evidence about the state of the world’s biodiversity. The 750 delegates from 115 countries are meeting for the sixth plenary of the Intergovernmental ... Read More »

Turkey’s Siege Mentality

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is shaping a narrative of a country under siege, a ​victim of Western powers both in history​ and in today’s Syrian war​. While this rhetoric is popular, a broader platform is needed to bridge sharp divisions in society and mend relations with longstanding Euro-Atlantic allies. Nigar Göksel ICG The streets of the Dardanelles port of Çanakkale were packed with people in a jubilant mood. Beyond the centuries-old forts guarding the strait, Turkish warships rode at ... Read More »

“Global Britain” Is Already on Its Own

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British voters’ decision to leave the EU may have been motivated mostly by domestic issues such as political dysfunction and immigration, but the costs of departure are being felt first on the foreign-policy front. Mark Malloch-Brown Project Syndicate The international response to the recent nerve-agent attack in Salisbury, England, suggests that the costs will be high. LONDON – British Prime Minister Theresa May has finally had a good crisis. Responding to the nerve-agent attack on former Russian double agent Sergei ... Read More »

Brexit: A managed surrender

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London talks tough but gives Brussels what it wants. Forget red lines, bellicose declarations and rhetoric about the United Kingdom taking back control — Brexit so far has been a process of managed surrender. Paul Taylor Politico British officials acknowledge that Prime Minister Theresa May has mostly had to accept the European Union’s terms for the divorce and a transition period to avoid a cliff-edge rupture in economic ties that could have crippled business. However, the Brits insist, the real negotiation starts now and ... Read More »

Embracing multicultural voices can lead to a more democratic future

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One of the great moral challenges of our time is the rising tide of inequality in liberal democracies around the world. Duncan Ivison The Conversation This includes Australia, where both income and wealth inequality are increasing, especially the latter. There are arguments about the rise of China and other authoritarian regimes threatening the viability of liberal democracy. But a deeper problem is the persistent inability of liberal democracies to live up to their own moral promise. That promise is one ... Read More »

What Italy’s Election Means for the EU

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The EU – and the eurozone, in particular – are now facing a serious political challenge, exemplified by the outcome of Italy’s recent election. Lucrezia Reichlin Project Syndicate Are European institutions strong enough to confront that challenge, or must EU leaders rethink – and potentially recast – the pillars of cooperation? ROME – Italy’s recent election – in which voters rebuffed traditional parties in favor of anti-establishment and far-right movements, producing a hung parliament – should serve as a wake-up call for ... Read More »

Bombed into oblivion: The lost oasis of Damascus

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Ghouta, the one-time oasis of Damascus, is being destroyed. Every day brings with it news of renewed bombing, deadly chemical attacks and starved or crushed bodies, accompanied by desperate scenes of mass exodus. Karen Pinto The Conversation Located a mere seven miles from Bashar Al Assad’s palace, Ghouta is the last surviving rebel enclave close to Syria’s capital, where the Assad family’s dictatorial regime has ruled for 47 years. The Syrian revolution that began seven years ago has failed, and ... Read More »

Can America Prevent Saudi Arabia from Going Nuclear?

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Unless the JCPOA is strengthened, Saudi Arabia may find a way to get the bomb as a counter to Iran. Emily B. Landau Yoel Guzansky The National Interest Ahead of his visit to the United States, Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) clarified in an interview that while his country does not want nuclear weapons, “without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.” Such a clear and public statement by ... Read More »

Containing the Shock Waves from Venezuela

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Venezuela’s socio-economic implosion is dragging in neighbours as hundreds of thousands of people flee the country, epidemics spread and violent crime spills over borders. International humanitarian support is needed and regional powers should push for a negotiated transition, including through threats of targeted sanctions. ICG What’s new? As Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro prepares to seek re-election, the country’s socio-economic implosion has become a major problem for its neighbours. Venezuelans are fleeing hunger and poverty by the hundreds of thousands, while ... Read More »

Yes, Turkey has definitely become a rogue regime

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When the Clinton administration formulated the notion of rogue regime, they defined it as a country that embraced terrorism, was governed by an undemocratic cabal, and did not abide by the norms of diplomacy. Washington Examiner Michael Rubin Just how much of a rogue regime has Turkey become? Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s turn toward terrorism is well-established. Turkey supports Hamas unabashedly, the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, and perhaps even the Islamic State. Ahmet Kavas, an Erdogan appointee, defended al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb ... Read More »