Analysis

Europeans fear Trump may threaten not just the transatlantic bond, but the state of their union

BERLIN — As President Trump prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address, the leaders of the United States’ closest allies in Europe are filled with anxiety. Dan Balz and Griff Witte The Washington Post They are unsure of whom to talk to in Washington. They can’t tell whether Trump considers them friends or foes. They dig through his Twitter feed for indications of whether the president intends to wreck the European Union and NATO or merely hobble the ... Read More »

Is authoritarianism bad for the economy? Ask Venezuela – or Hungary or Turkey

Democracy is at risk worldwide. And the economy may be, too. Seventy-one out of the world’s 195 countries saw their democratic institutions erode in recent years, according to the 2018 year-end report by democracy watchdog Freedom House, a phenomenon known as “democratic backsliding.” Authors: The Conversation Signs of backsliding include elected leaders who expand their executive powers while weakening the legislature and judiciary, elections that have become less competitive and shrinking press freedom. When government institutions erode like this, it ... Read More »

How countries use ‘migration diplomacy’ to pursue their own interests

The story of Rahaf Mohammed, the Saudi teenager granted asylum by Canada on January 11 after barricading herself in a Bangkok hotel room, sparked headlines around the world. Authors: The Conversation The decision to grant asylum to Mohammed, the daughter of a Saudi town governor, was the latest episode in an ongoing spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia. Commenting on the decision, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said: Canada is a country that understands how important it is to ... Read More »

Influential doctors aren’t disclosing their drug company ties

In September, the New York Times revealed that one of the world’s top cancer specialists had quietly received millions of dollars from drug and other companies. And what’s more, he’d failed to disclose the payments in many of his high-profile medical journal articles. Authors: The Conversation A few months before that, a study found that many experts who write medical textbooks received company payments, but again, their readers didn’t know about it. Today our Australian study of the doctors who ... Read More »

George III Lost America. Theresa May Could Lose the United Kingdom Over Brexit.

Brexit has shown the world a British parliament and a political class that resembles a ship of fools without a captain. Clive Irving The Daily Beast Britain is locked in the most serious peacetime crisis in its modern history, the increasingly desperate attempt to secure the nation’s orderly departure from the European Union. Brexit has shown the world a British parliament and a political class that resembles a ship of fools without a captain. One veteran of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet ... Read More »

Leonardo da Vinci: 500 years after his death his genius shines as bright as ever

Old masters rarely come more venerable (and venerated) and instantly recognisable than Leonardo da Vinci. Gabriele Neher The Conversation But to think of Leonardo as an Old Master – with all its connotations of being staid, traditional, somehow old-fashioned and boring – is to do this extraordinary man a grave injustice. There is nothing stale or predictable about a man whose personal foibles irritated and frustrated contemporaries as much as his brilliance and creativity dazzled and awed them. One thing ... Read More »

Mexico’s New Neutrality in the Venezuela Crisis

Bucking the U.S. and several large and influential Latin American states, Mexico has not recognised Juan Guaidó’s claim on Venezuela’s presidency, and has instead argued for negotiations to end the country’s crisis. As Crisis Group’s Senior Mexico Analyst Falko Ernst explains, this position is rooted in a new Mexican foreign policy doctrine. What is Mexico’s position on the fast-developing events in Venezuela? Mexico has declined to recognise Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, and has adopted a… Mexico’s New ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #2

This is Crisis Group’s second weekly update published as part of our Yemen Campaign. ICG Prefaced with a new introductory trendline – this week, fear of famine – it provides up-to-the minute insights into the four-year-old civil war and the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. The Present Context For more than six months the primary focus for diplomats, policymakers and analysts working on Yemen has been the now-frozen offensive on the Red Sea port city of Hodeida. (You can read our ... Read More »

The Threat of a Eurozone Recession

The eurozone may fall into a new recession by the end of this year, with potentially nasty political consequences. Lucrezia Reichlin Project Syndicate In addition to countering the cyclical slowdown, pro-European forces must urgently address the continent’s long-term structural economic problems. LONDON – National statistical offices and international organizations are busy revising down their growth forecasts for Europe this year and next. Although they are doing the same for the rest of the world as well, and for China in ... Read More »

The un-diplomat

As US ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell hasn’t won many hearts and minds. But he has gotten results. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Richard Grenell arrived in the German capital as Donald Trump’s ambassador last year with a reputation as a diplomatic bad boy. A Fox News commentator and former aide to John Bolton —  the outspoken head of the National Security Council — Grenell was known as a man who didn’t let diplomatic decorum stand in the way ... Read More »

Hakeem Al-Araibi’s case is a test of world soccer’s human rights credentials. Here’s why

Hakeem Al-Araibi is a refugee from Bahrain who plays semi-professional soccer in Melbourne for Pascoe Vale. Sarah Joseph The Conversation He is a former member of the Bahraini national football team. He is currently detained in Thailand, the subject of an extradition request by Bahrain. His extradition to that country would breach his human rights against refoulement (the forcible return of refugees) and torture. Al-Araibi’s case has become a crucial test of world football’s commitment to human rights. Is this ... Read More »

MPs have united around a fantasy Brexit plan in yet another act of national hubris

After months of disagreement and a historic defeat in parliament, MPs have finally given Theresa May a lifeline in what is being hailed as a “mandate” to go back to Europe and renegotiate the… Chris Stafford The Conversation Even the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has agreed to enter talks with the prime minister to set out his party’s position. He has previously been hesitant to do so and, it should be noted, was initially ignored by Number 10. However, while ... Read More »

Europe’s refugee crisis explains why border walls don’t stop migration

President Trump has long called migration a security crisis, but in recent weeks he has also referred to the situation along the southern border as a humanitarian crisis. Eleanor Paynter The Conversation As he ended the government shutdown in a televised speech on Jan. 25, Trump reiterated his claim that a border wall between the United States and Mexico would save the lives of Central American migrants, many of whom are women and children. “Walls work,” he said. “They save ... Read More »

Iranian parallels hanging over US-North Korea negotiations

With Washington focused on Pyongyang’s nuclear arms while overlooking missiles, it may be setting up a future Iran-style conundrum Stephen Bryen Asia Times In advance of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, planned for next month, Vice President Mike Pence said the US will not require a complete list of missile sites from North Korea. Instead, the US plans to focus first on nuclear policy. But omitting a discussion on missile sites and missile ... Read More »

Interpreting the U.S. Talks with the Taliban

Talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha have raised hopes that the U.S. could end its involvement in Afghanistan’s war. ICG Our Asia Program Director Laurel Miller and Afghanistan analysts Borhan Osman and Graeme Smith break down what was achieved and what remains unresolved. How significant were the U.S.-Taliban talks? Last week’s six-day talks between the U.S. and Taliban were the clearest sign yet that the U.S. is intent on withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, and that the ... Read More »

Not another online petition! But here’s why you should think before deleting it

Online petitions are often seen as a form of “slacktivism” – small acts that don’t require much commitment and are more about helping us feel good than effective activism. Sky Croeser The Conversation But the impacts of online petitions can stretch beyond immediate results. Whether they work to create legislative change, or just raise awareness of an issue, there’s some merit to signing them. Even if nothing happens immediately, petitions are one of many ways we can help build long-term ... Read More »