Turkey Drifts Away from the West

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Turkey has lost its soft power attractiveness due to its leadership’s increasing absolutism and failed foreign policy priorities. Antonia Dimou ModernDiplomacy The “zero problems with neighbors” concept that unraveled almost at the time of the Arab Spring has given its place to “nothing but problems with every single neighbor”. Key dimensions of Turkish foreign policy, namely relations with the United States (US), NATO, the European Union and MENA countries face growing challenges. Despite that Turkish-NATO relations are still valued and ... Read More »

How landline phones made us happy and connected

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Smartphones and the internet have revolutionised society, commerce, and politics, reshaping how we work and play, and how our brains are wired. Barbara Keys The Conversation They have even revolutionised how revolutions are made. For enthusiasts, these technologies enhance freedom and democratise the flow of information, putting more power in the hands of people to generate political change. In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, high school students have used social media to provoke a public debate about guns in the ... Read More »

Is There Hope for EU Foreign Policy?

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While the foreign policy reforms in the Lisbon Treaty have improved the European Union’s foreign policy machine, the EU’s overall international position has weakened in the ten years since the treaty’s signing. Stefan Lehne Carnegie Europe Insufficient leadership and dysfunctional institutional arrangements, the tendency of bigger countries to prioritize their national foreign policies, and the habit of some smaller ones to get free rides have all impeded effective collective action. The EU’s current consolidation, however, offers an… Is There Hope… Read More »

Revealed: the extent of job-swapping between public servants and fossil fuel lobbyists

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Last month Australia slipped further down the rankings in the international corruption index. Among a wide range of factors cited by Transparency International was Australia’s “inappropriate industry lobbying in large-scale projects such as mining”, as well as “revolving doors and a culture of… Adam Lucas The Conversation As several high-profile cases have recently revealed, the close ties that continue to exist between senior politicians, former political staffers, and the big end of town have had a real and lasting impact ... Read More »

Frenemies: Putin and Erdogan

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At a joint press conference in early December 2017, the presidents of Turkey and Russia lauded the dramatic improvement in their bilateral relationship: Carol R. Saivetz LawFare Between August 2016 and December 2017, trade rebounded, the Turk Stream Pipeline is going forward, Syrian negotiations are ongoing, the Akkuyu nuclear reactor is under construction, and Turkey finalized a deal to purchase Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missiles. The goodwill between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin stands in marked contrast to the animosity ... Read More »

How we came to be so cruel to those seeking asylum in Australia

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If you had predicted 30 years ago that Australia would create the least asylum seeker-friendly institutional arrangements in the world, you would not have been believed. Robert Manne The Canberra Times In 1992 we introduced a system of indefinite mandatory detention for asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Since that time, we have accepted the idea that certain categories of refugees and asylum seekers can be imprisoned indefinitely; that those who are intercepted by our navy should be forcibly returned ... Read More »

Trump the Deal-maker and the Middle East

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Casting himself as the best friend Israel could hope for, President Donald Trump is promising, some may say threatening, to unveil his grand plan for a peace “deal” to end the so-called “Middle East problem”. Amir Taheri Gatestone Institute Trump has always fancied himself as a deal-maker; he has even written a book on the subject. It is, therefore, no surprise that he might want to put his skill to use on an issue which has defied numerous deal-makers for ... Read More »

Syria’s war at home is giving way to dangerous proxy conflicts

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As Syrian government forces crush the country’s largest remaining rebel strongholds and with Bashar al-Assad apparently here to stay, Syria is turning into an arena for three new proxy conflicts. Moritz Pieper The Conversation In the south, Israel is facing off against Iran; in the northern region of Afrin, Turkey is fighting the Kurds. Meanwhile, in the eastern provinces, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are pitted against the Russian-backed Syrian armed forces. If and when the Syrian conflict proper comes to ... Read More »

Meet Germany’s next chancellor

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Jens Spahn and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer are at the front of the starting grid in the race to succeed Angela Merkel. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico He’s a sharp-tongued thirtysomething metrosexual, the standard-bearer of Germany’s conservative youth. She’s the middle-aged apple of Angela Merkel’s eye, a churchgoing mother of three with down-home charm. If few outside of Germany have ever heard of either Jens Spahn or Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, that’s about to change. Merkel has recently elevated both to prominent political roles, putting ... Read More »

Should you send a text or email? Here’s some advice from Aristotle

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Suppose you want to get in touch with a friend. Once, your options for doing so might have been sparse: pick up the phone or write a letter. Alexis Elder The Conversation But these days, you have to decide: Should you call or text, use Snapchat, or reach out on Twitter, Messenger or Skype? Other considerations, whether it’s an old friend or new acquaintance, or whether you’re asking a favor or checking in, as well as your own conversational tendencies ... Read More »

Theresa May’s Brexit speech: our writers give their verdict

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Four writers react to the prime minister’s latest Brexit plans, unveiled in London today Polly Toynbee, Katy Balls, Maya Goodfellow and John Redwood The Guardian Polly Toynbee: The same conundrums, but no new answers No one waited with bated breath for Theresa May’s speech once we knew the cabinet had vetted it. Anything that the “team” that has stuck us in the verbal bog of “managed regulatory divergence” all agree on can never take us forward. Unify the country? Show us a united cabinet first. Her ... Read More »

Italy’s Messy Politics Are No Longer Local

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The extremists get louder, the center struggles, and all of Europe will feel the effects. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic MILAN—The same day that left-wing groups and parties held an anti-fascist rally in Rome, protesting the apparent rise of the hard-right in Italy, the piazza in front of the Milan cathedral was filled with energized supporters of Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s League party. The party is best known for its xenophobia and its flirtation with the idea of exiting ... Read More »

‘Crazy for books’: How Thomas Hardy understood the transformative power of reading

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The English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy may be overshadowed in schools today by writers such as Shakespeare, Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling. Angelique Richardson The Conversation But in times of widespread education cuts it is worth remembering what he had to teach us about access to education – and his belief in the power of books to change lives. Writing in the American symposium-based journal Forum in 1888, Hardy outlined the benefits of reading as “alleviating the effects of ... Read More »

Why the daunting economics of elder care are about to get much worse

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My sister Carol loves movies, but she hasn’t been out to see one in years. When she tries to watch one at home, she’s frequently interrupted. Patricia Smith The Conversation She shrugs this off, saying “Who needs to see movies when you’re living one?” You see, my sister is living the plot from the movie “Groundhog Day.” She takes care of our mother, who suffers from dementia. Our mom asks the same questions over and over and only wants to ... Read More »

We need to talk about peace again

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We’re in an age when ambition is called for. And it just may come in the shape of a 32,000 tonne ocean liner Scott Ludlam * The Guardian A cruise liner is not the first place you’d go looking for conflict prevention, sustainability education, disarmament diplomacy and international collaborations on everything from disaster relief to low-carbon marine transport. From the outside, the Ocean Dream looks like any other 32,000 tonne ocean liner; a long, seafaring apartment block slung with lifeboats, ... Read More »

The Formal Economy as Patriarchy: Vandana Shiva’s Radical Vision

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To achieve economic equality, activist and author Vandana Shiva says we need to recognize the value of women’s work and start counting production, not just profits. Jumana Farouky NewsDeeply LONDON – In the middle of a conference ringing with the latest development lingo, Vandana Shiva cuts a lonely figure. Anti-“empowerment,” anti-“jobs,” and anti-“formal economy,” she rejects many of the narratives that are usually used to promote the cause of women’s advancement. Yet she’s come to the Bond conference on international development in London to ... Read More »