Analysis

The Burundian army’s dangerous over-reliance on peacekeeping

Repa 1a

Burundi needs international peacekeeping missions to keep its troops paid and happy. Peacekeeping missions need Burundian troops. But for how long? BY RICHARD MONCRIEFF & THIERRY VIRCOULON African Arguments The crisis that has engulfed Burundi since April 2015 is the result of infighting among a small number of insiders belonging to the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD. Having all fought in the bush together, some of them felt that the president, Pierre Nkurunziza, should make way for others to have a turn at the top job, ... Read More »

Guatemala Stumbles in Central America’s Anti-corruption Fight

Guat 1a

Guatemala’s fight against corruption is in danger after President Morales attempted to expel the head of a uniquely effective UN-backed anti-corruption organisation. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Analyst for Guatemala Arturo Matute says a corrupt elite is waging a battle to maintain its privileged position. Arturo Matute ICG What is happening in Guatemala? A remarkable and hopeful two-year interlude in one of Central America’s most corrupt countries may now be ending. The key reversal came on Friday 25 August 2017, at a ... Read More »

Nawaz Sharif’s Exit and the Pakistan-China-India Triangle: Why Islamabad needs a serious re-think

Vax 4d

All eyes in the next few months, into the elections of 2018, will be on how Nawaz Sharif, who  resigned last month, as Prime Minister of Pakistan after being disqualified from Parliament by the Supreme Court, will play his cards vis-à-vis the Pakistan army. TRIDIVESH SINGH MAINI IPP Review Will Sharif, who was also forced to resign as president of his party, PML-N, adopt an aggressive posture with the Pakistan army, or play it smartly? In his first two tenures as Prime Minister, his ... Read More »

Strangers R Us: Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is Bitter, Stupid And Counter-Productive

Vax 5e

If you think our society is ‘too soft’ on the vulnerable, you probably need to find another society, writes Sue Stevenson. New Matilda It’s apparently easy to persuade lots of people to be cool with their government treating others like criminals. All you need to do is wedge yourself in underneath the bitterness of their life, and then use it as a lever to fling them really hard into the idea that other people are getting an easy ride. That’s ... Read More »

Defeated by high legal costs: the terrible injustice most of us could face

Mese 5e

It’s one of the most glaring gaps between theory and practice in our community, a huge disconnect between our democracy and our economy. A terrible injustice most of us could face. Everyone knows about it, but it’s rarely discussed. Ross Gittins Brisbane Times What is it? The prohibitively high cost of justice. We’re all supposed to be equal before the law, but you ain’t anything like equal if they can afford a lawyer and you can’t. The president of the ... Read More »

The Promise of Fiscal Money

Project Syndicate 3c opinion LLLLL logo

ATHENS – Western capitalism has few sacred cows left. It is time to question one of them: the independence of central banks from elected governments. Yanis Varoufakis Project Syndicate The rationale for entrusting monetary policy fully to central banks is well understood: politicians, overly tempted during the electoral cycle to create more money, pose a threat to economic stability. While progressives have always protested that central banks can never be truly independent, because their autonomy from elected officials increases their ... Read More »

The Hajj and the Struggle for Islamic Hegemony

Besa 1a

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The ethnic Sunni-Shiite rift parallels the Saudi-Iranian political rift, the Wahhabi-Muslim Brotherhood ideological rift, and the historic rift between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar BESA Tensions over Islamic hegemony arising from these rifts are likely to come to a boil at the 2017 Hajj. Wednesday, August 23, 2017, is the first day of Zhu–l-Hijjat, the Muslim month in which two important events take place: the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the most central ... Read More »

Turkey’s Downward Spiral

Vax 91

It is becoming harder by the day to make sense of the strategy behind Ankara’s domestic and foreign policy choices—assuming there is one at all. Marc Pierini Carnegie To Turkish analysts, Ankara’s policies may make sense. For Western politicians and analysts, including eternal hopefuls, summer 2017 will be remembered as a time when Turkey spiraled downward into more rule of the arbitrary, increased political inconsistencies, and aggressive postures on the international scene. It is becoming harder by the day to ... Read More »

The Eurozone is recovering, but we cannot afford to be complacent. Here are 3 reasons why

Pak 2b

If there is a term that can best describe the current climate in the Eurozone, it is “complacency”. Markets are rising, bond yields are at an all-time low, growth estimates have improved and the European Union has triumphantly declared the end of the crisis, thanks to its “decisive action”. Daniel Lacalle World Economic Forum There is no denying that the European Union is in recovery mode, and that is a positive. Business confidence is rising, and manufacturing indices are in ... Read More »

The Balkans Between Competing Poles

Project Syndicate logo 1a LLLLLL

MADRID – Few world regions are more culturally and politically complex than the Balkans. And there may be no clearer illustration of the region’s freighted past and present than the life and legacy of one of its exceptional sons: the physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla. Javier Solana Project Syndicate Born into an Orthodox Serbian family in 1856 in a town that is now part of Croatia, Tesla’s nationality remains an object of debate in the region. Tesla believed that scientific ... Read More »

Hezbollah Has Been Active in America for Decades

Dese 7g

Hezbollah has suffered serious casualties in Syria, but also feels emboldened by its battlefield successes and may seek to flex its muscles globally. Colin P. Clarke The National Interest  In early June, a Bronx man named Ali Kourani was arrested and charged with casing John F. Kennedy airport in New York City for a potential Hezbollah attack. Around this same time, Samer El Debek of Dearborn, Michigan, was arrested and charged with traveling to Panama to conduct surveillance against Israeli targets and ... Read More »

Universities should ban PowerPoint — It makes students stupid and professors boring

Paue 2b

Do you really believe that watching a lecturer read hundreds of PowerPoint slides is making you smarter? I asked this of a class of 105 computer science and software engineering students last semester. Universities should ban PowerPoint — It makes students stupid and professors boring – Business Insider Paul Ralph The Conversation  Business Insider  An article in The Conversation argued universities should ban PowerPoint because it makes students stupid and professors boring. I agree entirely. However, most universities will ignore this ... Read More »

Trump’s ‘Obama-Lite’ Afghanistan Strategy

Kors 2b

No matter what Trump says or how much he complains about his predicament, he has made it clear that America is not leaving Afghanistan any time soon. Jacob Heilbrunn The National Interest Where, oh where, is the Donald Trump who once proclaimed that the United States should “leave Afghanistan immediately”? Last night it was an alternately vexed and boastful Trump who appeared before troops at Fort Myer, Virginia, declaring he would seek “outright victory” in that desolate and war-torn country, ... Read More »

Final Curtain for Venezuela’s Democracy as Parliament is Dissolved

Palia 2b

The Venezuelan government has dissolved the elected, opposition-led parliament and initiated de facto rule. Foreign governments and multilateral organisations should regard all government actions carried out in contravention of the 1999 constitution as invalid and press the government to take urgent steps toward the restoration of democracy. ICG On 19 August, Venezuela’s self-styled Constituent Assembly, installed two weeks earlier by the government of President Nicolás Maduro, announced that it was taking over the functions of the country’s opposition-led parliament, elected ... Read More »

Decoding the Korean Peninsula Missile Rhetoric

Unn 3c

Fiery rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. adds risks to Korean peninsula tensions, but should not cause panic. Outside players should maximise the potential benefit of an established pattern of de-escalation in the fall. Christopher Green ICG They – and Pyongyang – should also back South Korea’s offers of dialogue. North Korea once again captured the world’s attention when it boldly warned that it is ready to fire missiles over Japan toward the U.S. territory of Guam. The unusually specific ... Read More »

How HIV Became a Cancer Cure

Zin 4d

The immunologist behind the revolutionary new treatment set to win approval from the FDA Allysia Finley WSJ  Philadelphia When Ben Franklin proposed in 1749 what eventually became the University of Pennsylvania, he called for an academy to teach “those Things that are likely to be most useful.” Today the university lays claim to having incubated the world’s biggest cancer breakthrough. In 2011, a team of researchers led by immunologist Carl June, a Penn professor, reported stunning results after genetically altering ... Read More »