Global Issues

America’s Crisis of Courage

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Character remains the issue that confronts us in almost every story about national politics today Eliot A. Cohen The Atlantic The American crisis is, at its root, a crisis of character.Yes, many other forces and phenomena are in play: the crash of 2008; technologically driven changes to the economy; gerrymandering and sociological divisions between coast and heartland, urban and rural life; cultural clashes over the norms of marriage, drug use, and religious liberty; wars that have not gone well; the ... Read More »

There Will Soon Be Floods Of Climate Refugees: Will They Get Asylum?

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New Zealand is considering creating a new visa for people fleeing environmental disasters brought on by climate change Adele Peters FastCompany In 2012, a migrant worker from the tiny, low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati tried to become a refugee in New Zealand, arguing that he and his family were afraid to go home because of the impacts of rising sea levels. The courts didn’t accept that the dangers were imminent–or that they were due to reasons of persecution that ... Read More »

Bridging Pakistan’s Gender Divide

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Embarking on field research into Pakistan’s chronic crises sixteen years ago, our South Asia Project Director Samina Ahmed was a woman in a man’s world. Samina Ahmed ICG But her experiences persuade her that understanding conflict requires rigorously incorporating the perspectives of women and girls whose opportunities are frequently inhibited by violence. “Our people won’t let a girl study beyond the third grade (eight or nine years old). But this girl here cries and says: ‘I want to learn’. And ... Read More »

Why we need a better philosophy of trees

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On November 6 1217, Henry III’s Charter of the Forest gave ordinary English people back their traditional rights to use royal hunting grounds for livestock grazing and collecting firewood. Tristan Moyle The Conversation The freedoms that were restored in the use of ancient woodland reshaped the community’s legal and political relationship with nature. But, today, this relationship has broken down. Only 2% of the UK’s ancient woodland survives; over half has been destroyed since the 1930s. Only 13% of the ... Read More »

The Saudi Crown Prince Is Gambling Everything on Three Major Experiments

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A perceived failure on any of these undertakings could produce a crisis of legitimacy Hussein Ibish The Atlantic Call it shock and awe. Call it a purge. Call it a clean sweep.However it’s characterized, the mass arrest of some of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent royals, administrators, and tycoons last weekend has completely upended both the structure of the Saudi elite and the country’s way of doing business.It’s not exactly the Night of the Long Knives, as the luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel ... Read More »

NATO set to boost Afghan mission

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NATO allies are set to agree tomorrow to increase by some 3,000 personnel the troop levels for the alliance’s Afghanistan training mission, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said. Hurriyet About half the additional troops will come from the United States and the other half from non-U.S. NATO allies and partners. “We have decided to increase the number of troops … to help the Afghans break the stalemate,” Stoltenberg told a news conference on Nov. 7. Stoltenberg stressed the soldiers would ... Read More »

The Nansen passport: the innovative response to the refugee crisis that followed the Russian Revolution

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The triumph of revolution in Russia in 1917 brought an end to the 300-year old Romanov dynasty and the empire over which it ruled Peter Gatrell The Conversation The collapse of the German, Austrian and Ottoman war effort in 1918 precipitated the end of the remaining continental European empires. In each instance, imperial dissolution went hand in hand with the formation of new states. The Russian Civil War, between 1918 and 1921, led to an exodus of people who opposed ... Read More »

Kurdish rift emerges between Erdogan, Putin

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ANKARA, Turkey — Since a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkey in November 2015, Turkey has been scrambling to reconcile with Russia, but disagreements over the role of Syrian Kurds are now threatening a fresh deadlock. Zülfikar Doğan Al-Monitor Despite the close dialogue between the two countries’ presidents, the rift over the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), seems to be deepening. Last week, Russia invited 33 groups, including Syrian President Bashar ... Read More »

Meet the mastermind behind Xi Jinping’s power

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BRISBANE, Australia — The conclusion of the recent Communist Party congress in China has turned the world’s spotlight on a hitherto elusive figure, the 62-year-old scholar-turned-official, Wang Huning. Yi Wang The Washington Post Wang, who has just been elevated to the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee that rules China, is widely believed to be the mastermind behind the ideological frameworks set out by all three recent Chinese leaders — Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and now Xi Jinping with his “Chinese dream.” Wang’s ... Read More »

Why social media may not be so good for democracy

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Recent revelations about how Russian agents inserted ads on Facebook, in an attempt to influence the 2016 election, present a troubling question: Is Facebook bad for democracy? Gordon Hull The Conversation As a scholar of the social and political implications of technology, I believe that the problem is not about Facebook alone, but much larger: Social media is actively undermining some of the social conditions that have historically made democratic nation states possible. I understand that’s a huge claim, and ... Read More »

Leader comment: MPs found guilty of sexual harassment deserve to lose their jobs

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WE have not, it seems almost certain, heard the end of serious allegations of sexual harassment and assault against male politicians. The Scotsman With each day, more depressing details of the shameful abuse of power by men in positions of authority emerge. Both Westminster and Holyrood are now tainted by a scandal which has already ended a number of high-flying careers and looks certain to scupper many more. It is surely clear that, painful though the weeks ahead may be ... Read More »

As poverty rises, the affluent won’t be able to escape its effects

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Rising resentment among the underclass is spilling out from ‘deprived’ areas and threatening to engulf society at large Darren McGarvey The Guardian The study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicting a sharp rise in child poverty will provoke the usual, commendable, shrieks of indignation. When news that more children than ever before are soon to be confined to economic deprivation, it’s sure to inspire a slew of robust dinner party debates. The overriding emotion anyone should be feeling at ... Read More »

Coincidence or coordination?

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Russians approached at least nine people in Trump’s orbit during the campaign and presidential transition Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger The Washington Post Through family, business and campaign operatives, Russian nationals repeatedly sought contact with Donald Trump’s world, starting only a few months after his presidential bid was announced in 2015. They forwarded proposals to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, brought a Trump adviser to Russia to speak and repeatedly sought meetings with Trump and his aides. Special ... Read More »

Why the Indian Ocean Must Not Become Like the South China Sea

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The maritime domain has been marked as the latest theater of war, and so a code of conduct is needed. Rajni Gamage  The National Interest Rising Strategic Uncertainty in the Indian Ocean The pursuit of contesting regional orders by major powers has engendered a strategic environment of uncertainty and mistrust in the Indo-Pacific. As geopolitical developments at land and sea feed off one another, the maritime domain has been marked as the latest theater of war. These dynamics have been ... Read More »

Thou Shalt Not Kill: Catholic Bishops Start New Philippines Prayer Campaign

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MANILA—A top Catholic archbishop on Sunday called for Filipinos to choose peace over violence and end a spate of drug-related killings that have divided the nation. Manuel Mogato Reuters The Epoch Times Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, was speaking as the church launched a new prayer campaign to “heal the nation and stop the killings” in the… Philippine Catholic bishops have been stepping up opposition to killings blamed on a government crack down ... Read More »

Trump: ‘No dictator’ should underestimate US resolve

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President Donald Trump on Nov. 5 issued a stern warning that “no dictator” should underestimate the United States as he started an Asian tour dominated by the North Korea nuclear crisis. TOKYO – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Speaking to cheering military personnel at Yokota Air Base just west of Tokyo minutes after landing, Trump donned a bomber jacket and said “no one, no dictator, no regime and no nation should underestimate… American resolve.” “Every once in a while in the past, ... Read More »