Leadership

Events in the Middle East force realism on Erdogan

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have increasing difficulties with the West, but his position in the Middle East is not all that easy either. Semih Idiz  Al-Monitor His regional archenemy, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, continues to make headway, while his nemesis in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, remains in power. The Qatar crisis caught him unaware and unsettled him. Meanwhile, he is bracing for the reign of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, who is an enemy of the Muslim ... Read More »

Germany won’t lead the free world. It barely looks beyond its own borders

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German voters will pick Angela Merkel again – not because she’ll make the world a better place but because they think she will protect them Natalie Nougayrède The Guardian Britain, France and Germany, the three most populous European countries, will all have held important elections this year – in many ways setting the stage for much of what lies ahead for our part of the world. Election campaigns can sometimes be more telling than the statistical results they actually deliver. ... Read More »

John Howard slams Turnbull government’s handling of same-sex marriage postal vote

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Former Prime Minister John Howard has slammed the Turnbull government’s handling of the same-sex marriage postal vote 9news Mr Howard has demanded the government release its planned legislation before the vote ends to show how it plans to handle “parental rights”, “freedom of speech” and show how “religious freedoms will be protected”. “The government’s response has been to wash its hands of any responsibility,” Mr Howard said. Malcolm Turnbull’s predecessor Tony Abbott agreed with Mr Howard. “People don’t know exactly ... Read More »

Can Trump and the United Nations Just Get Along?

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What has Donald Trump done to the United Nations? In the run-up to his inauguration in January, the president threatened to wreak havoc on the organization. Richard Gowan  The Century Foundation Angered by a December 2016 Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlement-building in the Occupied Territories, on which the Obama administration abstained, the president-elect darkly warned on Twitter that, “as to the U.N., things will be different after… During his turbulent tenure so far, Trump has veered from threatening major ... Read More »

The Education of Emmanuel Macron

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‘Governing from the center does not produce the same enthusiasm and vitality as a start-up campaign.’ Benjamin Haddad The Atlantic  Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, would surely have preferred to kick off the most important month of his young administration in a less precarious position.Last week, he unveiled his plans to reform France’s notoriously rigid labor market to grant more flexibility to small companies to directly negotiate some aspects of their contracts with employees, rather than involving the government, ... Read More »

Tony Abbott on why same sex marriage would fundamentally change society

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Like most, I have tried to be there for friends and family who are gay. They are good people who deserve our love, respect and inclusion but that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to reserve the term “marriage” for the relationship of one man with one woman, ideally for life and usually dedicated to children. Tony Abbott * The Sydney Morning Herald Like you, I want a country where everyone gets a fair go and where no one is ... Read More »

Philippines: Commission on Human Rights budget cut to almost nothing amid Duterte’s drug crackdown

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Philippines politicians allied with President Rodrigo Duterte have slashed the annual budget for the Commission on Human Rights from $17 million to just $25 Barney Porter ABC The public body has clashed repeatedly with Mr Duterte over his violent campaign against illegal drugs, and human rights advocates say the move is aimed at supressing any dissent. About four-fifths of lower house members supported the move to cut the commission’s budget to almost nil. The house speaker and a close ally ... Read More »

Pope Francis slams ‘stupid’ climate change deniers

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Pontiff calls on politicians to take scientists’ advice as he raises alarm over global warming after major storms. Al Jazeera and news agencies Pope Francis has sharply criticised climate change deniers as “stupid” in the wake of a spate of powerful hurricanes that have wreaked havoc in the US, Mexico and the Caribbean. “Those who deny it [climate change] should go to the scientists and ask them,” the pontiff said on Monday during an in-flight press conference on the return leg of ... Read More »

The Rise and Fall of Leftist Populism in Germany

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What happened to Martin Schulz? After Germany’s Martin Schulz stepped down as president of the European Parliament in late 2016, he embarked on a nationwide tour of his home country. Paul Hockenos The Atlantic His aim, he said, was to better understand the concerns of ordinary Germans.In speeches before packed union halls, beer tents, and farmers markets, Schulz, a prominent member of the troubled Social Democratic Party (SPD), touted the classic values of social democracy—fairness and dignity. Such values, in ... Read More »

Angela Merkel: Europe needs coherent foreign policy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers her speech as she attends an electoral meeting in Delbrueck, western Germany, on September 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / dpa / Friso Gentsch / Germany OUT        (Photo credit should read FRISO GENTSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

German chancellor calls for a common EU stance on China and Russia as well as more solidarity on migration Esther King Politico The biggest challenge facing the European Union in the coming years will be to forge a coherent foreign policy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview published Sunday. Merkel, who is poised to win a fourth term in Germany’s parliamentary election later this month, also expressed hope that a solution to the impasse over the distribution of migrants across the ... Read More »

Norwegian Labour Party leaders notoriously put own careers before national interests – Espen Barth Eide

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Espen Barth Eide has returned home after serving as UN special envoy to Cyprus He has combined his job as special envoy with his position as Managing Director of the billionaires club the World Economic Forum in Geneva, writes Paal Steigan. The Herland Report He now is in Norway to run an election campaign for the Labour Party—a party that has not found a single spot for a labourer on its Oslo list. On the contrary, the list is chock ... Read More »

Space: The Final National Security Frontier

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Space has become truly indispensable to decisionmakers and warfighters Mir Sadat The National Interest For some time now, experts have discussed how space is no longer only for exploration or passive surveillance but also serves as a potential warfare domain. However, space policymakers and decisionmakers continue to debate about America’s inability to keep up with the operational environment. Instead they should focus their attention on what the… Space: The Final… Read More »

Ironically, Erdogan has done exactly what the failed coup wanted to do in Turkey

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Some conspiracy theorists think Erdogan himself was behind the coup – indeed, that is Gulen’s contention. Yet the reality is more straightforward: he has seized an unexpected opportunity Pete Weatherby QC The Independent If President Erdogan is to be believed, last year’s failed coup in Turkey was an attempt by his erstwhile ally, Fethullah Gulen – a conservative Islamist like him – to overthrow the Government and do away with the Constitution and National Assembly. Gulen, it should be said, ... Read More »

Double-edged Sword: Vigilantes in African Counter-insurgencies

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Vigilante groups have been successful in providing local security. But subcontracting security functions to vigilante groups for counter-insurgency purposes is a dangerous option for fragile African states. African leaders should set clear objectives and mandates when enlisting vigilantes and invest in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programs. ICG Executive Summary As weak African states face growing insurgencies, they do what weak states tend to do: subcontract certain security functions to non-state actors or vigilante groups, many of which had taken up ... Read More »

Why is Canada supporting Africa’s most ruthless dictator?

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September 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka News — After amending the constitution to be able to run indefinitely Paul Kagame recently won 98.63% of votes in Rwanda’s presidential election. Yves Engler Links In response Canada’s High Commissioner Sara Hradecky tweeted: “Congratulations to Rwandans for voting in peaceful presidential election” and “Canada congratulates Paul Kagame on his inauguration today as President of Rwanda”. The latter Tweet was picked up by the state propaganda organ ... Read More »

The secret to Germany’s scientific excellence

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With a national election this month, Germany proves that foresight and stability can power research. Alison Abbott Nature  Ask any German researcher why the country’s science base is blooming, and they are bound to mention Chancellor Angela Merkel. The world’s most powerful woman, they say, has not forgotten her roots as an East German physicist. During a decade of global financial turbulence, her government has increased annual science budgets in a stable, predictable, quintessentially German way. It has spurred competition ... Read More »