Asia

How to future-proof the West’s economies

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Top economic thinkers from the U.S. and Europe say we need to start by fixing our politics Sure, growth could be more robust. MAURA REYNOLDS Politico Sure, some workers are getting left behind. Sure, corporate debt is high and markets look frothy. But those problems aren’t the biggest threat facing the economies of the United States and Europe. What is? The answer from a group of top economic thinkers convened by POLITICO isn’t something in the economy. It’s politics. At a ... Read More »

Photos of the New Futuristic Library in China with 1.2 Million Books

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China recently opened a new futuristic library that contains a staggering 1.2 million books Michael Zhang If you enjoy architectural photography, Dutch photographer Ossip van Duivenbode‘s images of the library will be a feast for your eyes. PetaPilexThe new Tianjin Binhai Library in Tianjin, China, was designed by the Dutch architectural firm MVRDV to look like a giant eye. The five-story, 360,000-square-foot library features shelves spanning from the floor to ceiling — many of the shelves double as stairs and seats in the ... Read More »

Revenge of the TPP?

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is back on the menu for a number of Asia-Pacific countries Scott B. MacDonald  And with America on the sidelines, U.S. exports could suffer. The National Interest One of the first actions that Donald Trump did when he came into office was to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal he called a “disaster.” According to him, past U.S. leaders were inept on trade and his administration’s approach would strike tougher, ... Read More »

The Cyprus problem, Turkey and Socrates on justice

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In Book 1, of Plato’s famous dialogue The Republic, Thrasymachus, one of Socrates’ interlocutors, states that justice is that which serves the interests of the strongest so that what is right is always determined by might. <style type=”text/css”> .wpb_animate_when_almost_visible { opacity: 1; }</style> Dr Edward H Spence * Cyprus Mail Socrates refutes Thrasymachus’ notion of justice by simply arguing that justice as a virtue cannot be what serves the interests of the strongest as those interests might result in vice ... Read More »

WSJ: Mueller probes Flynn role in plot to deliver cleric to Turkey

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Washington (CNN) – Former White House national security adviser Mike Flynn and his son are alleged to have been offered as much as $15 million to forcibly remove from the US a Muslim cleric wanted by Turkey, The Wall Street Journal… Miranda Green CNN The Journal reported the FBI questioned at least four people in regards to a mid-December meeting in New York at the “21” Club. Discussions between Flynn and Turkish representatives supposedly took place there, according to the… The ... Read More »

Is US naval assertion in the South China Sea legal?

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US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Turkey’s Africa Presence

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In Somalia this past September, Turkey opened its first military base on the African continent. Over the past ten years, Turkey has expanded its presence in Africa, establishing 36 embassies and major trade links. VoA Turkey has a long history with North African countries, says David Shinn, a professor at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. In 2016, Turkey had more than $10 billion in trade with Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. Now Turkey is expanding into African countries ... Read More »

Are US naval assertions in the South China Sea necessary?

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrol at Woody Island, in the Paracel Archipelago, which is known in China as the Xisha Islands, January 29, 2016.   REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Brussels to preserve Iran nuclear deal: Mogherini

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The European Union will make sure that the Iran nuclear deal “will continue to be fully implemented by all, in all its parts,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Nov. 10. SAMARKAND Hurriyet Speaking at a conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the EU’s Federica Mogherini said the agreement was “a major achievement of European and international multilateral diplomacy that is delivering,” Reuters has reported. U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 13 dealt a blow to the pact by refusing ... Read More »

A Huthi Missile, a Saudi Purge and a Lebanese Resignation Shake the Middle East

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Volatility is rising across the Middle East as local, regional and international conflicts increasingly intertwine and amplify each other. ICG Four Crisis Group analysts give a 360-degree view of the new risks of overlapping conflicts that involve Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Israel. On 4 November 2017, Huthi/Saleh forces in Yemen fired a Burkan 2-H long-range ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh. It was intercepted and destroyed before reaching its target. The attack occurred during a profound political ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia Comes for Hezbollah

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Lebanon was stunned on Nov. 4 when its prime minister, Saad Hariri, speaking from Saudi Arabia, delivered a halting resignation speech. Mohamad Bazzi The New York Times Mr. Hariri said he left Beirut because he feared assassination. He placed the blame for his long-distance resignation on Iran and its main ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah. In the days since, Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah of plotting against the kingdom and ordered Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon. Threats from top Saudi officials ... Read More »

Xi’s up, Trump is down, but it may not matter

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(CNN) – On the face of it, summit meetings this week between China’s domineering leader Xi Jinping and the scandal-plagued, unpopular US President Donald Trump are shaping up as a massive mismatch of political fortunes. Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN Xi is fresh from a Communist Party Congress that enshrined him as the strongest Chinese patriarch since Mao Zedong. His personal prestige is mirrored in his nation’s soaring self-confidence: China is now stronger than at any time in the modern era ... Read More »

Jihadism in Southern Thailand: A Phantom Menace

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Thailand’s Malay-Muslim insurgency appears to some observers a potential seedbed for transnational jihadism, but the separatist fronts do not share ideologies or objectives with ISIS or al-Qaeda. ICG The future is uncertain, and a resolution of the conflict, based on political decentralisation, could help deter prospective jihadist expansion in southernmost Thailand. What’s the issue? Media reports and some observers suggest growing potential for Islamic State (ISIS) activity in Thailand’s southernmost provinces. Crisis Group argues that to date there is no evidence of ... 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 »

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 »