North America

Aretha Franklin: A Legacy in Music

Aretha Franklin’s voice was a pure, painful, and unforgettable expression of American history and American feeling, the collective experience of black Americans and her own life. David Remnick The New Yorker The Queen of Soul, who died Thursday morning, was the daughter of the most influential black pastor in Detroit, a charismatic, often cruel man who filled the house with musical friends—Duke Ellington, Della Reese, Nat Cole, Mahalia Jackson—and a… Aretha Franklin rarely spoke of her inner life, her crises—she was wary of ... Read More »

Homelessness: what people get wrong about it

The UK is experiencing rising levels of rough sleeping and homelessness. It’s not the only nation where this is happening – there are clear parallels in Australia, too. Nicholas Pleace The Conversation As a UK academic researching homelessness, who recently attended Australia’s National Homelessness Conference in Melbourne, I know that both nations must be keen to find an effective response to this extreme form of… But answers will remain elusive, until everyone can understand its causes. Policies to end homelessness ... Read More »

Erdoğan, Trump, and the Strongman Politics Devastating Turkey’s Economy

The usually bustling open market in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul was half full on Sunday. Shop owners had increased their prices twenty per cent over the past two weeks. Fariba Nawa The New Yorker The cost of a package of eggs had risen by fifty per cent in a week; the price of bananas imported from Latin America had doubled. Aynur Keskin, a homemaker with two school-aged children, bought a few items and shook her head, dismayed at the ... Read More »

America is Addicted to Sanctions

Ukraine is a good case study in the ineffectiveness of sanctions. The best way to think about the role of sanctions in American foreign policy is to regard it as an addiction. Nicolai N. Petro The National Interest Think about it. The inability to change the behavior of even the most rinky-dink nations must be enormously frustrating to those at the helm of the world’s lone superpower. This leads, not surprisingly, to the search for ways to assuage this sense ... Read More »

Why Jewish giving to Israel is losing ground

American Jews donate at high levels to charity. One way they support causes in the U.S., Israel and other places is collective, often through large grant-making organizations. Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim The Conversation In researching this organized philanthropy, I’ve observed that the proportion of Jewish institutional giving to Israeli causes has fallen since 2009. I believe that several factors, including demographic and social changes, a diminishing perception of Israel as being in need and concerns over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have ... Read More »

Rising Tensions Between U.S. and Turkey

Readers criticize Turkey’s president (who wrote an Op-Ed article for The Times) for his increasingly autocratic and theocratic rule. The New York Times To the Editor: Re “Tensions Mount Between Ankara and Washington” (front page, Aug. 11): Let me get this straight. Last year President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looked on while his thuggish bodyguards assaulted American citizens peacefully protesting in Washington, and President Trump did nothing. This year, Mr. Erdogan ordered the Turkish military into northern Syria to attack and… ... Read More »

Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents

The number of informants executed in the debacle is higher than initially thought. Zach Dorfman FP It was considered one of the CIA’s worst failures in decades: Over a two-year period starting in late 2010, Chinese authorities systematically dismantled the agency’s network of agents across the country, executing dozens of suspected U.S. spies. But since then, a question has loomed over the entire debacle. How were the Chinese able to roll up the network? Now, nearly eight years later, it ... Read More »

America Doesn’t Need Another Tape to Know Who Trump Is

A recent memoir from a former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, has reignited interest in the possibility of a recording in which the president employs a racial slur for black people. Adam Serwer The Atlantic In 1993, The New York Times published an article headlined “Rap’s Embrace of ‘Nigger’ Fires Bitter Debate.” It’s not a word likely to find its way into headlines today. Sometime in the past 25 years, using that word became the only proof of racism that ... Read More »

Economic war on Iran is war on Eurasia integration

US sanctions on Iran should be interpreted as a piece in a much larger chessboard Hysteria reigned supreme after the first round of US sanctions were reinstated against Iran over the past week. Pepe Escobar Asia Times War scenarios abound, and yet the key aspect of the economic war unleashed by the Trump administration has been overlooked: Iran is a major piece in a much larger chessboard. The US sanctions offensive, launched after Washington’s unilateral pullout from the Iran nuclear ... Read More »

Your Workplace Isn’t Your Family (and That’s O.K.!)

Welcome to the Smarter Living newsletter. The editor, Tim Herrera, emails readers with tips and advice for living a better, more fulfilling life. Sign up here to get it in your inbox. Tim Herrera The New York Times “We’re like family here.” It’s a line that seems enshrined in the collective unconsciousness of American workers. We spend more than 2,000 hours per year with our co-workers, so it seems only natural that we should think of them as family. We ... Read More »

Trump Is the First President to Get Turkey Right

Good riddance to the so-called strategic relationship between Washington and Ankara. Steven A. Cook FP Last Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan published an op-ed in the New York Times outlining his country’s grievances toward the United States. The Turkish leader raised valid concerns about U.S. policy that genuinely vex Turkish leaders and citizens alike. Yet Erdogan only told half the story, leaving his readers to believe that Washington has victimized a reliable ally and partner. The United States has long had ... Read More »

Turkey’s lira crisis: ‘economic war’ sees Erdoğan look east for new allies

Global markets are on edge once again, this time thanks to the Turkish lira. It crashed more than 15% against the US dollar, euro and pound sterling on August 10 and continued to fall when markets reopened after the weekend on August 13. Emre Tarim The Conversation The latest trigger was Donald Trump’s announcement that he would double import tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium. But the lira has been falling consistently over the past year as markets fear for ... Read More »

The US-Turkey Crisis: The NATO Alliance Forged in 1949 Is Today Largely Irrelevant

There has been some reporting in the United States mass media about the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Ankara and what it might mean. Philip Giraldi American Herald Tribune Such a falling out between NATO members has not been seen since France left the alliance in 1966 and observers note that the hostility emanating from both sides suggests that far worse is to come as neither party appears prepared to moderate its current position while diplomatic… The immediate cause of ... Read More »

Trump and Erdoğan are impatient players in a chess match – Hareetz

The fraught relations between the United States and Turkey may resemble a chess game, but neither President Donald Trump nor President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have the patience or the… Ahval Turkey’s reconciliation with Russia after Turkish jets shot down a Russian warplane over the Syrian border in 2015, leading to an impasse in relations between the two countries, shows that… In June 2016, Erdoğan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, apologising for the death of the Russian pilot and ... Read More »

US suspends military training program for Pakistan

The United States has started cutting scores of Pakistani military officers from the education and training program, Pakistani media reported on Aug. 11. ISLAMABAD – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet The U.S. military institutions are “struggling” to fill the 66 slots,  which they had kept aside for Pakistani officers, for next academic year, the daily Dawn quoted anonymous sources as saying. The move comes a few days after Pakistan and Russia signed an  agreement to allow Pakistani military officers to receive training in Russian military institutions. “The fund for ... Read More »

Russia will emerge from US-Turkey fallout as an even more potent actor

Putin stands to gain from a whole array of Trump policies, from trade tensions with Europe to undermining Nato allies, writes David Rothkopf The National There is one clear winner from the increased tensions between the United States and Turkey that were ratcheted up this week by, naturally, a tweet from Donald Trump: Vladimir Putin. Mr Putin seems to be the big beneficiary of a whole array of Trump policies and postures, from trade tensions with Europe and undercutting the ... Read More »