Analysis

Sue Smith’s Hydra: how love, pain and sacrifice produced an Australian classic

Running through Hydra, the new play by Australian playwright Sue Smith, is the myth of Icarus, the boy who flew so high that his wings melted and he crashed to his death in the sea near the Greek island of Samos. Alastair Blanshard The Conversation It is an easy myth to misunderstand. Moralists think it is a story that reinforces the importance of listening to your parents and sticking to the safe middle path – not flying “too close to ... Read More »

How European ideas motivated Christchurch killer

The self-described ‘fascist’ may have picked up ideas during a trip to France in 2017. Europe can’t turn a blind eye to the Christchurch killings. By NICHOLAS VINOCUR Politico Even though the attack happened on the other side of the world, the man who carried it out declared that he started his planning after a trip to France — inspired by ideas that have filtered into right-wing discourse across the European Union. The links were on display in a 73-page manifesto ... Read More »

The Psychology Of Getting Julian Assange, Part 4: Why Even Some Lefties Want To See Him Hang

Convinced Julian Assange handed Trump the election? Certain he raped two women in Sweden? Want to see him rot in jail? The fourth in a five-part series by clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson explains the science behind smear and propaganda, and how and why it works. New Matilda On Sunday March 3rd and 10th, hundreds attended rallies organised by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia in Sydney and Melbourne, demanding that the Australian government secure freedom for Julian Assange. Acclaimed journalist and film-maker John Pilger spoke at the Sydney rally ... Read More »

The Darkest Hours: Power Outages Raise the Temperature in Venezuela

The crippling blackouts across Venezuela are a grim portent of things to come as U.S. oil sanctions kick in and the country’s crisis deepens. Phil Gunson ICG All concerned to end Venezuelans’ suffering should vigorously pursue a negotiated transition leading to a power-sharing deal. On Thursday 7 March, at around five in the afternoon, the lights went out in Venezuela. Within a couple of hours, as the tropical night descended, around 90 per cent of the country was plunged into ... Read More »

Russia’s Next Land Grab Won’t Be in an Ex-Soviet State. It Will Be in Europe.

First he came for Georgia, then for Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s next target is likely to be a non-NATO nation in the EU. By Mikheil Saakashvili FP Not many observers would consider the world’s coldest shipping lane a geopolitical hotspot. But that may be about to change. Last week, reports emerged that a new Kremlin policy will require all international naval ships to give Russia 45 days’ notice before entering the Northern Sea Route, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans ... Read More »

The Fed Should Buy Recession Insurance

If the United States falls into recession in the next year or two, the US Federal Reserve may have very little room to loosen policy, yet it is not taking any steps to cover that risk. J. Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate Unless the Fed rectifies this soon, the US – and the world – may well face much bigger problems later. BERKELEY – The next global downturn may still be a little way off. The chances that the North Atlantic ... Read More »

US Wants To Change The Law Of The Sea – Analysis

The US is frustrated by North Korea’s continuing violation of UN sanctions by using rogue vessels to import and export banned cargo, sometimes transferring the cargo at sea. Mark J. Valencia Eurasia Review So it wants to interdict suspect vessels on the high seas using force if necessary. The problem is that doing so without the consent of the flag state would violate the international law of the sea. John Bolton, the US National Security Advisor is taking the lead ... Read More »

Picking Up the Pieces After Hanoi

The collapse of last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was perhaps the inevitable result of a process in which the two leaders dominated, optimistic about their personal relationship and confident in their abilities. Richard N. Haass Project Syndicate The question is what to do now. NEW YORK – When last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal, the result was not surprising. ... Read More »

Conspiracy theories fuel prejudice towards minority groups

Some 60% of British people believe in at least one conspiracy theory, a recent poll reveals. Authors: The Conversation From the idea that 9/11 was an inside job to the notion that climate change is a hoax, conspiracy theories divert attention away from the facts in favour of plots and schemes involving powerful and secret groups. With the aid of modern technology, conspiracy theories have found a natural home online. Conspiracy theories often unfairly and erroneously accuse minority groups of ... Read More »

The Best of Bad Options for Syria’s Idlib

The Syrian regime vows to reconquer Idlib, the north-western zone hosting its hardest-core remaining jihadist opposition. ICG But an all-out offensive would be calamitous. Turkey and Russia should recommit to their “de-escalation” deal for Idlib, bolstering it with measures that buy time for a lasting solution. What’s new? An agreement between Turkey and Russia that protects Syria’s rebel-held Idlib governorate from a regime offensive is under increasing stress. Clashes between jihadists and other militants inside Idlib and regime forces have ... Read More »

EU on no-deal Brexit vote: ‘Like Titanic voting for the iceberg to move’

Brussels spokesman offers withering assessment of MP decision on Wednesday night The Irish Times Brussels has said a vote by UK MPs to block a no-deal Brexit in any circumstances is a meaningless move, with one senior EU negotiator describing it as “the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the way”. A European commission spokesman offered a withering assessment of the decision by MPs to ignore Theresa May’s assertion that no deal was the default position unless there was a ... Read More »

The farce and the furious: how May’s government shot itself in the foot

London: There is no bottom to the well of Brexit insanity. Nick Miller The Canberra Times On Wednesday, the British government managed to shoot itself in the foot with a gun that had no bullets in it. This should have been an easy day. The motion before the Commons – put by the government, with Prime Minister Theresa May as its signatory – was that it refused to back a “no deal” Brexit, something everyone but the most hard-core Brexiters agree ... Read More »

The ‘R’ word: Are Australians really getting poorer?

Is it the recession you have when you’re not having a recession? Tory Maguire The Age With an election looming, treasurer Josh Frydenberg is just weeks away from delivering his first, and possibly last, federal budget. Last week, OECD data revealed that the Australian economy has fallen into a ”per-capita recession” for the first time since 2006, with global and Australian growth predicted to slow even further. The announcement prompted scepticism from critics. Ross Gittins called it a scare tactic – that any ... Read More »

The mental health crisis among America’s youth is real – and staggering

The first signs of a problem started to emerge around 2014: More young people said they felt overwhelmed and depressed. College counseling centers reported sharp increases in the number of students seeking… Jean Twenge The Conversation Even as studies were showing increases in symptoms of depression and in suicide among adolescents since 2010, some researchers called the concerns overblown and claimed there simply isn’t enough good… The idea that there’s an epidemic in anxiety or depression among youth “is simply ... Read More »

In Manus, theatre delivers home truths that can’t be dodged

How to review a play whose relationship with matters of fact is so serious and politically culpable it overwhelms the critical distinctions that might normally be used to judge it? Julian Meyrick The Conversation Where is Stanislavski’s “magic if” (if I were a refugee locked up for six years by the Australian government …)? What are the “given circumstances” (near-drowning at sea, a sun-beaten island at the end of the earth)? Or the “inciting incident” (political oppression, military destruction, despair ... Read More »

Salvaging South Sudan’s Fragile Peace Deal

The truce in South Sudan is holding but could break down at any time. ICG To stave off renewed civil war, external actors should urge the belligerents to strike new bargains on security and internal boundaries – and accept a third-party protection force for the capital. What’s new? South Sudan’s new peace deal is nearing its first critical test: the formation of a unity government in May 2019. But steps toward key interim benchmarks – unifying a national army and ... Read More »