Analysis

Silk Road opens a rift in Italy’s government

Washington and Brussels fear Rome is getting too close to China. Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli Politico ROME — Italy’s government has split over whether to sign onto China’s landmark “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure program that runs across Asia to key European trade hubs. Some 13 EU countries have signed up to China’s new Silk Road plan, but Washington and Brussels are deeply concerned that the involvement of G7 heavyweight Rome could lend greater credibility to a project that they view as a… Prime ... Read More »

Hidden women of history: Australia’s first known female voter, the famous Mrs Fanny Finch

In this series, we look at under-acknowledged women through the ages. On 22 January 1856, an extraordinary event in Australia’s history occurred. Kacey Sinclair The Conversation It is not part of our collective national identity, nor has it been mythologised over the decades through song, dance, or poetry. It doesn’t even have a hashtag. But on this day in the thriving gold rush town of Castlemaine, two women took to the polls and cast their votes in a democratic election. ... Read More »

China’s growing Latin America ties also matter for Australia

When China’s increasing links to Latin America are discussed, Australia might not be the first country that comes to mind. Erin Watson-Lynn the interpreter Lowy Institute But for Australian policy makers, Beijing’s push into Latin America matters. Australia must do more itself to strengthen its otherwise nascent relationships with the region, especially as China works to fill the vacuum left by the United States’ absence in the region. Two important developments make this need clear. Rethinking Australia’s geographic proximity It ... Read More »

Why Americans Don’t Cheat on Their Taxes

The weirdly hopeful story of how the U.S. came to be a leader in tax compliance Rene Chan The Atlantic If such a thing as American exceptionalism remains, maybe it can be found in this: Despite deep IRS budget cuts, an average audit rate that has plunged in recent years to just 0.6 percent, and a… Even more remarkable, most of us feel obliged to pay. To quote the findings of a 2017 IRS survey: “The majority of Americans (88%) ... Read More »

‘Total devastation’: the cost of getting shot in America

New York: Jay Wilson’s memory of that sunny Thursday morning in October is disturbingly clear. Rachel Olding The Sydney Morning Herald He had pulled up outside a unit block in the small city of Forsyth, Georgia, wondering if he was at the right location. He was only stopping by briefly to help a friend prepare for a job interview before heading on to a meeting with the first client for his fledgling PR business and then accompanying his father to a… ... Read More »

Which countries have the most immigrants?

The proportion of immigrants varies considerably from one country to another. Gilles Pison The Conversation In some, it exceeds half the population, while in others it is below 0.1%. Which countries have the most immigrants? Where do they come from? How are they distributed across the world? We provide here an overview of the number and share of immigrants in different countries around the world. According to the United Nations, the United States has the highest number of immigrants (foreign-born ... Read More »

Will the US and Turkey break up over Russian S-400?

WASHINGTON, DC – Fans of diplomatic history realize the importance of dates: They mark milestones, turning points, make-or-break moments. ekathimerini Endy Zemenides Those who follow Turkey are keenly aware that a new era in the country’s diplomatic history is taking shape before us. March 4 and 5, 2019 are sure to become important dates in this new diplomatic history. This past Monday, reversing a trend of handling issues with Ankara quietly and in private, US President Donald Trump sent a ... Read More »

The Democrats’ dilemma

What Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips tell us about the future of the Democratic Party. Tim Alberta Politico MINNEAPOLIS — They have gathered in defiance of the freezing temperatures on a late February’s night, scores of them twirling Somali flags in one hand and American flags in the other, crowding around the arrivals terminal and waiting to welcome one of their own. The vast Somali community in the Twin Cities is like one sprawling extended family, explains Ali Aden, a ... Read More »

Proud Boys and antifa: When a right-wing activist met a left-wing anti-fascist

Since the election of Donald Trump, extreme right-wing groups and left-wing activists have battled on American streets. Mike Wendling BBC It’s happened in New York, Berkeley, Charlottesville and elsewhere. But one liberal enclave might be the epicentre of the fighting: Portland, Oregon, a progressive city in the Pacific north-west. Two activists who have been on opposite sides in the Portland clashes agreed to meet and talk. But would they have any common ground? I didn’t think they would both be ... Read More »

How to Make a Middle East Superpower: Arm Israel with F-22s and B-21 Bombers

Possible? This is not to say that Israel needs, or could use, something analogous to the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. Robert Farley The National Interest However, a more modest boat with a smaller number of missiles of limited range could indeed prove very useful to Israel’s efforts to create a robust second-strike capability. A flotilla of four such boats would provide a nearly invulnerable retaliatory capacity. With only a few notable exceptions, Israel can buy whatever it wants from the… ... Read More »

As EU stresses the migration ‘crisis’ is over, Italy makes hundreds of migrants homeless

Refuting what he called populist “misinformation”, the first vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, has stressed that: “Europe is no longer experiencing the migration crisis we lived in 2015, but structural problems remain.” Vicki Squire The Conversation The commission emphasises that the current level of arrivals is just 10% of what it was at its “peak” in 2015. But these comments overlook the fact that the so-called “crisis” of 2015 was defined as one on the basis of a series of myths ... Read More »

Sánchez bets big on women in Spanish campaign

The ruling Socialists have strong feminist credentials, but an anti-feminist party is on the rise. MADRID — Pedro Sánchez made feminism a banner as soon as he became prime minister nine months ago, and now he’s doubling down on women’s votes to keep him in office after Spain’s election on April 28. Diego Torres Politico With an openly anti-feminist party — the far-right Vox — on the rise, Sánchez’s Socialists and their mainstream rivals trampled on each other to get the… The ... Read More »

Banks need to show more than mea culpas and committees

“We never want to go through an experience like that again,” Brian Hartzer told the House of Representatives economics committee in Canberra on Friday. Adele Ferguson WAtoday The Westpac boss was of course referring to the banking royal commission, which he described as “a sad indictment on the financial services industry”. It certainly was an indictment on a sector that has been riddled with scandals for years that were fobbed off as sideshows caused by a few bad apples. Hartzer ... Read More »

Why Research on Gender and Conflict Matters

At Crisis Group, we believe the interaction of gender and conflict is of central importance. But we consider carefully what a gender perspective entails and the conceptual pitfalls we should avoid. Robert Malley ICG For instance, women are not just victims, but have agency and choice. Last October, Ethiopia appointed its first woman president, the only female leader of an African state today. In many national parliaments, from Mexico to Rwanda, women now match or outnumber men. One of the ... Read More »

A Man of Good Hope is no tale of triumph over adversity, but it is the story of many

In a world where so many are escaping brutality, war, persecution, and loss of land, is it possible to tell the story of just one displaced person, and in so doing, tell the story of many? William Peterson The Conversation With A Man of Good Hope, a theatrical adaptation of a biography of the same name by Jonny Steinberg, the Cape Town-based Isango Ensemble suggests the answer is yes. An energetic cast of over 20 actor-singer-dancer-musicians are shaped by director ... Read More »

Flirting With Disaster: the Return of Offshore Drilling

It’s been decades since a fisherman out of Montauk on Long Island told me about seeing a ship in the Atlantic Ocean east of Long Island similar to those he had seen searching for oil in the Gulf of Mexico when he was a shrimper there. Karl Grossman CounterPunch I telephoned oil company after company and each gave a firm denial about having any interest in looking for petroleum off Long Island. That was until a PR man from Gulf ... Read More »