Analysis

Why archaeology is so much more than just digging

It’s our experience that most people think archaeology mainly means digging in the dirt. Authors: The Conversation Admit to strangers that you are of the archaeological persuasion, and the follow-up question is invariably “what’s the best thing you’ve found?”. Start to tell them about a fantastic ink and watercolour plan you unearthed in library archives, or an old work site you stumbled upon in thick eucalypt bush, and their eyes glaze over. People invariably want to hear about skeletons, pots ... Read More »

In shutdown, national parks transform into Wild West — heavily populated and barely supervised

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. — The government shutdown has left America’s national parks largely unsupervised. No one is at the gate. No one is collecting a fee. Meghann Cuniff , John Waters and Joel Achenbach The Washington Post The visitor centers are closed. There are some law enforcement and emergency personnel on site, but certainly nothing as standard as a park ranger who can answer a question. People are streaming into the parks, enjoying the free access, but they’re finding trash cans overflowing ... Read More »

Departing chief of staff John Kelly paints a dim portrait of Trump

Washington: A few months ago, a senior Trump administration official wrote a controversial anonymous oped in the New York Times that said forces within the administration were working to rein in President Donald Trump’s potentially damaging whims. Aaron Blake WAtoday / The Washington Post In an interview, Trump’s departing chief of staff, John Kelly, basically confirmed that’s exactly what has happened for the past two years. “In the phone interview [on] Friday, Kelly defended his rocky tenure, arguing that it is best measured ... Read More »

Turkey’s War on Christian Missionaries

The day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish prison, another Christian who had been living for nearly two decades in the country was detained by Turkish authorities, and told that he had two weeks to leave the country — without his wife and… Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The American-Canadian evangelist, David Byle, not only suffered several detentions and interrogations over the years, but he had been targeted for deportation on three occasions. Each time, he was saved ... Read More »

DR Congo Elections: Reversing a Dangerous Decision

After postponing long-awaited elections, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission has announced a second delay in voting in some conflict-affected areas – until after a new president takes office. ICG This decision disenfranchises 1.25 million Congolese and risks major unrest. The commission should rescind it.  The latest twist in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s tortuous electoral saga may well be its most worrying and dangerous yet. On 26 December, the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) announced that parts of North ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019

As U.S. leadership of the international order fades, more countries are seeking to bolster their influence by meddling in foreign conflicts. In this new era of limit testing, Crisis Group’s President Robert Malley lists the Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2019. In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot. As the era of uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international ... Read More »

The Girl Who Lived

Remembering my grandmother, whose improbable survival became the foundational story for my family’s existence Franklin Foer The Atlantic There were the scissors that my grandmother somehow remembered to bring with her as she fled. She could hear the rumble of destruction in the distance. She could see the cloud of smoke that was the Nazi murder of her family and neighbors. Without forethought, she made the decision to run ahead, carrying with her the scissors and, despite the blossoms of ... Read More »

Why Turkey’s Kurdish strategy will remain ineffective

Over the past decade, Turkey has pursued a “break and dent” strategy against the Kurds, by which the Turkish government seeks to dismantle Kurdish groups and push resistant factions into… Fehim Tastekin Al-Monitor Turkey has now come to rely on this strategy outside its border, particularly in the northern Syrian region of Afrin. Based on this approach, Ankara aims to “cleanse” all northeastern Syrian territories held by the People’s Protection Units, or the YPG. Yet this “break and dent” strategy is futile, and the Mahkmour ... Read More »

The Center Left and Globalization

After promising to reform both France and the European Union, President Emmanuel Macron is now struggling to reclaim the public’s confidence and prove that he is not the “President of the Rich.” Kemal Derviş and Caroline Conroy * Project Syndicate By pursuing a business-friendly reform agenda, Macron has fallen into a trap that center-left reformers everywhere seem incapable of avoiding. WASHINGTON, DC – Popular uprisings across France are threatening to shatter the hope that so many had placed in French President Emmanuel Macron ... Read More »

The Sum of All Brexit Fears

The Leavers lied: The costs of withdrawing from the European Union were always destined to outweigh the benefits. Chris Patten * Project Syndicate Alas, the responsible, imaginative, and inclusive political leadership needed to minimize the damage is nowhere in sight. LONDON – Day after day, week after week, most British citizens think that the turmoil over their country’s proposed exit from the European Union cannot get any worse. But, without fail, it does. Turmoil turns into humiliating chaos; a political ... Read More »

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a make-or-break year

Adnan R. Khan: For more than a decade and a half, Turkey has aggressively pursued a more prominent role in the world. In 2019, it will pay the price. The goal was unity. Adnan R. Khan Maclean’s At least, that’s what Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, claimed about his campaign to transform Turkey’s fractious parliamentary democracy into a highly centralized presidency. When his “yes” side prevailed in an April 2017 constitutional referendum, the ambitious and polarizing leader promised ... Read More »

What Populists Do to Democracies

According to our research, populist governments have deepened corruption, eroded individual rights, and inflicted serious damage on democratic institutions. Yascha Mounk Jordan Kyle The Atlantic When Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election in October to the consternation of the country’s traditional political elite, commentators were sharply divided about the implications. Some warned that Bolsonaro, a far-right populist who has openly expressed admiration for the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985, presented a clear and present threat ... Read More »

Turning Brexit Into a Celebration of Democracy

Paradoxically, while the current Brexit impasse is pregnant with risk, the British should welcome it. Yanis Varoufakis The Project Syndicate Their discontent with the choices before them is an opportunity, not a curse, and more democracy is the antidote, not the disease. ATHENS – Discontent without end looms over Britain. Leavers and Remainers are equally despondent. Her Majesty’s Government and the Labour opposition are equally divided. The United Kingdom is deeply divided between a Europhile Scotland and a Euroskeptic England, ... Read More »

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Whether pulling the remaining U.S. troops from Syria turns out to be a bold and beneficial move or a stupid, harmful one depends on what Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will do. Angelo M. Codevilla American Greatness That, in turn, depends in no small part on what constraints he senses from President Trump—as well as from Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Here, to the best of my understanding, are the circumstances and the possible consequences of the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria. ... Read More »

2018: The year in figures and charts

BY THE NUMBERS Telling the story of the last 12 months through data. By ARNAU BUSQUETS GUÀRDIA Politico What a tremendous, nebulous year. Very much like last year, 2018 was full of endless Brexit drama. And endless Trump drama. And then there was some more Brexit drama. And some more Trump drama. But hey, other stuff happened too (right?). The French proved that they are still the global champions of street protests, the far right grabbed headlines across the Continent and Angela ... Read More »

Somalia’s South West State: A New President Installed, a Crisis Inflamed

Against all sensible advice, the Federal Government of Somalia muscled in on a local election to shove aside an Islamist conservative candidate. Rashid Abdi ICG It scored a tactical victory but created significant additional risk for the country already wracked by conflict and divided along regional and clan lines. On 19 December, local lawmakers in Somalia’s restive South West state elected Abdiasis Mohammed “Laftagareen” president in a controversial poll that is certain to sow new instability. Laftagareen, former MP and ... Read More »