Politics

How to cure America’s debt addiction (and invest in the future)

Under current policies the federal debt will rise from 78% to almost 180% of U.S. GDP in three decades. William G. Gale and David Wessel Brookings In his new book, “Fiscal Therapy: Curing America’s Debt Addiction and Investing in the Future,” Brookings Senior Fellow William Gale explores policies to raise revenue, control spending, and increase public investments, and solve our debt problem. In this episode, Senior Fellow David Wessel interviews Gale about his new book and policy ideas. Also, Christen Linke Young, a ... Read More »

Are China and Russia going to dominate the Mediterranean Sea?

As NATO celebrated its 70th anniversary in Washington, one compelling security issue received insufficient attention: Chinese acquisitions of critical European infrastructure, especially ports. Trudy Rubin The Inquirer Chinese state-controlled firms now hold stakes in more than a dozen European ports on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, from Belgium to Spain to ownership of the legendary Greek port of Piraeus. Already, one-tenth of Europe’s container terminal capacity is under Chinese control. A week ago, defying allies, Italy became the first major ... Read More »

The EU’s China Conundrum

The European Union is increasingly caught between the United States and China. Until it finds a common strategic purpose, the bloc will struggle to advance its interests and is increasingly likely to fall victim to great-power plays. Philippe Legrain Project Syndicate LONDON – Europeans can’t agree on how to handle a rising China. While European Union leaders were gathering in Brussels recently to discuss a more assertive common approach, Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting Rome. Xi was there to ... Read More »

Polish teachers threaten national walkout

The looming strike is a big problem for the ruling party ahead of the European election. Annabelle Chapman Politico WARSAW — Polish teachers’ unions on Friday rejected a pay offer from the government and vowed to walk off the job on Monday — causing a massive political headache for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. The government pay proposal “only worsens the conflict,” Sławomir Broniarz, the head of the Polish Teachers’ Union, told reporters after talks broke off on ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #8

This is the eighth briefing note in Crisis Group’s Yemen Campaign. ICG This week, we explain why ending the internal conflict in Taiz should be a priority step toward national-level peacebuilding efforts. Trendline: Trouble in Taiz Taiz, Yemen’s largest pre-war manufacturing hub and cultural capital nestled in the country’s central highlands, is widely regarded by its inhabitants as a forgotten city. Any future political settlement will have to include a mechanism to end the struggle for Taiz, but internal wrangling ... Read More »

‘We can and must push back against the tide of fascism,’ says Arab-Israeli MK Tibi

As Israel’s General Election approaches on 9 April, MEMO interviews candidates, current and former, about their hopes for the future of Israeli politics. Rebecca Stead The Middle East Monitor Ahmad Tibi is, in many ways, the face of Palestinian politics within Israel. Boasting 20 years’ service as a Knesset Member (MK), he sees no reason why he shouldn’t one day become Israel’s Prime Minister. Yet with only days to go until the General Election, Tibi must battle anti-Palestinian rhetoric, an ... Read More »

Wiesenthal Center Urges Removal Of Anne Frank’s Name From NGO Due To Antisemitism

Alleged Anti-Jewish conspiracy theorist and Israel-hater Daniel Bax is slated to speak at the Anne Frank Educational Center. Benjamin Weinthal JPost The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the Frankfurt-based Anne Frank Educational Center to remove the Holocaust victim’s name from its organization after it invited an alleged anti-Jewish conspiracy theorist who loathes Israel to speak at its conference on antisemitism. The latest antisemitism scandal at the center is roiling Frankfurt’s city government. Frankfurt’s deputy mayor and city treasurer, Uwe Becker, ... Read More »

Why We Stand With NATO

“There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.” Tim Kaine and Cory Gardner The Atlantic On April 4, 1949, Johannes Kaiv, the acting consul general of Estonia’s government-in-exile, sent a letter to Secretary of State Dean Acheson, which read: I have the honor to offer my best wishes to the signatories of the North Atlantic Pact, and to express my confidence that they, inspired by the ideals of democracy, of individual liberty, ... Read More »

Pompeo: There will be ‘devastating’ consequences if Turkey attacks Syria

April 4 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Turkey of “devastating” consequences if it attacks Syria. Darryl Coote Pompeo gave the warning to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Wednesday in Washington during the first day of the two-day NATO Ministerial, State Department Spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement. “Secretary Pompeo expressed support for ongoing negotiations regarding northeast Syria, while warning of the potentially devastating consequences of unilateral Turkish military action in the region,” Palladino said in ... Read More »

The Hidden Cost of Al-Shabaab’s Campaign in North-eastern Kenya

Four years after attacking a university, Al-Shabaab has sustained its campaign, forcing many teachers, nurses and officials to flee north-eastern Kenya, one of the country’s most neglected regions. Abdullahi Abdille ICG Authorities must do more to tackle insecurity, reopen schools and counter the risk of increased militant recruitment. On 2 April 2015, four gunmen belonging to Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based affiliate of al-Qaeda, began shooting on the campus of Garissa University College, the only major institution of higher learning in north-eastern Kenya. ... Read More »

Bring Behrouz home to Australia: he is one of us

There is a pivotal moment in Behrouz Boochani’s book, No Friend but the Mountains. In late August, 2013, a propeller-driven plane stands waiting on a strip on Christmas Island, to take asylum seekers to a faraway destination. Arnold Zable The Age Each man is escorted at two-minute intervals, 50 metres from a bus to the plane. They are held by the arms between two officers. At the base of the stairs, they are handed over to a second pair of officers, ... Read More »

Erdoğan’s Four Challenges

Turkey’s president suffered a frustrating setback in local government elections as democratic resilience prevailed. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe Watch out for the impact on the economy, the rule of law, defense, and Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaigning was vintage AKP electioneering: playing a nationalist fiddle; hiding economic realities with creative accounting and cosmetic measures; equating low interest rates (again) with low inflation; accusing foreigners of weakening the currency; threatening the opposition; continuing the crackdown on free speech and ... Read More »

Why are Kenyans starving in food-secure Kenya?

The country has more than enough food to feed its population; yet dozens are starving in its drought-stricken north. Patrick Gathara Al Jazeera As a biting drought cuts through a swath of suffering across much of the north and northeastern parts of Kenya, imperilling nearly a million people, government officials and journalists have been locked in an obscene public relations battle over… Despite the heart-wrenching pictures and footage of emaciated villagers published on newspaper front pages, broadcast on TV channels ... Read More »

Fiscal therapy: 12 framing facts and what they mean

The American economy is in great shape in many ways. Riding the cusp of an expansion that started in 2009, the stock market is up, consumer confidence is booming, and unemployment has fallen to historically low levels. William G. Gale Brookings But dig beneath the surface and trouble looms. America faces two distinct but related challenges that policymakers must address in the coming years if they hope to provide a brighter future for the nation and its people. The first ... Read More »

Sharia in Brunei: Gay sex, abortion, extramarital sex, stealing now punishable by stoning, amputation, death

Today, the Brunei Government ushers in a harsh new penal code that requires death by stoning for extramarital sex, anal sex, and abortion; amputation of limbs for stealing; and 100 lashes with a whip for lesbian sex. dateline SBS “Brunei’s new penal code is barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn’t even be crimes,” said Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director. The controversial changes to Brunei’s penal code were first published in 2013, and ... Read More »

The Modi Years

In its attack on civil liberties, its restructuring of the State to effect an acute centralisation of power, and its pervasive purveyance of fear, the Modi years resemble Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. Prabhat Patnaik NewsClick In its attack on civil liberties, its restructuring of the State to effect an acute centralisation of power, and its pervasive purveyance of fear, the Modi years resemble Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. But the resemblance stops there. In fact the two differ fundamentally in several ways. First, ... Read More »