Weekend Roundup: ISIS Savagery Taunts the World

02/06/2015 07:47 pm ET | Updated Apr 08, 2015
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The savagery of the Islamic State taunted the world once again this week, striking out at both geopolitically toothless Japan and the tribal kingdom of Jordan. Islamic State fighters beheaded the journalist Kenji Goto and revealed that, in an act of unfathomable cruelty, they had burned alive a captured Jordanian pilot.

Last week Japan's former defense chief Yuriko Koike wrote from Tokyo that Japan's constitutional restrictions on using force have prevented it from taking action against ISIS, and argues that that must change. Writing from Beirut, Jordanian analyst Rami Khouri has political misgivings about official support across the Arab world for the anti-ISIS coalition when the public is not consulted. From Amman, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports both on the massive protests against ISIS and on the undercurrent of opposition in Jordan that believes the fight against ISIS "is not our war."

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter argues that the real aim of the shocking immolation of the Jordanian pilot was to split angry youth in Jordan from their pro-U.S. king. Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab warns that an angry military response is not enough to defeat ISIS.

Writing from Athens, Takis Michas examines the pro-Russian sentiments of the new Greek government and wonders if it will become a "mouthpiece" for Putin in the West. Alexander Motyl takes on the claims of Russia and some in the new Greek government that neo-fascist forces play an influential role in Ukraine.

Writing from Berlin, former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer speculates that the Greek revolt will inevitably force Germany to reconsider its austerity policy for Europe. Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz argues that if there is a moral hazard in the Greek situation, it is on the part of private sector lenders "who have been bailed out repeatedly." Writing from Paris Jacques Attali, founding president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, offers a new paradigm to cope with sluggish global growth: "We must think of the world as a single economy; as a country." Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Bob Reich calls out the "sharing economy," saying it is more of a "share-the-scraps economy" of precarious, low-wage part-time jobs.

In an emotional personal testament, Gursimran Sandhu describes how her mother was shunned like a leper in her Indian community for obtaining a divorce. Singularity University researcher Vivek Wadhwa slams the U.S. deal to provide nuclear reactors to India since renewable energy technologies will be far less costly by the time the new reactors are installed.

Surveying rampant violence across Latin America, Sergio Muñoz Bata traces its roots to lack of trust in government institutions due to the weak rule of law. Writing from Havana, dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez finds that the hopes raised by easing relations with the U.S. are proving hard to meet.

In a WorldPost Essay, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd takes us on a tour of the history of Chinese philosophy and strategic thought and argues for the establishment of "a common narrative" shared by the West and China to avoid a drift into distrust. Writing from Seoul, former Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan expresses his concern that the waning American presence in his region is bolstering China's strategy of "Asia for Asians."

Writing from Shanghai, Shen Dingli ponders the debate within the West over free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Chinese law expert Donald Clarke reports on the courageous riposte of Peking University professor Shen Kui who, in response to a new Beijing directive against teaching "Western values," makes the obvious point that Marxism is a Western import. Looking at the impact of the Internet in China, Han-Teng Liao argues that it has empowered citizens to monitor the corruption of local officials, but at the same time inspires trust in the central authorities in Beijing.

As Nigeria heads to the polls, "Forgotten Fact" this week explains why millions of potential voters in Africa's most populous country have been disenfranchised.

Philosopher and Google advisor Luciano Floridi ponders the complex balance that must be achieved between privacy and free speech when deciding who has "the right to be forgotten" on Google's search engines. In an interview, Silicon Valley "anti-Christ" Andrew Keen makes his controversial case that "surveillance is the dominant business model on the Internet." This week, our Singularity University series looks at how drones are being used to plant trees in remote and difficult terrain. In a short video, Fusion this week focuses on how lungs and arteries are being grown in laboratories.

Finally, drawing on recent biographies, Catherine Corman lays out the compelling parallels between Pope Francis and his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

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