Weekend Roundup: The Politics of Polarization Always Ends Badly

03/20/2015 07:10 pm ET | Updated May 20, 2015
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Whether in Russia, Venezuela or Israel, the ugly politics of polarization may work in winning elections -- but it always ends badly. Netanyahu's scaremongering against Arab voters and dashing of a two-state solution (his bad faith post-election backtrack notwithstanding) dispels two long-held illusions at once: that Israeli democracy would be inclusive or that Palestinians would have their own state. If there is no room for Palestinians anywhere, then what?

In an exclusive interview with the Huffington Post, U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the Israeli election, Iran and other issues. Writing from Amman, prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab draws the logical conclusion from Israel's election results that Palestinians must now pursue their own unilateral path and that the world community should no longer feel bound to defend Israel in international institutions.

Israeli scholar Josef Olmert attributes Netanyahu's victory to the "we" vs. "them" appeal to voters who feel under siege. Writing from Tel Aviv, former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami analyzes how the fear and mistrust of the rest of the world that drives the Israeli right dominated the election.

Danish scholar Joergen Oerstroem Moeller warns that the kind of "nationalism, populism and xenophobia" we are witnessing these days can lead to the abyss of a "new dark age." Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown tackles the issue of the growing militarization of schools to make them safe from marauding extremists whether in Pakistan or South Sudan.

As negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program approach their deadline, European statesman Carl Bildt argues that ending the isolation of Iran would turn the "cause" of Islamic revolution into a responsible country integrated into the global community. Mika Brzezinski humanizes the Syrian refugee crisis by telling the story of one woman's life. Writing for HuffPost Maghreb, Sana Bouagila Abdelkefi insists Tunisia's new democracy can stand up to this week's terrorist attack on tourists.

In "Forgotten Fact" this week, we remember the sarin gas attack 20 years ago on the Tokyo subway by the shadowy Aum Shinrikyo cult.

Writing from Beijing, Xiong Lei examines how social media is taking on the environmental issue in China with the viral popularity of an online documentary about pollution, "Under the Dome." WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan asks Chinese Premier Li Keqiang directly about whether the big oil and gas companies in China are resisting his efforts to clean up corruption and pollution. He also reports on how LGBT couples from China are going to Los Angeles to get married. Also writing from Beijing, I argue that the Western media missed the significance of the just completed National People's Congress annual gathering that moved China forward on its long march toward the rule of law.

From Singapore, Kishore Mahbubani sees the fact that America's closest ally -- Great Britain -- joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank against Washington's wishes as a sign of waning American power.

John Chambers, chairman and CEO of the tech giant Cisco, says that Europe could create 850,000 new jobs by digitizing its economy. The WorldPost interviews Japanese robot creator Tomotaka Takahashi and his humanoid robot, Robi. McKinsey's James Manyika and Jaana Remes propose ways in which enhanced productivity can save aging societies.

Drawing from his new book, "Data and Goliath," Harvard fellow Bruce Schneier spells out how we can protect ourselves from digital surveillance.

A report from Fusion this week tells us we are consuming far more sugar in our diets than we think. Our Singularity University series offers a sneak peek into what Google's new campus in Mountain View, California will look like.


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