Since Earth Day, which will be marked on April 22, was first commemorated 45 years ago, we have learned a lot about the planet's ecology. Above all, we have begun to understand the biological intelligence of nature itself that, for millennia, has managed to continually regenerate and stabilize that narrow band of a livable climate that has enabled our species and others to thrive. Working with nature, not against it, to combat climate change is the message of the Leo DiCaprio-narrated short video documentary, "Restoration," we publish this week. As senior Chinese diplomat Wu Jianmin writes from Beijing, we are also learning to work together as nations through geo-environmental cooperation, as exemplified by the recent U.S.-China agreement to jointly reduce carbon gases. (continued)
It's hard to write about these tragedies without falling into sadness or anger, or without inadvertently raising the visibility of the victim's deaths over their lives. It's also hard to write about it without knowing exactly how, as a cis-gendered ally, to make it better. But we don't have the luxury of time.
While the Middle East is consumed by an orgy of destruction that has devastated ancient cities like Aleppo and Tikrit, Asia, led by China, is building out the infrastructure of the future. While past wounds drive the tribal and religious rivalries in the Middle East, in Asia the contest -- and the cooperation -- is about shaping the future. The most recent scuffle in the contest over the future has been the slew of American allies -- Great Britain, Italy, France, Australia and others -- who have defied U.S. admonitions not to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which it sees as a rival to the World Bank and IMF system. In the "cooperation" column, Zbigniew Brzezinski observes in a WorldPost interview that China signed on as a guarantor of the Lausanne agreement on Iran's nuclear program. This, along with the fact it has also joined with the U.S. to curb North Korean nuclear proliferation and fight climate change, shows China is stepping up to the plate as a responsible global power. Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke writes from Beirut that the U.S. has been "immobilized" in the Sunni-Shia proxy wars and must settle for "an equilibrium of antagonisms." (continued)
If reading the next sentence about the bewildering tangle of so many bloody crossed swords in the Middle East makes your head hurt, just be thankful you live somewhere else where decapitation is not a regular occurrence. The intensifying Saudi-led Sunni coalition assault on Iranian-linked Shiite tribes in Yemen this week -- at the very moment when Shiite militia allied with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government were ousting Saudi Wahhabist-inspired Islamic State jihadis from Tikrit -- signaled the onset of a generalized sectarian religious war across the region. And if the current bright spot of the interim agreement with Western powers that curbs Iran's capacity to weaponize its uranium enrichment program should unravel over the coming months, the entire conflict threatens to go nuclear. Graham Fuller, former vice-chair of the CIA's National Intelligence Council and a former station chief in several Mideast countries, deciphers the perplexing labyrinth of the Yemeni conflict, where "the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy." (continued)
This week, Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, died at 91. Though the last remaining of the great figures of post-WWII decolonization, Lee was also the first global statesman. As he himself put it, "when we were pushed out of Malaysia we had no hinterland. So we had to do or die, and the globalization of the world helped us. So we made the world our hinterland." By thinking global, but acting local, Lee was able to vault his small city-state from the Third World to the First World. The WorldPost remembers Lee through his own words from interviews I have done with him over the years. Writing from Singapore, Pranay Gupte focuses on Lee's unique accomplishment of "clean governance." Writing from Beijing, philosopher Daniel A. Bell emphasizes Singapore's meritocratic government as the core of its success with lessons for China. (continued)