The undertow of China's slackening economy and the mounting tide of refugees pushing through border after border in Europe put the world on edge this week. After spiraling down, volatile stock markets rallied back, for now. . . Writing from Beijing, Fred Hu argues that what we are witnessing is China's shift toward the "new normal" of a slower growth paradigm focused on domestic consumption instead of investment and export-led growth. He expresses confidence that his country will weather the storm, writing, "it is a loser's game to bet against China's leaders." Nobel laureate Michael Spence locates the culprit of market volatility in the flood of funds unleashed by low interest rates looking for higher returns, which has led to the gap between a financial bubble and the real economy now undergoing a correction. (continued)
In the dog days of late summer in the northern hemisphere, the fate of the deal that would curb Iran's capacity to produce nuclear weapons twists in the wind. The ongoing uncertainty has revealed just how hard it is for U.S. President Barack Obama to establish his authority over the U.S. Congress and America's allies. The robust public debate over the controversial deal in Iran also reveals it is a much more open society than its Arab counterparts in the region. Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former head of the foreign relations committee of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, envisions a new era of relations between Iran and America and calls on the U.S. Congress not to make an "historic blunder" by rejecting the deal. Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo argues that "the habits of hope in Iranian culture" are behind the public embrace of the agreement. (continued)
While many countries in what used to be called the Third World remain stuck in the same poverty and ethnic strife that characterized them in the immediate post-colonial era, Singapore stands out for its rapid rise to prosperity and peaceful embrace of diversity. From the day it became independent on August 9, 1965 to 2014, Singapore's GDP per capita has soared an astonishing 3700 percent. Above all, Singapore's lesson for the world is that governance matters. (continued)
Tsipras now talks of a party-wide referendum on the Eurozone's demands which may be a prelude to elections in September. We will see what the results will be, but it appears that whatever the pulse of the public may be at any given time, the long-range judgment of history should be hard on the Prime Minister.
The Syrian quagmire, in which both the Islamic State and the Kurds have been fighting for territory, has now sucked in Turkey. Last week's ISIS attack on Turkish soil, Kurdish gains along the Syrian border and the surprise advance of the secular and liberal pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party in recent elections -- which clipped the parliamentary majority of President Erdoğan's neo-Islamist ruling party -- have conjoined into an explosive state of affairs. To boot, NATO, which is obliged to defend a member state under siege, has now been drawn into a three-way fray in which Turkey is lashing out at both the Kurdish resistance and ISIS. Writing from Istanbul, Behlül Özkan ominously foresees "Armageddon" descending on the region. Mustafa Akyol, also writing from the shores of the Bosphorus, argues that Erdoğan's assault on the Kurds in tandem with ISIS is aimed at bolstering his nationalist credentials at home in order to block the HDP, which stands in the way of his autocratic vision. (continued)
To ask the left to give up its moralizing rhetoric is to ask a lot, for there is genuine anger about the victims of today's neoliberal order. But a politics driven by morality will look like the Occupy Movement here and Syriza in Greece. Both tried to make politics into a moral battle of good and evil; both lost the moral battles they brought on.
The circumstances we have experienced in these past several years in Greece are not unprecedented. We can find such situations in many other countries as well, and as examples I could quickly mention the former socialist countries, Europe's periphery countries, and countries in Latin America and Northeast Asia.