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.
There has been a lot of talk about who has won and who has lost in the recent negotiations on the Greek debt crisis, about who is strong and who is weak in Europe, who is cruel to whom and who has dictated what. This whole discussion, in my mind, misses the point. Europe, especially Germany, wants a strong Greece.
In 1867, then Prime Minister of Prussia Otto von Bismarck (who, with parallels today, maintained German hegemony over Europe) famously said that politics is the art of the possible. If you don't have to deal with a political opponent, you can dream up the perfect policy. But when you have an opponent, you have to set aside the dream and consider the political possibilities. This week, from Iran to Greece to Cuba, the world both celebrated and protested the politically possible. (continued)
Let's tell it straight: "Europe" committed suicide last weekend in Brussels. It was an assisted suicide. The IMF wrote the original story line and set the scene; the European Central Bank provided the revolver and ammunition; while Germany unrelentingly urged that the suicide was a necessary act of moral redemption that was imperative to save the EU from eternal damnation.