The attacks claimed by the self-described Islamic State in Paris have done more than spread fear across the West. They have upended our concepts of war, security and alliances in a connected yet disintegrating world -- a world in which no superpower or group of states can impose order. As the "End of Power" author Moisés Naím notes, ISIS has breached that perimeter that above all defines strong states: a monopoly over violence. It has shifted the battlefield to the soft targets of cafes and concert halls. As Lucia Annunziata writes from Italy, "The Third World War, whether you want to believe it or not, is already underway ... and Europe is its theater." The savvy of ISIS operatives has also called into question whether we can maintain both open borders and encrypted cyberspace. They have shown that distributed networks of angry youth at the margins of European society, who bond on the Internet instead of at the mosque, are beyond the reach of the drone strikes aimed at decapitating their leadership in the Mideast. As the Aspen Institute's Charlie Firestone writes in his analysis of the "guerilla cyber-warfare" declared by the Anonymous hackers against ISIS: "The Westphalian concept of sovereign nations dealing with each other as states has limited application to a world where networks are the dominant form of organization." (continued)
Pent-up democratic aspirations were unleashed this week in Myanmar's first free election in decades, resulting in a landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi and her opposition party. But as Mark Famaner and Hanna Hindstrom point out, it is "democracy on a leash" as the long-standing military rulers retain a constraining foothold through the current constitutional arrangement. It remains to be seen if Suu Kyi's elected government will be "above" those constraints, as she has boldly asserted. Writing from Yangon, Ma Thida lays out the many issues in the political transition ahead. Harrison Akins reminds us that the "shadow" over Myanmar's democratic turn is the continuing persecution and discrimination against the Muslim Rohingya minority. If it stabilizes, Myanmar could have a bright future. It sits between the two fastest growing economies in the world, India and China, the second of which is revitalizing the ancient Silk Road trading route that George Yeo, Singapore's former foreign minister, sees as making Eurasia the driver of the future global economy. (continued)
People aren't going to be dragged reluctantly into tomorrow's low-carbon economy, looking back mournfully over their shoulder at the familiar world they're leaving behind. It has to be a world that is so enticing, so technologically cutting-edge and so affordable that they will demand the benefits of a sustainable world.
BEIJING -- The title of Barack Obama's pre-presidential biography is "The Audacity of Hope." Chinese President Xi Jinping has written his own document released this week -- The Communist Party's 13th five-year plan -- that might be titled "The Audacity of the Chinese Dream." This blueprint for China's future signals the most momentous shift in direction since the death of Mao and Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening up in 1978. Not a leader to rest on the laurels of his country's remarkable success so far in rising to the top ranks of the global economy, Xi wants to leap over the "middle-income trap" in which development becomes stuck in a low-wage manufacturing export economy. To do that, he needs to avoid, in his own words, the "Thucydides trap" of conflict between China as a rising power and the U.S. as the established power so instability does not disrupt growth prospects. (continued)
Whenever I read about, or witness, the opportunities created by Big Data, I grow perplexed. Why won't its corporate advocates share its potential with public schools? Why do reformers not respond to opportunities created by technology by seeking schools that nurture creativity, problem-solving and cooperation?
On Monday, we posed a few questions to Jeremy Rifkin, the American economist and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, whose new book, "The ...