Another meeting with Petro Poroshenko at the presidential palace in Kiev -- in the same office with the slightly kitschy decor in which he has received me on previous occasions. He is under strain but unperturbed.
My question to those who still believe in the Putin myth of infallibility is this: why did the Russian president recently decide on sending his armed forces to Syria to participate in that sad country's interminable and ever more bloody civil war?
America was once regarded as a welcoming immigrant nation where races and religions mingle freely, a geo-cultural therapy for history's wounded masses who could leave their woes behind once they arrived on its shores. It is thus a jarring twist to witness the nativist rants of Donald Trump boosting his political fortunes at the same moment when Germany, where the ideology of racial purity reached its apogee, extends a tolerant embrace to refugees and redefines its identity as a multicultural state. The scope of this shift will surely generate its own backlash in the times to come. Writing from Berlin, Alex Gorlach sees "a reversal of history" as Germany becomes "nation of immigrants" and suggests America should "dedicate a new Statue of Liberty to the [European] continent." From Stockholm, Göran Rosenberg explains why Sweden takes in more asylum seekers per capita than any other European country. Embedded in his piece is the orientation video for asylum applicants provided by the Swedish Migration Agency. Writing from Budapest, Miklós Haraszti sees political cynicism driving the anti-immigrant policies of Hungary's nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán. (continued)
LONDON -- The refugee crisis that dominates Europe's TVs and newspapers is the product of the horrendous civil war that still rages in Syria. Why will we not focus our attention on this? The reality in Syria is that the war creates the refugees. Do more to stop this war.
Having bullied Ukraine and sparking Western sanctions, Putin looked to China, hoping Beijing would bail him out of economic isolation. What he did not expect was the significant slowdown of the Chinese economy, which obviously tamed the dragon's appetite for carbohydrates.
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia -- As long as Washington is seen by Moscow and Beijing as trying to contain them geopolitically and subvert their domestic political regimes, the entente between Russia and China will only grow stronger
In a world full of surprises -- the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the weakness in the Chinese economy, the battles within the European Union, the making of the Iran deal, the slide in the American stock market -- one of the greatest surprises of all has been the sudden rebirth of Russian power under Vladimir Putin.
While the refugee and migrant crisis is an existential problem for Europe, it is also a huge opportunity. The way it is handled will critically impact not only the future of Europe, but also its identity -- the European ethos -- economics, demographics and indeed (don't be scared!) culture.
President Barack Obama and Governor Jerry Brown have both been pushing the envelope of efforts to bring climate change under control and running up against major ingrown opposition to their efforts.
China's reformist leader Deng Xiaoping famously counseled that his nation should "hide its strength and bide its time" as it grew to the top ranks of the global economy. President Xi Jinping has taken a different course. He is seizing the moment and baring China's teeth. Not unlike Ronald Reagan who declared in the 1980s that "America is back -- standing tall," Xi is signaling that the Middle Kingdom has returned and finally straightened its spine after being bent over by national humiliation going back to the Opium War, Western colonialism and Japanese occupation. Xi's stance was on display for all the world to see in the vast military spectacle on Tiananmen Square this week marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied defeat of Japan in World War II. That President Xi appeared alongside Vladimir Putin -- with no prominent Western leaders from the U.S., Europe or Japan in attendance -- was not only reminiscent of the Cold War, but a worrying premonition that the world once again risks dividing up into geopolitical blocs. (continued)
There were only a few things wrong with the massive parade today in Beijing celebrating the 70th anniversary of V-J Day, Victory over Japan Day. The folks doing the celebrating only tangentially represent the Chinese who most actively resisted the Japanese invaders. And the celebration itself, meant to signify China's emerging superpower status, fell a little flat.
As O'Malley smells the coffee, he needs to make a deal. Not with the DNC, but with Bernie Sanders, and Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb, and Joe Biden; to rent out some space, issue some press credentials.
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)
The challenge for the European Union and its member states, particularly Germany, is in balancing the often incongruous demands of co-operation and self-interest, and thus demonstrate to their own citizens that concrete achievements can still create a Europe of solidarity and prosperity as Schuman envisaged.
Putin's support for Kadyrov should be conditional. However, Russia's reliance on the Chechen leader to provide security in the North Caucasus and to restrict ISIS's growth in that region makes it very difficult for Putin to change his Chechnya policy.