As China establishes a new infrastructure investment bank for Asia and builds out the new Silk Road trading route westward to Turkey, the U.S. Congress is balking at trade agreements and retreating from the very global institutions that have been the pillars of the American-led order. The European project is unraveling as Greece is poised on the brink of default and an exit from the euro. No doubt President Obama's proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership needs some fixing once on the "fast-track," notably concerning the weight it gives to corporate prerogatives. But something more is going on. In Europe, too, there is mounting opposition to the proposed trans-Atlantic trade pact with the U.S., as well as the rise of anti-foreigner and anti-EU parties. Is the West abandoning globalization and the post-war integration of Europe, a mutiny against what has provided its bounty? (continued)
MOSCOW -- Apparently, the Kremlin thinks that deploying 40 new ICBMs will somehow improve its image, just as the Soviet Union once used the same missiles in a misguided attempt to make itself more attractive.
Marina Litvinenko is the widow of Russian FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who fled Russia for the United Kingdom in 2000. Alexander Litvinenko was murdered by radioactivity poisoning in London in 2006; and since then, Marina Litvinenko has become an activist who has pushed for several inquiries into the events leading to his death.
The value of democracy, when it works, is its capacity to change course. In both Greece, and now Turkey, recent elections have upended the status quo. With Greece having lost an astonishing 25 percent of its GDP through austerity policies, the Syriza government that came to power earlier this year has insisted on sticking to its popular mandate to resist the demands of creditors and hold out for debt relief. The prospects of default and an exit from the eurozone have never been closer. In Turkey, which has been seeking to join the European Union, the autocratic path set by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been stopped in its tracks by voters in this week's poll. (continued)
Joseph Nye is a University Distinguished Professor at Harvard University. He was also the former Dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and an Assistant Secretary of Defense under the Clinton administration.
Trouble is brewing between the U.S. and China over the aptly named Mischief Reef and other islets in the South China Sea, which China claims. The contretemps over these tiny shoals is an early proxy battle for the grand contest of the 21st century between the rising power of China and the established American world order. Writing this week from Beijing, Yanmei Xie argues that the U.S. should be defending a global commons in the South China Sea, not naval supremacy. Shen Dingli writes from Shanghai that China has every right to "build sovereignty" there. Harvard professor and former chair of the CIA's National Intelligence Council, Joe Nye, says the U.S. should stick to its long-standing policy of not getting involved in territorial disputes in Asia. (continued)
An imposed peace can only happen if ISIS is stopped, and only a joint coalition that includes the West and Russia would be able to achieve that end.
In one of the stranger developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko recently appointed former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili as the governor of the Odessa region.
Luke Harding is an award-winning foreign correspondent from the Guardian, with extensive experience in conflict zones such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Georgia and Ukraine.
If communism is "The God That Failed," liberation theology is the gospel that has succeeded. Marx may be dead, but the cause of the poor and oppressed has been resurrected. This is the message the Argentine pope, Francis, sent by canonizing Oscar Romero, reversing decades of conservative opposition in the church hierarchy and setting the El Salvadoran archbishop on the road to sainthood. Romero was gunned down at the altar in 1980 by a right-wing death squad that regarded him as a dangerous Marxist because of his activism on behalf of the poor. As Paul Vallely writes, Romero is an exemplar for Francis. Both are "orthodox and yet utterly radical." Romero is "a priest whose life stands in testament to the kind of Catholicism preferred by a pope who declared within days of his election that he wanted 'a poor Church for the poor.'" (continued)
In a series of peculiar events that can only be contextually placed in the reality of the 21st century, football, war, and diplomacy meet and intertwine. Today, Russia and the U.S take one more step in their very own modern adaptation of the Cold War in the curious battlefield of international soccer.
In the bad old days of the Cold War, the left and the right used to play a nasty game called "Who's Your Favorite Dictator?" But the terms of the game have changed.
David Satter is a journalist who was a Financial Times correspondent in Moscow from 1976 to 1982; and subsequently was a Soviet affairs specialist for the Wall Street Journal.
Imagine an alternative universe in which the two major Cold War superpowers evolved into the United Soviet Socialist States. The conjoined entity, linked perhaps by a new Bering Straits land bridge, combines the optimal features of capitalism and collectivism.
The seizure of Palmyra this week by ISIS could not be more emblematic of the new dark age descending on the Mideast. In the name of decontaminating Islam, the Wahhabi offshoot has pledged to demolish even the ruins of this ancient crossroads of the Roman Empire, India, China and Persia that represents the historical diversity of intermingling cultures. It is yet another sobering lesson in how the accomplishments of civilization can be rolled back by the mad pursuit of pure states of being - whether of ideal pasts, utopian futures, races or religions. As WorldPost correspondent Sophia Jones reports, Palmyra is also darkly remembered by many Syrians for its more recent history as a "death camp" of "torture and fear" in the 1980s and 1990s under Hafez al- Assad.
As we remember those who gave their all to ensure our freedoms and liberties, let us also guard against clever appropriations of the memory of blood and sacrifice for political ends.