This week, as Baghdad is under siege from within and Kobani is poised to fall to ISIS fighters, the question of "Who Lost Iraq?" is taking center stage. Many, including some former insiders, are quick to blame President Obama for pulling American troops out "too soon" -- despite the fact that the Iraq war wearily tested the sacrifice and patience of Americans longer than World War I and II combined. Obama was elected in the first place to end it all. The primary fault, more likely, lies with the blunt trauma to the region caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation in 2003, the unwise dismantling of the Iraqi army and the exclusion of Sunnis from post-Saddam power arrangements. A decade later, the counter-revolution is underway. In this contest, the reticent use of 21st century air power appears to be no match for the 17th century fervor of the Islamic State's boots on the ground. The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy calls for the expulsion of modern day Turkey from NATO because of Turkey's willful abandonment of the Kurds in Kobani. Writing from Beirut, legendary former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke traces the appeal of ISIS today to the yearning for Islamic authority after the early 20th century demise of the Ottoman Caliphate. (continued)
Saying that "Ukraine is empowered to join Europe" is an empty phrase. However, when you point out the mutual interests that ensure that, as in Mandeville's fable of the bees, where private vices commingle to produce public good, Ukraine will in fact be part of Europe, it becomes a phrase with real impact.
Just two words, "Ukraine" and "Putin," bring out the old fighter in him, which seems slightly unusual for a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. These words explain the deep concern of the Poles, and indeed all Eastern European countries, to what is happening nearby: "We need missiles to aim at Russia."
This week the world anxiously winced as Ebola spread out of Africa to the U.S. and Spain. The traveling virus exposed some harsh new global realities: the hot zone incubator of Africa's impoverished urbanization, persistent social inequality and decrepit public health infrastructure all linked to the rest of the planet by air travel. Nothing is any longer a world away. In The WorldPost this week, the co-discoverer of Ebola, Peter Piot, calls for urgent logistical aid to the infected areas of Africa. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim writes that the fight against the pandemic must entail a fight against poverty and chaos in countries just emerging from civil war and strife. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization pins her hopes on cutting edge science. Michael Elliott of the Bill Gates-backed One Foundation calls for outside assistance from NGOs and governments for investment in public health systems. (continued)
Vote your interests in November. Continue to be partisan to your heart's delight. Just don't call yourself a patriot if you search to find reasons to disregard objective facts, data and documented history in an attempt to justify rooting against a sitting president.
People in Poland are eating apples these days. Lots of apples. Here in Warsaw, they're pressed into your hands at a street festival, or baked into piles of pies and cakes. You see them everywhere. It's an act of defiance.
In the streets of Hong Kong today, China's future is meeting its past. It's 17 year-old rebellious student Joshua Wong, who is leading the Umbrella Revolution protests, versus Confucius, the sage of order and "social harmony," whose 2565th birthday was just emphatically celebrated by Xi Jinping in Beijing last week. To put this historic crossroads into perspective, The WorldPost publishes excerpts of Xi Jinping's remarkable speech on the anniversary of Confucius' birthday, which amounts to an official rehabilitation of ancient Confucian thought as the guiding light of modern China. From Hong Kong, WorldPost China correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from the ground on the orderly rebellion of the Umbrella Revolution. Beijing artist, Jia, looks at the Hong Kong protests through the prism of her memories of the excitement and dashed hopes of the Tiananmen Square events in 1989. Lawrence Lau, a former member of Hong Kong's Executive Council, argues that the election plan presented by Beijing, which stirred the protests, will actually allow for genuinely competitive elections over time.
There is no practical solution to the Russo-Ukrainian war. The most one can hope for is to "freeze" it and thereby transform hot war into cold war between Russia and Ukraine and between Russia and the West. Cold war may not be the West's optimal solution, but, while inconvenient for everyone, it will be infinitely preferable to a hot war.
Western sanctions are harming the Russian economy, but that doesn't mean they will achieve anything the West wants in Ukraine.
This week, the U.N. Security Council stood united in a unanimous resolution to fight what President Obama called the ISIS "network of death." Yet, despite pleas for the world to act together on global warming, the leaders of India and China failed to even show up at the U.N. Climate Summit. India's environment minister actually announced that his country would not cut carbon emissions and that the burden should fall on the developed countries. As the U.S. struck ISIS targets in both Syria and Iraq, Pope Francis visited Albania, a Muslim-majority country that is one of the poorest in Europe. Writing from Tirana, Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama, reports on the pope's visit and his inspiring message of peace, hope and tolerance. (continued)
Russian leaders see the protests in Ukraine as part of a Western plot. For them, color revolutions are not manifestations of popular will but a new form of warfare invented by Western governments seeking to remove independently minded national governments. They have argued that this is part of a global strategy to force foreign values on a range of nations around the world that refuse to accept U.S. hegemony, and that Russia was a particular target of this strategy.
The sanctions on Russia aren't working, and can't work. The plight of French farmers shows how the sanctions can be self-destructive, and the news from UEFA are a signal that Russia is still a trusted partner and an ideological ally of the European Union.
Undoubtedly, America wants to get India's support for its Russian sanctions. But it is very unlikely that America can get India to abandon it's long term Russian ally.
Beating ISIS on the battleground could prove inconclusive, even counterproductive, if its dogma is not de-legitimized. This cannot be done by the gun but the law and a political system that offers an alternative to the rule of might.
This week, the world reeled from a welter of cross currents. Though the "yes" vote on independence lost in the end, the Scottish referendum revealed a passionately dis-United Kingdom. Elsewhere, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in India, the other Asian giant, calling for a global economic alliance of the "world's factory and world's back office." On Wall Street, China's Alibaba launched what is expected to be the biggest market valuation of an IPO ever. Pope Francis, meanwhile, mused that we had already entered "a piecemeal WWIII." In an exclusive commentary for The WorldPost, former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown argues that the real quarrel of his fellow Scots is with the dislocations of globalization, not the Union. (continued)
Back in the days of the cold war, the west made serious efforts to engage with the societies of Eastern Europe, including Russia. The west had a dialogue with those societies, today there is none.