iOS app Android app

Weekend Roundup

Weekend Roundup: Inauguration Into The Unknown

Nathan Gardels | Posted 01.20.2017 | World
Nathan Gardels

This week a whole nation was inaugurated into the unknown. We don’t know what Donald Trump will do once in the White House. But we do know how he go...

Weekend Roundup: Davos Elites Look To China’s Global Role As America Steps Back

Nathan Gardels | Posted 01.13.2017 | World
Nathan Gardels

A new rift in world affairs appears to be opening up: a division between pro-globalization Asia, with China in the lead, and the transatlantic nations...

Weekend Roundup: Populists Grow Stronger Once in Power

Nathan Gardels | Posted 12.02.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

Populists, caudillos and strongmen in power don’t fail at the outset, they gain strength. That is because their personalist rule delivers up front t...

Weekend Roundup: China Is Now the Only Major Power With a Global Outlook

Nathan Gardels | Posted 11.24.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

President-elect Donald Trump’s “America First” policy marks an historic withdrawal from the world the United States has largely made. His admini...

Weekend Roundup: Will Donald Trump End the New Cold War?

Nathan Gardels | Posted 11.19.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

The irony of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s “America First” policy is that it could end the budding new Cold War that has been developing b...

Weekend Roundup: Democracy Disrupts Itself

Nathan Gardels | Posted 11.11.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

When unresponsive elites forsake the common folk in governing systems anchored in popular sovereignty, demagogues who fashion themselves as tribunes o...

Weekend Roundup: American Democracy's Downside Parallels China's 'Bad Emperor' Problem

Nathan Gardels | Posted 11.11.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

Donald Trump, a xenophobe and liar with no governing experience, could become the leader of the world’s most powerful nation after next week’s Ame...

Weekend Roundup: Where the UN Can Succeed Instead of Fail

Nathan Gardels | Posted 05.13.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

The Paris climate accord, signed by 175 countries in April, was a high point of success for the United Nations. The U.N. has also managed to focus governments around the world on sustainable development goals. Yet, on the security side of the equation, for which the U.N. was principally founded, the record is largely one of failure. (continued)

Weekend Roundup: From Beijing to Moscow, a Digital Curtain Descends

Nathan Gardels | Posted 05.06.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

In March 1946, Winston Churchill famously declared that an "iron curtain" had descended across the European continent, casting a decades-long chill between East and West known as the Cold War. A new chill is in the air once again as China and Russia seek to draw a new "digital curtain" across the world in a joint effort to thwart the Western web from penetrating their cultural space.(continued)

Weekend Roundup: Chernobyl Remains a Warning Against a New Nuclear Arms Race

Nathan Gardels | Posted 04.29.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. More than an accident, it was the beginning of the meltdown of the Soviet Union and defrosting of the Cold War. Mikhail Gorbachev has written that Chernobyl "was an historic turning point" and "perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later." The secretive, cover-up culture of the Soviet state, he recalls, kept timely information from getting to the top so a quick response could be formulated. "The Chernobyl disaster, more than anything else," says Gorbachev, "opened the possibility of much greater freedom of expression, to the point that the system as we knew it could no longer continue. It made absolutely clear how important it was to continue the policy of glasnost."(continued)

Weekend Roundup: Why the World Is Not Falling Apart as Much as You May Think

Nathan Gardels | Posted 04.22.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

Undeniably, the world is splintering. Geopolitical blocs are forming once again, the nuclear arms race is reigniting and religious war rages. Globalization is in retreat as publics across the planet suspect trade agreements, politicians talk about building walls and refugees are turned away. Yet, as Parag Khanna, author of the new book, "Connectography," writes this week from Singapore, "the same world that appears to be falling apart is actually coming together." (continued)

Weekend Roundup: As the West Bickers, the East Builds a New Silk Road

Nathan Gardels | Posted 04.15.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

While the passions of internal discord have stalled the once-confident global march of the West, the East, led by China, is looking ahead with a decades-long strategy to revive the ancient Silk Road through Eurasia as the core of the world's economy and civilization. As Oxford historian Peter Frankopan, author of "The Silk Roads: A New History of the World," writes: "The age of the West is all but at an end when it comes to taking the lead and planning for the future." (continued)

Weekend Roundup: Tax Havens and Refugee Camps Describe Today's World

Nathan Gardels | Posted 04.08.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

This week, two faces of globalization -- tax havens and refugee camps -- were dramatically on display. As the "Panama Papers" revealed, the super-rich and well-connected have been sending boatloads of money offshore to hide their wealth and escape taxation. Powerless and penniless refugees who risked their lives on rickety vessels to reach Europe's safe shores were being sent back from camps in Greece to an uncertain fate amid the violence, misery and insecurity of the regions from which they had escaped. (continued)

Preventing 'Madmen' From Getting Their Hands on Nuclear Material

Kathleen Miles | Posted 04.02.2016 | World
Kathleen Miles

A weighty question loomed large for world leaders who gathered in Washington this week for the fourth Nuclear Security Summit: could terrorists obtain dangerous nuclear material? "There is no doubt that if these madmen ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material, they most certainly would use it to kill as many innocent people as possible," Obama said at the summit. Fears of ISIS' nuclear ambitions have grown since a suspect linked to the November terrorist attacks in Paris was found with a surveillance video of a Belgian nuclear power plant official. Harvard's Matthew Bunn said the Belgian case highlights further steps that must be taken to thwart nuclear terrorism. (continued)

Weekend Roundup: Between Engagement and Terror

Nathan Gardels | Posted 03.26.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

This week we witnessed a world coming together and a world falling apart, a world between engagement and terror. For the first time in nearly 90 years, an American president visited Cuba, turning upside down the anti-Yanqui narrative that has been the raison d'être of one of the Western Hemisphere's most longest-lasting dictatorships. In Brussels, it appears that some children of Muslim immigrants expressed their explosive alienation in terror attacks in the very city many of them grew up, which also happens to be the capital of Europe. (continued)

Weekend Roundup: Putin's Drawdown Is as Much About World Order as About Syria

Nathan Gardels | Posted 03.18.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

Russian President Vladimir Putin's surprise announcement this week of a withdrawal of some forces from Syria has put an end to the narrative that Russia was bound to be trapped in a Mideast quagmire. Whether in Ukraine or in Syria, it has become clear that Russia's actions are as much about its role in the world order as about those countries. (continued)

Weekend Roundup: Why There Is No Better Time for Another Trudeau

Nathan Gardels | Posted 03.11.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

When Justin Trudeau's sophisticated and cosmopolitan father Pierre was prime minister in the 1970s and early 1980s, Canada's brand became synonymous with an open, liberal and sane society that got the balance right. During the Cold War and amid the conflicts in the developing world those days, its red and white maple leaf flag was the welcome symbol of an activist, peace-making foreign policy. However small its political clout compared to the colossus to its south, Canada enjoyed an outsized influence globally as the exemplar of the values of a civilized state. (continued)

Weekend Roundup: Why the 'Persian Spring' May Succeed Where the Arab Spring Failed

Nathan Gardels | Posted 03.07.2016 | World
Nathan Gardels

Could it be that the 'Persian Spring,' manifested by the anti-hard-line vote this week in which over 60 percent of Iran's eligible electorate went to the polls, has a better chance to succeed than the Arab Spring? Unlike the brittle autocracies in most of the Arab world that shattered when challenged, Iran has a robust civil society combined with quasi-democratic institutions put in place after the revolution in 1979 that seemingly enable the country to evolve instead of explode. And Iranians are intent on making their own changes without the outside interventions that have roiled the broader Mideast region in recent years. (continued)

Modi Follows a Menacing Neo-Nationalist Trend

Kathleen Miles | Posted 03.04.2016 | World
Kathleen Miles

Less than two years into Modi's first term as Indian prime minister, an alarming brand of hyper-nationalism is rising. Ministers and right-wing followers of his Hindu nationalist ruling party are labeling a growing number of student protesters, intellectuals and activists as "anti-national" simply for criticizing the government. Modi's party appears to be a part of a neo-nationalist trend as inequality rises and economic challenges mount in India, China, Russia, Turkey and beyond. The governments of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have also recently ramped up nationalism and cracked down on dissenters in an attempt to retain legitimacy. (continued)

Weekend Roundup: Politicizing the 'Rule Of Law' in China -- And the U.S.

Nathan Gardels | Posted 02.19.2017 | World
Nathan Gardels

Ironies abound. While America is engaged in a bitter partisan battle during this election season over who will control the "non-partisan" U.S. Supreme Court, China's Communist Party authorities are arresting lawyers in the name of establishing the "rule of law." (continued)

Weekend Roundup: Mutiny Against the Status Quo

Nathan Gardels | Posted 02.12.2017 | World
Nathan Gardels

At this stage in the American election season it is far from clear, despite early wins and losses, who the presidential nominees will be. As Julian Baggini writes, what is certain is that America, like much of Europe, is experiencing a mutiny against the status quo. The populist revolt against political and economic elites is spreading across borders everywhere except -- so far -- East Asia, where the prospects of the average person have risen instead of fallen over the past decade. (continued)

Weekend Roundup: The Pope Blesses China

Nathan Gardels | Posted 02.05.2017 | World
Nathan Gardels

Many seem to fear the rise of China as a challenge to the West. Not Pope Francis. In a remarkable interview published this week in Asia Times, he takes the long view, transcending contemporary geopolitics and embracing the return of the Middle Kingdom's ancient civilization to the global stage as enriching for us all. (continued)

Weekend Roundup: The Bitter Fruits of the Arab Spring

Nathan Gardels | Posted 01.29.2017 | World
Nathan Gardels

The tragic outcome of the Arab Spring doesn't get any less bitter with time. The repercussions of that pan-Arab rebellion five years ago are still traumatizing the region and the world. (continued)

Weekend Roundup: 5 Million Jobs Lost to Robots and Inequality Too Vast to Last

Nathan Gardels | Posted 01.22.2017 | World
Nathan Gardels

As global elites gathered in Davos this week, the World Economic Forum released a daunting survey that estimates that 5 million jobs will be lost across the world in coming years to robotic automation. Oxfam also reported this week that 62 ultra-rich individuals held as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people on the planet -- inequality too vast to last. While globalization and rapid technological advance empower some with unprecedented possibilities, they dispossess others, causing growing gaps in power and wealth that lead in turn to fear, resentment and violence. In this one world a race is on between the two consequences of change. As Jo Confino writes from Davos, "rapid advances in technology are pulling the world in opposite directions."(continued)

Weekend Roundup: A Pattern of Crises Connects Cologne and Istanbul

Nathan Gardels | Posted 01.15.2017 | World
Nathan Gardels

Even before the "Night of Shame" on New Year's Eve in Cologne further fueled an already fervent anti-foreigner backlash, German leaders were desperately looking to Turkey to stem the flow of refugees headed to Europe from the war-torn Mideast. Now 10 German tourists have lost their lives at the foot of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. They are the victims of yet another suicide bombing by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in the wake of Turkey's decision last July to allow U.S. warplanes to fly from its soil to attack militant positions in Syria. Along the old route of the Orient Express, violence and disorder are weaving an interrelated and self-reinforcing pattern of crises that will be hard to unravel. (continued)