No sooner did the global elites leave their annual talking shop high in the Alps at Davos last week than the people spoke in Greece. In a mutiny against an untenable status quo, those who are run over have revolted against those who run things. Now righteous populism must face economic, financial and political realities if other European states don't bend Greece's way.
To keep up with the drama as it evolves over the coming weeks, we've connected WorldPost readers directly to the daily blog of Yanis Varoufakis, the self-described "erratic Marxist" who is now Greece's finance minister. Writing from Athens, HuffPost Greece Editorial Director Sophia Papaioannou says Alexis Tsipras' electoral victory will give suffering Greeks "space and time" to address their predicament. Former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou argues that the path forward after the election is for a national referendum on a "Greek plan" for reform that will bind a now polarized nation. Rena Dourou, a deputy of the victorious Syriza party, notes that the vote was as much against the corruption of the formerly ruling political parties in Greece as it was against austerity. (continued)
Cheaper and cleaner than oil -- and seemingly abundant in supply -- shale gas was intended to be our "bridge" fuel to a bright future of renewable energy. But a clear look at the costs involved reveals that shale is a teetering bridge leading to an even higher-cost future.
What about "shared values" that Obama and Modi have flaunted? They help in dealing with a shabby world but only up to a point. The pragmatist in Modi knows that since India is China's neighbor, it is imperative to calm a neighbor's angst -- and the angst of distant neighbors -- rather than to merely revel in the effusive cordiality of a country located beyond the seven seas. The basic instincts of the two ancient civilizations might yet astound the world.
America's resurgence is real. With a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production, we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. Now we have to choose what we want that future to look like. Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?
GENEVA -- The Security Council must be enlarged, and developing countries should be given greater voting rights in the Bretton Woods institutions: the IMF and the World Bank. In exchange, the world's newest powers must begin to take on a greater share of responsibility for the global order upon which their success depends. They can no longer stand on the sidelines, denouncing the injustices of the past. Instead, they must join their peers in building the future.
TOKYO -- It is unacceptable for a government to be unable to protect its own citizens. That is why Abe is determined to amend, or at least reinterpret, Japan's constitution to allow for the kinds of defense maneuvers that other countries, from Israel to India, employ when their people are threatened. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson once put it, a constitution is not a suicide pact.
Pope Francis is carrying out a revolution in the Vatican. It will also be a revolution in the world, setting it right because it is upside down. The revolution of Jesus of Nazareth: "The last will be first, and the first will be last."
However neatly wrapped, self-interest is the underlying theme of foreign policy. India will have to tread with extreme caution on this path of a joint strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. will only walk on this path up to a point. Australia and Japan have not exhibited consistency in their China policy.
Wobbly nationalistic middle classes are not to be underestimated as political forces. They tend to have a stronger sense of their own importance than lower social classes, which explains why the spectacular global growth in incomes of the bottom 50 percent seems to have so little direct political valence, however huge it is in terms of how well humanity lives. Middle classes in more authoritarian states like China might indeed make even stronger demands, as a class, than in democracies, since their ascendance under "state capitalism" could lead to greater expectations of the state. One can imagine income inequality becoming a genuinely strategic question.
It must be emphasized that true secularism is not opposed to religion, and a secular democratic state will not only eliminate ethnic and religious discrimination, such as pitting Shiites against Sunnis, but will also create the conditions for the religious people to practice their beliefs free of the government. Islam and secularism are completely compatible. In fact, a true "Islamic state" is not only unjustified, but also impossible to establish.
My swim from Cuba to Florida, aside from the personal challenge to make endurance history across a wild, epic ocean, was always meant to also make a statement of hopeful reconnection between our two beautiful nations.
MOSCOW -- It should be understood that attempts to put pressure on Russia through unilateral sanctions -- which are illegitimate and have been condemned by the U.N. General Assembly -- will not make us forego what we think is right and just.
Greece's and Europe's long-term best interests require the kind of reform that Greek governments have failed to pursue. And neither Mr. Tsipras nor any other individual leader or single country can be expected to contribute to such a policy shift without quick, clear and strong EU and social alliances.
ATHENS -- The internal political situation is highly polarized between political forces playing with fear and insecurity and others capitalizing on anger and despair. This inflates extreme right and left populism. Much irresponsible and opportunistic rhetoric abounds. This polarization is squeezing out moderate left of center forces that historically have been fundamental in promoting democracy and reforms in Greece.
We are a proud and hard-working people who saw our lives change abruptly, with the introduction of strict austerity measures. The new Prime Minister is promising to change all that.
It has been clear that the Greek citizens have rejected, not just the austerity measures, but also the vicious, patronizing and corrupted political system, ruled for four decades by the conservative ND and the socialist PASOK.
ATHENS -- The strong mandate he got from the polls, has put a burden on Mr. Tsipras to fulfill the great expectations he produced. If he succeeds, the Spanish Podemos, the French Front National and Italy's Bepe Grillo could all follow suit and question Berlin's fiscal orthodoxy. The much feared domino effect set off by Greece at the outset of euro crisis in 2010 could now materialize in another way.
Western hopes of a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Ukraine are effectively dead. It is high time for the West to realize that Putin and his proxies have no interest in peace.
The extension of the invitation by Modi to India's national celebration, and its acceptance by Obama ensured that the president's second visit to India would be a groundbreaking one. Symbolically, it sidelines the anti-American sentiments that had come to dominate the Indian political sphere (regardless of favourable public opinion of the United States). And when he finally arrived in New Delhi this week, Obama received a rock star's welcome, years after some of the shine had begun to wear off his presidency.