As Pope Francis slammed Europe as "elderly and haggard" in an address this week in Strasbourg, the speaker of the Polish parliament, Radek Sikorski, warned in the WorldPost that Europe's starkest challenge is defending "a world of rules" against an aggressive Russia. Writing from the Vatican for our "Following Francis" series, Sébastien Maillard looks at the "holy ghostwriters" behind the pontiff's tweets and encyclicals.
WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports from Istanbul on yet another retrograde move in Turkey's modern history taken by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who declared this week that men and women can't be equal. Though Erdogan still considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party a terrorist organization, Nazand Begikhani writes from Iraqi Kurdistan about how women from that party who have taken up arms to defend their fellow Kurds from the radically misogynist Islamic State are also advancing equal rights in their own society.
This week, as the Israeli cabinet moved to define Israel as a "Jewish state," the French parliament, like other European parliaments of late, is voting on whether to recognize a Palestinian state. Writing from Paris, Bernard-Henri Lévy argues passionately that such a move, intended to enhance peace, will perpetuate war. (continued)
Asia has been infected by a silent, healthy virus of modernization. There is a remarkably wide and deep consensus among regional leaders that they should focus on modernization and pragmatic development. Because it is silent, the Western media has not noticed and continues to predict doom.
Iran made major concessions. It was excessive demands by the U.S. and its allies that prevented the comprehensive agreement from materializing.
Without shared responsibility, there will be no shared land. By excusing one side from its historical and political burden, we may believe that we are seeking peace. In fact, we are perpetuating war. As Pascal said, "He who would act the angel, acts the brute."
The jersey, of course, is black skin. A jersey we can never take off.
From the start, Americans have been inspired by the idea of “equal justice under law.” The conflict between justice under law and racial torment is on display again this week in St. Louis, Missouri. The world is watching, as it should be. Can we live up to our ideals?
'Interstellar' is rightly praised for its adherence to the real science of black holes, wormholes, extra dimensions and time travel. But it goes deeper. Perhaps the philosophy of 'Interstellar' as well as its science, is worth exploring.
After millions of years of gloriously successful life on Earth, a dangerous new organism arose and spread rapidly across the planet. With unprecedented efficiency, this revolutionary life form pumped noxious fumes into the air, destroyed ecosystems, and exterminated a substantial fraction of its fellow species. And the gasses it added to the atmosphere drastically altered global temperatures so that, between habitat destruction and climate change, the world was changed forever.
The impetus for NATO enlargement did not come from a triumphalist Washington. On the contrary, the U.S. initially resisted even the breakup of the Soviet Union. Since 1990, 12 European states have asked to join NATO. They all chose for themselves to belong to this cooperative military alliance. NATO membership was a key part of "locking in" their turbulent democratic reforms.
Francis is now busy with something more magisterial, more doctrinal: a new encyclical. The last one, released in July 2013, was taken from one already much prepared by his predecessor, Benedict XVI. This time, it will be fully his own and deal with "human ecology."
While the courage, audacity and resistance of Kurdish women fighters combating Islamic State jihadists in Kobani have made headlines in the last few months, Kurdish women have marked another revolutionary step by passing an equality decree that could guarantee their own rights within family and society.
This year I have watched from close quarters as a country has been torn apart. A militant Islamic group has successfully exploited an opportunity to carve out a sphere of influence in a riven nation. In a society divided by ethnic and - more prominently - religious loyalties, decades of tension between communities has manifested as sectarian violence.
The WorldPost has obtained exclusive permission to publish a dialogue between Henry Kissinger and Fu Ying, which took place during a recent visit she made to the United States. Its candor and tone offer valuable insights into the thinking of these two important figures on the foreign policy of their countries. Fu Ying -- who was referred to as the "iron lady" during her time as China's ambassador to the U.K. -- is now the powerful chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress of China. Henry Kissinger is one of America's leading strategists and a former U.S. secretary of state.
I was impressed by the degree of anger, by the overwhelming dissatisfaction with the way things are now, by the unanimity of the clamor for change. I felt that a breaking point will soon be reached.
The government is now afraid to use public force to prevent demonstrators from blockading roads and streets, stealing buses and trucks, ransacking supermarkets and torching government buildings. President Peña Nieto has claimed that his patience has limits, but so far the Ayotzinapa movement appears to have forced him into a corner.
The mood in Mexico is so depressing that even Elena Poniatowska, the novelist-journalist who chronicled the 1968 massacre of students in Tlatelolco, feels a chill when she talks about the murder of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, who were found burned to death in a municipal trash dump. At 82, Poniatowska keeps on exposing social injustice in Mexico in memorable books like Here's to You, Jesusa, Nothing No One: The Voices of the Earthquake and thousands of journalistic articles in newspapers and magazines all over the world. This year, she won the prestigious Premio Cervantes, the equivalent of the Nobel for Spanish language writers.
There is a deep history behind Mexico's current horrors of crime and impunity that only Mexicans can deal with. A weak state, the informal economy and lack of accountability because of a low tax base all play key roles -- but U.S. drug and gun policies are also responsible.
The impunity enjoyed by some has tarnished the police, prosecutors and politicians as a whole, whether honest or dishonest. To prevent another Iguala -- or another Villas de Salvárcar or another San Fernando -- Mexican leaders must show that rule of law prevails, especially for those required to uphold it.
In the political arena in China at this moment, "the rule of law" is the most fashionable topic. The Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China which was held from Oct. 20 to 23 adopted the decision on major issues concerning comprehensively advancing rule of law in China. For the first time, the ruling party of China dedicated an entire plenary session to such a topic.