THE BLOG
03/14/2014 02:46 pm ET Updated May 14, 2014

Weekend Roundup

The WorldPost opened the week with a blog post on the widening split between Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan and the country's more liberal president, Abdullah Gul. After Erdogan proclaimed he would not let Turkey "be devoured by YouTube and Facebook" and threatened a further crackdown on internet freedoms, Gul responded that "there will be no stepping back from freedoms" in Turkey. A source close to President Gul outlined in detail for The WorldPost revisions that Gul has made in recent internet legislation, including requiring court orders to block websites.

Ukraine again dominated the news as Russian forces amassed along Ukrainian borders and Crimea prepared for a referendum on joining Russia. Die Zeit editor Josef Joffe wrote that, thanks to the Ukraine crisis, Europe now has an address: Berlin c/o Angela Merkel. We also reported on comments by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who compared Russia going into Crimea to NATO going into Kosovo without UN backing. He also said sanctions against Russia would hurt the European economy.

Brookings Institution President and Russia expert Strobe Talbott recalled how, when the Soviet Union crumbled, then Russian president Boris Yeltsin refused to redraw boundaries within Russia and that, by doing so now in Crimea, Putin risks further breakup of post-Soviet Russia. The U.S. State Department's former top "digital diplomat" Alec Ross examined Russian cyberwar against the Ukraine.

Ukrainian intellectual Constantin Sigov thanked French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy for "challenging a defeatist Europe" and championing the Ukrainian cause. Bernard-Henri Levy himself wrote of the fascist dangers of the kind of "linguistic nationalism" Vladimir Putin is promoting.

As the Syrian civil war entered its third year, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, noting "donor fatigue," appealed for more humanitarian aid to deal with the flood of refugees in the region. Harvard's Joe Nye argued there are limits to the West's "duties beyond borders" in becoming engaged with every crisis that arises.

The WorldPost Editor Nathan Gardels reviewed a seminal essay in The Economist on "What's Gone Wrong with Democracy?" The essay argued for a new calibration of democracy that combines non-partisan technocracy to manage the complex links of global interdependence with more direct democracy through plebiscites and initiatives.

Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz, along with former U.S. Labor Secretary Bob Reich, delved into enveloping inequality and the displacement of jobs by technology in the United States.

Literary journalist Pico Iyer wrote about "the winds of changelessness" in Japan three years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami there. Rem Koolhaas, the global "starchitect" and urban thinker, looked at China's historically unique effort "to bring the city to the countryside" in its plans for accelerated urbanization over the coming decades.