November 20, 2019

World

"By the numbers, the European Union is a giant. Its economy exceeds China’s by $7 trillion and is just a bit smaller than America’s $20 trillion. ... But if one measures by its weight in world affairs, Europe is a runt."

"Autocracy flourished in 2018 because when Washington pursues a so-called realist policy of global retrenchment, it looks for dictators it thinks it can rely on."

"Thwarting Brexit carries proportionally high “hidden” dangers. Supranational, “command and control” approaches to politics are losing favor across Europe..."

"Let’s hope the February meeting does not occur. Trump had been successful through the middle of May of last year when he was pressuring—but not talking to—the North Koreans."

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"Kenya has been an al-Shabaab target for years. It seems like that will continue, even with US-backed military efforts to defeat the terrorists."

"In a bid to create new space for green industries and fossil-free energy production, greater Copenhagen wants to build an entirely new business and infrastructure district on the city’s southwestern edge."

"What France (and the rest of Europe) is witnessing is not a populist revolt but a politically incorrect one. People have had enough of being mocked and marginalised..."

"Decades after Franco’s regime, the country’s citizens continue to unearth the crimes of the past... The hope to restore historical memory is, in many ways, a response to the Franco regime’s appropriation of the past. "

"For the first time, India’s leaders have sought to redefine the country effectively as a home for South Asians that aren’t Muslims -- and they’re enshrining the distinction into law."

"They always anticipated U.S. support would run out, but President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to rapidly pull U.S. forces out of northeast Syria has nevertheless stunned the Kurds..."

"Scarcely a week into Jair Bolsonaro’s tenure as president of Brazil, protections for the environment and indigenous and LGBTQ populations have been removed..."

"The protests have combined legitimate economic grievances with the worst of far-right politics. And the French left has been happy to go along."

"America needs to back up its allies (Israel, Saudi Arabia, and potentially Turkey), and isolate its adversaries (Iran, Russia, China, Islamic State). Everything else is secondary."

"It’s almost hard to remember now that the prospect of nuclear conflict between the United States and North Korea seemed very real and imminent a year ago. At the dawning of this new year, we’re in a much different place."

"By some estimates, there are more than 100 “uncontacted tribes” in Brazil, mostly in the western reaches of the Amazon rainforest. These are indigenous peoples who live beyond the direct control, and sometimes knowledge, of the Brazilian state."

"Should we conclude that an autocratic China is sure to become the world’s dominant power in the next few decades? My answer is: no."

"Liberal democrats need to forge a new way of talking about the challenges they face. Instead of calling their opponents Nazis or fascists, liberals should focus on why the popular support for their rule remains high..."

"Almost everywhere (with a few exceptions such as Israel and South Korea), favourable views of the US are declining. Alliances are loosening and the multilateral world order is creaking."

"While the NHS has long been the subject of some scorn in America, it is also often heralded elsewhere as a shining example of how universal health care can succeed. British citizens are fiercely protective of it."

"She was swept into power in a landslide 2015 election that many around the world hoped would bring greater freedom and stability to her country. Three years later, Aung San Suu Kyi is isolated and besieged by critics."

"After Trump was elected, one reaction in global capitals was “maybe this won’t be so bad.” The resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis has sent a shock wave through American politics. But its impact overseas may be just as disruptive."

"The West owes them a debt for the price they’ve paid. Instead, a U.S. departure would threaten them with disaster... I heard frequently from Kurds about their fears of ethnic cleansing should Turkey invade."

"...although President Trump didn’t mention Iraq in his tweet, it is not a wholly separate theater from Syria as the Islamic State once ruled over territory covering much of both countries, with its operatives shuttling back and forth."

"The pact comes as Saudi Arabia, which is leading a U.S.-backed air war against a Shiite separatist group known as the Houthis, is facing increasing international and congressional pressure to pursue a peace deal."

"Donald Trump is the only President of the United States since the collapse of the Soviet Union who has been unable to “reset” the U.S. relationship with Russia."

Iran's cyber attacks on the United States are a serious threat to American security. So how come the American media is so disinterested?

"Until recently, most Americans have understood that the biggest threats to their privacy came from their own government."

"There's nothing democratic about forcing through a Brexit deal that voters in 2016 probably wouldn't have approved."

"Like many Western analyses of the Middle East, they reduce Iraq’s complex internal conflicts to catchall explainers of ‘sectarianism’ and ‘tribalism’ – presuming that some groups of people are intrinsically primed for antagonism."

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