International Relations

Rogers and Shetler-Jones: After Brexit, a Bold Britain… – War on the Rocks

Brexit has given the United Kingdom a once-in-a-generation opportunity to sweep out the dead wood – clear away the policies that no longer serve a purpose in the contemporary context – and replace them with something more fit for the

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Federica Saini Fasanotti: A confederal model for Libya – Brookings Institution

The long-advocated national-level solution of political unity does not, in fact, seem possible. Instead, a confederation of the three regions built on the original disposition of tribes and natural borders could probably assure a deeper stability. Regional governments could better

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Hussein Ibish: Elie Wiesel’s Moral Imagination Never Reached Palestine – Foreign Policy

The fraught relationship between Wiesel and his Arab contemporaries is characterized by a disheartening lack of compassion in the context of a conflict that often feels profoundly existential. Both Wiesel and his Arab detractors and antagonists all too often bought

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Timothy Garton Ash: As a lifelong English European, this is the biggest defeat of my political life – The Guardian

This nostalgic optimism is the siren call of the Brexiteers: we were once great on our own, so we can be again. It’s a complete non-sequitur of course (“Carthage was once great, so it can be again”), but mighty seductive.

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Christopher Caldwell: Britain Exits, Democracy Lives, And Everything Has Changed – The Weekly Standard

Everything is being revalued. Political institutions, too. Economic issues, fear, immigration—these all caught Britons’ attention and rallied them to the polls. But at its core this was a battle over definitions of democracy and freedom. This may have been Britain’s

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Frederic C. Hof: A Humanitarian Intervention in the West Wing – Foreign Policy

There are, to be sure, risks associated with changing course and protecting civilians — at least some of them — from mass homicide. These risks cannot be swept under the carpet. Yet neither can the risks associated with leaving 100

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Weaponizing the Sky – The Atlantic

…[P]aranoia aside, the systems are nevertheless accumulating. In 2014, for example, the U.S. Air Force launched a trio of satellites in geosynchronous orbit to keep “neighborhood watch” over other satellites. Indeed, “space weaponization is inevitable,” David C. Hardesty has written

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Ian Bremer: Trump and the World: What Could Actually Go Wrong – POLITICO Magazine

Donald Trump presents himself as the man uniquely qualified to “remasculate” U.S. foreign policy, to sweep aside those who believe leadership depends as much on patience, discipline, generosity and imagination as on military muscle and an iron will. He wants

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Frederic C. Hof: The Non-Option of Disengagement from the Middle East – MENASource

The next president, like it or not, will have his or her hands full with the Middle East. The starting point for getting anything right is to reject the proposition that we will always get it wrong; that it is

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Célia Belin: A Pendulum Swing on Foreign Policy? Not So Fast – War on the Rocks

There is a deep division within American society on U.S. engagement in the world. The split is perfectly illustrated by recent Pew Research Center figures of public support for the use of ground troops in Iraq and Syria to fight

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From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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