Domingo, 16 de junio de 2013

On examining the US assessment of Syria’s alleged chemical weapons use, Vladimir Putin’s top foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said: “What was presented to us by the Americans does not look convincing. It would be hard to even call them facts.”

Unwelcome as it may be to the French and British governments, who have been leading the push for this finding, he is right. The White House statement says that laboratory analyses of samples “reveal exposure to sarin” (which the NY Times reports amounts to two individuals, who have been shown to have traces of the agent sarin in their bodies), but then goes on to add the qualifier that “each positive result indicates that an individual was exposed to sarin, but it does not tell us how or where the individuals were exposed, or who was responsible for the dissemination”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Much has been said about the events of Gezi Park in Istanbul, but to fully understand them a broader perspective is required.

First, it’s wrong to claim there is a deficit of democracy in Turkey. From the moment the AK party came to power we have striven to achieve a stable and just system in which all segments of our society enjoy their basic rights under the rule of law. It has not been easy – we have had to overcome myriad hurdles, including several aborted coup attempts and efforts to remove the party and its leaders through arbitrary and politicised legal proceedings.…  Seguir leyendo »

La révélation du système d’espionnage de masse sur Internet organisé par le renseignement américain est une excellente nouvelle. Depuis des années, l’alerte était donnée. Une guerre informatique invisible changeait le monde. Les signes étaient partout mais ignorés par la plupart. L’affaire «Prism» oblige à ouvrir les yeux. La guerre des réseaux avait commencé de longue date. Elle est maintenant déclarée.

Un couple, la cinquantaine élégante, déjeune hier au restaurant non loin de ma table et l’acoustique me soumet à des bribes de leur conversation. «Crois-tu que cela soit vrai ? Que l’on est espionné sur Internet ?» demande l’épouse. «Oui, mais on n’a rien à cacher», répond-il.…  Seguir leyendo »

Para unos se trata del «vuelo del Águila», para otros del «regreso del Ogro». La reaparición política de Aznar, consumada en su conferencia del Club Siglo XXI, no ha dejado indiferente a nadie y tanto algunos colegas en columnas y tertulias como personas muy allegadas a él han recurrido al retorno de Napoleón de la isla de Elba para interpretar irónicamente los hechos. Pero el símil es tan potente, la epopeya de los 100 días que transcurren entre el desembarco en el muelle de Golfe-Juan el 1 de marzo de 1815 y la batalla de Waterloo, tan subyugante, que no es de extrañar que predomine el trazo grueso al buscar equivalencias.…  Seguir leyendo »

Estuve una semana en París y el fantasma de Hannah Arendt me salió al encuentro por todas partes. En tres cines del Barrio Latino exhibían la película que Margarethe von Trotta le ha dedicado y me gustó mucho verla. No es una gran película pero sí un buen testimonio sobre la recia personalidad de la autora de Los orígenes del totalitarismo, su lucidez y su insobornable independencia intelectual y política.

El film está casi totalmente centrado en el reportaje que Hannah Arendt escribió, a pedido suyo, para The New Yorker sobre el juicio al criminal nazi Adolf Eichmann que se celebró en Jerusalén en 1961, y el escándalo y la controversia que provocó, sobre todo al aparecer ese texto ampliado en un libro en 1963, donde la pensadora alemana desarrolla su teoría sobre “la banalidad del mal”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una primera interrogación para enfocar el tema: ¿Se merecen los ricos su riqueza? Esta pregunta fue formulada en 23 países y la respuesta, publicada en «The Economist» el año pasado, se resume así: el único país que alcanza el 60% en sentido positivo es Australia. Una sorprendente mezcla de países –Canadá, USA, China, India– superan el 50%. El resto de los países no llega a ese límite. España y Turquía con sólo el 20%, Rusia con poco más del 10% y Grecia con el 9%, son los cuatro países donde la respuesta es más negativa. Medir la desigualdad social con precisión no es tarea fácil.…  Seguir leyendo »

La difusión de pornografía infantil por medio de las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación moviliza importantes recursos sociales para combatirla y al mismo tiempo plantea importantes dilemas éticos y jurídicos. Desde que en 1995 el Código Penal español introdujo la primera norma que permite castigar a quienes utilizan a menores para producir este tipo de materiales, en sucesivas reformas se han ido ampliando las conductas punibles, además de incrementarse las penas. Desde el 2010 se castiga la simple posesión para el propio uso, y las penas para las conductas más graves pueden ser de cinco a nueve años de prisión.…  Seguir leyendo »

This is the second of a two-part series on dealing with North Korea’s nuclear provocations. (See first part)

Condemnations by the United Nations Security Council of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic programs have become so ritualized that they corrode the U.N.’s credibility as its demands are continually and serially defied.

Unilateral punitive measures are impractical because of China’s fault tolerance for Pyongyang. The path of still more punitive sanctions and isolation seems to lead nowhere.

The possible solutions would seem to be either a return of North Korea to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a nonnuclear-weapons state under full International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and inspections; or an acceptance of its nuclear weapons status subject to binding commitments to observe the same disciplines on export, transfer and disciplines as the other nuclear powers.…  Seguir leyendo »

Casste is not a word that modernizing India likes to use. It has receded to the unfashionable background. Newspapers reserve their headlines for the newer metrics of social hierarchy: wealth and politics, and those powerful influencers of popular culture, actors and cricket stars.

There are two stories we tell ourselves in urban India. One is about how education transforms lives. It is the golden key to the future, allowing people to rise above the circumstances of their birth and background. And sometimes, it does. In my own neighborhood, a few sons and daughters of cooks and gardeners are earning their engineering and business degrees, and sweeping their families into the middle class.…  Seguir leyendo »

In May 1998 President Suharto resigned, ending three decades in power in Indonesia and what was known as the New Order. As an army general, he had intervened against a coup attempt in 1965 that ended with the sidelining of President Sukarno and months of massacres all over the archipelago as Suharto consolidated his grip.

More than half a million were killed, bludgeoned with hoes and slashed with sickles; rivers and beaches were thick with dumped bodies and blood, even in idyllic Bali. Islamic youth groups, with military support, targeted alleged communists and ethnic Chinese. It was a time of reprisals and score-settling, but during the Suharto era this bloodletting, and the imprisonment of a million suspected communists, were taboo subjects.…  Seguir leyendo »

According to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama risks looking like a “fool” if he decides not to intervene militarily in Syria’s continuing civil war. Likening the situation to his decision to intervene in Kosovo in 1999, Mr. Clinton said Tuesday that if he hadn’t used force to stop Serbia’s campaign of ethnic cleansing, critics might have said: “You could have stopped this by dropping a few bombs. Why didn’t you do it?” Mr. Clinton believes that Mr. Obama could end up looking like a “total wuss” if he doesn’t intervene. And it seems he’s going act.

The recent recapture of the strategic town of Qusair by forces loyal to the government of Bashar al-Assad and the White House’s public acknowledgment that chemical weapons have been employed by the Syrian regime — thereby crossing a “red line” — persuaded Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »