Viernes, 6 de enero de 2017

Uno de los gags más populares de los Monty Python tiene como escenario una tienda de mascotas. John Cleese se queja al dependiente (Michael Palin) porque le ha vendido un loro muerto. El tendero asegura que no es cierto y que está vivo. Al final el cliente insatisfecho lanza un alegato asegurando que el cadáver del loro es ya un ex loro. De la misma manera podemos asegurar que la cabalgata de Reyes que se celebró ayer en Vic (Barcelona), gracias al agit-prop de la Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) y Òmnium Cultural, se ha convertido en una ex cabalgata.

La cabalgata de Vic, como el loro de John Cleese, ha muerto.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hubo un tiempo en el que, sobre la mesilla de noche de Jordi Pujol, reposaba -junto al vasito de agua- un ejemplar de la Constitución española. No en vano, el ex Molt Honorable hablaba de autodeterminación “siempre dentro del marco de la Constitución española”.

Sin embargo, el padrino de la independencia se sintió “perseguido” por las instituciones del Estado cuando se descubrió una fortuna que algunos calculan en 3.000 millones repartidos por paraísos fiscales y que -por cierto- sigue disfrutando con total impunidad. En ese momento, decidió vengarse dando la orden de desconexión de Cataluña con España.

Hoy se sabe que, el 25 de noviembre de 2011, el imputado Jordi Pujol i Soley en compañía de dos de sus hijos (Jordi y Josep Pujol Ferrusola), convocaron una reunión con políticos y empresarios catalanes de estómago agradecido.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soy amigo de Platón, pero más amigo de la verdad”, dicen que murmuraba Aristóteles cuando exponía los argumentos con los que demostraba que las teorías de su maestro, cuya academia había sido su hogar durante 20 años, eran inaceptables. La frase acude a mi conciencia casi cada vez que veo en los últimos tiempos algún alegato “a favor” de las humanidades. Es comprensible, hasta cierto punto, que muchos de los que nos dedicamos a estas materias veamos con preocupación cómo el interés del público y de los políticos por la filosofía, la historia, la lingüística o la literatura parece que decae más y más; cómo las reformas educativas a todos los niveles parece que las van arrinconando sin remedio; cómo las voces de los intelectuales parecen cada vez menos influyentes en la sociedad; o cómo los conocimientos humanísticos y la capacidad de expresarse de los titulados universitarios parecen menguar a pasos agigantados.…  Seguir leyendo »

Recuerdo cómo mi madre, una líder en su comunidad, fundó y participó en varios grupos de mujeres en nuestro pueblo desde donde luchaban para reclamar y defender sus derechos y los de sus hijas. A través de estas mujeres, la mayoría de ellas sin apenas recursos, aprendí a distinguir que una cosa son los derechos y otras las normas sociales que la cultura y la tradición imponen.

Las mujeres de mi pueblo, y mi madre era una de ellas, se organizaron para decirle “¡basta!” al patriarcado y a la violencia en la que vivían reclamando sus derechos para poder ir a la escuela o tener un trozo de tierra que cultivar.…  Seguir leyendo »

Celebramos hoy con los Magos la Epifanía. A través de ellos, Dios se manifiesta a todo el orbe. De estos entrañables personajes solo sabemos lo que el Espíritu ha revelado en el Evangelio de Mateo. No consta que sean Reyes ni cuántos son. Se les nombra como «magos», que significa sabios. En Herodoto y Jenofonte «magos» son una casta sagrada de medos y persas, con saberes astronómicos y creencias adivinatorias. Para señalar su procedencia el evangelista utiliza un término ambiguo: «Oriente». En el contexto cultural judío sería más allá del Jordán.

Un día descubren un astro. Giotto dibuja en la Capilla de los Scrovegni un cometa.…  Seguir leyendo »

Debatir, opinar, defender con argumentos una u otra posición es precisamente la esencia de un sistema político basado en la libertad, la razón y su único titular hasta la fecha, el individuo. En España ganamos hace tiempo la posibilidad pero nos cuesta el ejercicio. Hago realidad este sistema político, este modo de entender la convivencia tan necesitado de ser reivindicado por el uso, exponiendo en expresiva síntesis, como corresponde al formato de una tribuna de opinión, mi criterio acerca de qué autoridad debe investigar los delitos, si el juez de instrucción, tal como reguló una ley de finales del siglo XIX todavía vigente, o el fiscal que desempeña la importante función social de ejercer la Acusación Pública.…  Seguir leyendo »

The world is entering its most dangerous chapter in decades. The sharp uptick in war over recent years is outstripping our ability to cope with the consequences. From the global refugee crisis to the spread of terrorism, our collective failure to resolve conflict is giving birth to new threats and emergencies. Even in peaceful societies, the politics of fear is leading to dangerous polarization and demagoguery.

It is against this backdrop that Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States — unquestionably the most important event of last year and one with far-reaching geopolitical implications for the future.…  Seguir leyendo »

Para unos es la época de las oportunidades. Los límites los pones tú. Casi se puede tocar el cielo con la punta de un teléfono. Las distancias pueden ser una anécdota y el ensamblaje cultural de los viajes el sentido de la vida. Para otros, es la era del vértigo, la pérdida de control sobre la vida laboral, el color del barrio donde uno habita y los miedos a la mezcla con otras culturas. Las élites llevan décadas ignorando a los segundos. Han tenido que dar un portazo a la Unión Europea los británicos y Trump sacudir al ‘establishment’ de Washington para darnos cuenta.…  Seguir leyendo »

The ceasefire declared in Syria at the end of 2016 has already practically collapsed. This is not surprising. No ceasefire in Syria has so far managed to hold long enough to pave the way for meaningful peace talks. This is not because the Syrian opposition hasn’t taken ceasefires seriously, but because the regime of Bashar al-Assad and its allies have re-defined ceasefires.

In Syria, ceasefires have become another tool of warfare. They are tools for making military gains, political statements, and playing power games.

A familiar pattern

Looking at the series of ceasefires in Syria over the past year reveals a pattern.…  Seguir leyendo »

Over the past decade, U.S. military expeditions have increasingly used development aid to undermine popular support for insurgents and extremist groups, and pacify turbulent areas. But does this tool work in conflict zones like Afghanistan?

My new research published in the American Political Science Review provides evidence that aid spending by the U.S. military in Afghanistan in many cases produced violent backlash from insurgents against troops and civilians.

Aid distributed in districts under the control of coalition forces reduced violence. But aid distributed in contested districts of Afghanistan actually increased the level of violence carried out by insurgents against both civilians and the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Saturday, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will be inaugurated as Ghana’s new president after having won a majority of votes in the December elections. Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is the fifth president to be elected under the country’s 1992 constitution. Akufo-Addo’s NPP also won an overwhelming majority of seats in Ghana’s parliament.

The 2016 election put an end to Akufo-Addo’s nearly two-decade long bid to become the country’s leader, having contested to be his party’s presidential nominee in 1998, and having served as an attorney general and foreign minister under President John Kufuor. After Kufuor, he became the NPP’s flag-bearer, but lost in two subsequent elections, in 2008 to John Evans Atta Mills and then to John Mahama in 2012.…  Seguir leyendo »

Devenu, au fil de ses trente années d’existence, un incontestable succès de l’Union européenne, Erasmus a bien failli n’être qu’un programme de mobilité réservé aux enseignants. En 1984, réunis en sommet à Fontainebleau, les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement européens avaient (déjà) pris conscience de la nécessité de promouvoir une « Europe des citoyens » et réclamé des initiatives en ce sens. C’est l’Italien Domenico Lenarduzzi (chargé de l’éducation au sein de la Commission européenne, puis promu directeur général), qui imagina Erasmus, nom latin de l’humaniste hollandais du XVIe siècle, considéré comme l’une des figures majeures de la culture européenne.…  Seguir leyendo »

Winston Churchill once noted, “If you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no head.”

That might explain — at least in part — why the term “liberal” has often been shunned. As the American population grows older, it is becoming more conservative.

But other factors also help explain the negative connation awarded the term:

• The extension of individual rights to more groups perceived by the public to be outside the pale of acceptability (criminals, for example) has been equated with liberalism.

• The perception of liberals as spenders and taxers has been popularized, and by educating more and more Americans (not just the affluent), young Americans are less geared to the prospect of righting the nation’s and world’s wrongs and more toward making it big for themselves.…  Seguir leyendo »

Venezuela’s economy is a catastrophe of Dickensian proportions. And for plenty of readers, that’s hardly a surprise. Every time I write about it, dozens pipe in with some variant on the same comment: “Socialism leading to total ruin — who would’ve thought?!” The temptation to read Venezuela’s collapse as ideological comeuppance seems to be irresistible. My country, people tell me again and again, is just the end of the line on the Road to Serfdom.

There’s just one problem with all this bashing of socialism: Bolivia.

Since 2006, Bolivia has been run by socialists every bit as militant as Venezuela’s. The country has experienced a spectacular run of economic growth and poverty reduction with no hint of the chaos that has plagued Venezuela.…  Seguir leyendo »

Eight Turkish military officers who may or may not have been involved in the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last July are now at the center of a tense standoff between Greece and Turkey. At a time when Greece’s economy is still in limbo and Turks are caught between an increasingly authoritarian government and a surge in terrorist attacks, neither country can afford such a distraction. Yet the two neighbors find themselves at odds once again.

The men — two majors, four captains and two noncommissioned officers — turned up in the northern Greek town of Alexandroupolis in a military helicopter the day after the attempted coup.…  Seguir leyendo »

The end of the world has already arrived in Brazil.

At least that’s what people here are saying. A constitutional amendment passed by the Senate last month is being called “the end of the world” amendment by its opponents. Why? Because the consequences of the amendment look disastrous — and long lasting. It will impose a 20-year cap on all federal spending, including education and health care.

The government justified the measure on the grounds that Brazil faces severe budget shortfalls. But the people aren’t buying it. A poll last month found that only 24 percent of the population supports the amendment.…  Seguir leyendo »

The carnage in Iraq continues. Yet another terrorist attack took place today in Baghdad, the latest in a series of such atrocities that have hit the capital and other parts of the country over the past week. Isis is undergoing a losing battle in Mosul, its last remaining stronghold in Iraq, and it is expected to lose control of the city in the coming months. However, it still has a deadly capacity to carry out terrorist acts. Even without its so-called caliphate, Isis will continue to undermine stability in the country.

The bombings over the past week have barely registered in the international media and the conscience of the international community.…  Seguir leyendo »

Today is the start of Epiphany. The story of Boris, Liam and David, the three kings bearing gifts, enchants children the world over. It has been immortalised in The Epiphany by Hieronymus Bosch. In some traditions “king’s cake”, a rich, dense, typically English fruitcake, is eaten on Twelfth Night. In the British version of the tale the cake is both eaten and not eaten. Epiphany, the striking manifestation of the new, is a moment for everyone involved in the European Union debate to stop and start again as if nothing has happened.

Indeed, nothing is exactly what has happened so far, as Sir Ivan Rogers pointed out in his parting shot as Britain’s ambassador to the European Union.…  Seguir leyendo »

Turkey’s New Year was marred by a terrorist attack, claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS), that killed 39 people and injured many more at a famous nightclub in Istanbul. After nearly two years of deadly incidents and alarming political instability, Turks were once again left counting the dead – and wondering how much more their country can take.

In the last 18 months, Turkey has seen 33 bomb attacks that have claimed 446 lives, 363 of them civilians. Some commentators even claim that low-level terror is now almost the norm in Turkey.

To make things more complicated still, the latest attack comes only six months after a bizarre failed coup, undoubtedly one of the most significant events in Turkey’s modern history.…  Seguir leyendo »

The European Union endured a series of political shocks and strains in 2016 that threatened to tear the bloc apart: an ongoing migration crisis; the United Kingdom’s vote in June to exit the union; lacklustre growth and stubbornly high unemployment in the eurozone; terrorist attacks that killed and injured scores; and surging support for populist and anti-EU political parties.

Against this recent history, there can be no doubt that 2017 will be one of the most important and fateful years in the EU’s six-decade history.

There are five acute dangers facing the EU in 2017. These are not isolated challenges. Instead, they are intertwined and mutually reinforcing.…  Seguir leyendo »