Articles in English

On Febraury 24th, the war in Ukraine will pass its one-year mark with no end in sight. The costs are mounting, Europe faces an epic refugee crisis, tens of thousands of people have died and total casualties now run into the hundreds of thousands. Plans to provide Ukraine with Western tanks, announced in recent days, indicate that America, Germany and others are settling in for a much longer war. But in a prolonged conflict, far more will perish. Western leaders would be making a big mistake by not pushing for negotiations to end the fighting, even as they continue to support Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is almost one year since Russian troops invaded Ukraine. In that time thousands of innocent civilians, as well as soldiers from both sides, have been killed. Towns and cities have crumbled under Russian strikes. The devastation has led some to call for Ukraine to sit down with Russia and negotiate peace. Yet the morale of Ukraine’s armed forces is as strong as ever, and its soldiers have defended their homeland more successfully than most thought possible. It would be a huge mistake for the country to enter into peace talks with Russia now.

There are many reasons why negotiating with Russia would be foolish.…  Seguir leyendo »

It’s Not Going Well for Britain’s New Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak, Britain’s prime minister, has a plan for the new year. In a speech in early January, he set out an agenda to resuscitate the country and save the Conservative Party, now in free fall. “We will halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and stop the boats”, he intoned.

You’d be forgiven for hearing a note of desperation. Mr. Sunak, after all, entered office with a mountain to climb. The cost-of-living crisis is just the start: Wherever you turn, strife seems to rise to meet you. To name but a few, there’s the health care crisis, the housing crisis (both ownership and rental), the education crisis, the child care crisis, the transport crisis, the climate crisis and, not least, the constitutional crisis threatening the end of the union with Scotland.…  Seguir leyendo »

More and More, I Talk to the Dead

After my mother died so suddenly — laughing at a rerun of “JAG” at 10 p.m., dying of a hemorrhagic stroke by dawn — I dreamed about her night after night. In every dream she was willfully, outrageously alive, unaware of the grief her death had caused. In every dream relief poured through me like a flash flood. Oh, thank God!

Then I would wake into keening grief all over again.

Years earlier, when my father learned he had advanced esophageal cancer, his doctor told him he had perhaps six months to live. He lived far longer than that, though I never thought of it as “living” once I learned how little time he really had.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in June 2019. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Russia has a lot more people, a larger economy and a more powerful military than Ukraine. By all rights, it should have crushed Ukraine at the start of the war. That this didn’t happen — and that the war is now heading into its second year with Kyiv in a good position to regain more lost ground — can be explained in no small part by the reality that Ukraine has many allies and Russia does not.

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy estimates that the United States and Europe have pledged roughly $100 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion.…  Seguir leyendo »

A NATO military exercise in Bemowo Piskie, Poland, May 2022. Kacper Pempel / Reuters

Nearly a year after he invaded Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has failed to achieve any of his major objectives. He has not unified the alleged single Slavic nation, he has not “denazified” or “demilitarized” Ukraine, and he has not stopped NATO expansion. Instead, the Ukrainian military kept Russian troops out of Kyiv, defended Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, and launched successful counteroffensives in the fall so that by the end of 2022, it had liberated over 50 percent of the territory previously captured by Russian soldiers that year. In January, Putin removed the general in charge of the war in Ukraine, Sergei Surovikin, whom he had appointed just a few months earlier.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tyre Nichols’ Death Proves Yet Again That “Elite” Police Units Are a Disaster

The website of the Memphis Police Department includes an entire section called “Reimagine Policing”. The introduction emphasizes that trust is the key to effective law enforcement, and touts the department’s participation in reform efforts such as President Barack Obama’s 21st Century Policing program, de-escalation training and the “8 Can’t Wait” reforms proposed by the group Campaign Zero.

Yet in 2021, as homicides in the city soared, the city announced the formation of the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods, or SCORPION. The ‌teams, which included four groups of 10 officers each, would saturate crime “hot spots” in the city in unmarked cars and make pretextual traffic stops ‌to investigate homicides, aggravated assaults, robberies and carjackings.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators with a banner which reads as “for retirement gold and platinum” during a rally called by French trade unions in Nantes, western France, last week.Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

France has been gripped recently by a wave of strikes and demonstrations — protesters old and young, rural and urban, progressive and conservative, blue and white collar, all taking to the streets to protest their government’s effort to nudge the retirement age from 62 to 64.

It all seems so déjà vu. Yet, as trade unions and political parties mobilize for a new and perhaps greater wave of strikes on Tuesday, we might take a break from our workday to glance at the country’s history. Are the French, as the stereotype goes, being just lazy?

Statistical tables offer one startling answer.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vladimir Putin on a phone-in, Moscow, 2021. Photograph: Sergei Savostyanov/Sputnik/ AFP/ Getty Images

Battlefield tanks are really only half the battle. Beyond military might on the ground in Ukraine, there is another critical confrontation in which the Kremlin has a superiority that must be challenged. The information war.

Russia’s media space has reverted to a grotesque parody of the Soviet-era model. (In fact, it’s far worse, as in the latter Soviet years at least, most people knew they were being fed lies). Television and the domestic press is utterly captured. Millions are fed a daily diet of Ukrainian “fascists”, western pederasts, and nuclear revenge on Anglo-Saxon civilisation.

It’s working. A broad consensus inside Russia still supports Putin and his wretched campaign in Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

People attend a candlelight vigil in memory of Tyre Nichols on Thursday in Memphis, Tennessee. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

On 7 January, police in Memphis beat Tyre Nichols so badly as to send him into a days-long death to which he ultimately succumbed on 10 January. The beating of Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was so brutal that even law enforcement officials at both the city and state level – usually reliable sources for blaming the victims of police violence for the violence done to them – have declared it a heinous act. The five officers who beat Nichols, all of whom happen to also be Black, are currently on second-degree murder charges for what they did to him. Nichols is at least the 80th person killed by police in the US so far this year.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has hailed the promise of tanks — including the Leopard 2, pictured — but questioned the size of the commitment © FT montage: AFP/Getty Images/AP

Ukrainian soldiers will face a steep learning curve when they clamber into a Leopard 2 tank for the first time next month. But the new tanks will be a serious upgrade from the Soviet-era models they have been fighting in over the past year.

“It’s like you have a car from the 1950s and then you sit in a Porsche”, says a person involved in organising training for Ukrainian troops.

The German government’s decision this week to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine — and allow other European capitals to do the same — will give the Ukrainian army vital new firepower as it sets out to liberate its country from Russian occupation.…  Seguir leyendo »

A soldier with the Ukrainian Army tests a drone, near Bakhmut, Ukraine, on November 25. Leah Millis/Reuters

To understand Russia and Ukraine’s very different ways of fighting, a good first place to look is up.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been described as the “first full-scale drone war.”

That description may be a little misleading – all of the ways in which we have seen drones being employed in the conflict have precedents, some of them dating back over a decade.

And this isn’t the first war in which the capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been so thoroughly integrated into operations.

But it is true that the fighting in Ukraine represents the first long-term, sustained conflict where all the currently available uses for drones are an indispensable part of combined operations – and on both sides.…  Seguir leyendo »

Satellite images show the long Russian convoy of tanks and armored vehicles that stalled on the outskirts of Kyiv, in the early days of the invasion in February last year. Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

Going into the war in Ukraine a year ago, conventional wisdom suggested that tanks had seen the best of their days – outflanked and vulnerable to drones or fire-and-forget missiles.

Conventional wisdom is clearly wrong. It’s becoming quite apparent that armored dominance on a battlefield like Ukraine could turn the tide, dramatically.

After weeks of tense deliberation, Germany on Wednesday announced it would be sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine – a move matched by the US, which is providing its own M1 Abrams. Other European nations have indicated they will follow suit.

But the West needs to get the latest generation of tanks in place quickly.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Outrage means maximum “engagement” and hence profit.’ Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

It was left to Nick Clegg – once a great hope for liberal politics in Britain, nowadays cutting a sad figure as global lobbyist for a company with major PR problems – to announce that Facebook was open to Donald Trump’s nefarious business again. The decision was wrong, but it hardly spells the end of democracy, as alarmists equating Facebook with an inevitable triumph for fascism might think. What the decision does, though, is confirm the breathtaking hypocrisy of a corporation seemingly unable – or unwilling – to learn from its complicity in repeated political disasters.

Hillary Clinton never stopped being pilloried for her “basket of deplorables” speech in 2016.…  Seguir leyendo »

Women of reproductive age in South Korea are having fewer babies than any other country in the world. JeongMee Yoon for The New York Times

After trying for over a year to persuade more South Korean women to have babies, Chung Hyun-back says one reason stands out for her failure: “Our patriarchal culture”. Ms. Chung, who was tasked by the previous government with reversing the country’s plummeting birthrate, knows firsthand how tough it is to be a woman in South Korea. She chose her career over nuptials and children. Like her, millions of young women have been collectively spurning motherhood in a so-called birth strike.

A 2022 survey found that more women than men — 65 percent versus 48 percent — don’t want children. They’re doubling down by avoiding matrimony (and its conventional pressures) altogether.…  Seguir leyendo »

India's government said it has blocked videos and tweets sharing links to a BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's role in 2002 sectarian riots. (Arun Chandrabose/AFP/Getty Images)

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology filed a draft amendment last week to a recent media law that could have sweeping consequences for free expression in the world’s largest democracy. According to the proposed language, any information marked as “fake” by the fact-checking division of India’s Press Information Bureau will need to be taken down by “online intermediaries”, a category that would include social media companies.

This latest move potentially casts a pall over journalism in the country. Two industry associations — the Editors Guild of India and Digipub, a group of news sites in India — have published strong statements arguing that the amendment could give arbitrary and discretionary power to the Indian government.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kennan’s Warning on Ukraine

George Kennan, the remarkable U.S. diplomat and probing observer of international relations, is famous for forecasting the collapse of the Soviet Union. Less well known is his warning in 1948 that no Russian government would ever accept Ukrainian independence. Foreseeing a deadlocked struggle between Moscow and Kyiv, Kennan made detailed suggestions at the time about how Washington should deal with a conflict that pitted an independent Ukraine against Russia. He returned to this subject half a century later. Kennan, then in his 90s, cautioned that the eastward expansion of NATO would doom democracy in Russia and ignite another Cold War.

Kennan probably knew Russia more intimately than anyone who ever served in the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman walks by destroyed buildings 20 miles west from the front lines of fighting in Ukraine's Donetsk Region on January 20. Russia has stepped up its offensive in the region since the start of the year. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Today, due largely to the mounting dangers of Russia’s reckless invasion of Ukraine, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight than they’ve ever been. It marks the first change in three years to the Clock’s time; it now stands at 90 seconds to midnight.

Never in the Doomsday Clock’s 76-year history have we been so close to global catastrophe.

Founded by Albert Einstein and University of Chicago scientists who developed the first atomic weapons, the Clock is a universally recognized indicator of the world’s profound vulnerability to nuclear weapons, climate change and disruptive technologies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Workers assemble cookstove parts at a manufacturing plant in Nashik, India, in November. Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE

Asia is hurtling toward a tectonic power shift headlined by ever more rapid changes in population growth. The West, especially the United States, better be prepared.

A dramatic demographic shift is underway after China’s population shrank in 2022 for the first time in six decades. Meanwhile, India, with its continued population growth, is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by UN estimates as soon as April.

The latest statistics show that China is increasingly coming face-to-face with its one-child policy, which officially ended in 2016 after more than three decades. The policy introduced a number of challenges; perhaps the most paramount is the 4-2-1 problem, where one working individual, by virtue of being an only child, ends up having to support four grandparents and two parents — a huge drain on the working population.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Scholz’s tentativeness looks like a desperate attempt to delay, if not fully prevent, decoupling from Russia.’ The German chancellor in Ostenholz, Germany, 17 October 2022. Photograph: Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images

If the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, chose to upgrade Germany’s military assistance to Ukraine this week, it was only as a result of the extreme amount of pressure that had been building up in recent days.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has thrust upon Germany the necessity of some serious self-analysis. It has shattered many certainties, including even that most iron-clad tenet of postwar German history, which maintained that no conflict could ever be resolved militarily. Germany’s famous creed “Wandel durch Handel”, change through trade, was directly derived from this thinking that had permeated virtually every part of its society.…  Seguir leyendo »