Articles in English

It was Easter Sunday in Nice, France’s fifth-largest city, exactly one week before the first round of the country’s presidential election. In the old town, there were armed police guarding the Cathedral of Sainte-Réparate—part of the country’s continuing state of emergency. Inside, the church was full. A few minutes’ walk away, the Promenade des Anglais, the Mediterranean city’s famous seaside walkway that was the site of last July’s devastating terrorist attack, was also packed. On Easter Monday Nice-Matin, the city’s newspaper of record, reported that those in the tourism industry were, like the churchgoers, singing “resurrection songs of praise.” Tourists were back.…  Seguir leyendo »

Every year, or at the least every other year, there arrive seasons of killing and mourning in the valley of Kashmir. On Sunday, April 9, elections were held for a parliamentary seat left vacant in the main city of Srinagar after a lawmaker resigned in protest against last summer’s killings. A majority stayed away, with only 7 percent turning up to vote.

Young Kashmiris — fed up, brutalized, growing up in the most densely militarized zone in the world — surrounded polling stations to protest Indian rule. Some protesters threw stones at the polling booths and the troops stationed there. The troops responded as they do, with shooting, beating and blinding protesters and bystanders alike.…  Seguir leyendo »

Bulgarian legislators are gearing up to form a new government, following the March 26 parliamentary election, the third since 2013. Five parties made it into the National Assembly, but none of them won the minimum 121 out of 240 seats to claim a majority in the unicameral legislature.

Here is what happens next. Boyko Borisov’s center-right, pro-EU party, GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) won 95 seats. President Rumen Radev is expected to officially grant Borisov the right to form a government later this week.

This will be Borisov’s third and most challenging term as prime minister. GERB decided to partner with the United Patriots (UP), a coalition of three nationalist, far-right parties that won 27 seats.…  Seguir leyendo »

The appointment of Moumen Ould Kaddour as the new CEO of the state Algerian oil and gas company Sonatrach was a bolt out of the bleu. Nobody was expecting Mr Amine Mazouzi who had been appointed less that two years ago to get the sack. The name of the new incumbent was not even whispered in the corridors of power in the run up to the impromptu board meeting of Sonatrach called by the Minister of Energy Nourredine Boutarfa on 20 March. Like his immediate predecessors he is a competent technician but has no experience in upstream activities or in the commercialisation sector.…  Seguir leyendo »

Climate change is more than melting ice caps and swamped islands. The environmental effects of climate change — droughts, floods and severe weather, for instance — have increasingly put more people on the move.

In 2015, the U.N. Refugee Agency counted 65.3 million people around the world as “forcibly displaced,” including about 40 million within their home countries. Wars, ethnic conflicts, economic stresses, famines and disasters are among the reasons people leave their homes.

Less understood, perhaps, is how climate-induced environmental changes — such as increased flooding, salinization, droughts or desertification — amplify these drivers of migration. What are the policy options to help people stay in place or minimize the security concerns related to migration?…  Seguir leyendo »

On a recent evening I was watching the video of a news feature a Hindi language television network broadcast about Yogi Adityanath, who was elected chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, last month. The frame shows a man with a shaved head cloaked in saffron, the color of Hindu monasticism, sitting on a saffron-backed armchair. A voiceover described the scene: “Whoever comes before him sits at his feet, but he makes sure every supplicant goes away satisfied; he does not discriminate.”

Until he became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Adityanath, 45, was primarily known as a firebrand Hindu leader who had created a volunteer force, the Hindu Yuva Vahini, or Vehicle for Hindu Youth, a group repeatedly accused of stoking and participating in religious violence.…  Seguir leyendo »

In just 10 years, the world’s five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They’re all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about “the curse of bigness” were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson’s counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court.…  Seguir leyendo »

The world seems awash in chaos and uncertainty, perhaps more so than at any point since the end of the Cold War.

Authoritarian-leaning leaders are on the rise, and liberal democracy itself seems under siege. The post-World War II order is fraying as fighting spills across borders and international institutions — built, at least in theory, to act as brakes on wanton slaughter — fail to provide solutions. Populist movements on both sides of the Atlantic are not just riding anti-establishment anger, but stoking fears of a religious “other,” this time Muslims.

These challenges have been crystallized, propelled and intensified by a conflagration once dismissed in the West as peripheral, to be filed, perhaps, under “Muslims killing Muslims”: the war in Syria.…  Seguir leyendo »

Donald Trump’s first two months in office were focused principally on domestic policy, but over the past few weeks, international events have jumped to the top of the agenda. He met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida, ordered a missile strike in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people in Syria, claimed to have directed an ‘armada’ towards North Korea and sent Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Moscow.

In January, my co-authors and I examined all these issues in a Chatham House Report on America’s International Role Under Donald Trump, which concluded that, as the campaign bluster faded away, a number of constraining factors – domestic, international and personality driven – would provide the guidelines for Trump’s foreign policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision this week to call a snap general election on 8 June has added another electoral contest to the busy political calendar of Europe. Already the direction of European politics depended on the outcome of the French presidential poll and the German election in the autumn. Earlier in the year the Turkish and Dutch governments entered into a bitter public feud as their electoral campaigns spilled over into each other’s territory. And 2016 was punctuated by the election victories of anti-establishment forces in the US and the UK.

All this points to a stark new reality: elections are now the key formative events, and national electorates the key actors, of world politics.…  Seguir leyendo »

Imagine a German politician accusing another country’s government of using “Nazi methods,” while demanding the reintroduction of capital punishment and the incarceration of both the opposition and journalists. Hilarious and untenable? Not in the eyes of many Turks who live here in Germany.

There are about 1.5 million Turks living in Germany who can vote in Turkish elections. Of those who participated in last weekend’s constitutional referendum, about 63 percent approved of granting immense unilateral powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who has attacked journalists and compared the German government to Nazis. These changes, which narrowly passed, make him a modern-day sultan.…  Seguir leyendo »

I’ve lately been telling French people about the Hail Mary pass. I explain that it’s a desperate move in American football: You’re running out of time to score, so you lob the ball toward the end zone and hope for the best.

The ’ail Marie — as I’ve been pronouncing it — is the best metaphor I’ve found for the French elections this Sunday. The country that gave us the Enlightenment, Cartesian logic, the Napoleonic Code and possibly reason itself may be about to just throw a ball into the distance and see what happens.

Proof of this is the sudden rise of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, until recently an angry ex-Trotskyist on the left wing’s colorful fringe.…  Seguir leyendo »

Amidst the furore over the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, it is easy to overlook the subsequent bombing of the hospital where the victims were taken – itself a potential serious violation of international humanitarian law. As the war in Syria drags on, the question of how to ensure protection for the wounded and sick, as well as their doctors and nurses, in conflicts around the world is one that must not be neglected. The obligation to allow access to medical care in war is important because it defends the most vulnerable – the protection of the wounded and sick is the protection of our wider humanity.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Theresa May had to have better reasons for subjecting election-fatigued Brits to their fourth major political contest in three years than just strengthening her hand in negotiations with Brussels.

May put heavy emphasis on the need to ‘prepare for Brexit’ and strengthen the ‘government’s negotiating position in Europe’ when she announced the 8 June snap election on the steps of Number 10.

As one senior Conservative Party official told me afterward: ‘Our view is that we cannot go into the negotiations with the EU divided. We need a good hand and this election is about strengthening that hand.’

However, this strategy has an external and an internal dimension: Outwardly, it is about the power of symbolism — demonstrating to Berlin, Brussels and Paris that the prime minister has a solid mandate, that she leads a unified party, that the country supports her stance on Brexit and might be prepared to walk away from a bad deal.…  Seguir leyendo »

Britain is about to start negotiations over its exit from the European Union. As our new book “Brexit — Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union” shows, Britain’s negotiators had little choice but to press for a “hard” Brexit, in which their country would pull out of European market arrangements and the free movement of workers. Even so, they are in a better bargaining position than many pessimists claim.

Here’s how Brexit is unfolding

In the referendum last June, 51.9 percent of British voters opted to leave the E.U. Nine months later the Conservative government triggered Article 50 to start the Brexit process.…  Seguir leyendo »