It took two years after Joe Biden was elected US President before the leaders of the world’s two most powerful countries could finally speak in person, but when Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping finally met in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday on the sidelines of the G20 summit, the timing could not have been any better for the United States, for democracy and for the world.
With democracy suddenly looking like it’s on firmer ground and key autocracies facing serious problems, it was an ideal moment for Biden to speak frankly to Xi about areas of disagreement between the two superpowers while trying to build safeguards to prevent the rivalry from careening into conflict as the relationship has deteriorated to its most tense state in decades.… Seguir leyendo »
On the 40th day after Mahsa Amini died while in the custody of the Iranian regime’s intrusive morality police, protests sparked by her death grew even more widespread, more defiant, more determined
They also added to the moral imperative for the rest of the world to do more.
In Amini’s birthplace of Saqqez, where the 22-year-old also known as Zhina is now buried, thousands of people defied the police and turned out to mark an important day in the mourning process, even as security forces fired live bullets and tear gas to stop them.
Demonstrations also took place in numerous other cities: In Isfahan, women waved black scarves in the air, chanting “Azadi, Azadi!”… Seguir leyendo »
If Elon Musk’s actions didn’t have such powerful consequences, we could sit back and enjoy the show. But, since he likes weighing in heavily on consequential matters, the rest of the world has to worry about the impact and wonder whose side he’s on. What are the principles – moral, ethical, financial – that drive his rambunctious forays into world affairs?
Nothing in Musk’s monumental series of business accomplishments suggest that he has any expertise to delve into the world’s most dangerous conflicts. But that hasn’t stopped him. Musk has been expounding on the Russia-Ukraine war and on Taiwan’s tensions with Beijing with the self-confidence of someone who knows what he’s talking about.… Seguir leyendo »
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s so-far-disastrous invasion of Ukraine is turning the former idol of the far right into a toxic figure among many who used to be his greatest admirers.
For years, as Western democracies became more polarized, the extreme right started to see the Russian strongman as a role model. After all, Putin claimed to be motivated by a passion for safeguarding ultra-conservative values, even as he trained much of his venom against the United States.
But now, Putin’s brutal onslaught of a neighboring country has exposed a side of the Russian dictator that many had managed to ignore until now.… Seguir leyendo »
On Sunday, almost by accident, two groups of demonstrators came together in London. One was waving Ukrainian flags; the other Iranian flags. When they met, they cheered each other, and chanted, “All together we will win”.
The uprising in Iran and the war in Ukraine are, on the surface, very different conflicts. At their core, however, they are being fought by individuals who have decided to risk their lives, to do what it takes to defend their right to live as they choose; to push back against violent, entrenched dictatorships.
For decades autocrats have been gaining ground while democracies looked almost spent, in retreat.… Seguir leyendo »
Whatever you think of the monarchy, of the late Queen Elizabeth II or of the new king, Charles III, there is no question that Monday's royal funeral will live on in the annals of history. Billions of people will likely watch. For those who attend in person, it's the opportunity of a lifetime. That's why an invitation to the ceremonies has become the hottest ticket on Earth.
In addition to the resplendent uniforms, the solemn salutes and the meticulously choreographed ceremonies, something else is occurring in London: Some 500 world leaders and dignitaries are coming to England to pay their respects -- but also to see and be seen at what is certain to be one of the largest gatherings of its kind in the history of the world.… Seguir leyendo »
This month, legislators in Guatemala approved a draconian law ordering up to 10 years in prison for women who have abortions. The disturbing move, part of a larger ultraconservative bill, was thankfully reversed by the country’s Congress last week. As it happens, it was also an outlier, pushing against momentum in the region toward giving women more control over their reproductive choices.
The U-turn on the law came just a few weeks after a landmark decision by the supreme court in Colombia that made abortion legal up to the 24th week of pregnancy. The ruling, which handed an electrifying victory to women’s rights groups and their allies in the fight for reproductive freedoms, is part of a transformative trend sweeping across Latin America, a deeply Catholic and largely conservative region.… Seguir leyendo »
It is obvious, we will be. It is obvious, we will be free.
The Ukrainian people have found the answer to Shakespeare's question, "To be or not to be", President Volodymyr Zelensky told the United Kingdom's House of Commons in a livestreamed address on Tuesday. "It is obvious, we will be. It is obvious, we will be free". Echoing Winston Churchill, Zelensky vowed Ukrainians will never give up, will never surrender. He asked the West to do more to help in this life-and-death plight, which, he maintained, is a battle for Europe, for democracy.
Not long ago, Zelensky's words would have seemed moving, but perhaps without much consequence.… Seguir leyendo »
The moment was extraordinary. In an age of profound divisions, the world stood almost single-mindedly united in chastising Russia's assault on Ukraine.
In an emergency session at the United Nations Wednesday, a resolution denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, was approved by a vote of 141 to 5, with 35 countries abstaining. When the tally was announced, the chamber burst into a spontaneous standing ovation. It was the most resounding evidence of how Putin has unwittingly advanced the causes he opposes with his assault against Ukraine.
If the contest of our times is one pitting democracies against autocracies -- and I believe it is -- Putin's campaign is making the case for democracy, despite his best efforts.… Seguir leyendo »
With Russian troops massed on Ukraine's borders, the United States and its allies are scrambling for the right formula to communicate to Russian President Vladimir Putin their determination to prevent war -- and dissuade him from launching an invasion.
But what is the best language to use with autocrats?
Putin offered a cringe-inducing look into the strongman's lexicon during a news conference with his French counterpart in Moscow this week. Speaking alongside President Emmanuel Macron, Putin was asked about the Minsk agreements -- the 2015 accords that aimed to bring a ceasefire between Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and the government.… Seguir leyendo »
Last summer, amid worsening economic conditions, Cubans took to the streets in what became the biggest antiregime demonstrations in decades. Spontaneous marches spread around the country on July 11 and 12, joined by young people who happened to see them or learned about them on social media. Before the authorities could react, the fury of the people had spread as fast as the frustration of living under long-standing food and medicine shortages, made worse by the pandemic.
But since then, the regime has unleashed its repressive apparatus — and now a new generation of protesters is facing mass trials and lengthy prison terms.… Seguir leyendo »
By the time the closing ceremony marked the end of Russia's 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, pro-Russian demonstrators in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula were already out in the streets. Within days, the unidentified "little green men", masked soldiers with hidden insignia, began what became Russian President Vladimir Putin's most brazen violation of international law: the capture and annexation of another country's territory.
Putin waited until the Sochi games were over to launch the attack on Crimea, probably so as not to detract from what he hoped would be a showcase for Russian achievement. There were other theories about the timing -- including an effort to distract from the growing allegations of massive corruption around the expense of hosting The Games -- but the need to keep a spotlight on Sochi was likely a motivating factor.… Seguir leyendo »
Is Russian President Vladimir Putin going to launch an invasion into neighboring Ukraine? Enormous movements of Russian troops and military equipment toward the shared border have raised the alarm among Ukrainians and their Western friends.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called it "hysteria", and the Kremlin denies any plans to invade, but the words of Russian officials have long lost their credibility. After all, it was Putin who turned gaslighting into a political weapon.
In a video call with Putin on Tuesday, the White House says President Joe Biden warned the Russian president that any escalation would be met "with strong economic and other measures", by the US and its allies.… Seguir leyendo »
Like so many of Maria Ressa's former CNN colleagues, I have followed her career with admiration and with more than a little concern for her safety. The indomitable journalist has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.
When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was asked, shortly before being sworn in, what he would do about the high murder rate of journalists, and declared, "Just because you're a journalist you're not exempted from assassination, if you're a son of a b*tch", I shuddered for one of the most courageous journalists I've ever known. But she kept on.… Seguir leyendo »
Maybe this is a source of pride for former President Donald Trump. But for the rest of the world, seeing America's recent political turmoil emulated in nations from east to west is something else entirely. The example set by Trump -- disparaging, assaulting and undercutting a country's democracy -- has now become the template for political players with authoritarian leanings around the globe.
In the same way that Trump's cry of "fake news!" -- which he used with some success to discredit professional journalists -- has been wielded by dictators to crush a free press in their countries, the claim of "rigged" elections is also being deployed by those who cannot win the support of voters as they try to acquire power.… Seguir leyendo »
From the earliest days of which I have memory, I felt the need to travel as if it were an extra ingredient in my blood, pulsing in my veins. The pandemic didn't give me a transfusion; it didn't sedate my wanderlust. It forced it on hold, as if waiting in a strange airport for updates on a long-delayed flight. I have booked and rebooked so many flights that I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track. But then, finally, thoroughly vaccinated, I made it across the Atlantic.
First, I had to remember how to pack again for a big trip.… Seguir leyendo »
The Cuban regime is deploying its much-practiced playbook in response to Sunday's breathtaking eruption of protests across the island. As practically anyone who has reported from Cuba can tell you, the government's approach is a familiar and well-worn one. It is a three-step maneuver that has worked in the past, allowing the regime to stay in power while not responding to the people's demands. This time, there's no guarantee that it will work.
The strategy I witnessed firsthand during reporting trips to Cuba for CNN in the 1990s is simple: First, when protesters take the risk of speaking out forcefully and in numbers, authorities call out masses of supporters to drown out their critics.… Seguir leyendo »
Remember the dictator who sent military fighter jets to force a commercial flight to land so he could arrest one of his critics? That dictator was Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus and one of the world's longest-ruling autocrats. Now, we learn, a month earlier he kidnapped an American citizen.
Youras Ziankovich, a lawyer with American citizenship, has been in Belarussian hands since April. He has long been a critic of the Belarussian strongman and he, too, thought he could protect himself from a repressive regime by staying beyond its borders. But Lukashenko is proving once again that tyrants don't respect national borders.… Seguir leyendo »
Authoritarian leaders like to clothe themselves in the mantle of democratic legitimacy, but Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega may be giving up on the charade. With each passing day, he takes one more step toward throwing off that threadbare disguise and openly embracing outright dictatorship.
Now, with five months until the November election — in which Ortega will run for a fourth consecutive term, his fifth overall — Ortega is bulldozing the opposition, crushing dissent and making a mockery of the election.
In one of his boldest assaults against a fair election, he targeted the leading opposition candidate, Cristiana Chamorro. Just hours after she announced plans to run for the presidency, he dispatched security forces to her home and placed her under house arrest, one of several candidates now under de facto arrest and prevented from campaigning.… Seguir leyendo »
Russians in huge numbers took to the streets again on Wednesday to protest their government’s treatment of Alexei Navalny, a man they fear may soon die because he dared to criticize President Vladimir Putin. While the mass demonstrations across Russia’s 11 time zones inspire respect, the country itself, under its entrenched regime, has achieved precisely the opposite. Putin has made no secret of his goal of restoring Russia’s former glory. Instead, he’s turning it into a global pariah.
Putin notoriously described the collapse of the U.S.S.R. as the greatest “geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century”. He clearly didn’t regret the loss of the Soviet Union’s socialist ideals or its cradle-to-grave welfare state, since he has made no effort to restore either.… Seguir leyendo »