El Senado de Argentina aprobó el viernes 23 un proyecto de ley que, de obtener los votos necesarios en la Cámara de Diputados, ampliaría de cinco a 15 el número de integrantes de la Corte Suprema de Justicia. Y lo hizo a pedido y por interés de la vicepresidenta y factótum de la coalición gobernante Frente de Todos, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
La iniciativa tiene sus apologistas y sus detractores, quienes enumeran los beneficios y los perjuicios teóricos de ampliar el máximo tribunal. Pero son dos los datos sustanciales: cuántos integrantes tenga no modifica los problemas de administración de Justicia en el país y Fernández de Kirchner no impulsa esta reforma para mejorar el Poder Judicial.… Seguir leyendo »
El nuevo embajador de Colombia en Venezuela, Armando Benedetti, llegó a Caracas el pasado 28 de agosto. Le debe haber quedado claro que un viaje aéreo en una línea comercial, que usualmente tardaba una hora y media entre Caracas y Bogotá, puede extenderse por horas debido a que no hay una conexión directa. Justamente, la reapertura de vuelos entre ambos países, al igual que el de la frontera terrestre (ambos a iniciar hoy), han sido de las primeras acciones a ejecutar como parte del restablecimiento de relaciones entre Miraflores y la Casa de Nariño. En esta nueva etapa, sin embargo, ninguna tarea es fácil.… Seguir leyendo »
At the start of this month, doom-mongers looking for the next financial crisis in Europe were pointing at Italy. Just as the pessimists predicted, Italians have elected a populist coalition led by the post-fascist Brothers of Italy party. But a funny reversal has occurred. Italy’s economy seems provisionally stable. Britain has emerged as the weak power in Europe.
What gives? Intellectual fashion has been running against globalization for several years, so it’s easy to miss the answer. But the Italy-Britain inversion underlines an old lesson. Sacrificing some sovereignty and submitting to the rules of international organizations are not necessarily bad things.… Seguir leyendo »
The “morality police” came for me exactly 13 minutes into my lecture on gender and sexual politics in post-revolutionary Iran. Four sets of auditorium doors swung open simultaneously. In they came, boots pounding, weapons clanking. The Tehran lecture hall erupted in confusion as the komiteh, as the morality police are known, filled the room.
Audience members ran every which way. I should have been shredding my lecture notes, running from the lectern into the nearby street. But the sight of a dozen bearded men in dark green uniforms rooted me to the floor. Two of the thugs climbed the steps to the stage; one raised his hand above my head, and then everything went black.… Seguir leyendo »
Giorgia Meloni, who will likely take power in Italy after Sunday’s election, has caused much concern in Europe and the United States because of her party’s historic ties to neo-fascism and her praise of Hungary’s Viktor Orban. Those fears are overblown, but no one should underestimate the populist leader’s desire for significant political and economic change.
Meloni co-founded the Brothers of Italy in 2012 as a breakaway from the country’s main center-right party, People of Freedom. The Brothers was nationalist from its inception, taking its name from a line in the Italian national anthem. It uses colors and symbols associated with the post-war Italian Social Movement, a party founded by supporters of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.… Seguir leyendo »
If there’s a broader lesson to be gleaned from Britain’s economic crisis, it’s this: Beware politicians glibly promising that they — and they alone — know better than the experts.
Prime Minister Liz Truss and her allies promised that when she came into office, she would fix the economy by ditching “the stale economic orthodoxy” and “so-called abacus economics”. This sort of rhetoric has become common among populist politicians — including in the United States — who portray themselves as freethinkers by bashing the ominous-sounding “establishment” or “elites”.
Or, you know: those annoying, bean-counting, possibly on-the-take experts.
Since Truss unveiled a mini-budget Friday, Britain’s currency has been in free fall, with the pound hitting an all-time low against the dollar Monday.… Seguir leyendo »
Not even Margaret Thatcher oversaw a package of tax cuts and deregulation as bold as the one just announced by Britain’s conservative government. The first major government initiative under Liz Truss, the new prime minister, it is estimated to cut individual and corporate income taxes by more than 45 billion pounds a year, according to Britain’s Institute for Fiscal Studies. That would make it the biggest tax cut Britons have enjoyed since 1972 — three years before Truss was born.
Tax cuts aren’t the only thing on the agenda; there is a massive subsidy already planned for household energy prices that will offset the war in Ukraine’s disruptions, and Kwasi Kwarteng, chancellor of the exchequer, promised on Friday to reform child care, immigration, agricultural productivity, business regulations, digital infrastructure and barriers to homebuilding.… Seguir leyendo »
Is China (a) an economic juggernaut, rapidly overtaking the United States in the technologies of tomorrow? Or is it (b) an ailing giant, doomed by demography, failing real estate developers and counterproductive government diktat?
Trick question: China is both. But the country’s weaknesses increasingly dominate its strengths.
Start with the evidence for juggernaut China. Back in 2000, the country’s spending on research and development, government plus private, was about one-ninth that of the United States, according to Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development statistics. Fast-forward to 2020 and it was 85 percent. Further, by concentrating its resources, China has achieved global leadership in strategic areas.… Seguir leyendo »
The Iranian regime’s brutal killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini — who was reportedly brutally beaten after she was detained for showing too much hair — has triggered nationwide protests, led by the nation’s granddaughters against the grandfathers who have ruled their country for over four decades.
It’s premature to assess whether these protests will meaningfully change Iran’s politics, or whether they are simply another crack in the edifice of a rotting regime whose lone source of diversity is whether the beards and turbans of its ruling men are black or white. Yet one conclusion can already be drawn: Amini’s killing, and Iranian society’s response to it, should permanently alter how the outside world interacts with Iranian officials.… Seguir leyendo »
A video shows Ukrainian soldiers who have just freed the town of Balakliya from six months of Russian occupation. They tear down a Russian propaganda slogan from a billboard that declares, “We are one people with Russia”. To their surprise, another text comes to light beneath — a famous stanza from Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko, who was addressing an earlier generation of Ukrainians resisting Russian imperial rule: “Fight on and win! God himself will aid you”. Anyone who watches the scene can’t help but feel how the words resonate today — nearly 200 years after Shevchenko wrote them.
Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive has liberated at least 3,400 square miles of territory, mostly in the northeast, and cut off Russian supply routes.… Seguir leyendo »
As Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to salvage his failing invasion of Ukraine, there is a small but growing chance that he will use nuclear weapons. Historians will wonder how this war could have veered toward such insanity, but it’s now inescapably part of the landscape.
“In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country … we will certainly make use of all weapons systems available to us. This is not a bluff”, Putin said in a speech broadcast Wednesday morning. His nuclear umbrella appears to include Ukrainian territory that Russia has seized or plans to annex.… Seguir leyendo »
Let’s not play down what has happened this week. The leader of the world’s largest nuclear power publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons. In an address in Moscow on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin declared that Russia would use “all weapon systems available to us” to defend the country. He emphasized, “This is not a bluff”.
It might be. Putin’s threat is at odds with traditional Soviet military doctrine, which once ruled out “first use”. Under his leadership, the Russian military now contemplates scenarios in which it could use nuclear weapons. But Putin knows that the West has powerful nuclear weapons of its own; and he knows that the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” has prevented any power from deploying them since 1945.… Seguir leyendo »
Russian President Vladimir Putin is running out of time and good options in his failing invasion of Ukraine. So, now he’s rushing to implement bad ones — starting with a move toward quick annexation of regions in Ukraine where his occupation army is facing mounting pressure.
To bolster his sagging fortunes, Putin also announced Wednesday morning a partial mobilization of the Russian military. He warned: “We of course will use all the means at our disposal. This is not a bluff”. But it will take months to train these forces, and they will further complicate the Russian army’s already chaotic command-and-control system.… Seguir leyendo »
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s truculent speech on Wednesday was his latest gambit to change the course of a conflict that is trending inevitably toward his country’s defeat. He announced a limited military mobilization and the imminent annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian provinces (Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk) through sham referendums. To cap it all off, he issued veiled nuclear threats: “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff”.
This was a version of the address Putin was widely expected to deliver on May 9, the Russian holiday commemorating victory in World War II, minus a declaration of war or general mobilization.… Seguir leyendo »
El presidente de El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, ha empezado a escribir una historia vieja que quiere vendernos como nueva: la del caudillo latinoamericano que acumula poder, busca eliminar a la oposición y usa los recursos del Estado para beneficiarse. Lo diferente en Bukele es su tonalidad camaleónica: en su carrera política lo mismo ha sido izquierdista radical que anticomunista.
El siguiente paso de esa historia es su reelección en 2024, la cual buscará según un anuncio que hizo la semana pasada, aunque sabe que es inconstitucional. Lo ha dicho al menos dos veces en los últimos años. La más reciente, en marzo de 2021, durante una entrevista con el famoso youtuber mexicano Luisito Comunica.… Seguir leyendo »
As President Biden and other world leaders gather in New York this week to address the U.N. General Assembly, there’s an unusual twist: The United Nations, so often derided as a useless forum for debate rather than action, is working aggressively to contain the damage from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This is a diplomatic version of “man bites dog”. “I would have predicted that the U.N. would act as ineffectively as the League of Nations in the 1930s, but the opposite has happened”, says Jeffrey Feltman, a former State Department official who served as the United Nations’ under-secretary-general for political affairs.… Seguir leyendo »
King Charles III will surprise us. The man whose family has served as the physical symbols of colonialism has spent his life trying to free his mind from the calcified prejudices of empire. Britain’s new head of state is a loud admirer of Islam, a critic of Western interventionism and a champion of multiculturalism who will win his country new friends — and some populist enemies — across the world.
The new king has for decades sought to free himself from what he calls “Western materialism” by immersing himself in the world’s second-largest faith. As the Prince of Wales, he threw himself into the study of Islamic textiles, gardens and architecture.… Seguir leyendo »
Hereditary royalty is a conceit, a fairy-tale illusion. But people in a host of countries still see it as a useful organizing principle, at least for culture and communal ritual. The question now is whether, in Britain, the phrase “modern monarchy” turns out to be an oxymoron.
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At Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral in Westminster Abbey on Monday, the front rows were occupied by her fellow royals: The kings and queens of the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, the queen and crown prince of Denmark and other crowned heads most Americans would be hard pressed to recognize.… Seguir leyendo »
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin keeps going from bad to worse in his invasion of Ukraine. From his perspective, the last week has been an unmitigated catastrophe.
Ukraine’s stunning, surprisingly successful Kharkiv offensive has continued rolling on, having already liberated an estimated 3,500 square miles from Russian rule — i.e., more than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Ukrainian troops are now nearing Luhansk province, which they had lost in July. That makes it increasingly unlikely that Putin will ever achieve even his scaled-down objective of conquering the Donbas region (Luhansk is one of two provinces that make up Donbas).
The Russian forces keep trying and, so far failing, to reestablish a new defensive line.… Seguir leyendo »
In the United States — where reproductive rights are under attack and there has never been a female president — people routinely make assumptions about India’s women. For years, I have argued with foreign correspondents who have looked at us through the prism of subjugation and stereotypes, pointing out that our complex realities defy orientalist tropes.
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But now, I am speaking out as an enraged Indian woman. We have been betrayed, not just by the unsparing use of rape as a weapon of intimidation and violence, but also by the way our bodies have been turned into political battlefields.… Seguir leyendo »