Ross Douthat – The New York Times
Let’s get one thing straight: I am not a fan of Facebook. I’m confident that social media is a cancer on our private lives and a source of derangement in our politics. I take it for granted that the tech barons are acquiring the power to tilt elections, and that they’ll be happy to play handmaidens to tyrants soft and hard so long as they can monetize our data. I take a certain mordant pleasure in watching Mark Zuckerberg and his minions scapegoated for the political failures of late-Obama-era liberalism.
By Michele Nobile -utopiarossa (via IDN)
INDEX: 1. The problem: where is the Trump administration’s foreign policy going? – 2. What a President of the United States will never do – 3. American exceptionalism and the myth of splendid isolation – 4. Limits or decline of American power? – 5. Conceptual fetishism: multilateralism/unilateralism, unipolarity/multipolarity – 6. The dangerous contradictions of the Trump administration’s foreign policy
- During an important speech on foreign policy in April 2016, Donald Trump thundered: “We are totally predictable. We tell everything. We’re sending troops. We tell them. We’re sending something else. We have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now”.The problem: where is the Trump administration’s foreign policy going?
OPINION, IAN WILKIE* – Newsweek
Lost in the hyper-politicized hullabaloo surrounding the Nunes Memorandum and the Steele Dossier was the striking statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the U.S. has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people.
This assertion flies in the face of the White House (NSC) Memorandum which was rapidly produced and declassified to justify an American Tomahawk missile strike against the Shayrat airbase in Syria.
BAHER KAMAL*- Wall Street International
A new alarm has been now sounded, this time on the occasion of the World Water Day marked on 22 March.
It is about the proved fact that climate change has been steadily aggravating and already on-going water crisis, its scarcity and the deterioration of its quality, this further leading to more poverty and more famine and thus more conflicts and more migration, a crisis that the world has flagrantly failed to address.
By Orlando Crowcroft* – Newsweek
The prime minister has portrayed himself as his country’s savior, protecting Christian Europe against the Muslim hordes
In early March, János Lázár, a senior Hungarian minister, posted a video on Facebook complaining about the lack of “white Christians” in Vienna. Muslim migrants, he warned, were destroying the city—and if someone didn’t do something, they would transform Budapest, Hungary’s capital, in a similar way. “If we let them in…our cities,” Lazar told his followers, “the consequences will be crime, impoverishment, dirt, filth and impossible urban conditions.”
BY PHILIP GORDON* – Foreign Policy
The road to Pyongyang does not pass through Tehran.
There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the prospect of U.S. President Donald Trump meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. These include the facts that Trump agreed to the meeting impulsively and without high-level U.S. government consideration or consultations with allies, the administration has little high-level expertise on East Asia and has no ambassador in South Korea, the president has shown little willingness or ability to master the details of proliferation issues, and the two leaders are highly unlikely to find common ground on core issues such as Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and the U.S. military presence in the South. Trump and some of his advisors — including Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo — now talk about the meeting as if it is already a major U.S. breakthrough, when in fact a meeting with Kim is less likely to lead to a nuclear breakthrough than to an empty-handed and embarrassed U.S. president having to decide what to do when Pyongyang refuses U.S. demands and resumes its nuclear tests.
Paul Krugman * – The New York Times
Almost four decades have passed since Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously declared, “Of a sudden, the G.O.P. has become a party of ideas.” And his statement still holds true, with one modification: These days, Republicans are a party of zombie ideas — ideas that should have died long ago, yet still keep shambling along, eating politicians’ brains.
The most important of these zombies is the “supply side” insistence that cutting taxes on the rich reliably produces economic miracles, and conversely that raising taxes on the rich is a recipe for disaster. Faith in this doctrine survived the boom that followed Bill Clinton’s tax hikes, the lackluster recovery and eventual catastrophe that followed George W. Bush’s tax cuts, the debacle in Kansas, and more.
Editorial – The Guardian
The standards by which the internet is controlled need to be open and subject to impartial judiciaries – not left to advertisers
The revelations we publish about how Facebook’s data was used by Cambridge Analytica to subvert the openness of democracy are only the latest examples of a global phenomenon. All over the world, governments are coming to grips with the destructive power of social media. In recent weeks, Sri Lanka, Britain, Indonesia and Myanmar have all seen measures taken against hate-speech campaigns. In some cases the companies that publish and profit from them have acted themselves; in others the government has taken direct action.
By Business Firstpost Staff
Paul Krugman at News18’s Rising India Summit says nation has emerged as a super power, but govt shouldn’t have heavy hand on economy
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on Saturday said India has marched ahead of countries like Japan and the progress it has achieved is 30 years is extraordinary. However, the government should not have a ‘heavy hand’ on economy, Krugman said, implying that the economy should open more in favour of private sector. The Nobel laureate was speaking at the News18 Rising India Summit about “Rising India, the view from afar”.
By John Scales Avery *
I would like to announce the publication of a new book entitled “The Devil’s Dynamo”. It is a collection of articles and book chapters that I have written about the way in which military-industrial complexes throughout the world drive and perpetuate the institution of war. A considerable amount of new material has also been added. The book can be freely downloaded and circulated from the following link:
Why call a book about military-industrial complexes “The Devil’s Dynamo”?
Tyler Durden , ZeroHedge, Authored by Nafeez Ahmed via Oriental Review,
The official claim that ‘Novichok’ points solely to Russia has been discredited…
On Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that former Russian spy, Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia, were poisoned with “a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia” known as ‘Novichok’.
The chemical agent was identified by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. May referred to the British government’s “knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so” as a basis to conclude that Russia’s culpability in the attack “is highly likely.”
By Lisa Hajjar* – The Nation
Obama’s decision not to pursue accountability has given Bush administration criminals golden-shield powers.
President Trump finally found the opportunity to parade his pro-torture bona fides. In the latest cabinet shuffle, he promoted Gina Haspel as new director of the CIA. If Congress confirms her, she will replace Mike Pompeo, who is slated to become the new secretary of state. While Pompeo is a torture enthusiast like Trump—and many other Republican politicians—Haspel is the real deal. A career CIA agent, she played a leading role in the agency’s program of torture, kidnapping, and forced disappearance during the Bush administration.
Viewpoint by Pier Francesco Zarcone*
ROME (IDN) – Has Turkey changed under Erdogan? The question may seem absurd due to the habit of considering Turkey a secular and Westernised country before Recep Erdogan came to power.
However, this consolidated image turns out to be false. There has been a change, but not in substance: what has changed is its exteriority. In fact, albeit with periodic recourse to elections, the country has always been governed in an authoritarian way, and today this feature is only more evident and its quality is more pronounced.
Opinion, Zoe Williams – The Guardian
The late physicist was a genius and a visionary but it is hard to imagine those qualities thriving with cuts to disability support and the NHS under attack
What is a fitting tribute to Stephen Hawking? It’s probably not to ask, as John Humphrys unaccountably did, whether the “science community cut him a lot of slack because he was so desperately disabled?” A more insulting idea is hard to imagine: that you spend your life overcoming adversity to get to the top of your field, then the minute you’re dead, someone speculates that you’d never have made it without the adversity.
By John Nichols* – The Nation
Trump’s pick to replace Rex Tillerson is an errand boy for billionaires
In the Republican wave election of 2010, when Charles and David Koch emerged as defining figures in American politics, the greatest beneficiary of Koch Industries largesse was a political newcomer named Mike Pompeo. After his election to the House eight years ago, Pompeo was referred to as the “Koch Brothers’ Congressman” and “the congressman from Koch.”
Now Pompeo is positioned to become a Koch brothers–influenced secretary of state.
By Tharanga Yakupitiyage
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 14 2018 (IPS) – In the wake of persistent violence against the Rohingya community, UN officials have expressed growing fears that genocide is being incited and committed in Myanmar.
Since violence renewed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017, almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled to neighboring Bangladesh. Often arriving to limited food and shelter, refugees have brought with them stories of serious human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and the deliberate burning of entire villages.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos* – The Socialist Project
World Social Forum (WSF) met for the first time in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001. This was an event of extraordinary importance. It signaled an alternative form of globalization to the globalization being promoted by global capitalism, at a time when capitalism was increasingly assuming it is most exclusive and antisocial version: neoliberalism. This was not its first signal, but it was unquestionably its most consistent one. It put on the international agenda the struggles of the movements and social organizations fighting all over the world against the many faces of social exclusion: economic, racial, ethno-cultural, sexist, religious, etc. The WSF was, at the same time, both a symptom and a potentiality of the hope harbored by the oppressed social groups. It emerged as a world vocation in Latin America, because the subcontinent was then the world region where the popular classes were more consistently translating hope into forms of progressive government.
By MARK LANDLER – The New York Times
President Trump announced that he had ousted Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and intends to replaced him with Mike Pompeo, now the C.I.A. director.
Mr. Trump also named Gina Haspel as his choice to become the next C.I.A. director.
WASHINGTON — For all his political and bureaucratic stumbles, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has been a steady voice of moderation in how the Trump administration engages with the world.
That voice will be lost if, as expected, President Trump replaces Mr. Tillerson at the State Department with Mike Pompeo, a hard-line former Republican congressman who has brought an avowedly political edge to the Central Intelligence Agency, where he is the director.
By Jon Wiener – The Nation
How the president has changed the “law and order” debate.
Chris Hayes is the Emmy Award–winning host of All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC, and an editor at large of The Nation. His book A Colony in a Nation is out now in paperback with a new afterword. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Jon Wiener: Ta-Nehisi Coates called your book “essential and groundbreaking,” partly because you ask the question, “What do we talk about when we talk about crime?” What’s the answer?
Chris Hayes: A lot of times we’re talking about preserving a certain social order. It’s been remarkable to watch the last year unfold with a president who, probably more than any president since Nixon, rhetorically invoked law and order. He talks about chaos, lawlessness, and criminality racking the nation, and he is coming to restore law and order. Then we have watched as person after person in his inner circle has pleaded guilty to felonies. There’s been a sort of orgy of lawlessness around the president of the United States. You have to wonder, was he really talking about the law? The answer is, no. This is obviously someone whose concern for legality, or lawfulness, is trivial to nonexistent. The point is that this is not hypocrisy. It’s actually an integrated world view, in which criminality is defined by who is committing what offenses, and which side they’re on.
BY SIMON TILFORD * – Foreign Policy
The front-runner to lead Europe’s central bank doesn’t seem to believe in central banking.
Germany’s political and economic establishment believes its handling of the eurozone crisis and its aftermath has been vindicated. After all, the eurozone is intact and enjoying an increasingly robust economic recovery. This conveniently ignores, of course, that the euro survived because of European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s promise to do “whatever it takes” and buy as many government bonds as was necessary to prevent the banking systems of Italy and other crisis-riven countries from collapsing, and the euro with them. This promise drew fierce criticism in Germany and Jens Weidmann, head of Germany’s Bundesbank, was the only member of the ECB’s governing council to oppose it.