A New Deal for the 21st Century

By YANIS VAROUFAKIS*  – The New York Times

ATHENS — The recent elections in France and Britain have confirmed the political establishment’s simultaneous vulnerability and vigor in the face of a nationalist insurgency. This contradiction is the motif of the moment — personified by the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, whose résumé made him a darling of the elites but who rode a wave of anti-establishment enthusiasm to power.

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by Pier Francesco Zarcone
We know that international legality goes no further than pious aspirations, so all that counts is force and tactical-strategic capacity of its use.
Well, the United States edged its way into Syria on its own account – that is, without the Damascus government having called on it – in order to achieve two interrelated goals.
First, to save the self-styled anti-Assad Syrian Democratic Forces which had suffered blows from both ISIS and the Syrian Arab Army of Damascus – to the extent that it was necessary to link it up with the Kurdish militia of Syria to give a semblance of existence.
Second, to break the potential territorial continuity between Syria, Iraq and Iran – that is, the so-called “Shiite corridor”.

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Why War? Building on the legacy of Einstein, Freud and Gandhi

Robert J. Burrowes* 

In 1932, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein conducted a correspondence subsequently published under the title ‘Why War?’ See ‘Why War: Einstein and Freud’s Little-Known Correspondence on Violence, Peace, and Human Nature’. In many ways, this dialogue between two giants of the 20th century is symbolic of the effort made by many humans to understand that perplexing and incredibly damaging feature of human experience: the institution of war.

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Abu Bakr dead? Unlikely, but if so another ‘caliph’ will emerge


Many are doubtful about the claims that the Islamic State’s figurehead is no more. But so long as the organization’s ideology is not eradicated others will take up the cause

Iran appears to be 100% certain that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed “caliph” of the Islamic State (ISIS) is dead. Its IRIB news agency has distributed a photo of the terror guru, lying dead — a lifeless corpse – in al-Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital along the Euphrates River. Sceptics assert, however, that the man in the photograph is not in fact Abu Bakr.

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Is Religion the New Colonial Frontier in International Development?

By Azza Karam*

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 4 2017 (IPS) – A decade ago, it was difficult to get Western policy makers in governments to be interested in the role of religious organizations in human development. The secular mind-set was such that religion was perceived, at best, as a private affair. At worst, religion was deemed the cause of harmful social practices, an obstacle to the “sacred” nature of universal human rights, and/or the root cause of terrorism. In short, religion belonged in the ‘basket of deplorables’.

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The Guardian view on Macron: progressive and pro-European. What’s not to envy?

Editorial – The Guardian

In a speech in Versailles, France’s centrist leader seized his moment. The contrast with Theresa May’s agenda is a sobering one 

Emmanuel Macron went to the Palace of Versailles on Monday and proclaimed a French revolution. For those with a feel for French history, this juxtaposition of venue and idea was rich in irony. But the French president’s speech to the newly elected parliament and the senate was one that matters in the here and now, not just in the republic itself but across Europe – and in Britain, too.

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What It Means to Be a Patriot in the Trump Era

By Katrina vanden Heuvel* – The Nation

Fighting for justice and equality is the most patriotic act of all.

In one of his first official acts upon taking office, President Trump designated the day of his inauguration a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” While it’s not unusual for incoming presidents to issue symbolic proclamations, Trump’s choice of words reflected the extreme nationalism of a White House that, according to reports, wanted to stage an inaugural parade with military tanks rolling down the streets of Washington, DC. “A new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart,” he proclaimed.

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Agricultural megamergers: who will decide what we eat

Silvia Ribeiro* – ALAI 

The future of food is definitely not what it used to be. At least where industrial agriculture is concerned. Monsanto, the best-known villain of transgenic agriculture, could soon disappear under this name from the scenario, if their purchase by Bayer is authorized – even though its intentions would be the same. The mergers Syngenta—ChemChina and Dupont—Dow are still under the scrutiny of anti-monopoly authorities in many countries. If they succeed, the three resulting companies will control 60 per cent of the world market of commercial seeds (including nearly 100% of GMO seeds) and 71 per cent of agrotoxins globally, with levels of concentration that amply overcome the monopoly rules of any country.

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Breaking the U.S.-Russia Impasse: Keeping the Door Open to Dialogue

by Hall Gardner[1]

Relations between the U.S. and Russia appear to be almost at the point of no return. Whether justified or not, both sides have accused each other of interfering in their respective election processes. Moscow has accused the United States of backing protests that opposed the results of Russia’s parliamentary elections in 2011 and of directly interfering in the Russian presidential elections in March 2012 that brought Vladimir Putin to power. Washington has counter-accused Moscow of interfering in the November 2016 presidential elections that brought Donald Trump to power. 

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Trump’s Obama Obsession

Charles M. Blow -The New York Times

Donald Trump has a thing about Barack Obama. Trump is obsessed with Obama. Obama haunts Trump’s dreams. One of Trump’s primary motivators is the absolute erasure of Obama — were it possible — not only from the political landscape but also from the history books.

Trump is president because of Obama, or more precisely, because of his hostility to Obama. Trump came onto the political scene by attacking Obama.

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Merkel to put climate change at centre of G20 talks after Trump’s Paris pullout

The Guardian with agencies in Berlin

German chancellor says Trump administration’s decision to quit Paris climate agreement means EU must show leadership on issue

Tackling climate change will be one of the central tasks of the upcoming Hamburg G20 summit of the world’s largest economies, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said on Thursday, following the US withdrawal from the Paris climate pact.

Merkel, who will host the gathering of global leaders in the northern port city, said the climate change scepticism of the Trump administration made it all the more important for the European Union to show leadership.

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Why is Africa so poor? You asked Google – here’s the answer

Eliza Anyangwe – The Guardian

Every day millions of internet users ask Google life’s most difficult questions, big and small. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries

Now here’s a question that demands an answer. Why is it that arguably the world’s richest continent – in terms of natural resources – has some of the world’s poorest people? To answer it, we’d need to take a trip down memory lane. Already I can sense you rolling your eyes deep into the back of your head. “If I hear one more time about slavery in Africa …”

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More Bang for Your Buck: Saving Lives by Investing in the Poorest

By Tharanga Yakupitiyage

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 28 2017 (IPS) – Investing in the health of the poorest communities saves almost twice as many lives, according to a UN agency’s analysis.

In a new report titled “Narrowing the Gaps: The Power of Investing in the Poorest Children,” the UN’s Children Agency (UNICEF) found that increased access to health among poor communities saves more lives and is more cost-effective than in non-poor communities.

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Why Is International Human Rights Law Such an Easy Target?

By Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein*

LONDON, Jun 27 2017 (IPS) – “Earlier this month, Britain’s Prime Minister called for human rights laws to be overturned if they were to “get in the way” in the fight against terrorism. Specifically, Theresa May said there was a need “to restrict the freedom and movement of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they are a threat, but not evidence to prosecute them in full in court.”

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Qatar Crisis Could Lead to War: Veteran US Diplomat

by Jim Lobe – lobelog.com

Given the fast-moving events in the Persian Gulf region over the past two weeks, LobeLog decided to consult Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (1), whose occasional lectures on key foreign policy issues have been featured on this site for several years. Washington’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, Freeman has a wide range of contacts in the region. One of the most highly decorated foreign service officers of his generation, he also served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs at the Pentagon, among many other posts. We conducted this interview by telephone Monday.

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Global Social Protection Rights

Francine Mestrum, Brussels , Global Social Justice 

At the Asia-Europe’s People’s Forum (AEPF) of July 2016 in Ulaan Bator, Mongolia, some people sat together and decided to take an initiative for a global charter on social protection rights.

The main reason was that we are concerned about the distress of people all over the world, faced with multiple problems of war, environmental degradation and climate change, rising inequalities and persistent poverty, economic crises, austerity policies and growing authoritarianism, erosion of all human rights, discrimination and intolerance …

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Saudi Arabia to Qatar: Do As We Say, Not As We Do

by Derek Davison * – LobeLog

More than two weeks after they began boycotting Qatar, four Arab nations—Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—have presented the Qataris with a list of demands that they say Doha must meet in order to end this ongoing Persian Gulf diplomatic crisis. With all due respect to the Associated Press, which has obtained a shortened list of these demands (quoted below), LobeLog can reveal that it has received a more comprehensive list from its sources, who wish to remain anonymous for reasons that should become clear shortly.

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The World Is Burning

By IPS World Desk

ROME, Jun 23 2017 (IPS) – Record high temperatures are gripping much of the globe and more hot weather are to come. This implies more drought, more food insecurity, more famine and more massive human displacements.

In fact, extremely high May and June temperatures have broken records in parts of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported, adding that the heat-waves have arrived unusually early.

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Myths of Globalization: Noam Chomsky and Ha-Joon Chang in Conversation

By C.J. Polychroniou -  Truthout  Interview

Since the late 1970s, the world’s economy and dominant nations have been marching to the tune of (neoliberal) globalization, whose impact and effects on average people’s livelihood and communities everywhere are generating great popular discontent, accompanied by a rising wave of nationalist and anti-elitist sentiments. But what exactly is driving globalization? And who really benefits from globalization? Are globalization and capitalism interwoven? How do we deal with the growing levels of inequality and massive economic insecurity? Should progressives and radicals rally behind the call for the introduction of a universal basic income? In the unique and exclusive interview below, two leading minds of our time, linguist and public intellectual Noam Chomsky and Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang, share their views on these essential questions.

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