The Turkish downing of a Russian jet that crossed into its territory while bombing targets in Syria complicates even further the play of contraries in an already bewildering set of Mideast conflicts. The episode introduces a fresh tension that could well pit NATO, of which Turkey is a member, against what Gopalkrishna Gandhi calls a fledgling new NATO, or New Anti-Terror Organization, that French President François Hollande is trying to organize globally in the wake of the Paris attacks. Hollande meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week.
Oxford Chancellor Chris Patten endorses Hollande’s approach, calling for a broad effort that includes the U.S., Russia, China and the United Nations to fight the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Writing from Moscow, Fyodor Lukyanov argues that, after Paris, perhaps the West now sees the sense in Russia’s Mideast strategy to save the Syrian state and says in a separate article that the new clash between Turkey and Russia should not derail an “ad hoc coalition” against terrorism. From the Turkish side, a source closely involved at the top levels there over recent years tells the WorldPost: “Turkey is trying to say: you can’t simply ignore me. I am here, I am assuming a huge burden vis-à-vis the refugees and I have already paid a high cost for fighting this war, so I may create serious disturbances if and when I want to prevent a Russian-U.S. rapprochement over fighting ISIS that departs from the priority of ousting Assad.” WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones writes from Istanbul that Putin has charged Turkey with “supporting ISIS” by shooting down his warplane.
As if all this were not ominous enough, Joe Cirincione worries that, with Russia’s recent announcement of a devastating new “nuclear torpedo” and U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to spend $1 trillion over the coming decades on “an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines” we are headed toward a deadly new arms race.
Taking the long view, Alex Gorlach writes from Berlin that the world is entering another “30 Years’ War” like that between Christian sects in Europe in the 17th century before global tolerance can be established. Writing from Madrid, Howard Fineman observes that, across the West, the “overall mood is one of rising fear, xenophobia and talk of military action” and sees fear as the best friend of the right-wing’s political fortunes. Historian Sami Moubayed argues that the “all-loving order” of Sufi Islam, which dominated Damascus and Baghdad during Ottoman times, is the most effective antidote to ISIS.
In an interview, France’s most famous Arab cartoonist, Riad Sattouf, explains to Michael Skafidas what it is like to grow up between two worlds. Nicolas Berggruen writes that the inability of the European Union to come together after the Paris attacks may signal its “final fracture” after all the other policy failures concerning sovereign debt, Greece and refugees. In another interview, novelist Isabel Allende nurtures the flickering candle of hope. “Despite terrorism, ” she says, “the world is better than it has ever been.”
In our Third Industrial Revolution series this week the President of the Pas de Calais region of France, Daniel Percheron, describes how his government and local entrepreneurs are making the transition to clean and renewable energy. Arianna Huffington hopes that business can join together with governments at the Paris climate conference next week to come up with “solutions equal to the problem.” Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg calls on cities to “lead by example” in battling climate change. Alexander Howard inventories what cities around the world are doing to fight climate change from the bottom up.
While world attention is focused on fighting ISIS, much else is going on out there. Pepe Escobar observes that while the West is otherwise preoccupied, China is rapidly implementing its plans to transform its manufacturing economy and expand westward into Eurasia by building a new Silk Road. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan visits Liu Renwang in China’s remote Yaoyu Village to discuss his “memories of torture” by local officials and whether the new reforms that outlaw torture in obtaining convictions will be effective.
Writing from Karachi, Pakistan, Bina Shah notes that far more women are victims of physical and sexual violence than there are victims of terrorism worldwide. We also report on how one of India’s top Supreme Court lawyers, Karuna Nundy, has contributed to that country’s anti-rape laws and focus in on India’s marital rape problem. Bonny Brooks wonders why there is not more rage — like there has been over recent crises in Paris and Beirut — over the fact that 1 out of 3 children in North Korea are stunted by malnutrition and instead mainly comedic stories coming out in Western media about that country. Investigative journalist Anabel Hernandez writes about receiving death threats at her home in Mexico City because of her continuing pursuit of the truth about the 43 missing students from Guerrero.
In a contribution from the Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center this week Julian Baggini explores how the notion of “human becoming” instead of “human being” can create a new bridge between Eastern and Western perspectives on the world.
In a photo essay, we display the spectacular images gathered by Steve McCurry as he wonders around India. In our Fusion column, you can watch this stunning music video composed by artificial intelligence. Lastly, our Singularity series this week focuses on how to teach those skills most required as technology changes ever more rapidly in the 21st Century: communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration
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