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Oct 11, 2019
Does the US have a Syria plan?October 11, 2019
Following a late evening phone conversation with the president of Turkey, President Trump approved the Turkish decision to send troops in parts of Syria that are now controlled by American backed Kurdish forces. He said that it is time for the US troops to be pulled out. The announcement caught America’s allies by surprise, and the president’s supporters off guard. The move is seen as a major shift in the US policy which, critics say, will embolden Iran and Russia and might even help the...
Oct 04, 2019
Is impeachment a fair process?October 04, 2019
In the United States, the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump - only the fourth president to face such an investigation - has become the most talked about issue in Washington. At the centre of it is a phone conversation in which president Trump allegedly solicited the help of the Ukrainian president to undermine a political rival. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the Democratic Party controlled lower house of Congress, says that it had to initiate the impeachment investigation because it could...
Sep 27, 2019
Can China tame Hong Kong?September 27, 2019
This week China marks the 70th anniversary of its founding. The great fanfare playing out across the country could be overshadowed by events in the southern territory of Hong Kong, which is part of China but maintains separate judicial and economic freedoms. For months, people there have been taking to the streets every weekend to rally against a controversial extradition bill. These protests have turned into a movement calling for full democracy, and an investigation into allegations of police...
Sep 20, 2019
Russia's Africa doctrineSeptember 20, 2019
In October thousands of delegates are expected to arrive in the Russian resort of Sochi for an extraordinary gathering. It will be the first ever conference between Russia and the countries of Africa. President Putin is due to hold meetings with African heads of state to discuss Russia's ties to the continent. Russia is rekindling links with Africa that existed during the Cold War and creating new partnerships with countries which, in the past, had closer ties to the West. Some have already...
Sep 13, 2019
South Africa's anti-foreigner violenceSeptember 13, 2019
South Africa is one of the richest countries in Africa. Its businesses and investments have been a catalyst for growth on the continent and according to the World Bank, African immigrants have made a positive impact on South Africa’s economy. Yet foreign workers come under regular attack in South Africa. In the most recent spate of violence, hundreds of foreign owned businesses were damaged by protestors who said foreigners were taking their jobs. Several people died. The South African...
Sep 06, 2019
The future of moneySeptember 06, 2019
Every summer at a mountain resort in Wyoming, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas hosts a symposium of central bankers and academics to discuss the global economy. This year at Jackson Hole, the outgoing Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, grabbed headlines by calling for a new global monetary system to replace the US dollar as the world’s main currency reserve. A new digital currency, he said, based on a basket of currencies and provided by the public sector, could be more stable and...
Aug 30, 2019
Who owns the Amazon?August 30, 2019
The Amazon rainforest is an essential part of maintaining the earth's ecosystem and weather patterns. But this year thousands of fires are ravaging there - the most intense blazes for almost a decade. Brazil's indigenous and environmental groups have raised alarm at the rate of deforestation caused by the fires, many of which are thought to have been started deliberately by farmers and loggers. The G7 group of industrial nations have offered tens of millions of dollars to countries in the region...
Aug 23, 2019
The changing face of protestAugust 23, 2019
The on-going protests in Hong Kong and Russia come as Eastern Europe begins to mark the 30th anniversary of one of the most important geopolitical shifts of the 20th century - the collapse of Communism. The 20th century struggle against communist dictatorships lasted decades and claimed thousands of victims but eventually reached its aims. So, what about the protests of the 21st century? We have watched the Green Movement in Iran, then the Arab Spring, revive people’s hopes for democracy -...
Aug 16, 2019
How do women change politics?August 16, 2019
The British Green MP, Caroline Lucas, this week called for an 'emergency cabinet' of women from across the UK’s political spectrum to help prevent Britain from leaving the European Union without a deal. Women, she said, were better placed to deal with 'difficult, intractable problems'. So, is this true? Women have had to fight to gain a place in national politics in countries around the world, and when they make it, their challenges are far from over. Just last week, for example, the Kenyan...
Aug 09, 2019
What happened to the political centre ground?August 09, 2019
In recent years the formula for winning elections has moved away from reaching out to all voters and charting a middle ground. Instead, politicians are promoting wedge issues and activating voters along issues of identity and against the status quo. The polarising nature of this variety of politics was on view this week in the aftermath of the tragic mass shooting in Texas. It was also seen in India, where the Hindu nationalist BJP government rammed through a dramatic policy change on Kashmir...