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Author Archives: manueldg82

Europe can’t keep shutting its eyes to the disaster in Syria

These past few days have been a watershed for Europe. I’m not thinking about Brexit, but about Syria – which increasingly looks like our 21st-century Spanish civil war. Western and European defeat in Syria (by which I mean political and moral, not just military defeat) has parallels with the 1930s when democracies were unable or unwilling to stand up to authoritarians when it mattered, or even to play any kind of meaningful role in preventing a catastrophe that would soon enough engulf them, too.

Events in north-eastern Syria are obviously tragic, if not lethal, for the tens of thousands of people caught up in them locally. But they will also have an impact on Europe in more ways than we perhaps care to acknowledge. Donald Trump himself has said as much, casually pointing out that Islamic State-connected foreign fighters now on the loose would make their way back to Europe. He made clear that that is a problem Europe would have to handle alone. As bad as that prospect is, it is only one part of a wider picture that should make Europeans feel desolate: at a crucial moment in history, the Russia-Iran authoritarian axis is now fully victorious on Europe’s doorstep.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/16/europe-shutting-eyes-disaster-syria

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Posted by on October 17, 2019 in Middle East

 

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A Sexual Assault Memoir Women Deserve

In June 2016, “Emily Doe” read her 12-page victim impact statement to the court before the sentencing of Brock Turner, the Stanford undergrad who’d been convicted of sexually assaulting her while she was unconscious. It was a brilliant piece of writing—frank, angry, straight from the heart—and it seemed to sum up everything about the trauma of sexual assault and the many ways that society, especially the legal process, makes that trauma worse.

Turner’s lenient sentence of six months in county jail and Judge Aaron Persky’s explanation (“I take him at his word that, subjectively, that’s his version of events”) set the public on fire. Within days of being published on BuzzFeed, Doe’s statement had been viewed more than 15 million times.

https://www.thenation.com/article/stanford-brock-turner/

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2019 in North America

 

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No More Half-Measures on Corporate Taxes

In the face of climate change, rising inequality, and other global crises, governments are losing out on hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue as a result of corporate tax arbitrage. Yet despite the obvious deficiencies of the global tax regime, policymakers continue to propose only piecemeal fixes.

NEW YORK – Globalization has gotten a bad rap in recent years, and often for good reason. But some critics, not least US President Donald Trump, place the blame in the wrong place, conjuring up a false image in which Europe, China, and developing countries have snookered America’s trade negotiators into bad deals, leading to Americans’ current woes. It’s an absurd claim: after all, it was America – or, rather, corporate America – that wrote the rules of globalization in the first place.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/oecd-proposal-multinational-tax-avoidance-by-joseph-e-stiglitz-2019-10

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2019 in Economy

 

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Where Progressives Are Winning

Across Europe, progressives have despaired the rise of the far right, over austerity policies crippling the welfare state, and of growing anti-immigrant sentiment as the region has grappled with an array of crises in recent years. Everywhere, except here.

In Portugal, a left-wing government came to power four years ago as the country was still dealing with the effects of the European debt crisis and deep spending cuts negotiated with the so-called troika—the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. The minority administration in Lisbon formed by Socialist Party Prime Minister António Costa was considered so unlikely to succeed that it got its own hard-to-translate, and derogatory, moniker: geringonça, which in Portuguese means an odd contraption that is very likely to fall apart. Yet the “contraption” persisted and managed to raise the minimum wage, lower unemployment, nearly eliminate the budget deficit, and maintain good relations with Brussels. In sum, it oversaw economic growth while reversing austerity policies.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/10/portugal-election-progressives-left-winning/599518/

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2019 in European Union

 

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Iraq’s protests and the reform farce

In recent years Iraqis have become accustomed to periodic outbreaks of mass protest against their sclerotic political system. There is little to endear Iraqis to the ruling oligarchy of parties given their unmatched pilfering of the state and continued failure.

The stabilisation of the security situation and the supposed merits of a constitutional electoral system that breaks with decades of authoritarian rule have failed to allay public anger.

While the improved security and the normalcy that has marked daily life in parts of Iraq have certainly been welcomed, it is a cruel absurdity to expect Iraqis to forever measure their quality of life and their political discontent against the harrowing extremes of civil war or Ba’thist authoritarianism. Trumpeting normalcy means having to live up to its promise.

In fact, the recent stabilisation of the security situation has brought Iraq’s systemic failures to the fore. Where once Iraqis felt caught between existential threats (such as terrorism, crime, ISIS, etc) and civil war, today they feel trapped in a political and economic system that serves the interests of the ruling party oligarchy and denies them representation, economic opportunity and functioning services.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/iraq-protests-reform-farce-191004095142453.html

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2019 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

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Export di armi, dove e perché violiamo le leggi italiane e dell’Onu

È noto: una parte delle bombe piovute in testa ai curdi siriani sono made in Italy. Negli ultimi quattro anni le forniture di armi ad Ankara sono state un crescendo: 128,8 milioni nel 2015; 133,4 nel 2016; 266,1 nel 2017 e 362,3 nel 2018. Elicotteri da guerra, sistemi di precisione, bombe, razzi, missili e armi da fuoco per un totale di 890,6 milioni. La Turchia è nella Nato, è un forte partner commerciale e politico dell’Europa, non è sottoposta ad alcun embargo e compra i nostri armamenti, tutto legale quindi?

https://www.corriere.it/dataroom-milena-gabanelli/export-armi-turchia-dove-perche-violiamo-leggi-italiane-dell-onu/57dbf612-ef70-11e9-9951-ede310167127-va.shtml

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2019 in European Union

 

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Turkey’s Syria invasion rapidly backfiring for Ankara amid unexpected international condemnation

Turkey’s Syrian venture is rapidly turning sour from President Erdogan’s point of view. The Turkish advance into the northeast is moving slowly, but Turkey’s military options are becoming increasingly limited as the Syrian army, backed by Russia, moves into Kurdish-held cities and towns that might have been targeted by Turkish forces.

It is unlikely that Mr Erdogan will risk taking on Syrian government troops, even if they are thin on the ground, if this involves quarrelling with Russia. In the seven days since he launched Operation Peace Spring, Turkey has become more diplomatically isolated than Ankara might have envisaged when President Trump appeared to greenlight its attack.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/turkey-syria-kurds-war-trump-erdogan-invasion-ankara-a9157046.html

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Watch “Accidental Anarchist – What is the Rojava Revolution?” On YouTube

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in Middle East

 

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What If The World Treated The U.S. Like a Rogue State

THE PLANETʼS DENSEST EMBODIMENT of international cooperation lies in the heart of Geneva, in the few square miles around the lake. From the lakeshore, a brief walk through a park will bring a visitor to the Palace of Nations, built in the 1930s as the seat of the League of Nations, and now the United Nations’ office in the city. To the east, the World Trade Organization; to the north-west, the World Health Organization; an amble away, the headquarters of the Red Cross, the International Labour Organization, the International Telecommunications Union, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, among dozens of others. Also nearby is the InterContinental Hotel, where in November 2013, Iran agreed to dilute its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief—the first edition of the pact that President Donald Trump abandoned last year.

It’s entirely fitting that just down the road from the InterContinental is the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, which occupies a complex named Maison de la Paix, its six buildings arranged like strewn flower petals. The InterContinental is of particular interest to Thomas Biersteker, a political scientist at the Institute, who has made a career studying sanctions. Biersteker, an American who taught at Brown University until 2007, is prone to discussing the antics of nation-states in a tone of wry curiosity, as if relaying the activities of ant colonies in his backyard. He lives for part of the year in a house in the Swiss Alps, where he hosts so many discussions on his preferred topic that his colleagues call it the “Sanctions Chalet.” Typically, Biersteker’s case studies deal with bad actors: states gone rogue, dangerous leaders thumbing their noses at the world. Increasingly, though, these descriptions seem to fit not just autocracies flush with oil or tinpot dictatorships but also the United States of America.

https://www.huffpost.com/highline/article/sanctions/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9kdWNrZHVja2dvLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAHVp6j9Fox4M2Fptyh27d2Ed2WVMjlvD-EOugVEe3ceSA7yM_VIBoxLGqxWccZ_tTN7C_TWgeDYhgAK9NJr9k6P2W0hLAVhLkclsdI5csgWHq5hViPd5jGTE2Delmp4TjSLD2nLE7TK9uJS7ugyib2Zvgy0SjqcVm9lAsvhFTC-G

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in Reportages, Uncategorized

 

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Trump and Erdogan have much in common – and the Kurds will be the tragic victims of their idiocy

What perfidy. Is there any more solemn a word that can be developed in the English language for such treachery? The west’s Kurdish allies are being betrayed all over again. Like Kissinger, like Trump. And here come the Turks again, once more playing their border games, pretending they are fighting against “terrorism” when they were perfectly prepared to assist al-Nusra in Afrin while oil from Isis flowed into the country. And Trump now suddenly realises that the Turks are not good allies when he was perfectly happy to let them invade northern Syria four days ago.

If anything could be more illustrative of the madhouse in Washington it has been the divisive, insane “policy” which the Americans still claim to uphold in northern Syria. A hundred thousand displaced, dozens of civilians dead. In Damascus, the Assad regime must be appreciating this farce, although the chances of taking back territory from Turkey probably looks a good deal more dangerous. But the prospect of Syria’s invaders fighting each other will evoke only bitter reflection in a state where the government had almost won its war.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trump-erdogan-syria-turkey-kurds-isis-bombing-a9153116.html

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in Middle East, North America

 

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