RSS

Category Archives: North America

In the Wake of Khashoggi’s Disappearance, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Is Pushed to the Brink

It seems nearly certain now that Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist, died a slow and agonizing death, the kind that none of us could dare imagine for ourselves. It seems equally clear that Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and a columnist for the Washington Post, was murdered, probably on orders of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The latest evidence pointing to M.B.S.’s direct involvement is the identities of members of the team sent to Istanbul to kill him: several of the individuals identified by Turkish officials were part of the Royal Guard, responsible for protecting senior members of the House of Saud. “They answer directly to M.B.S.,’’ Bruce Riedel, a former Middle East specialist for the C.I.A. and National Security Council, told me.

Khashoggi was warm, generous, and funny—and loyal to his principles, like the virtues of open and accountable government. His refusal to compromise his values prompted the Saudi government, in 2016, to silence him, and it led him to conclude, the following year, that he needed to flee to America. I saw Jamal whenever I visited Washington. (Whenever he came to New York, we met at Katz’s Deli for giant reuben sandwiches.) Jamal and I spoke for the last time six days before he vanished. He was writing to tell me about the latest crackdown on the Saudi press, which had led to several reporters being imprisoned. He sent me clips from Saudi newspapers documenting their detention. “I hope you are interested in the story,” Jamal wrote in an e-mail. “Saudi authorities are making a mockery of justice while the world celebrates MBS’ reforms!”

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/in-the-wake-of-khashoggis-disappearance-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-is-pushed-to-the-brink

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: ,

Jamal Khashoggi: Missing journalist case proves that when Saudi Arabia’s credibility is damaged so is America’s

The Khashoggi affair has weakened President Trump’s campaign to impose stringent economic sanctions on Iran aimed at reducing its influence or forcing regime change. Saudi Arabia is America’s main ally in the Arab world so when its credibility is damaged so is that of the US.

On 5 November the US will impose tough restrictions on Iranian oil exports which have already been cut by more than half since Mr Trump announced the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement.

Other signatories, who disagree with him, are seeking to keep the nuclear deal afloat, but the threat of secondary sanctions on oil companies, banks and commercial companies for doing business with Iran is too great a risk for them to resist.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia-iran-donald-trump-sanctions-a8587126.html

 
 

Tags: , ,

Crystal Mason begins prison sentence in Texas for crime of voting

Crystal Mason, the woman who became the poster child for voter suppression when she was sentenced to five years for casting a ballot in Texas, has gone into federal prison at the start of her ordeal.

Mason, 43, surrendered voluntarily on Thursday to authorities and was taken into federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas. She left her three children behind.

In her final Facebook post before she went inside, she wrote: “This fight is not over, I’m glad God choose me for this journey. I’m walking in there no tears and head hung high …”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/28/crystal-mason-begins-prison-sentence-in-texas-for-of-voting

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 16, 2018 in North America

 

Tags:

3 Types of Chinese Reactions to Mike Pence’s China Speech

Last week at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivered the Trump administration’s first major policy speech on China. The speech was highly anticipated in both the United States and China because of its significance and the context in which it was delivered. Indeed, the Trump administration, since it took over in January 2017, has been criticized (rightly) for lacking a coherent China policy or even any China policy.

The once relatively smooth relationship between the two powers in 2017 suddenly turned into an ugly trade conflict in 2018, and, for the foreseeable future, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. In recent months, the United States has also stepped up its pressure on China in all realms including cybersecurity, human rights, and the South China Sea, thus rendering the U.S.-China relationship the most vulnerable it has been in recent decades.

Then came Pence’s big speech on China. This was supposed to be the defining approach to China for the Trump administration, and it was perhaps overdue. Pence’s speech can be divided into three parts, with the first part summarizing the long history of U.S.-China relations and emphasizing U.S. contributions to China’s rise; the second part detailing how China has seemingly betrayed the United States’ benign intentions and actions by actively hurting U.S. national interests in fields like economics, security, and even political interference; and the final part outlining a new U.S. approach to China, which prioritizes competition instead of cooperation. For those of us who regularly follow U.S.-China relations, nothing in Pence’s speech is surprising. At times, the speech felt like a good literature review done by a graduate student, with lots of stories that can also be found in major newspapers. Even the new allegation that China was trying to influence U.S. domestic politics was not much more than a few sweeping claims without much substantive proof, a point that actually is supported by the U.S. secretary of homeland security.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/10/3-types-of-chinese-reactions-to-mike-pences-china-speech/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 12, 2018 in Asia, North America

 

Tags: ,

The Trump Whisperer

NEW YORK – There are a lot of oddballs in US President Donald Trump’s entourage, but few are as odd – or as sinister – as 33-year-old Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior policy adviser. Miller resembles a type on the far right that is more common in Europe than the US: young, slick, sharp-suited, even a trifle dandyish. He is a skilled rabble-rouser, whose inflammatory rhetoric against immigrants and refugees – “We’re going to build that wall high and we’re going to build it tall!”– drives the crowds at Trump rallies into a frenzy. One of his crowd-pleasing notions is that migrants will infect Americans with terrible diseases.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/stephen-miller-jewish-far-right-nativism-by-ian-buruma-2018-10

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 8, 2018 in North America

 

Tags:

Without Our Consent

There are moments when the mask comes off. Moments when you can see the stitching come apart on the seamless story powerful men have told themselves about what justice means in the world and who deserves it. Sometimes that curtain gets ripped away and we all have to pay attention to what’s cowering and snarling behind it.

That is what has happened in the high-stakes courtroom drama of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination hearings. The naked, shameless demonstration of how little women’s pain matters to power is the reason this trial has been so affecting for so many of us. You’d think most women and girls would be numb to this by now – to seeing people like us muster all their courage to relive trauma and terror in the hope that something would change, and then seeing the world decide that men’s discomfort matters more. But this hurts. It hurts in a way that’s hard to look away from.

https://www.newstatesman.com/world/north-america/2018/09/without-our-consent

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 5, 2018 in North America

 

Tags:

The Trump administration knows the planet is going to boil. It doesn’t care

In the cloud of toxic dust thrown up by the Kavanaugh hearings last week, two new Trump initiatives slipped by with less notice than they deserve. Both are ugly, stupid – and they are linked, though in ways not immediately apparent.

In the first, the administration provided the rationale for scrapping President Obama’s automobile mileage standards: because Trump’s crew now officially expects the planet to warm by 4C . In the environmental impact statement they say it wouldn’t make much difference to the destruction of the planet if we all keep driving SUVs.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/02/trump-administration-planet-boil-refugee-camps

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 4, 2018 in North America

 

Tags:

MAD About Sino-American Trade

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – Now that US President Donald Trump has imposed a 10% tariff on yet another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, the US-China trade war has entered a costly new phase. As China follows through on its pledge to retaliate, the casualties will include more than half the bilateral trade between the two countries, with China itself suffering the most losses.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/china-trade-war-us-tariffs-by-minxin-pei-2018-09

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 2, 2018 in Asia, North America

 

Tags: ,

The end of Atlanticism: has Trump killed the ideology that won the cold war?

If you took headlines at their word, you would think that the western world is in freefall. As dozens of magazine articles, op-eds and blogposts will tell you, the post-second-world-war order was built – from D-day until yesterday – by Americans and Europeans who shared the ideals of peace, freedom and democracy. The system worked well until Donald Trump came along and knocked it down as if he were laying the foundations for a new casino.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/sep/04/atlanticism-trump-ideology-cold-war-foreign-policy

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 27, 2018 in North America

 

Tags: ,

Why there’s no such thing as a civilisation

The “clash of civilisations” thesis seems to be enjoying a renaissance. Many pundits, politicians and ordinary citizens believe that the Syrian civil war, the rise of the Islamic State, the Brexit mayhem and the instability of the European Union all result from a clash between “Western Civilisation” and “Islamic Civilisation”. Western attempts to impose democracy and human rights on Muslim nations resulted in a violent Islamic backlash; and a wave of Muslim immigration coupled with Islamic terrorist attacks caused European voters to abandon multicultural dreams in favour of xenophobic local identities.

According to this thesis, humankind has always been divided into diverse civilisations whose members view the world in irreconcilable ways. These incompatible world views make conflicts between civilisations inevitable. Just as in nature different species fight for survival according to the remorseless laws of natural selection, so throughout history civilisations have repeatedly clashed and only the fittest have survived to tell the tale. Those who overlook this grim fact – be they liberal politicians or head-in-the-clouds engineers – do so at their peril.

https://www.newstatesman.com/america/culture/2018/08/why-there-s-no-such-thing-civilisation

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 22, 2018 in North America

 

Tags: , ,