Opinion

July 4, 2018
July 4, 2018

Mexican polls: The other soul

Democracy is, by far, the most acclaimed historical form of government. It not only allows representation of all groups, but also permits every adult to exercise complete sovereignty at the polling booth. There might be nuances and variances here or there, particularly in the preceding campaigns and subsequent outcomes, but we have, by and large, managed to live with our differences, converse with adversaries, and bite the bullet so democracy strengthens itself.

June 30, 2018
June 30, 2018

Democratic regression: The “English” turn

Gideon Rose made an astute observation in editing the May/June 2018 Foreign Affairs cover story on the current “democratic regression”. “We have seen this movie before,” he quoted a Latin friend of his on the concurrent predicament, “just never in English.”

June 24, 2018
June 24, 2018

Kissinger's rise and fall of enlightenment

Henry Kissinger did not mince his words. As one of the most erudite commentators of global power rivalry, he was truly jolted to see the computer game, Go, a prototype of the more mesmerising AlphaGo game, capable of making strategic decisions far faster than human beings, and predicting the winner more accurately.

June 19, 2018
June 19, 2018

A Muslim Westphalia?

Future historians might find it far easier navigating through this post-Cold War era to explain the Muslim predicament. Since 1990 or so, one sturdy Muslim state after another has bitten the bullet, to put it bluntly, devastated for good: Iraq, twice over (1991 with Operation Desert Storm for invading Kuwait, then the 2003 war for allegedly possessing weapons of mass destruction); Libya, simply because of the dramatic collapse of one person, Muammar

June 9, 2018
June 9, 2018

Trump's 'personal' foreign policy

Donald J Trump's foreign policy weltanschauung may be better understood perceptually and through his personal relations than its claim to be practical and pragmatic. This seems to be the message from a purview of four of his policy pursuits: rebalancing trade with China, clipping Iran's wings, anchoring a bold Middle East policy approach upon recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and denuclearising North Korea. They do add up, and there may be something beyond a simple sum of all the parts, but constructing and construing them from unfolding events can also breed confusion.

June 6, 2018
June 6, 2018

The game of bluff and brinkmanship

With 2018 being the first functional year of Donald Trump's foreign policy paradigm, a pattern seems to be emerging: brinkmanship as the starting point, as much to contrast his approach to his predecessor(s) as to reaffirm the relative strength of the United States that even US citizens were beginning to seriously doubt.

May 26, 2018
May 26, 2018

'We are the world' lullabies in Windsor

It was just what the increasingly divided world needed, a cementing force: Meghan Markle to sparkle the audience, and Prince Harry to carry the tone and torch of his mother, the “People's Princess”. Behind Bishop Michael Curry's fiery speech, it seems Michael Jackson's “We are the world” carried the Windsor wedding as a silent uninvited guest.

May 23, 2018
May 23, 2018

Forster's third democratic cheer: Mahathir (as a symbol)?

EM Forster, almost a lone-wolf democracy crusader between the two world wars, confronted as unpalatable a European playground as many African, Asian, and Latin American countries striving to convince others of their democratic claims face today: an uphill battle in which the institutionalised forces against democracy, such as extreme rightists/leftists and militarism, were usually at least as strong as those

May 19, 2018
May 19, 2018

Jerusalem - “A day which will live in infamy” (. . . if history is any guide)

US President Donald J Trump did not mince his words: President Harry S Truman, a Democrat, made the United States the first country to recognise Israel's statehood (May 14, 1948), yet his own December 6, 2017 decision to shift the US embassy to Jerusalem, the first country to do so, on May 14, 2018, may have converted the logical 1948 recognition decision into a 2018 conflict invitation.

May 12, 2018
May 12, 2018

Lighting Marx's Fire - Revolution or romance?

FEW, if any, people/philosophers get as bashed up on their 200th birthday anniversary as Karl Heinrich Marx did on May 5, 2018. Whether it is the neo-liberal atmosphere or a guttural reaction to his opposition to private property rights, this German philosopher's 21st Century portrait as a punching bag is woefully deficient.