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  • Petulance as Foreign Policy
    Donald Trump began his presidency with a phone call to Australia that he used to complain about a deal made by his predecessor rather than trying to advance U.S. foreign policy. He won zero concessions while alienating a staunch ally.Observers could only hope that over time his interactions on the world stage would be shaped by America’s interests more than his interest in being petulant. But almost a year later, he is openly showing the world that same petulant face.At around 11 p.m. Thursday, having already dominated the day’s headlines for the needless diplomatic own-goal of declaring that various foreign ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-12
  • France’s Fight Over Sexual Freedom
    PARIS—After the backlash, comes the backlash to the backlash. It’s been fascinating to follow the torrent of responses in France this week to an open letter in Le Monde signed by French actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other women, effectively saying that the #MeToo movement had gone too far and that women should own up to their own sexual agency. (I wrote about the letter here and you can find a full translation here.)“Sexual Freedom Threatened, REALLY?” ran the headline of Thursday’s Libération, a left-wing daily, beneath photos of three signatories: Deneuve, Catherine Millet, the author of The Sexual Life ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-11
  • The Iran Deal Lives Another Day
    The “worst deal ever” will most likely live to see another 120 days.The Associated Press reported Wednesday that President Trump will this week extend relief from nuclear-related economic sanctions on Iran. If it seems like a procedural matter, it is, but it also means in practice that it keeps alive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the Iran deal is known. Reinstating the sanctions would have put the United States in violation of the agreement. The president must decide every 120 days whether to waive the sanctions.  The AP cited six officials who insisted on anonymity for its reporting, but ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-10
  • 50 Years Ago in Photos: A Look Back at 1968
    Bettmann / Getty A half-century ago, much of the world appeared to be in a state of crisis. Protests erupted in France, Czechoslovakia. Germany, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, and many other places. Some of these protests ended peacefully; many were put down harshly. Two of the biggest catalysts for protest were the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and the ongoing lack of civil rights in the U.S. and elsewhere. Two of America’s most prominent leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, were assassinated within months of each other. But some lessons were being learned ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-10
  • What the Iran Protests Were Not
    Recent protests in numerous Iranian cities and towns caught the world by surprise, and embarrassed Iran’s government and ruling political establishment. But the expectation that the protests would escalate into a popular uprising and unravel the Islamic Republic did not come to pass. Iran’s rulers could take heart from that, but they cannot avoid the broader debates about the future of the Iranian economy and politics that the protests have set in motion.These were economic protests. They reflected deep-seated frustration with economic stagnation, mismanagement and corruption, and growing income inequality along with conspicuous concentration of wealth at the top. And ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-10
  • Fire and Fury Is a Strange Kind of Coup for Trump Abroad
    The explosive tell-all about President Trump, Fire and Fury, has been available for purchase for less than a week, but many of its readers are ready to render a verdict on its impact. For the president’s detractors, the bestseller offers bona fide proof that Trump is unfit for office; for his supporters, it is nothing more than tabloid fiction written by an author with a questionable reputation.The salacious and embarrassing details Fire and Fury reveals about the Trump administration’s first year in the White House, paired with the book’s widespread popularity, has allowed the president to once again engross millions ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-10
  • France, Where #MeToo Becomes #PasMoi
    PARIS —Has #MeToo gone #TooFar? Catherine Deneuve thinks so. On Tuesday, the actress and 99 other notable French women from the arts, medicine and business published an open letter in Le Monde calling out what they dubbed a “puritanical” wave of resignations and a group-think—largely in the United States and Britain, since no heads have rolled in France—that they said infantilized women and denied them their sexual power.“As women, we do not recognize ourselves in this feminism, which goes beyond denouncing abuse of power and has turned into a hatred of men and of sexuality,” they wrote. “Rape is a ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-09
  • North Korea and the Spotty Record of Sports Diplomacy
    Will taekwondo achieve what diplomacy hasn’t?North Korea, having ignored South Korean requests to participate for months, will send athletes, cheerleaders, and taekwondo-demonstration teams to next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The agreement, which was announced Tuesday after the first meeting between the two countries in two years, could help reduce tensions caused by Pyongyang’s nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs. But will it?The development is a breakthrough. It was accompanied by the announcement the two sides would hold military talks to reduce tensions. But we’ve been here before.The two Koreas marched together under one flag at both the 2000 and ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-09
  • The 2018 Procession of the Black Nazarene
    Romeo Ranoco / Reuters This week, in Manila, Philippines, hundreds of thousands of Catholic devotees took part in an annual procession lasting 22 hours, where they carry a centuries-old icon of Jesus Christ through the streets as barefoot worshipers climb over each other to kiss, touch, or rub bits of cloth on the statue. The Black Nazarene is an ebony statue of Jesus Christ brought to the Philippines in 1606, and is believed to have miraculous powers. ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-09
  • The World According to H.R. McMaster
    Why is H.R. McMaster so alarmed by North Korea? Why does Donald Trump’s national-security adviser insist—more vigorously than any administration official except the president himself—that Kim Jong Un must be denied the capability to place a nuclear warhead on a missile that can reach the United States, even if this requires initiating a military conflict with the North that could devolve into a cataclysmic war?While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are focused on diplomatic efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear program, McMaster “is arguing more vocally, publicly and privately, that military options need to ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-09
  • Iran’s Protests and the Myth of Benign Silence
    When protesters in the Middle East take to the streets against their regimes, the United States finds itself in a dilemma, particularly when those regimes are allies. The United States, as a statement of policy, is committed to supporting democracy abroad and standing with democracy activists and dissidents. But how does it do that if it’s also committed to the survival of governments that—also as a matter of policy—deny their citizens basic freedoms?Certain dilemmas remain, though, even when the regimes in question aren’t friends, but rather enemies like Iran, which has witnessed its largest protests in years, spreading across more ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-09
  • The Koreas Start Talking
    North and South Korean officials are meeting Tuesday for the first time in two years to discuss North Korea’s participation in next month’s Winter Olympics in the South.Talks in the border village of Panmunjom will center on the games in PyeongChang, said Cho Myoung-gyon, the South Korean unification minister, on Monday. But he added: “When discussing inter-Korean relations, the government will seek to raise the issue of war-torn families and ways to ease military tensions.” North Korea is going to be interested in sanctions relief, according to Scott Snyder, a senior fellow for Korea studies at the Council on Foreign ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-08
  • Mountain Gorillas at Home
    LMspencer / Shutterstock According to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2016, the total population of mountain gorillas living in the wild is about 880. These remaining critically endangered gorillas live within four national parks in the central African countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For decades, the survival of mountain gorillas has been threatened by human activity—by habitat loss due to farming, by war and unrest that can cause both physical harm and habitat loss, and by poaching—either intentional trapping or unintentional harm caused by traps set for other animals. ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-08
  • New Year’s Resolutions Are Predictions About the Future
    2017 was a wild ride, and 2018 doesn’t seem inclined to put on the brakes. Who could have guessed last year that Matt Lauer would go from Today to yesterday—felled, along with Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Bill O’Reilly, and so many others, by the open discussion of their creepy “open secrets”? That FBI Director James Comey would be fired? That Facebook would find Russian influence operations had reached more than 126 million Americans? That ISIS would lose Raqqa and attack Barcelona? That a Nobel peace prize-winner in Burma would allow ethnic cleansing within her borders? That a Congress with a ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-08
  • Pakistan Will Try to Make Trump Pay
    Before the news cycle—and the president himself—got consumed with the new White House tell-all last week, Donald Trump made a good foreign policy decision, albeit seemingly in haste. The administration announced it was suspending security assistance to Pakistan, on the grounds that the country is continuing to arm, assist, fund, and provide sanctuary to a wide array of Islamist militant groups that are murdering U.S. troops and their allies in Afghanistan. Well-placed sources involved with calculating the relevant funds have told me that this was not a planned policy and took the other agencies, not to mention the Pakistanis, by ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-08
  • How the Olympics Could Help Defuse the North Korea Crisis
    For months, the world has wondered whether North Korea might try to cause trouble for South Korea during next month’s Winter Olympics. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s behavior in 2017 and his continued missile and nuclear tests gave observers in South Korea and the United States every reason to expect the worst. Then, in his New Year’s speech, Kim announced a proposal to renew dialogue with Seoul, initially focusing on the North’s participation in the games. South Korea responded positively, agreeing to the first North-South talks in two years, slated for January 9th.While many pundits have portrayed Kim’s initiative ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-08
  • Jews Should Not Venerate Trump
    In the waning days of 2017, an Israeli minister announced a plan to make a historic mistake—and it had to do with the seemingly anodyne matter of rail infrastructure. Yisrael Katz, the transportation minister, proposed to name a high-speed rail station planned for the Old City of Jerusalem for Donald Trump.   Katz said he wanted to name the proposed stop after Trump because of his “courageous and historic decision” to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Of course, Israel’s attachment to Jerusalem as its capital is understandable and profound. And much of Israeli public opinion supports Trump’s ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-07
  • Macron’s War on ‘Fake News’
    World leaders and information gatekeepers have struggled to determine how best to address the epidemic of “fake news.” French President Emmanuel Macron joined the struggle this week, providing his own solution for how to curb the spread of misinformation online: Make it illegal.In a Wednesday address to journalists at the Élysée Palace, the French president announced his plan to introduce legislation that would curb the spread of misinformation during the country’s future election campaigns—a lofty goal he said would be made possible by enforcing more media transparency and blocking offending sites. “Thousands of propaganda accounts on social networks are spreading ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-06
  • Photos of the Week: Bomb Cyclone, Giant Gorilla, Legal Marijuana
    Greg Baker / AFP / Getty A buffalo herd runs in Hungary, Potato the corgi runs in Boston, protests erupt in Iran, a “bomb cyclone” hits the northeastern U.S., the Ten-Thousand Buddha Cave reopens in China, Niagara Falls freezes up, the new year is ushered in, and much more. ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-05
  • The Lessons of Iran’s Protests
    The 2015 nuclear agreement signed by Iran and several world powers, including the U.S., was heralded internationally not only as a way to freeze the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, but also domestically as a way to open up Iran’s moribund economy. At first, there were signs this was precisely what would happen: U.S., European, Russian, and Chinese companies all signed agreements with Iran. The World Bank estimated Iran’s economy grew 6.4 percent in 2016, on the back of 9.2 percent growth in the second quarter of the year. And there was hope the new openness would mark a new era ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-05