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Perspectives

Post-Davos Reflections: Depressing and Disheartening

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Impressions during the Session "Global Economic Outlook" at the Annual Meeting 2018 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 26, 2018. Image Credit: Copyright by World Economic Forum / Faruk Pinjo via Flickr

In this amazing opinion piece, Nobel laureate in economics Joseph E. Stiglitz rips apart the false euphoria of CEOs and industry leaders at Davos this year.

The Davos CEOs were euphoric about the return to growth, about their soaring profits and compensation. Economists reminded them that this growth is not sustainable, and has never been inclusive. But such arguments have little impact in a world where materialism is king.

Forget the platitudes about values that CEOs recite in the opening paragraphs of their speeches at Davos; what depresses his, he says, is that, though the message is obviously false, so many in power believe it to be true.

Read the full article in Project Syndicate.

Features

A Russian Perspective of Cold War II

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Kremlin.ru [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Given the context of recent diplomatic confrontation between the West and Russia, Sergei Karaganov argues that the psychological backdrop to the bilateral relationship today is worse than it was during the Cold War. However, he does not agree that this is a sequel to the new Cold War. Karaganov has a point. He argues that a Cold War-like confrontation would require an ideological component that is decidedly lacking on the Russian side.

Even if the US decides to wage a unilateral Cold War, its chances against Russia, China, and other emerging powers would not be very good. The balance of military, political, economic, and moral power has simply shifted too far away from the West to be reversed.

Karaganov argues that the problem between Russia and the West is a problem among Westerners themselves and it is only because established elites in the West have not come to terms with reality: the balance of military, political, economic, and moral power has shifted too far away from the West to be reversed.

Read the full article in Project Syndicate.

 

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Balance of Power

Trump-Kim Summit: Optimism and the Need for Cautious Realism

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© Bwag/Wikimedia

An opportunity that is difficult ot seize and easy to squander is how Ramesh Thakur explains the upcoming Kim-Trump summit. However, he warns that if President Trump decertifies the Iran nuclear deal on May 12 as he has threatened to do, the move would almost certainly call into question America’s good faith and ability to honor negotiated international agreements.

Deliberating about the opportunity that the Kim-Trump talks presents, Thakur argues that that optimism must be tempered with cautious realism.

North Korea is the nuclear problem from hell. Neither South Korea nor the United States can control the narrative; definitions of success or failure are highly relative; and Trump must enter the talks with no exit strategy. The six decades since the Korean War ended in 1953 – with a ceasefire but no peace agreement – have hardened an increasingly dangerous stalemate. Although neither side is likely to launch a premeditated nuclear attack, the risk of war from miscommunication, misperception, or miscalculation is real.

Read the full article in Project Syndicate.

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Perspectives

Cold War II: Blame the Russians?

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By Carlos3653 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, the world unexpectedly finds itself in a second one. This state of affairs was anything, but inevitable argues Richard N. Haass. It is in neither side’s interest to escalate tensions further, he says. However, the apparent problem with his arguments is the fact that he is looking to blame Russia for this new Cold War. On one had Haass forgets that the US has had a history of interfering in the internal politics of other nations. Haass finds fault with the US policies only on two counts – economic support and NATO expansion.

US could and should have been more generous as Russia made its painful transition to a market economy in the 1990s. Nor is it clear that NATO enlargement was preferable to other security arrangements for Europe that would have included Russia.

As a reader from outside the US, this article is nothing more than a US version of the recent confrontations with Russia – an assessment that goes to great lengths to lay the blame of Putin’s doorstep.

Read the article in Project Syndicate.

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