An Unhinged Democracy in America

by Ian Buruma Added 09.02.2016
NEW YORK – Alexis de Tocqueville, a liberal French aristocrat, visited the United States in 1831 ostensibly to write a study of its “enlightened” prison system (locking people up in solitary confinement like penitent monks was the latest modern...

Silencing Critics of Israel

by James J. Zogby Added 09.02.2016
Israel doesn't accept criticism. In fact, whether from friend or foe, even mild criticism is viewed as an existential threat prompting Israeli officials to unleash a torrent of abuse in an effort to silence and/or punish critics. And given new...

The Global Economy’s New Abnormal

by Nouriel Roubini Added 06.02.2016
NEW YORK – Since the beginning of the year, the world economy has faced a new bout of severe financial market volatility, marked by sharply falling prices for equities and other risky assets. A variety of factors are at work: concerns about a...

The Truth About Israel’s National Security

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 06.02.2016
Israel’s historical experiences, coupled with decades of violent confrontations with Arab states and the Palestinians, have created a major psychological barrier embedded in the psyche of every Israeli, placing Israel’s legitimate national...

Modi's Quest to Achieve India's Great Power Status

by Daniel Wagner and Peter Marino Added 06.02.2016
Indian Prime Minister Modi invited French President Hollande to be the guest of honor at India's Republic Day Celebrations in New Delhi last month. The seat is generally reserved for, and used by the office of the Prime Minister as, a signal of...

Five Truths about Terrorism

by Joseph S. Nye Added 04.02.2016
SAO PAULO – American politics has been captured by terrorists. In December 2015, polls showed that one in six Americans, some 16% of the population, now identify terrorism as the most important national problem, up from just 3% in the previous...

How Saudi Arabia’s grip on oil prices could bring Russia to its knees

by James Henderson Added 04.02.2016
When Saudi Arabia led an OPEC decision to end a restraint put on oil production in November 2014, it marked the beginning of a new era in oil economics. It has given us a tumbling oil price, prompted huge losses and job cuts at oil firms like BP...

The Great Escape from China

by Kenneth Rogoff Added 02.02.2016
"In fact, the more people worry that the exchange rate is going down, the more they want to get their money out of the country immediately. That fear, in turn, has been an important factor driving down the Chinese stock market." CAMBRIDGE –...

Welcome to the Twenty-First Century

by Joschka Fischer Added 01.02.2016
BERLIN – The start of 2016 has been anything but calm. Falling equity prices in China have destabilized markets worldwide. Emerging economies seem to have stalled. The price of oil has plunged, pushing petroleum producers into crisis. North...

The Causes and Consequences of Brexit

by Ana Palacio Added 01.02.2016
MADRID – The prospect of a British exit from the European Union is well and truly upon us. It seems increasingly likely that the upcoming European Council meeting will result in a deal on the conditions of the United Kingdom’s EU membership – a...

Common Weaknesses in the Republicans’ Tax Proposals

by David Coates Added 01.02.2016
Though for understandable reasons the leading Republican presidential candidates continually emphasize the things that divide them, we would do well to concentrate rather on the things that do not. The televised-debate format accentuates...

Economics in the Age of Abundance

by J. Bradford DeLong Added 29.01.2016
BERKELEY – Until very recently, one of the biggest challenges facing mankind was making sure there was enough to eat. From the dawn of agriculture until well into the Industrial Age, the common human condition was what nutritionists and...

China’s Bold Moves on the Middle Eastern Chess Board

by Daniel Wagner Added 27.01.2016
China has long mastered the art of casually sitting on the sidelines while regional and global economic and political forces clash, then deliberately and swiftly swooping in to scoop up the spoils. That was best exemplified when Chinese oil...

False Alarm on China

by Stephen S. Roach Added 27.01.2016
NEW HAVEN – The prospect of an economic meltdown in China has been sending tremors through global financial markets at the start of 2016. Yet such fears are overblown. While turmoil in Chinese equity and currency markets should not be taken...

Immigration into the Welfare State

by Hans-Werner Sinn Added 27.01.2016
MUNICH – The armed conflict destabilizing some Arab countries has unleashed a huge wave of refugees headed for Europe. About 1.1 million came to Germany alone in 2015. At the same time, the adoption of the principle of freedom of movement within...

Upholding the Asian Order

by Brahma Chellaney Added 23.01.2016
NEW DELHI – China’s ambition to reshape the Asian order is no secret. From the “one belt, one road” scheme to the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, major Chinese initiatives are gradually but steadily advancing China’s...

Britain’s Watershed Year

by Chris Patten Added 21.01.2016
LONDON – On a grey and rain-sodden London day at the beginning of 2016, it can be tough to find reason for optimism. The sun still comes up in the morning. At some point, it will presumably stop raining. My grandchildren offer a ray of sunshine;...

Pulling Europe Back from the Brink

by Martin Schulz Added 21.01.2016
DAVOS – In 2007, the United States caught a serious – and highly contagious – economic cold. Eight years later, it is finally making a convincing recovery – so convincing that last month the US Federal Reserve raised the country’s base interest...

Neville Cameron?

by Mark Leonard Added 19.01.2016
LONDON – The European question is the grim reaper of British politics – dividing parties, debilitating governments, and destroying careers. But never before have the stakes surrounding the question been so high. Prime Minister David Cameron’s...

Saudi Arabia’s Shrewd Gamble

by Daniel Wagner Added 15.01.2016
The government of Saudi Arabia has been roundly criticized for its brazen attempt to retain oil market share while driving the price of oil into the ground, its beheading of the Shi’ia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, and its war in Yemen. These criticisms...

Civil Disobedience Is The Palestinians’ Best Option

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 15.01.2016
The use of violence to end the occupation has not served the Palestinian cause well, instead making matters worse as it hardened the resolve of successive Israeli governments to deal with violent extremism with an iron fist. The current bloody...

Sizing Up the US Election’s Opening Round

by Elizabeth Drew Added 13.01.2016
WASHINGTON, DC – If you find America’s presidential election campaign puzzling, you probably have a better grasp of it than those who are willing to predict an outcome. At this point, with both major parties set to choose their nominees in...

Reforming or Deforming the Fed?

by Barry Eichengreen Added 12.01.2016
BERKELEY – The silly season that is a presidential election campaign in the United States has taken a particularly absurd turn as the candidates offer their proposals for monetary-policy reform. This is not the first time, of course, that...

The Saudi-Iranian crisis reveals a deep power struggle in Tehran

by Kamran Matin Added 09.01.2016
Ever since Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shia dissident Nimr al-Nimr was met with violent protests at the Saudi embassy in Iran, the two already hostile countries have been at diplomatic loggerheads. But while Saudi Arabia’s actions suggest a...

Carpet Bombing History in America

by Ian Buruma Added 09.01.2016
"........some 30% of Republican voters (and 41% of Trump supporters) favored bombing Agrabah, the central (and fictional) location of the Disney film Aladdin." NEW YORK – Ted Cruz, one of the Republican candidates for the US presidency,...

The Hidden Goods of 2015

by Peter Singer Added 07.01.2016
PRINCETON – If we were to judge the state of the world by the news headlines, 2015 was the year of Islamist terror, especially in Paris. It began with the massacre at Charlie Hebdo and included the much deadlier November 13 shootings in the...

Forget Putin’s global posturing – Russia’s biggest challenges for 2016 are domestic

by Simon J Smith Added 07.01.2016
After a remarkably fraught and complicated 2015, Vladimir Putin’s Russia finds itself still sanctioned by the West for its conduct in Ukraine, dogged by falling oil prices and dicing with a deadly conflict in Syria. And it’s increasingly...

Saudi Arabia is paying a heavy price for Iran’s global rehabilitation

by Edward Wastnidge Added 06.01.2016
As 2015 drew to a close, you could have been forgiven for cautious optimism as far as Saudi-Iranian relations were concerned. With the years-in-the-making nuclear deal finally sealed, Iran had finally been brought in from the cold in talks over...

Facing Up to Climate Reality

by Adair Turner Added 06.01.2016
"Reducing investment in fossil fuels reflects the reality that if the world is serious about its maximum 2°C target, two-thirds of known reserves must be left permanently in the ground. .....Lower oil, coal, and gas prices would reduce...

The Europe Question in 2016

by Nouriel Roubini Added 04.01.2016
NEW YORK – At the cusp of the new year, we face a world in which geopolitical and geo-economic risks are multiplying. Most of the Middle East is ablaze, stoking speculation that a long Sunni-Shia war (like Europe’s Thirty Years’ War between...

Responding to Europe’s Political Polarization

by Jean Pisani-Ferry Added 02.01.2016
PARIS – In Europe, 2015 began with the far-left Syriza party’s election victory in Greece. It ended with another three elections that attested to increasing political polarization. In Portugal, the Socialist Party formed an alliance with its...

Putin’s Trump Card

by Nina L. Khrushcheva Added 30.12.2015
NEW YORK – At his annual year-end press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin was as informal, audacious, and offensive as his favorite American presidential candidate, Donald Trump. He answered a question about the state of the country...

Piketty vs. Piketty

by J. Bradford DeLong Added 30.12.2015
BERKELEY – In Capital in the Twenty-First Century , the French economist Thomas Piketty highlights the striking contrasts in North America and Europe between the Gilded Age that preceded World War I and the decades following World War II. In the...

The Fascism of the Affluent

by Joschka Fischer Added 29.12.2015
"First and foremost, there is fear – and apparently a great deal of it. It is a fear based on the instinctive realization that the 'White Man’s World' – a lived reality assumed by its beneficiaries as a matter of course – is in terminal...

New Year’s Resolutions for the Global Economy

by Michael J. Boskin Added 29.12.2015
"The US may have a lot on its plate, but unless it leads effectively, the challenges it faces will only grow." STANFORD – Over the last year, global growth has been anemic – and the forecast is only slightly better for 2016. Something must be...

Saudi Arabia’s Anti-Terror ‘Coalition’ is a House of Cards

by Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner Added 24.12.2015
"Now that the caliphate has set its sights on the Kingdom, and has expressed its commitment to not only rid the Arabian Peninsula of Shi’ite Muslims, but also toppling the House of Saud, Riyadh faces an enemy largely of its own making" Earlier...

A Very Tolerant Christmas

by Chris Patten Added 22.12.2015
"The best present we could give to the world this Christmas (regardless of whether we celebrate it religiously or not), would be to dedicate ourselves to championing tolerance everywhere. This will require us to address the inverted narratives...

Is Clinton right that Trump is Helping ISIL?

by Juan Cole Added 22.12.2015
During Saturday night’s  Democratic debate, Sec. Hillary Clinton at one point alleged, “And we also need to make sure that the really discriminatory messages that Trump is sending around the world don’t fall on receptive ears. He is becoming...

Saudi Arabia’s Phony War on Terror

by Brahma Chellaney Added 21.12.2015
BERLIN – Containing the scourge of Islamist terror will be impossible without containing the ideology that drives it: Wahhabism, a messianic, jihad-extolling form of Sunni fundamentalism whose international expansion has been bankrolled by...

Renewing American Leadership

by Ana Palacio Added 21.12.2015
MADRID – December always provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on what was and what will be. This year, one of the conclusions that such reflection yields is that the United States remains firmly at the center of the liberal world order....

The Global Migration Blowback

by Dambisa Moyo Added 19.12.2015
"The current global economic and geopolitical environment is a crucible for the next wave of migrants. The International Monetary Fund and the OECD have been rapidly downgrading their forecasts for global economic growth, and the Economist...

Unaccountable China

by Brahma Chellaney Added 19.12.2015
HO CHI MINH CITY – Since late 2013, China has been engaged in the frenzied creation of artificial islands and the militarization of the South China Sea. This amounts to an alarming quest for control over a strategically crucial corridor through...

Converging Fears

by Lawrence Davidson Added 19.12.2015
Economics and Public Safety Converging avenues of fear are eroding the political and social status quo in the democratic West. Healthy democracies strive to maintain an equatable balance of forces within their political, economic and social...

A Fair, Efficient, and Feasible Climate Agreement

by Jeffrey Frankel Added 17.12.2015
CAMBRIDGE – How should one evaluate the agreement reached in Paris this month at the United Nations climate change conference? No sooner was the deal announced on December 12 than the debate erupted. Some avid environmentalists were disappointed...

Qatar and the UAE Compete in Libya

by Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner Added 14.12.2015
"The UAE , along with Russia and Egypt , backs the Tobruk-based government; Qatar, along with Turkey and Sudan , supports the Islamist-led government in Tripoli." When the Gaddafi regime fell in 2011, centralized power quickly dissipated and...

Russo-Turkish Conflict over Syria & Iraq Boils: “Manifestations of impotent Rage”

by Juan Cole Added 12.12.2015
The Turkish and Russian government have continued their war of words that followed on the shooting down of an Su-25 bomber on Nov. 24. Issues include a new Turkish accusation that Russian bombing in the north of Latakia province aims at...

Today’s Productivity Paradox

by Barry Eichengreen Added 11.12.2015
NEW YORK – Recent trends in productivity growth make it hard to be optimistic about the future. In 2014, the global growth of total factor productivity, or TFP, which measures the combined productivity of capital and labor, was essentially zero...

Israel’s Occupation Is Morally Indefensible

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 10.12.2015
I have long maintained that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank defies the moral principle behind the creation of the state. Contrary to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s assertion, the occupation erodes rather than buttresses Israel’s national...

Terrorism and Some Hard Truths

by Lawrence Davidson Added 09.12.2015
World War on ISIS I was waiting for a doctor’s appointment with only the magazine rack for company. I usually don’t pay much attention to news magazines, seeing as how the range of politically acceptable points of view are pretty narrow in such...

Questions that go unanswered as we drift to a State of Permanent War

by David Coates Added 09.12.2015
As the main US media outlets report and amplify each and every outlandish assertion by Donald Trump and his fellow contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, major damage is being done to the underlying quality of the dominant...
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Letter from the Editor

Brilliant Idea!

Below a video presentation (published Feb 4, 2016) by firm I have been following for a number of years. The firm claims that the electron in the hydrogen atom can be moved closer to the proton, releasing enormous energy. I understand that moving...

Fuel Prices, Faulty Logic and False Indignation: Conservatives Gone Wild

by Jeff Schweitzer Added 06.02.2016
"When [fuel] prices go up, Obama is at fault; when prices decline, silence." "[....] Obamacare [....] Health care spending grew at 3.9% in the last three years, the lowest growth rate in 50 years." "When Bush left the Oval Office on January 20,...

The Cow Who…

by Peter Singer Added 06.02.2016
MELBOURNE – Last month, a steer escaped from a slaughterhouse in the New York City borough of Queens. Video of the animal trotting down a busy street was soon featured on many media outlets. For those who care about animals, the story has a...

Intelligent design without a creator? Why evolution may be smarter than we thought

by Richard A. Watson Added 02.02.2016
"But what about evolution, can it get better at evolving over time? The idea is known as the evolution of evolvability [.....] past evolution can change the way that future evolution operates." "The ability to learn is not itself something that...

Keen to be healthier in old age? Tend your inner garden

by Claire Steves and Tim Spector Added 01.02.2016
The world’s oldest man, Yasutaro Koide recently died at the age of 112. Commentators as usual, focused on his reported “secret to longevity”: not smoking, drinking or overdoing it. No surprises there. But speculation on the basis of one...

Donald Trump: just how good a businessman is he?

by Scott Taylor Added 29.01.2016
“Estimates of [Trump’s] exact net worth range from about $2.9 billion (Bloomberg) to $4.5 billion (Forbes).” “[Had he] invested the $200m that Forbes magazine determined he was worth in 1982, it would have grown to more than $8 billion. [.…..]...

Zika, Vaccines and Climate Change: Convergence of Right and Left Extremism

by Jeff Schweitzer Added 28.01.2016
"...... there is no evidence, none, zero, absolutely nothing, to link vaccinations with autism. It is a myth, a fallacy, factually incorrect." " Vaccines save lives, millions of lives, and prevent untold suffering and misery." "Opposing...

Ted Cruz is not eligible to run for president: A Harvard Law professor close-reads the Constitution

by Einer Elhauge Added 27.01.2016
The argument that Ted Cruz is eligible to run for president initially looked strong, then probable but uncertain.  But closer examination shows it is surprisingly weak. The constitutional text provides that a president, unlike other elected...

Michael Bloomberg for President?

by Charles J. Reid, Jr Added 27.01.2016
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg must know that this is his last rodeo. If he does not run for President in 2016, the year in which he turns 74, there will be no opportunity for him in four years. News reports suggest that he is...

The many reasons to be excited  about America’s future

by Vivek Wadhwa Added 25.01.2016
Every 30 or 40 years, Americans become incredibly pessimistic.  They begin to believe the nation is falling behind in competitiveness and innovation, that their children will not be as well off as they themselves have been, and that some other...

How basic income can solve one of the digital economy’s biggest problems

by Andrew White Added 25.01.2016
At a time of global economic insecurity, an insightful commentator identified the existential threat that technology poses to work: We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which...
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War and Peace: a user's guide

by Sarah Hudspith Added 09.01.2016
War and Peace is more than a novel. It’s a reflection of Leo Tolstoy’s strongly held beliefs – a philosophical tract, not just about politics, war, love, marriage and property, but about history itself and the way the affairs of society are...

How does autobiography work in fiction?

by Mary L. Tabor Added 08.12.2015
You know the line: Truth is stranger than fiction? I have a twist on that. I’ve learned through the writing of three books and a fourth in process as I write this essay that the fictional account of my stories have greater emotional truth and...

Alexievich’s Achievement

by Nina L. Khrushcheva Added 23.10.2015
NEW YORK – It was 1985, and change was in the air in the Soviet Union. Aging general secretaries were dropping like flies. Elem Klimov’s cinematic magnum opus “Come and See” depicted World War II without the heroics on which we were reared,...

Why Satin Island should win the Man Booker Prize

by David Rudrum Added 25.09.2015
How many novels can truly be called epoch-defining? Ulysses, obviously. Don Quixote, War and Peace and maybe The Sorrows of Young Werther. Beyond Europe’s insular frontiers, The Tale of Genji defined its epoch way back in 11th century Japan....

Dinnertime storytelling makes kids voracious reader

by Anne Fishel Added 18.09.2015
"Rare words, those that go beyond the 3,000 most common ones, are 10 times more likely to show up in dinner conversation than in storybooks. " As a young child, I loved to imagine myself as a pioneer girl in Little House in the Big Woods, eating...

Lore Segal on How to Think About Virtue: An Interview

by Mary L. Tabor Added 06.09.2015
Lore Segal, author of Shakespeare’s Kitchen , Her First American and Other People’s Houses , talked with Mary L. Tabor on thinking about questions of goodness and virtue, a conversation that began in 1997 while Segal was working on Shakespeare’s...

Confessions of a Justified Sinner captures the modern condition perfectly

by Valentina Bold Added 20.08.2015
One of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival is undoubtedly a new production of Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner, which runs between August 19 and 22. In a year which is strong on Scottish literary...
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A perfect pairing: Rachmaninov with his friend Medtner

by Michael Johnson Added 09.02.2016
Pianist Alexander Paley brings together some rarely heard and nicely coherent pieces by Sergei Rachmaninov and Nikolai Medtner, close friends from their Moscow student days, in a new CD (La Musica LMU005). The 14 selections call for a wide range...

The enigmatic Julius Eastman : Black, gay and loaded with talent

by Michael Johnson Added 30.01.2016
One of the great innovators of new music, composer Julius Eastman, was born unlucky – both black and gay. Only the most hardy of souls could prosper with those dual handicaps in 1950s America, the “doubly whammy” as his brother Gerry noted....

Seattle Opera’s “Le nozze di Figaro” finds humor despite an assortment of challenges

by James Bash Added 23.01.2016
Seattle Opera kicked off the New Year with a performance of “Le nozze di Figaro” (“The Marriage of Figaro”) that strayed a little off target. Part of the problem stemmed from the sets, which featured a series of huge, movable panels. Also, the...

Erin Hales: A creative approach to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier

by Michael Johnson Added 29.12.2015
The perfumed prose of music criticism can sometimes be as annoying as it is unhelpful.  For a lesson in turning music into words, however, there is better, as I have found in reading analyses and opinions on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-Tempered...

Interview: How Yeritsyan merges her three musical cultures

by Michael Johnson Added 22.12.2015
French-Armenian pianist Varduhi Yeritsyan has attracted international accolades from major critics for her vigorous interpretations of the ten Scriabin piano sonatas, a corpus that continues to intrigue pianophiles a hundred years after his...

Pianist Yeritsyan offers a fresh take on Scriabin sonatas

by Michael Johnson Added 17.12.2015
Alexander Scriabin’s ten piano sonatas serve as a guide to his journey from Romantic to atonal composition, 20 years in the making. His innovations took him into obscure, abstract territory but rescued him from being labeled a mere Chopin...

Bordeaux gets a rich mix of Brahms and contemporary

by Michael Johnson Added 05.12.2015
British pianist Paul Lewis delivered a silken, stormy and violent performance of the colossal Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-minor Op. 15 Thursday evening (Dec. 3), joined by the Orchestre Nationale Bordeaux Aquitaine in the city’s new...

Review of San Francisco Opera’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”

by James Bash Added 02.12.2015
Fourteen years have gone by since “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” was last staged in the War Memorial Opera House; so San Francisco Opera filled in the gap with a full-throttle production, which I heard on Saturday, November 21st. That was an...

Volodos wildly greeted by Bordeaux pianophiles

by Michael Johnson Added 26.11.2015
Pianist Arcadi Volodos, one of the most impressive virtuosos to emerge from the Russian School in the past few decades, captivated a Bordeaux audience last night (Wednesday, Nov. 25) with a program of Brahms and Schubert. The program climaxed...

Lang Lang gets mixed reception in Bordeaux

by Michael Johnson Added 18.11.2015
The Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang left his Bordeaux audience somewhat nonplussed Tuesday night (Nov. 17) by opening his recital with 45 minutes of shallow salon music, Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons”. The packed Auditorium had expected the usual...
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SPOTLIGHT illuminates the unique power of journalism to uncover societal scandals

by David Pilgrim Added 04.02.2016
Like All The President’s Men before it, Spotlight, which was released recently to critical acclaim, reassures its audience that the American mass media is not all soundbites and superficiality at the behest of owners. Both films are stories of...

The Danish Girl: all skirt and no substance

by Clare Tebbutt Added 02.01.2016
It was with some trepidation that I went to watch The Danish Girl. Prior to its release the film had already attracted accusations of transphobia for director Tom Hooper’s decision to cast the cisgender actor Eddie Redmayne in the title role of...

Spectre review: James Bond makes his mark in an age of cybersecurity

by Joseph Oldham Added 30.10.2015
Daniel Craig’s entry into the Bond world was more than a change of face: he also brought in an abrupt about turn in style, from the fantastical to the gritty. The fourth Craig Bond, Spectre, takes us further down this road: unambiguously into a...
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