The Fall Of The Would-Be Emperor

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 20.11.2014
President Erdogan has recently come under intense criticism for his unwillingness to come to the aid of the beleaguered Syrian Kurds in the city of Kobani just across the Turkish border. Sadly, Erdogan’s behavior is not surprising as he has...

Five Reasons Why Nancy Pelosi Should Continue as House Democratic Leader

by Robert Creamer Added 20.11.2014
This week House Democrats will renew their fight to put the middle class first and strengthen America's working families. Here are five reasons why Nancy Pelosi  has earned their votes to continue as Democratic Leader.    Reason #1. She has a...

Philosopher Kings Versus Philosopher Presidents

by Robert Skidelsky Added 20.11.2014
LONDON – When I recently met Irish President Michael Higgins – sharing a platform for a speech in which he connected his newly launched “ethics initiative” to a book I co-wrote with my son, How Much is Enough? Money and the Good Life – I was...

Jerusalem attacks are no isolated incident: the third intifada is here

by Asaf Siniver Added 19.11.2014
The attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in which four Jewish worshippers were killed and eight were injured has sparked new fears that fighting between Israel and Palestinian could flare up once more. The attack, by two Palestinians carrying meat...

Creativity, Corporatism, and Crowds

by Robert J. Shiller Added 18.11.2014
NEW HAVEN – Economic growth, as we learned long ago from the works of economists like MIT’s Robert M. Solow, is largely driven by learning and innovation, not just saving and the accumulation of capital. Ultimately, economic progress depends on...

They believe in teachers and in education for all: why Finland's kids often top league tables

by Arja Virta and Kristiina Heikkilä Added 18.11.2014
When looking at large-scale international studies and comparisons of education systems worldwide, everyone’s always talking about Finland. Finland seems to set the benchmark for education worldwide. Foreign educational experts, delegations of...

Putin on Ice

by Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev Added 17.11.2014
VIENNA – Global temperatures are rising, but the former Soviet Union’s frozen conflicts show no sign of a thaw. On the contrary, the ice is expanding. Russia’s support for the election held by separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk – key cities in...

The Fallacy Of The Gaza Withdrawal

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 13.11.2014
The Netanyahu government has forcefully and consistently promulgated the notion that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, its subsequent takeover by Hamas, and the violence emanating from it strongly suggest that the Palestinians aim for...

The Ethics of Fighting Ebola

by Peter Singer Added 13.11.2014
PRINCETON – It may, in the end, turn out to be fortunate that a handful of people in developed countries – four in the United States and one in Spain – have contracted Ebola . Tragic as this was for Thomas Duncan, the only one of these patients...

Ukraine’s Debt Dilemma

by Barry Eichengreen and Domenico Lombardi Added 12.11.2014
ine – and not just geopolitical insecurity, but economic insecurity as well. Output is in freefall. The country’s external deficit is exploding, and borrowing costs have spiked precisely as financing has become imperative. The International...

Russia and China: Two Movies

by Ian Buruma Added 11.11.2014
NEW YORK – The times we live in are often most clearly reflected in the mirror of art. Much has been written about post-communism in Russia and China. But two recent films, Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin, made in China in 2013, and Andrey...

Why the China/Russia Rapprochement Won't Last

by Daniel Wagner Added 11.11.2014
Being a big believer in the lessons taught by history, I'm inclined to think that the current 'love fest' between China and Russia will probably have a limited shelf life. Natural resource acquisition and the gyrating geopolitical chess board...

A 2014 Postmortem

by James J. Zogby Added 10.11.2014
 A few observations about this week's elections: 1) Our politics continue to be distorted and corrupted. In October, 1994, I was in the lounge at Kennedy Airport in New York City waiting to board an Egypt Air flight to Cairo. My fellow...

Ebola and Inequality

by Joseph E. Stiglitz Added 10.11.2014
NEW YORK – The Ebola crisis reminds us, once again, of the downside of globalization. Not only good things – like principles of social justice and gender equality – cross borders more easily than ever before; so do malign influences like...

In Ukraine, the start of a new Cold War that Russia can’t win

by Stefan Wolff and Tatyana Malyarenko Added 10.11.2014
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall that ushered in the end of communism in eastern Europe and the break-up of the Soviet Union, all the signs point to a new Cold War between Russia and the West. As the former Soviet leader...

Driven Out of Belarus – for ‘Speeding’

by Tanya Lokshina Added 08.11.2014
Kicked out of  Belarus  for allegedly “speeding”? This is what’s happening to prominent human rights lawyer Elena Tonkacheva. It seems that people who live in authoritarian countries and work on human rights had better not drive. Tonkacheva, 44,...

The Breast-cancer Screening Myth

by Anthony B. Miller Added 07.11.2014
TORONTO – Breast-cancer screening has long been viewed as one of the most important tools for reducing mortality from the disease. That is why recent doubts about its effectiveness – intensified by the publication in February of the 25-year...

China’s Questionable Economic Power

by Joseph S. Nye Added 06.11.2014
TOKYO – The World Bank recently announced that China’s economy will surpass that of the United States this year, measured according to purchasing power parity (PPP). But this is far from a holistic depiction of China’s global economic standing....

Quantitative Easing for the People

by John Muellbauer Added 06.11.2014
OXFORD – It is now a near certainty that, by the end of this year, falling energy and commodity prices will push annual inflation in the eurozone below zero – well under the European Central Bank’s target of near 2%. Rather than continue to...

The Mid-Terms, the Republicans, and U.S. Foreign Policy

by Daniel Wagner Added 05.11.2014
Conventional wisdom implies that a democratic president will naturally benefit from at least one house of Congress also being democratic -- except when both parties excel at obstructionism and getting little or nothing done. So while President...

GOP: United against Obama, divided on American foreign policy

by Simon Reich Added 05.11.2014
The midterm elections have come and gone. After months of speculation, the results were largely predictable. The Republicans solidified their position in the House and took the Senate. A sixth year president’s political party has suffered a...

The Real Danger To Israel’s Security Is Netanyahu

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 05.11.2014
As Prime Minister, Netanyahu has consistently invoked his solemn duty to protect Israel’s national security. Ironically, he has become the single most reckless individual who is imperiling the very security of the state. One need not look far...

The Price of Failure and Rise of Extremism: How Democrats Blew It

by Jeff Schweitzer Added 04.11.2014
Politicians of all stripes since the dawn of time have perfected the art of feigned regret and false outrage in the face of opposition, while embracing blind indifference to their own failures. Standard fare for the left and right. But the...

The Middle East’s New Winners and Losers

by Joschka Fischer Added 03.11.2014
BERLIN – “War,” said the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, is the “father of all things.” In view of the bloody – indeed barbaric – events in the Middle East (and in Iraq and Syria in particular), one might be tempted to agree, even though...

More to the US-Israel Spat than Meets the Eye

by James J. Zogby Added 03.11.2014
In case you haven't noticed, the Obama Administration is in the midst of an on-going and very public spat with the Netanyahu government in Israel. The "tit for tat" exchanges have been noted in the press, with reporters and some analysts...

Aging brains aren't necessarily declining brains

by Angela Gutchess Added 31.10.2014
For years, conventional wisdom held that growing older tends to be bad news for brains. Past behavioral data largely pointed to loss in cognitive – that is, thinking – abilities with age, including poorer memory and greater distractibility....

The Single-Engine Global Economy

by Nouriel Roubini Added 31.10.2014
TOKYO – The global economy is like a jetliner that needs all of its engines operational to take off and steer clear of clouds and storms. Unfortunately, only one of its four engines is functioning properly: the Anglosphere (the United States and...

Afghan Child Rape Case Brings Hope, Call for Action

by Ahmad Shuja Added 29.10.2014
On Saturday, something rare occurred in Afghanistan: a Kabul court convicted a man of raping a 10-year-old girl. Rapes are  rarely reported  and even less frequently tried in Afghan courts. But the victim, Hamida (her real name withheld to...

Children hit hardest by global recession – UNICEF report

by Jonathan Bradshaw Added 29.10.2014
Children have suffered the most as the effects of the global financial crisis have been felt in the Western world, a report from children’s charity UNICEF has found. And it is children that will suffer the longest as a result of the financial...

American Wellbeing Since 1979

by J. Bradford DeLong Added 29.10.2014
BERKELEY – The story goes like this: Since 1979 – the peak of the last business cycle before the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as President – economic growth in the United States has been overwhelmingly a rich-only phenomenon. Real...

Delusional Victory Holds The Promise Of Change

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 29.10.2014
Although the expected resumption of indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas in Cairo was postponed, it will likely take place in the next few weeks as the two sides appear to seek a new and more sustainable ceasefire. Should Israel and...

Why people without symptoms aren't going to give you Ebola

by Stephen Goldstein Added 28.10.2014
Fear of Ebola has put many on high alert and there is increasing anxiety about the possibility of individuals with minimal exposure and no symptoms introducing the virus into communities – people such as Craig Spencer, the doctor who contracted...

Britain’s Last EU Straw?

by Harold James Added 28.10.2014
LONDON – Is £1.7 billion ($2.7 billion) a lot of money for the British government to fork out? It is when it is a European Union budget demand that comes out of the blue. But the impact of the EU’s unexpected budget invoice is not just...

The Era of Disorder

by Richard N. Haass Added 28.10.2014
This article is adapted from a longer article appearing in the November/December 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs. NEW YORK – Historical eras are difficult to recognize before they end. The Renaissance became the Renaissance only in retrospect; the...

The Moment of Truth in North Korea

by Param-Preet Singh Added 24.10.2014
“Rule #1 in the camp: you should never ask why you were there. Many of those who asked were publicly executed.” Listening to Mrs. Kim Hye-sook share the horror of life as an inmate in one of North Korea’s notorious political prison camps at a...

The spread of Western values and institutions is what Putin fears most

by Ghia Nodia Added 24.10.2014
TBILISI – The Ukraine crisis has shattered key Western assumptions about Russia, and many analysts and policymakers have fallen back on the belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be acting irrationally. But it is Western assumptions...

Are tech shares undervalued or is there a bubble that’s about to burst?

by Benjamin Dean Added 24.10.2014
No need to beat about the bush. There is another tech bubble in the United States. The relationship between the share prices and profits of US tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is at unsustainable levels and something has to...

Terrorism, Ottawa, and the New Normal

by Daniel Wagner Added 23.10.2014
As shocked as many Canadians, and much of the world, are about the shootings that occurred in Ottawa yesterday, they really shouldn't be. Given the call to arms that al Qaeda and the Islamic State have made to their devotees, the rise of acts of...

A New Macroeconomic Strategy

by Jeffrey D. Sachs Added 23.10.2014
NEW YORK – I am a macroeconomist, but I dissent from the profession’s two leading camps in the United States: the neo-Keynesians, who focus on boosting aggregate demand, and the supply-siders, who focus on cutting taxes. Both schools have tried...

Europe’s Fiscal Wormhole

by Guntram B. Wolff Added 23.10.2014
BRUSSELS – The International Monetary Fund now estimates a 30% risk of deflation in the eurozone, and growth figures within the monetary union continue to disappoint. But policymakers seem trapped in a cat’s cradle of economic, political, and...

How much did our ancestors drink – and are we drinking more?

by Beat Kümin Added 23.10.2014
Autumn is awash with alcohol, and not just because of the new vintage. Oktoberfest plays a part, too, the 16-day festival in Munich that we associate with massive beer mugs and plenty of debauchery. Its success has prompted copycat events around...

China’s Great Leap Backward

by Xia Yeliang Added 22.10.2014
WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders are meeting in Beijing for a plenary session centered on one topic: the rule of law. Yet, in recent days, several groups on WeChat (a popular Chinese social network) have...

Europe’s Brush with Debt

by Hans-Werner Sinn Added 22.10.2014
MUNICH – French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and his Italian counterpart, Matteo Renzi, have declared – or at least insinuated – that they will not comply with the fiscal compact to which all of the eurozone’s member countries agreed in 2012;...

The Moral Economy of Debt

by Robert Skidelsky Added 22.10.2014
LONDON – Every economic collapse brings a demand for debt forgiveness. The incomes needed to repay loans have evaporated, and assets posted as collateral have lost value. Creditors demand their pound of flesh; debtors clamor for relief. Consider...

Germany may be the biggest loser if it doesn't start spending

by Joerg Bibow Added 22.10.2014
There’s growing pressure on Germany to spend more to support Europe – and for good reason. But it’s proving to be a hard sell to the country’s leaders. Germany’s budget is balanced and the government insists that its current policy stance is the...

Ukraine’s Vote, Russia’s Fate

by Carl Bildt Added 22.10.2014
STOCKHOLM – When Ukraine’s voters go to the polls on October 26, not only the fate of their country will be at stake; so will the future of a significant part of Europe. To put it simply: the future of Ukraine will decide the future of Russia,...

High hopes rest on 800 vials of experimental Ebola vaccine shipped from Canada

by Connor Bamford Added 21.10.2014
The world has been warned that the current Ebola epidemic may not end without the use of a vaccine – and no licensed vaccines exist yet. That may soon change, because scientists are making swift progress. This week, 800 vials of an experimental...

GOP Plan on Ebola: Cry Fire in a Crowded Theater

by Robert Creamer Added 21.10.2014
Here’s the bottom line.   If your idea of leadership is a guy who cries fire in a crowded theater, then vote for the Republican candidate nearest you (or at least most of them) in the November election – and help make Mitch McConnell Senate...

Ebola’s Greatest Ally: Lack of Courage and Common Sense

by Daniel Wagner Added 21.10.2014
Unless someone in this country [the U.S.] doesn’t understand English, read a newspaper or have regular conversations with others about what is happening in our country and/or the world, it is difficult to believe that any adult in the United...

Ebola in America

by Abdul El-Sayed Added 20.10.2014
NEW YORK – Until Thomas Eric Duncan brought Ebola into the United States, the disease was largely dismissed as an exotic pestilence of concern mainly to impoverished West Africa, and those who dared to volunteer there. And its transmission to...
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Letter from the Editor

The collapse of the New Soviet Union

Dr. Kirsti Rain of The Finnish Institute of International Affairs writes on the web publication of the European Council on Foriegn Affairs: "While a failed state in Ukraine would be tragic and costly for the whole of Europe, economic collapse...

50 Years Later, Peter Yarrow Still Asks, “When Will They Ever Learn?”

by Michael Levin Added 17.11.2014
Peter Yarrow has every right to be disappointed with our war-torn world.   At 76, however, he remains hopeful that things can improve and that he—and music—can still be the catalyst for change. “I see us bouncing from one policy to the next,”...

A preview of Harvard’s $350 million art museum renovation

by Melanie Hall Added 15.11.2014
After ten years of planning and six years of construction the Harvard Art Museums opens its doors to the public on November 16. The $350 million renovation combines the collections of three distinct museums – the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and...

A Good Time to Die

by Warren Adler Added 13.11.2014
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department of the US National Institutes of Health, and heads the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been acknowledged as the prime...

What’s So Hard about Writing a Novel? Everything

by Holly Robinson Added 05.11.2014
There is always a point, about 250 pages into writing a novel, where I want to set fire to it. I have done that in the past. Twice. Thankfully, by now I’ve learned that the whole point of writing a first draft is to get it on the page so you can...

The perks and perils of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month

by Sally O'Reilly Added 02.11.2014
We live in a culture obsessed with speed: fast-food, Twitter, overnight celebrity, instant make-overs and cutting edge techno-gadgets. We drive too fast, desperate to get ahead literally as well as metaphorically. And when we get home we surf...

The Other John Cage

by Michael Johnson Added 01.11.2014
When composer Morton Feldman first heard Atlas Eclipticalis  by John Cage he described it as “the most thrilling experience of my life.” The composition had some of the usual odd Cagean touches: notes were based on the arrangement of stars in...

Moral Ambiguity: Why We Make Art

by Mary L. Tabor Added 26.10.2014
Why attempt to create art, I ask, to make something “other” when faced with the dilemmas of existence, with, as I’ve said in one of my own short stories, “all the ways that life betrays the living?” I’ve written here on Facts and Arts three...
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Dumont sparkles at Bordeaux piano festival

by Michael Johnson Added 20.11.2014
The fifth annual Bordeaux piano festival, l’Esprit du Piano, concludes nine days of keyboard music on Friday Nov. 21 with Henri Barda playing works by Mozart, Brahms and Chopin. French pianophiles and a few visitors from abroad have been...

What is conducting?

by Sally Macarthur Added 18.11.2014
Conducting is essentially a phenomenon associated with Western classical music. As a rule, rock and jazz bands do not employ a conductor unless they are teaming up with a symphony orchestra. Conductors are also used in big jazz bands and in some...

NEC Phil Relaunches Kirchner

by Michael Johnson Added 08.11.2014
The NEC Philharmonia’s world premiere performance of Leon Kirchner’s retouched version of his charming Music for Flute and Orchestra arrived at Jordan Hall Wednesday with the popular Paula Robison and her gold flute. Leon Kirchner There could...

New music: A journey to a “slightly different place”

by Michael Johnson Added 06.11.2014
It wasn’t so long ago that many musicians feared the piano was losing its way in serious music. The repertoire had not grown significantly in the 1950s and 1960s, and technology was increasingly favored by composers on the cutting edge. But...

What does your musical taste say about your personality and lifestyle?

by Adrian North Added 02.10.2014
Abba - Knowing me, knowing you I’m quite used to receiving abuse concerning the content of this column, but in contrast my previous post (about why fans of heavy metal shouldn’t have been banned from a pub) seems to have caused some interest in...

World No. 3 La Bohème scores in Bordeaux

by Michael Johnson Added 30.09.2014
In the hit parade of operas, Puccini’s La Bohème rates a solid third place after La Traviata and Carmen, so it was pretty much guaranteed a rousing reception as the opener of the new season in Bordeaux last week. Opting for a modern-dress...

Chills and thrills: why some people love music – and others don't

by Nikki Rickard Added 25.09.2014
Think of your favourite piece of music. Do you get shivers when the music swells or the chorus kicks in? Or are the opening few bars enough to make you feel tingly? Despite having no obvious survival value, listening to music can be a highly...
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