A+ A A-


China vs America: A new kind of cold war

 How to manage the growing rivalry between USA and a rising China  

May 18.– Fighting over trade is not the half of it. The United States and China are contesting every domain, from semiconductors to submarines and from blockbuster films to lunar exploration. The two superpowers used to seek a win-win world. Today winning seems to involve the other lot’s defeat—a collapse that permanently subordinates China to the American order; or a humbled America that retreats from the western Pacific. It is a new kind of cold war that could leave no winners at all.

As our special report in this week’s issue explains, superpower relations have soured. America complains that China is cheating its way to the top by stealing technology, and that by muscling into the South China Sea and bullying democracies like Canada and Sweden it is becoming a threat to global peace. China is caught between the dream of regaining its rightful place in Asia and the fear that tired, jealous America will block its rise because it cannot accept its own decline.


Germany’s democracy problem

 History has made Germans reluctant to let the mob decide.

Berlin, May 20.– Germany, like many places in Europe, is badly in need of democratic rejuvenation.

But where other countries are experimenting with bringing voices from the street into the political process, Germany’s dark history casts a shadow on efforts to break down barriers to political participation.

There’s no question Germany would benefit from listening to its citizens and engaging in some talk therapy.


Israel close to war with Hamas

After a storm of rockers over Israel from Gaza,
the latest ceasefire will not last unless conditions in Gaza improve.

Cairo, May 9.– It should have been a celebratory weekend. Israelis were getting ready to mark their 71st Two of the rockets launched from Gazaindependence day. In Gaza 2m Palestinians were making final preparations for the month-long Ramadan holiday, which began on May 6th. And then the rockets and bombs started falling.

Residents on both sides spent the weekend cowering under rocket fire and air strikes. Four Israelis were killed, the first civilians to die in fighting with Gaza since a brief but brutal war in 2014. On the Palestinian side 27 people, a mix of militants and civilians, died. As in previous bouts of conflict, the fighting ended with a truce brokered by Egypt, Qatar and the un. And, as before, no one expects it to last.


The new War on Jihadism in Central Africa

Malicious militias in the Sahel have unleashed ethnic gangs with guns  Blood and chaos in the Sahel
A cycle of tit-for-tat murder has begun

Bamako, May 2.– The first sound of danger was the roar of motorbikes. Then came the gunfire as about 20 men attacked Samani, a village in central Mali, killing three people and cutting off body parts as trophies. They took the chief’s 30-year-old son, “cut him in half, and took his heart out”, says Amadou Barry, an elder who managed to escape to Bamako, Mali’s capital.

The gunmen were from an ethnic militia, one of hundreds that have sprouted in Mali and Burkina Faso, and that have killed at least 800 people since the beginning of 2018. The militias are most active in Mali, which has battled a jihadist insurgency since 2012. Many emerged from groups of hunters, who used to stalk game with flintlock guns. Now they are armed with assault rifles and speed about on motorbikes. They say they hunt jihadists. In reality they are targeting Fulanis, a mainly Muslim minority group.


Europe’s ‘free’ media

by Samuel Stolton with Alexandra Brzozowski

Back in the bygone days of my journalism studies, I memorised a quote I still turn to from time to time, as a means to reify the importance of my craft in a world ever blighted by existential challenges to the industry. An abridged version of Lord Bingham’s address to the House of Lords in 2000 reads: “The proper functioning of a modern participatory democracy requires that the media be free, active, professional and enquiring.

May 4.– In the EU today, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, that very democratic functioning is at stake. A study published on Friday shows that 78% of Hungary’s media is under state control.