US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Atlantic


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"The Taliban Is Just as Bad as It Always Was"

Die Taliban seien zu ihren alten Praktiken zurückgekehrt, konstatiert Yasmeen Serhan. "In the initial days and weeks that followed the group's recapture of Kabul, it reaffirmed its commitment, set out in a 2020 peace deal with the United States, to leave its old way of doing things in the past. (…) But now that the Taliban is back in charge, and now that international attention has largely diverted elsewhere, the group has been free to show its true, all-too-familiar, colors. Women have been discouraged from returning to work and school, seemingly indefinitely. Ethnic minorities have faced persecution and violence. Public hangings have returned to Afghanistan's central squares."

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"The Largest Autocracy on Earth"

Facebook verhalte sich wie eine feindliche ausländische Macht, konstatiert Adrienne LaFrance. "(…) I still believe that the triple revolution of the internet, smartphones, and social media is a net good for society. But that's true only if we insist on platforms that are in the public's best interest. Facebook is not. (…) Facebook executives have tolerated the promotion on their platform of propaganda, terrorist recruitment, and genocide. They point to democratic virtues like free speech to defend themselves, while dismantling democracy itself. (…) It swears to fight disinformation and misinformation, while misleading researchers who study these phenomena and diluting the reach of quality news on its platforms. (…) Facebook's rise is part of a larger autocratic movement, one that's eroding democracy worldwide as authoritarian leaders set a new tone for global governance."

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"The Third Revolution in Warfare"

Kai-Fu Lee warnt vor den von autonomen Waffensystemen ausgehenden Gefahren. "Autonomous weaponry is the third revolution in warfare, following gunpowder and nuclear arms. The evolution from land mines to guided missiles was just a prelude to true AI [Artificial Intelligence]-enabled autonomy - the full engagement of killing: searching for, deciding to engage, and obliterating another human life, completely without human involvement. (…) Not only will these killer robots become more intelligent, more precise, faster, and cheaper; they will also learn new capabilities, such as how to form swarms with teamwork and redundancy, making their missions virtually unstoppable. (…) Autonomous weapons are already a clear and present danger, and will become more intelligent, nimble, lethal, and accessible at an alarming speed."

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"China's 'Very Tricky Situation'"

Chinas vermeintliche Schadenfreude über den Abzug der US-amerikanischen Truppen aus Afghanistan maskiere eine tiefergreifende Sorge der Volksrepublik, meint Timothy McLaughlin. "(…) Beijing's bluster may mask anxiety about what will come next in Afghanistan, and beyond. (…) The U.S.'s departure from Afghanistan after two decades of conflict, trillions of dollars in investment, and thousands of casualties has created a sheaf of concerns and unknowns for China. Topping the list is the possibility of mushrooming terrorism and the apparent potential of Afghanistan to offer haven to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a Uyghur group that the United Nations said once had links to al-Qaeda and took part in a number of deadly attacks, including within Xinjiang. (…) Adding to Beijing's unease are questions about where the U.S. may deploy its resources and center its attention after Afghanistan."

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"9/11 Was a Warning of What Was to Come"

Die Terroranschläge vom 11. September hätten für die USA eine Zäsur dargestellt, meint George Packer. "During the 10 years between the end of the Cold War and the terror attacks, the United States enjoyed a level of power, wealth, and safety that - except perhaps for Britain in the years before World War I - has no parallel in history. (...) September 11 dissolved this dream of being exempt from history. It had been a childish dream, and its end forced many Americans, perhaps for the first time, to consider the rest of the world."

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"What the Ben & Jerry's Decision Reveals About Israel"

Die Entscheidung des Eiscremeherstellers Ben & Jerry's, seine Produkte nicht mehr in den von Israel besetzten palästinensischen Gebieten zu verkaufen, habe hohe Wellen in den obersten Ebenen der israelischen Politik ausgelöst, kommentiert Yasmeen Serhan. Dies zeige, wie empfindlich Israel auf den Gedanken eines Boykotts reagiere. "More fundamentally, the dustup reveals a growing divergence between how the world sees Israel and how the country sees itself. While the international community, including the United States, continues to distinguish between Israel and the territories it occupies, the reaction to the Ben & Jerry's decision has shown that, as far as many Israeli politicians are concerned, that distinction no longer exists."

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"How Rumsfeld Deserves to Be Remembered"

Donald Rumsfeld sei der schlechteste Verteidigungsminister in der amerikanischen Geschichte gewesen, argumentiert George Packer. "Being newly dead shouldn't spare him this distinction. (…) But Rumsfeld was the chief advocate of every disaster in the years after September 11. Wherever the United States government contemplated a wrong turn, Rumsfeld was there first with his hard smile - squinting, mocking the cautious, shoving his country deeper into a hole. His fatal judgment was equaled only by his absolute self-assurance. He lacked the courage to doubt himself. He lacked the wisdom to change his mind."

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"The U.S. Is Fighting Extremism All Wrong"

Cynthia Miller-Idriss erläutert, warum Extremismus in den USA nicht nur als Sicherheitsproblem, sondern als gesamtgesellschaftliche, gesundheitspolitische Herausforderung gesehen werden sollte: "In the two decades since September 11, the U.S. has fought terrorism and extremism by concentrating on law-enforcement and intelligence readiness, with experts focused on disrupting fringe groups before they carry out violence. This Band-Aid approach is ill-suited to combatting modern far-right extremism, which has spread well beyond fringe groups and into the mainstream. (…) Violence is mostly perpetrated by lone actors who are influenced by ideas online rather than by plots hatched by group leaders in secret gatherings. (…) To fight this amorphous kind of radicalization, the federal government needs to see the problem as a whole-of-society, public-health issue. It needs to, for example, beef up security at the U.S. Capitol, but also put the same kind of effort and money into preventing radicalization years before anyone would ever think to mobilize in Washington, D.C."

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"The Costly Success of Israel's Iron Dome"

Anshel Pfeffer thematisiert die Folgen der hohen Effektivität des israelischen Raketenabwehrsystems "Iron Dome". "Even during an intense conflict such as this one, the missile-defense system provides a sense of security. But it also means many Israelis do not feel the urgency, or sufficient enough optimism, to press their leaders to solve the underlying problems causing the long-term crisis facing Gaza, where 2 million people live in a fetid, crowded coastal strip, under near-total blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas took over in 2007. (…) With its remarkable success rate, Iron Dome is as close as possible to being the perfect defense system. (…) But Iron Dome's tremendous capabilities paper over more fundamental challenges - ones that Israel's leader seems unwilling to resolve."

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"'We Want a Nation'"

Zehn Jahre nach dem Arabischen Frühling gebe es im Nahen Osten eine neue Generation Demonstrierender, konstatiert Kim Ghattas. "This new generation has learned a key lesson from their predecessors: A revolution can help bring down a regime, but it cannot build a state. They are getting organized, learning about politics and electoral laws, and planning for the state they want to build - one that serves citizens, not rulers. Most important, they have learned from the setbacks of 2011 that what lies ahead is a long slog, not a quick jog to victory in one election. Yet in addition to all the usual challenges that activists and dissidents face worldwide, one is emerging as a major obstacle for those in the Arab world: They're being hunted down one after the other, shot on the street or in their homes, forcibly disappeared or thrown in jail, men and women alike."

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"The Original Sin of the War in Afghanistan"

Um die Entscheidung des US-Präsidenten über den Abzug der amerikanischen Truppen aus Afghanistan nachvollziehen zu können, müsse man die Haltung Bidens zu Beginn des Afghanistan-Einsatzes verstehen, argumentiert Jonah Blank. "Biden never bought into the notion of full-on nation building, though. As he said on the Senate floor, right after his first trip to Afghanistan, 'We're not talking about turning Kandahar into Paris.' (…) The approach advocated by Biden was forward-leaning but not unrealistically ambitious: Enough troops to crush al-Qaeda and prevent the Taliban from moving back into power before a successor could be established; enough development aid to help a ravaged people get back on their feet after far too much suffering; and all of this as part of a genuinely multinational effort."

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"Exit Strategy"

Welche Konsequenzen hat das Ende des Afghanistan-Einsatzes für die USA? Eliot Cohen geht dieser Frage nach: "The price of an Afghan exit (…) may be the need to show military determination in other hot spots in Eastern Europe or the Far East. The Afghan exit will also come with a moral cost (…). Hundreds of thousands of Afghans, if not more - interpreters and helicopter pilots, schoolteachers and bureaucrats - have thrown in their lot with us. Americans owe them something. It takes a moderate amount of resolve to pull out of Afghanistan; it will take more to belatedly welcome Afghan refugees to the United States (…). (…) If Americans take that responsibility seriously, welcoming to freedom and citizenship those who put their faith in American words, American commitments, and American ideals, then something redeeming will be saved from the wreck of a decent cause."

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"The U.S. Doesn't Know How to Treat Its Allies"

Die Bemühungen des US-Präsidenten Joe Bidens, die globale Führungsrolle der Vereinigten Staaten wiederherzustellen, sollten nicht auf Kosten engster amerikanischer Verbündeter gehen, mahnt Kori Schake. Vielmehr müssten die USA bereit sein, Kompromisse einzugehen. "Having allies requires sacrifices grounded in common values; it does not mean that other democratic countries must in every case do what the United States wants. The Biden administration should compromise on Nord Stream 2, securing concessions that mollify Central Europe and Ukraine, and then let go of this outdated concern. Far from showing that 'America is back,' our uncompromising stance impedes the deepening of allied cooperation for our more important problems."

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"How to Win the Cold War With Iran"

Karim Sadjadpour beleuchtet, wie die USA in der Nuklear- und Regionalpolitik Iran mit einer strategischen Mischung aus Druck und Diplomatie eindämmen könnten. "It is a strategy that supports diplomacy and seeks to avoid war, while mindful that the Iranian regime's hostility toward the United States is driven by its own self-interest. (…) In his classic work Strategies of Containment, the Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis noted that America's successful containment of the Soviet Union - conceived by the famed Cold Warrior George Kennan - had three critical parts: fortifying American allies and partners (including Iran, in 1946); fragmenting the international Communist movement; and employing both pressure and inducements to attempt to 'modify Soviet behavior.' These objectives were not in tension with one another, but rather cohered into a mutually reinforcing strategy. (…) A variation of this three-pronged approach should be the basis of Biden's policy toward Iran."

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"'Netanyahu Is Playing With Fire With the Democrats'"

Im Gespräch mit Jeffrey Goldberg erklärt der israelische Oppositionsführer, Yair Lapid, was aus seiner Sicht gegen eine Wiederwahl von Ministerpräsident Benjamin Netanjahu spricht. Dabei blickt Lapid speziell auf die US-amerikanisch-israelischen Beziehungen: "Netanyahu is playing with fire with the Democrats. You cannot affiliate the State of Israel with just the Republican Party, or with just a certain group of the Republican Party. (...) I see no way for Netanyahu to create the kind of relationship we need with the Biden administration."

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"American Special Ops Forces Are Everywhere"

Mark Bowden beleuchtet die zunehmende Bedeutung von Spezialeinheiten im US-amerikanischen Militär: "Big ships, strategic bombers, nuclear submarines, flaring missiles, mass armies - these still represent the conventional imagery of American power, and they absorb about 98 percent of the Pentagon's budget. Special Ops forces, in contrast, are astonishingly small. And yet they are now responsible for much of the military's on-the-ground engagement in real or potential trouble spots around the world. (…) Using conventional forces is like wielding a sledgehammer. Special Ops forces are more like a Swiss Army knife. Over the years, the U.S. has found out just how versatile that knife can be; the flexibility and competence of Special Ops have proved invaluable."

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"China Is the Myanmar Coup's 'Biggest Loser'"

Das Verhältnis zwischen Myanmar und China leide unter dem Militärputsch und der Inhaftierung von Aung San Suu Kyi, konstatiert Timothy McLaughlin. "A sharp rise in anti-Chinese sentiment in the days since the military's takeover has made quick work of years of confidence building between Suu Kyi, a once-vaunted prodemocracy icon, and her authoritarian neighbor. The undercurrents of Sinophobia held at bay as she touted China as an ally have come flooding back with her detention by the military."

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"Eradicating a Democracy Movement"

Die jüngsten Massenfestnahmen in Hongkong belegen nach Ansicht von Timothy McLaughlin, wie sehr Peking die organisierte Opposition in der Stadt fürchte. "China’s intention appears to be different: to reshape Hong Kong’s political system into one that maintains the veneer of a democracy, which sets the city apart from the mainland, but is completely devoid of meaningful opposition, eliminating the unwanted surprises and embarrassing public rebukes of the past two years. (…) No longer satisfied with simply stifling Hong Kong’s boisterous opposition, the authorities have sought to eradicate the prodemocracy camp and anyone even loosely affiliated with it. The future of Hong Kong’s already stunted democratic system looks gravely imperiled. (…) Police said about 1,000 officers took part in the operation, arresting 53 people. These people — for organizing themselves and attempting to win an election, then planning to use the power granted to them by voters to reject government proposals — are 'suspected to be involved in the crime of overthrowing or interfering seriously to destroy the Hong Kong government’s legal execution of duties,' Secretary for Security John Lee said. At a press conference, police unveiled a flow chart highlighting the steps that led to the alleged offense, including 'announced to hold [sic] a primary election in July' and 'publicized at [sic] social media.'"

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"Vaccine Nationalism Is Doomed to Fail"

Yasmeen Serhan macht auf die Probleme des von vielen Regierungen betriebenen "Impfstoff-Nationalismus" aufmerksam. "This 'vaccine nationalism,' in which countries prioritize their domestic needs at the expense of others, may have helped accelerate efforts to develop such drugs, but it is already showing its limits. With wealthy countries claiming the lion’s share of prospective doses for themselves, and with global efforts to equalize vaccine distribution facing enduring unilateralism and limited resources, a coronavirus vaccine returning the world to something resembling 'normal' could take considerable time — perhaps even longer than it needs to. (Many of the governments warning against the unilateral approach are striking their own bilateral deals with vaccine manufacturers, in an apparent effort to have it both ways.) Without equal vaccine distribution, public-health experts warn, the pandemic could continue to live on residually for years, bringing with it even more death and further economic collapse. If the virus remains endemic anywhere, it will continue to pose a threat everywhere."

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"The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight"

Angesichts der Aussicht auf gleich zwei wirksame Covid-19-Impfstoffe erwartet Sarah Zhang das baldige Ende der Pandemie. "The tasks that lie ahead — manufacturing vaccines at scale, distributing them via a cold or even ultracold chain, and persuading wary Americans to take them — are not trivial, but they are all within the realm of human knowledge. The most tenuous moment is over: The scientific uncertainty at the heart of COVID-19 vaccines is resolved. Vaccines work. And for that, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief. (…) it is no accident or surprise that Moderna and Pfizer are first out of the gate. They both bet on a new and hitherto unproven idea of using mRNA, which has the long-promised advantage of speed. This idea has now survived a trial by pandemic and emerged likely triumphant. If mRNA vaccines help end the pandemic and restore normal life, they may also usher in a new era for vaccine development."

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"Photos: The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War"

Alan Taylor mit einer Bilderserie über den mittlerweile durch einen Waffenstillstand beendeten Krieg zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan in Bergkarabach. "One week ago, on November 10, a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement was signed by the president of Azerbaijan and the prime minister of Armenia, ending six weeks of warfare over disputed territory in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. It is estimated that thousands of fighters and more than a hundred civilians were killed in the fierce conflict."

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"Europe Can’t Blame Donald Trump Anymore"

Mit Donald Trump sei der EU ein durchaus nützlicher "Buhmann" abhandengekommen, schreibt Tom McTague. "Had Trump won, many in Europe would have thought that the 'rules-based liberal order,' as it is now known and revered, was in real jeopardy. That Europe’s own commitment to that order had been ambivalent at best before 2016, marked by resentment toward successive U.S. administrations, is largely ignored on this side of the Atlantic. Europe’s veneration of the old order was less a genuine desire for its restoration than a declaration of independence from Trump. But with Joe Biden soon to take over the White House, Europe has lost its unifying bogeyman. The question for the Continent’s leaders now is whether they can agree on what they are collectively for, not just what they are against."

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"Joe Biden Won’t Fix America’s Relationships"

Der Amtswechsel im Weißen Haus wird nach Ansicht von Tom McTague bestätigen, dass die Frage nach der künftigen Rolle der USA in der Welt nicht nur durch das Auftreten Donald Trumps aufgeworfen worden sei. "Hope. That is, at least, the dominant feeling in many global capitals as they adjust to the reality that Joe Biden will soon be president of the United States and, more to the point, that Donald Trump will not be (…). Another conclusion for world leaders is that whatever happens to Trump and Trumpism over the next few weeks and years, the causes of their rise, and the issues they have identified, have certainly not gone away. Yes, these leaders believe, Trump was, and perhaps will be again, a fundamentally malign, ignorant, and dangerous president, but he was not the cause of the structural problem at the heart of the U.S.’s relationship with the world. I spoke with dozens of diplomats, officials, and aides in the U.S. and Europe in the run-up to the election, most of whom expected a Biden victory, and many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic issues. Almost all accepted that serious questions about America’s role in the world would not go away just because Trump was dethroned. The fact that the election was closer than they had expected only confirms this conclusion."

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"The Biden Doctrine Begins With Latin America"

Joe Biden würde sich als US-Präsident außenpolitisch wieder stärker auf Lateinamerika konzentrieren, glaubt Christian Paz. "President Donald Trump has largely ignored Latin America, part of a broader withdrawal from international affairs that has had the effect of sparing the region of the chaos that his presidency has created when dealing with China, Iran, North Korea, or the future of the NATO alliance. So Latin American leaders have adapted their policies in recent years to account for this absence of U.S. leadership, as well as Trump’s general unpredictability. Judging by his time in office as vice president and as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as by the accounts of his close friends, his former aides, and policy experts, Biden would approach the region differently."

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"The World Order That Donald Trump Revealed"

Tom McTague und Peter Nicholas werfen US-Präsident Trump und dessen Außenpolitik vor allem Naivität vor. Trump sei durchaus mit den richtigen Fragen angetreten und habe einige wichtige Zusammenhänge der internationalen Politik vielleicht sogar unabsichtlich enthüllt. "After decades of international adventures that have left the U.S. overstretched, overwhelmed, and overburdened, it was Trump who blurted out the uncomfortable truth: American foreign policy was failing, and had been for decades. Through a combination of hubris, ignorance, instinct, and ego, he pointed at the reality and demanded to know why it was being allowed to continue. (…) This is Trump’s greatest legacy in the realm of foreign policy. To debate whether his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal was the right decision; or whether slapping tariffs against European allies was outweighed by his confrontation of China; or indeed if that confrontation was carried out in the best way possible, in some way misses the point. To question if his strategy worked (or if it made sense), if he had a vision for the world, if his demands were coherent, is worthwhile, but belittles his impact. Perhaps Trump was found wanting over the past four years. But in his demands, questions, and threats, he also showed how the American-built foreign policy consensus — of engagement with China; of subsidizing allies’ defense; of military interventionism in faraway lands; of unabashed advocacy for free trade — was found wanting, too."

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"Supporting Protesters Without Undermining Them"

Der Westen bewege sich mit seiner Reaktion auf die Krise in Weißrussland auf einem schmalen Grat, stellt Yasmeen Serhan fest. Die Unterstützung der Demonstranten dürfe die Protestbewegung nicht unterminieren. "When regimes the likes of Lukashenko’s cry foreign interference in mass protests, every expression of outside sympathy can be repackaged and reframed as akin to intervention, giving autocrats the pretext to quash dissent, even if doing so requires force. The Belarusian opposition, led by Lukashenko’s primary opponent, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, is well aware of this — so much so, in fact, that she has gone to great lengths to stress that these protests are neither pro-Russia nor pro–European Union. 'Our revolution is not geopolitical,' Tikhanovskaya said in a recent op-ed in The New York Times. 'It is a democratic revolution.' The question then becomes: How can foreign powers support the Belarusian prodemocracy movement without undermining it?"

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"What Belarus Learned From the Rest of the World"

Die Demonstrierenden in Weißrussland greifen bei ihren Protesten gegen Präsident Lukaschenko Yasmeen Serhan zufolge auf die Erfahrungen anderer Protestbewegungen zurück. "In some ways, though, the scenes in Belarus are all too familiar. The spontaneous, decentralized rallies across the country and the widespread adoption of social media by protesters resemble the prodemocracy movement in Hong Kong. The solidarity chains featuring thousands of Belarusians dressed in white are reminiscent of the human-chain demonstrations made popular by the Soviet-era independence movement the Baltic Way. Even the protests’ leaderlessness mirrors that of other protests as far afield as Catalonia, Chile, France, India, Iraq, Lebanon, and the United States. These overlapping approaches are emblematic of a global trend in which one country’s grassroots movement adopts the best practices of others. Through the exchange of strategies, slogans, and digital resources, these movements have transcended their borders, inspired one another, and attracted international support. The context and demands might be different, but the tactics are similar."

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"Where the Pandemic Is Cover for Authoritarianism"

Nicht nur in Hongkong werde die Coronakrise von Regierungen genutzt, um autoritäre Maßnahmen mit außergewöhnlicher Reichweite durchzusetzen, stellt Timothy McLaughlin fest. "Though the coronavirus has posed an enormous challenge for world leaders, it has also presented an opportunity — for those who wish to consolidate power, pandemic containment rules offer a convenient tool to stifle inconvenient dissent. Here in Hong Kong, for example, the city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, postponed legislative elections scheduled for September by an entire year, sapping momentum from a prodemocracy camp that looked poised to make sizable gains. (…) Hong Kong is hardly the only place where the pandemic has proved to be useful political cover. In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the public-health crisis to shut down the country’s Parliament and judiciary — which enabled the prime minister to not only postpone his own corruption trial, but also authorize the security service to track citizens’ movements using cellphone data without legislative oversight. In Bolivia, a forthcoming general election has been twice delayed because of the pandemic — an excuse that opposition parties allege has allowed the country’s interim president to extend her rule."

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"Why America Is Afraid of TikTok"

Michael Schuman erklärt, warum die populäre Videoplattform TikTok des chinesischen Unternehmens ByteDance in den USA vor einem Verbot steht. "With a presidential election approaching, both Donald Trump and Joe Biden should be tapping TikTok to woo young voters. New York bankers should be competing to list ByteDance’s shares on U.S. stock exchanges. A few years ago, all that might have happened. But not now. Most Americans, inside and outside the Beltway, no longer perceive China as a potential partner, but as a strategic enemy. Trump rails against Beijing on Twitter and at news conferences. The old policy of patient engagement is derided as a naive liberal fantasy that did nothing more than hand wealth and power to an authoritarian adversary. Seen through this prism, Zhang and TikTok embody not what’s gone right with China, but what’s gone wrong. TikTok — an app largely devoted to viral dance crazes and teenagers pranking their cats — is part of the China threat: the sharp high-tech edge of the Communist regime, penetrating deep into American society, stealing its secrets, monitoring its citizens, and aiding Beijing’s nefarious aims."

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"Chinese AI Is Creating an Axis of Autocracy"

In China werde KI-Technologie gezielt zur Ausweitung der totalitären Kontrolle der Regierung entwickelt und eingesetzt, schreibt Ross Andersen in seiner Reportage aus Peking. Da China die Technik an autoritäre Regierungen verkauft, sei dies auch ein internationales Problem. "Despite China’s considerable strides, industry analysts expect America to retain its current AI lead for another decade at least. But this is cold comfort: China is already developing powerful new surveillance tools, and exporting them to dozens of the world’s actual and would-be autocracies. Over the next few years, those technologies will be refined and integrated into all-encompassing surveillance systems that dictators can plug and play. The emergence of an AI-powered authoritarian bloc led by China could warp the geopolitics of this century. It could prevent billions of people, across large swaths of the globe, from ever securing any measure of political freedom. And whatever the pretensions of American policy makers, only China’s citizens can stop it. I’d come to Beijing to look for some sign that they might."

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