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"France, as ever, wants to be both European and French"


Frankreichs Präsident Macron versuche derzeit, in einem "hyperaktiven Diplomatie-Modus" europäische und zugleich ureigene französische Interessen durchzusetzen, schreibt der Economist. "In some respects the debate has shifted France’s way. 'Mentalities are changing,' says Clément Beaune, Mr Macron’s Europe minister: 'We inoculated Europe against hard power, because 70 years ago we built the project on reconciliation and said that hard power isn’t for us. Now we are learning to speak the language of power.' (…) As France is discovering, though, such concepts do not mean the same to everyone. Take the French stance towards Turkey. Mr Macron’s muscular backing for the Greek and Cypriot navies, offered in August after a phone call to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, was seen in France as clear-cut: support for a threatened fellow European country, in defence of international law and sovereign borders. Yet it was not universally welcomed. Norbert Röttgen, the Christian Democratic chairman of the Bundestag’s foreign-affairs committee, argued that the eu 'shouldn’t pick a side' as 'this will only lead to escalation'. Others said it undermined parallel German mediation efforts."

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"The pandemic is plunging millions back into extreme poverty"


Die Corona-Pandemie und ihre Folgen haben viele Fortschritte bei der Bekämpfung der weltweiten Armut dem Economist zufolge wieder zunichte gemacht. "According to estimates in June by the World Bank, national lockdowns and the ensuing economic catastrophe will push between 71m and 100m people into extreme poverty this year, defined as subsisting on less than $1.90 a day (at 2011 prices). Its predictions have worsened since the pandemic began, and suggest that three years of progress will be wiped out. Some countries could be even worse hit, depending on the scale of the recession (see chart). From 1990 until last year the number of extremely poor people fell from 2bn, or 36% of the world’s population, to 630m, or just 8%. Most of those left in poverty were in sub-Saharan Africa (see map) and in countries riven by conflict. By contrast, almost half the newly destitute will be in South Asia."

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"Another crack in the wall - Bahrain joins the UAE in recognising Israel"


Nach den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten hat nun auch Bahrain seine diplomatischen Beziehungen zu Israel offiziell normalisiert. Der Economist analysiert die Begleitumstände der Entscheidung. "If the UAE’s decision came as a surprise, Bahrain’s was more predictable. Indeed, many observers had thought it would be the first Gulf state to recognise Israel. (…) Even if it was expected, Bahrain’s announcement may prove more intriguing. The UAE did not have to worry about whether its decision would be popular: there is little space for dissent in the Emirates. Bahrain, on the other hand, has a history of protest. The Shia majority has long complained of discrimination at the hands of the Sunni royal family. Unrest peaked in 2011 during weeks of protests inspired by the Arab spring, which were crushed with the help of troops from other Gulf countries. Critics of normalisation with Israel have more room to express dissent in Bahrain — though they still face a ruthless state if they do. Another question is whether Bahrain serves as a trial balloon for its larger neighbour, Saudi Arabia. Bahrain relies heavily on Saudi Arabia for political and economic support."

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"A rift in democratic attitudes is opening up around the world"


Weltweite Umfragen deuten dem Economist zufolge auf einen besorgniserregenden Trend hin. Die Unterstützung für autoritäre Politik ist demnach besonders in "schwachen Demokratien" spürbar angestiegen. "Looking across the globe (…) academics generally agree that democracy is in a slump. One much-watched barometer is the World Values Survey (wvs), a poll published twice a decade. We combined its data with those from the European Values Survey to study trends in 98 countries from 1995 to 2020. Our analysis found that support for autocrats has indeed grown in most parts of the world, but this effect is weakest in healthy democracies, despite their recent flirtations with populism. Since 1995 the wvs has asked people to rate several types of government as good or bad for their country. Among the options are 'having a democratic political system', 'having the army rule' and 'having a strong leader who does not have to bother with parliament and elections'. In the latest wave, only about a tenth of respondents were willing to describe democracy as a bad thing. However, nearly a quarter of them said that having the military in charge is a good thing, and more than two-fifths were in favour of strongmen who would ignore the outcomes of elections."

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"A row between Turkey and Greece over gas is raising tension in the eastern Mediterranean"


Der Economist analysiert den sicherheits- und energiepolitischen Hintergrund der aktuellen Konfrontation zwischen Griechenland und der Türkei im östlichen Mittelmeer. "Mr Erdogan’s intervention in Libya starkly illustrated how energy and security in the region are entangled. His price for halting General Haftar was the Libyan government’s assent to a maritime deal bolstering Turkey’s claims. The accord mapped out Libyan and Turkish continental shelves and eezs spanning the Mediterranean. They overlapped with those of Cyprus and Greece — ignoring the existence of Crete and Rhodes — and pointedly cut across the path of the proposed pipeline. The deal prompted howls of complaint in Greece. (…) Neither Greece nor Turkey can afford these rising tensions in the Mediterranean. Both depend on their coastlines for billions of dollars from tourism. The few foreigners considering a trip to a Turkish or Greek resort later this year may be willing to risk covid-19, but not war. But neither country can back down easily. Mr Mitsotakis, Greece’s centre-right prime minister, is held hostage by a nationalist faction in his New Democracy party with enough mps to topple his government. Mr Erdogan may be a divisive figure, but his Mediterranean policy wins bipartisan backing at home, notes Sinan Ülgen, a former Turkish diplomat who chairs edam, a think-tank in Istanbul. 'This is viewed as an attack on Turkey’s national sovereignty.'"

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"When covid-19 recedes, will global migration start again?"


Der Economist erwartet, dass viele der wegen Covid-19 beschlossenen Einschränkungen der Migrationsfreiheit auch nach einem Abflauen der Pandemie Bestand haben werden. "Covid-19 has immobilised the world. Planes are grounded, borders are closed, people are hunkered down at home. Every country has restricted travel because of the coronavirus — issuing more than 65,000 rules in total. Some countries are starting to open up but it will be a long time before people can globetrot as freely as before. (…) Much will depend on how covid-19 affects people’s view of immigrants. Fear could make them more hostile. Many will conclude that letting in foreigners is a health risk (though the vast majority of travellers are not migrants). (…) With economies reeling, many will also conclude that it is time to stop immigrants from competing with natives for scarce jobs. In countries where lots of migrants have been laid off and are allowed to live on the dole, locals may resent the expense. The pandemic might also hurt illicit migrants. Some of the snooping tools that governments have introduced to trace the spread of covid-19 could outlast it, making it harder to work in the shadows."

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"Turkey and Greece avoid coming to blows, for now"


Der Ausbruch offener Feindseligkeiten zwischen der Türkei und Griechenland ist dem Economist zufolge auch wegen der Intervention von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel zumindest vorerst abgewendet worden. Der Streit um die türkischen Erdgasbohrungen vor der Küste Zyperns sei jedoch nach wie vor nicht geklärt. "Maritime law does not offer clear solutions in the Mediterranean. 'Good claims could be made either way,' says Brenda Shaffer, an energy expert at the Atlantic Council, adding that such disputes usually end up having to be settled by force or by agreement. Agreement does seem possible. After a phone call between Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Mr Erdogan, Turkey said on July 28th that it would suspend plans to drill off Kastellorizo and give talks a chance. The Oruc Reis stayed tied up in port. In return, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, offered to meet the Turks in Berlin, if calm prevails in the Aegean for the rest of the summer. That is hardly guaranteed. But Mrs Merkel’s willingness to get involved in one of southern Europe’s knottiest issues is a good sign."

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"Would a Biden administration be softer than Trump on China?"


Der Konflikt mit China wird im US-Präsidentschaftswahlkampf eine große Rolle spielen, erwartet der Economist. Joe Biden wolle dabei den Eindruck vermeiden, dass er Peking im Falle seines Wahlsiegs nachsichtiger als Donald Trump behandeln würde. "Mr Biden’s advisers push back in a few ways. First, they argue that he would restore moral authority by calling out China for human-rights abuses. Second, they say he intends to work with allies to press China to change its behaviour. Third, he would invest at home to make America a stronger competitor in areas like 5g. Mr Trump, they contend, has weakened America’s standing relative to China on all three fronts: giving a green light to human-rights abuses; undermining allies while cosying up to dictators; and letting America’s institutions and infrastructure rot. 'We’re weaker and China’s stronger because of President Trump,' says Tony Blinken, an adviser to Mr Biden. (…) In China, officials [may view] Mr Biden as someone who would back up tough talk on issues like human rights, rather than turn matters of principle into bargaining chips. On that score even hawks who are wary of Mr Biden do not doubt his sincerity. China has changed since he was vice-president, as has the elite consensus in Washington. It will take more than an election to end the dark new era in us-China relations."

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"The clock is ticking for nuclear arms control"


Auch der Economist hat sich mit dem immer enger werdenden Zeitfenster für eine Verlängerung des New-START-Abkommens beschäftigt. "Russia says it wants to extend New start, but Mr Trump dislikes the treaty, partly because it was signed in 2010 by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and more reasonably because it does not restrain China, which has a smaller nuclear arsenal but one that is getting larger and fancier. Mr Trump favours a bigger treaty, including China. His arms-control envoy, Marshall Billingslea, has said that, if Russia wants an extension, it must bring China to the table. But China shows no interest in letting itself be tied down. Some suspect that Mr Trump’s insistence on three-way talks is a poison pill, allowing America to engage in a nuclear race that hawks think it would win. New start can be extended for five years by mutual agreement (with no need to ask Congress). Arms-control advocates say this would buy time for a wider future deal involving China, and perhaps including all types of nukes. Russia might insist that the smaller British and French arsenals be counted in any such negotiations, if limits on the numbers of weapons were reduced much further. There is plenty here for the p5 to work on, if they could only get round to it."

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"The new world disorder - UNhappy birthday"


Der britische Economist hat sich in einem neuen Dossier mit den institutionellen Problemen der UNO beschäftigt. In diesem Beitrag werden drei Szenarien der möglichen Entwicklung der Organisation nach der Coronakrise vorgestellt. "The nightmare scenario is a descent into deepening disorder. (…) The un goes the way of the League of Nations, failing to stop rival powers from provoking each other and, in the end, fighting. (…) While such bedlam is possible, a likelier scenario is less dramatic: bumbling along. Inertia helps the main multilateral institutions survive, despite their inability to modernise themselves, and second-tier powers keep co-operation alive. (…) Just possibly, extraordinary times could provide the jolt the world needs to be bolder, even if for now this seems improbable. (…) Just as the second world war prompted leaders to create institutions to prevent wars, Bill Gates believes the covid-19 crisis will lead them to build institutions to prevent pandemics and, alongside national and regional bodies, to guard against bioterrorism. Co-operation on viruses could serve as a model for collaboration to strengthen resilience in cyberspace. The shock to the system could even be profound enough to prompt a serious go at reforming the un Security Council before it grows even less representative of the realities of power in the 21st century. Ample groundwork has been done. What is missing is political will."

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"Covid-19 raises the risks of violent conflict"


Der Economist warnt, dass die sicherheitspolitischen Folgen der Coronakrise in weniger stabilen Regionen der Welt noch gar nicht absehbar seien. Das Auftreten der Pandemie in bewaffneten Konflikten könnte demnach zu einer gefährlichen Wechselwirkung führen. "There are reasons to fear not only that conflict will help the virus to spread, but also that its spread may worsen wars. The two could feed upon each other, creating a cycle of misery it is difficult to arrest. (…) Battlegrounds are easy pickings for the virus. But they also help it spread. War displaces civilians, shifting disease from one place to another, while their immune systems are worn down by hunger, trauma and ill health. Trust in government tumbles, making it harder to enforce social distancing or deliver vaccinations. And those who normally provide succour are driven away. un humanitarian agencies have already cut staff in places like Yemen and placed limits on where their staff can travel, notes Robert Malley, the president of the International Crisis Group, a research outfit."

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"NATO sets its sights on China"


NATO-Generalsekretär Jens Stoltenberg will das Militärbündnis dem Economist zufolge globaler ausrichten und den Fokus langfristig auch auf China richten. "(…) China has become hard for the alliance to ignore. Mr Stoltenberg sees 'China coming closer to us' in all sorts of ways, from the Arctic to Africa, and from cyberspace to 5G networks and other infrastructure investment in Europe, not to mention intensified joint exercises with Russia. China is the world’s second-largest military spender, Mr Stoltenberg points out, and is deploying cruise missiles that can reach the whole of NATO. Just as important, if unstated, is that NATO needs to shape up on China if it is to continue to matter to America, which is ever more concentrated on its great-power challenger and, under Mr Trump, worryingly ambivalent about the alliance. (…) one idea will guide its emerging strategy: that the alliance itself offers a key advantage. Even though China’s GDP may before long outweigh America’s, the alliance has nearly a billion people and half the world’s military and economic might."

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"Covid-19 is undoing years of progress in curbing global poverty"


Die Bekämpfung der globalen Armut ist dem Economist zufolge durch die Coronakrise um Jahre zurückgeworfen worden. "From 1990 until last year the number of extremely poor people — those who subsist on less than $1.90 per day — fell from 2bn, or 36% of the world’s population, to around 630m, or just 8%. Now, for the first time since 1998, that number is rising — very fast. The big questions are: how many millions will slip back into penury? And will they quickly escape again when the pandemic is past, or will its effects be long-lasting, or even permanent? (…) Many poor countries have copied the kind of lockdowns that have been imposed in rich countries. But the circumstances are utterly different. The well-off are much more likely to have jobs that can be done from home. And workers in rich countries who cannot do their jobs, such as hotel receptionists or waiters, are typically wellsupported by taxpayers. By contrast, when India imposed a strict and dramatic lockdown on March 24th, the 140m people who are estimated to have lost their jobs were suddenly in big trouble. (…) The biggest problem (…) is simply that governments in the poorest countries do not have much money. And they are getting poorer. The World Bank says that African government revenues will drop between 12% and 16% this year. (…) In the past, crises have sometimes fostered solidarity with the poor, notes Amartya Sen of Harvard University. (…) It would be wonderful if covid-19 could inspire similar efforts. But for now, the rich world is too distracted by its own problems to pay much heed to the poor."

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"The pandemic is creating fresh opportunities for organised crime"


Das organisierte Verbrechen betrachte die Coronakrise in vielen Ländern als Rückschlag, aber auch als Gelegenheit, berichtet der britische Economist. "Most worrying, says [Jürgen Stock, secretary-general of Interpol, the world policing body], is the potential for covid-19 to create the ideal conditions for the spread of serious, organised crime. (…) more traditional organised criminal activities have been hampered by the lockdowns. Protection rackets, prostitution rings, illegal gambling and the drugs trade all depend on people being able to move around freely. (…) The biggest money-spinner for most organised crooks is the drugs trade. Mr Stock says early reports suggest the global business, estimated at around $500bn, has been disrupted — but only temporarily and partially. 'For many cartels and syndicates it’s not a big problem', he explains, 'because of the money that is available at that level. They have immense liquidity.' (…) A deep or prolonged depression will open up rich opportunities for crooks in at least three areas. High unemployment will make it easier for mobsters to recruit people. Government recovery schemes will give them a chance to muscle in on juicy public contracts. And lower corporate profits will make it easier for mafias to take over businesses that can then be used to launder illicit gains."

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"The pieces of the puzzle of covid-19’s origin are coming to light"


Der britische Economist hat die vorliegenden Informationen über den Ursprung von SARS-CoV-2 analysiert. "An origin among bats seems overwhelmingly likely for SARS-CoV-2, too. The route it took from bat to human, though, has yet to be identified. If, like MERS-CoV, the virus is still circulating in an animal reservoir, it could break out again in the future. If not, some other virus will surely try something similar. Peter Ben Embarek, an expert on zoonoses (diseases passed from animals to people) at the World Health Organisation, says that such spillovers are becoming more common as humans and their farmed animals push into new areas where they have closer contact with wildlife. Understanding the detail of how such spillovers occur should provide insights into stopping them. In some minds, though, the possibility looms of enemy action on the part of something larger than a virus. Since the advent of genetic engineering in the 1970s, conspiracy theorists have pointed to pretty much every new infectious disease, from AIDS to Ebola to MERS to Lyme disease to SARS to Zika, as being a result of human tinkering or malevolence. The politics of the covid-19 pandemic mean that this time such theories have an even greater appeal than normal."

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"Would-be autocrats are using covid-19 as an excuse to grab more power"


In seiner aktuellen Ausgabe beschäftigt sich der Economist mit weltweiten Fällen von "Möchtegern-Autokraten", die die Coronakrise zum Ausbau der eigenen Macht nutzen wollen. Zu den genannten Beispielen gehört auch Ungarn. "Covid-19 is creating opportunities for autocrats and would-be autocrats to tighten their grip. They must assume extraordinary powers, they insist, to protect public health. No fewer than 84 countries have declared a state of emergency since the pandemic began, says the Centre for Civil and Political Rights, a watchdog in Geneva. Some will surrender these powers when the emergency is over. Others plan to hang on to them. The danger is greatest not in mature democracies with strong checks and balances, such as America, but in places where such safeguards are weak, such as Hungary."

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"Parts of Africa will remain unstable for decades"


Der britische Economist hat sich in einem ausführlichen Dossier mit den Entwicklungen in Afrika beschäftigt. In diesem Beitrag wird die sicherheitspolitische Lage in Westafrika als warnendes Beispiel für die Folgen anhaltend hoher Geburtsraten und einer ausbleibenden wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung herangeführt. "Stopping the jihadists will require not just troops, but also schools, economic development and accountable governments. Countries in the Sahel are not helped by climate and topography. Their people are poorer, less educated and have stubbornly high fertility rates. Just as countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia are slowing their population growth, women in countries such as Niger continue to have more than seven children each. The region’s rapidly deteriorating security is a warning to the continent as a whole of what may happen if its growing numbers of young people are not educated or are unable to find jobs at home or abroad."

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"Why Vladimir Putin cannot retire"


Der Economist betrachtet Präsident Putin, der dabei ist, sich mit einer Verfassungsänderung weitere Amtszeiten zu verschaffen, als "Gefangenen im Kreml". Putin habe zu viele Feinde und zu viele von ihm abhängige "Kumpane", um sein Amt aufgeben zu können. "While Mr Putin’s intention of staying in power was never much in doubt, the timing and the rush with which the changes to the constitution have unfolded have been striking. Ekaterina Schulmann, a political scientist, attributes this in part to the mood of Russia’s elite, who were feeling nervous about their own future. (…) Ella Paneyakh, a Russian sociologist, argues that the Kremlin has lost touch with society. Its channels of communication have been reduced to broadcasting propaganda, which is losing its effect. Even bribing people with their own money does not seem to work any more. The only instrument left is repression, which the government has already shown a willingness to use. 'The state has plenty of potential for repression and it can be used again and again, until it encounters a problem that cannot be resolved by force,' Ms Paneyakh says. Mr Putin’s constitutional coup and his growing reliance on repression rather than patronage or propaganda raises the cost of challenging him, reduces the chances of an orderly transfer of power and increases the risk of violence in Russia. All this in the name of stability."

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"Irish unification is becoming likelier"


Der Ausgang der irischen Parlamentswahlen lässt auch den britischen Economist zu dem Schluss kommen, dass eine Wiedervereinigung der Insel nicht mehr ausgeschlossen sei. "Until today (…) unification has never been more than a Republican fantasy. (…) The pressure for unification is about more than Brexit. Northern Ireland’s census in 2021 is likely to confirm that Catholics outnumber Protestants for the first time. The republic has also become more welcoming. The influence of the Catholic church has faded dramatically and society has become more liberal. Over the past three decades restrictions on contraception have been lifted and gay marriage has been legalised. All this explains why support for unification in Northern Ireland appears to have risen in recent years. In some polls respondents show roughly equal support for it and the status quo. (…) The EU has already said that Northern Ireland could rejoin the bloc under Ireland’s membership after such a vote, meaning that for Northern Irish voters a referendum on Irish unity is also a second referendum on Brexit. Unlike an independent Scotland, which would have to go it alone (at least until the EU agreed to admit it), Northern Ireland would immediately rejoin a larger, richer club, from which it could win big subsidies — if not, perhaps, as big as the subsidy it gets from Westminster today."

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"The world is better prepared than ever to stop the Wuhan coronavirus"


Der Economist ist zuversichtlich, dass internationale Gesundheitsbehörden aufgrund ihrer Erfahrungen mit früheren Viren in der Lage sein werden, eine pandemische Ausbreitung des Coronavirus zu verhindern. "The true character of the new virus will become better known in the coming weeks. Public-health measures will adjust accordingly, using lessons learned from sars and mers, a still-deadlier cousin discovered in 2012 in Saudi Arabia that spreads only through close contact. The who has long worried about the possible emergence of a 'disease x' that could become a serious international pandemic and which has no known counter-measures. Some experts say the virus found in China could be a threat of this kind. And there will be many others. Further illnesses will follow the same well-trodden path, by mutating from bugs that live in animals into ones that can infect people. Better vigilance in places where humans and animals mingle, as they do in markets across Asia, would help catch viral newcomers early. A tougher task is dissuading people from eating wild animals and convincing them to handle livestock with care, using masks and gloves when butchering meat and fish, for example. Such measures might have prevented the new coronavirus from ever making headlines."

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"Conflict resolution relies increasingly on diplomatic back channels"


Bei der Lösung aktueller Konflikte setzen die Betroffenen dem Economist zufolge immer häufiger auf die inoffizielle diplomatische Vermittlung durch Drittparteien. "When official efforts to resolve a conflict are lacking or bogged down, another way must be found. 'You need a referee,' says Jonathan Powell of Inter Mediate, 'and that has to be someone who’s trusted by both sides.' The involvement of third parties can take many forms. They can help as advisers (as in Colombia). They may open a back channel (as South Africa’s ruling National Party did in order to negotiate an end to apartheid with the African National Congress — representatives of the two hostile sides secretly met in an English country house owned by a gold-mining firm). Increasingly, they establish entire alternative avenues for dialogue. Such diplomacy, known as Track 2, fills the void left by the official sort in Track 1. (…) They all have one thing in common: they have been growing. 'When I first started in the early 1990s, you could probably count on two hands the number of organisations involved in this kind of work, but in the last ten years there’s been a proliferation,' says Hrair Balian of the Carter Centre in Atlanta. One reason, perhaps, is an increase in discord."

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"Was America’s assassination of Qassem Suleimani justified?"


Der Economist hat sich mit der Frage beschäftigt, ob das Attentat auf General Soleimani legal gerechtfertigt werden kann. Die USA folgten in vieler Hinsicht dem Vorbild Israels, das bereits seit einem halben Jahrhundert ausgemachte "Terroristen" durch gezielte Tötungen eliminiere. "Particularly in the past decade or so, the Americans (and their Israeli allies) have sought to apply more elastic rules, while broadly invoking the principle of 'self-defence against non-State actors on the territory of another State.' Due process, it is argued, cannot be applied when responding to an imminent attack or when the capture or extradition of a suspected enemy is not feasible. (…) The snag here, in the Israelis’ view, is that they are locked in 'an armed conflict short of war', that their survival as a nation cannot depend on the niceties of the law, and that in any case the situation in Gaza and the West Bank in legal terms 'falls somewhere in the middle'. The Americans may apply a similar fuzziness to the state of animosity between the US and Iran, seeing that General Suleimani’s men — including elite units sent abroad, undercover agents and proxies — have been held responsible for numerous attacks on Western and Israeli targets, as far afield as Argentina and Bulgaria."

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"Denmark wants to break up ethnic enclaves. What is wrong with them?"


Die dänische Regierung hat im vergangenen Jahr ein sogenanntes "Ghetto-Gesetz" verabschiedet, um besser gegen ethnische Enklaven in dänischen Städten vorgehen zu können. Der Economist hält diese Strategie für drastisch und verweist stattdessen auf die positiven Effekte einer Gentrifizierung mit marktwirtschaftlicher Ausrichtung. "Danes and other Europeans raise two objections to ghettos. First, the very existence of poor immigrant districts undermines public support for their generous welfare systems. When groups lack solidarity with each other, 'then it’s very easy to be annoyed about paying 45% in taxes,' says Kaare Dybvad, the Social Democratic housing minister, who took office after the leftist parties won the general election in June. That claim is hard to prove or disprove. But a second objection is easier to examine — that ghettos harm their residents, in part by keeping them poor. (…) Gentrification is the main engine of free-market desegregation in cities these days. Even native Danes like some diverse districts. Mjolnerparken borders Norrebro, an ethnically mixed district where shops selling hijabs sit next to vegan cafés. Not all such areas are central or attractive enough to appeal to gentrifiers. But even in concrete banlieues, there are less punitive ways for governments to encourage integration than by labelling them ghettos and pushing some of their residents out."

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"Countries are increasingly willing to censor speech online"


In vielen Ländern wachse die Bereitschaft, die Meinungsfreiheit der Bürger im Internet zu beschränken, stellt der Economist fest. Dies gelte nicht nur für autoritär regierte Länder wie China. "Attitudes are hardening in democracies, too. Rather than simply being blocked, big tech firms face a raft of new laws controlling what they can host on their platforms. This marks a big change for a global industry that has, until now, been run on techno-libertarian assumptions. 'Most of the big internet companies come from an American speech tradition,' says Owen Bennett of the Mozilla Foundation, which campaigns for an open internet. (…) One of the most influential jurisdictions will be the European Union (eu), a market of 500m rich consumers which restricts speech more than America does. Until now, individual member states have done much of the work. (…) But Rasmus Nielsen, who runs the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, says one priority of the new European Commission, which takes office in December, will be to beef up such laws and put Brussels, rather than individual countries, in charge."

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"Why are so many countries witnessing mass protests?"


Viele Erklärungsversuche für die aktuellen Massenproteste in vielen Ländern verweisen dem Economist zufolge auf demographische und wirtschaftliche Faktoren. Die Suche nach universalen Erklärungen bleibe angesichts der unterschiedlichen Bedingungen vor Ort allerdings schwierig. "Perhaps the answer is to go back to first principles and ask: what makes people take their grievances to the streets? Two reasons are rarely mentioned: that, for all its legal and physical dangers, protest can be more exciting and even more fun than the drudgery of daily life; and that when everybody else is doing it, solidarity becomes the fashion. Every wave of protests has its copycat element. The ubiquity of the smartphone, however, has transformed how protests are organised, popularised and sustained. Encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram enable protesters to stay one jump ahead of the authorities. New symbols and techniques can spread like wildfire. Almost as soon as a specially written 'anthem' for Hong Kong’s protesters went online, shopping malls were brought to a halt by apparently spontaneous mass renditions. The third obvious reason for demonstrating is that using conventional political channels seems futile. (…) Little suggests these trends are about to go into remission. In which case, this third wave of protest may not be the harbinger of a global revolution, but simply the new status quo."

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"India’s foreign policy remains cautious and unimagina tive"


Der Economist hat sich in einem Dossier mit Indien und in diesem Beitrag besonders mit der aktuellen indischen Außenpolitik beschäftigt. Dabei wird das indische Festhalten am Prinzip der Blockfreiheit angesichts der geopolitischen Entwicklungen als nicht mehr angemessen kritisiert. "With the rise of China and the retreat of America transforming international relations, and with India’s growing sense of its destiny as a soon-to-be great power, some observers believed its foreign policy might change, too. Yet Narendra Modi has struggled to match the country’s big ambitions with its still-limited capabilities. (…) China has made deep inroads in India’s backyard, wooing countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It has also grown even closer to Pakistan, propping up its economy with billions of dollars worth of arms, infrastructure and investment. China’s navy intrudes with growing frequency into the Indian Ocean, challenging India’s traditional dominance of its own back yard. Yet although the Indian fleet struggles to keep up, Mr Modi still seems to fear partnering with maritime powers that share his unease about Chinese intentions. So non-alignment has continued. This means that, although it has no real enemies apart from Pakistan, India also has few friends. That would be fine if it were stronger militarily or economically. But among larger powers it stands out as the only one that relies chiefly on imported arms, and whose military budget is spent largely on salaries and pensions."

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"Are Western democracies becoming ungovernable?"


Der Economist hat sich mit der Frage beschäftigt, ob bzw. inwieweit westliche Demokratien heute tatsächlich immer "unregierbarer" werden. "Ungovernability can be thought of in four ways. No Western country is ungovernable in every one. But there are a few features that exist in more than one country and a few countries that look ungovernable in more than one sense. First, some countries cannot form a stable government either because (in first-past-the-post systems) the largest party does not command a majority in parliament, or because (in countries with coalitions) parties cannot organise a stable alliance on the basis of election results. (...) Next, ungovernability can mean that governments fail to pass basic laws on which the operations of the state depend. Spain’s could not pass a budget this year, triggering the election in April. (...) A third aspect of ungovernability is the systematic corruption of constitutional norms, making political processes haphazard or arbitrary. (...) Lastly, the past year has seen a return to the streets of mass demonstrations. In France, the gilets jaunes (yellow jackets), a populist grassroots movement, have blocked roads and staged some of the most violent demonstrations the country has seen since 1968. (...) Everywhere, parties are finding it harder to recruit and retain members and to mobilise voters. Parties are the organising forces of parliamentary democracy. They pick candidates, approve manifestos and get out the vote. Coalitions usually revolve around one large party. If parties continue to decline, political systems are likely to become at least more fluid, and at worst harder to govern."

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"The EU’s relationship with Turkey is failing"


Der britische Economist betrachtet den Umgang mit der Türkei als derzeit wichtigsten Test für die außenpolitischen Ambitionen der EU. Bisher verlaufe dieser Test nicht besonders überzeugend, da die EU weder Zuckerbrot noch Peitsche konsequent einsetze. "That the eu has been unable to halt its close neighbour’s drift is a sorry embarrassment. At times the union has been conciliatory, particularly during the migration crisis when Turkey agreed to act as its border guard in return for money and visas. eu leaders have often bitten their tongues rather than criticise the country’s slide into autocracy. But at other moments the eu has frozen Turkey out — sneering about 'Asia Minor', dismissing its accession prospects and now imposing penalties for Mr Erdogan’s transgressions. The result has been the worst of all worlds: not enough carrot to lure Turkey back into the fold but not enough stick to force it to comply. (...) Europe aspires to a greater role in the world. But if despite all the carrots and sticks it has at its disposal it lastingly loses a direct neighbour and would-be accession state that is controlling territory claimed by an existing member of the eu, it might as well give up. Turkey is a natural priority for the eu. It is also a test."

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"Europe alone: July 2024"


Der Economist entwirft in diesem Beitrag ein pessimistisches Szenario der Folgen eines amerikanischen NATO-Austritts für Europa. "By the summer of 2023, after months of wrangling, eu leaders agreed to establish a new European Treaty Organisation (eto), building on the eu’s embryonic military bodies. The learning curve was steep. (...) America, General Schmitt observed, had provided the bulk of nato’s air and missile defences; the lion’s share of intelligence and surveillance assets needed to see across the modern battlefield; most of the tankers needed to refuel warplanes; and the logistics to move everything across the continent quickly. It would, he said, take at least $300bn to fill these holes. (...) eto also faced a thorny nuclear gap. (...) As the year turned, things came off the rails. In January 2024, Italy’s parliament dramatically refused to ratify the alliance, with populist parties on left and right clubbing together. Greece and Spain followed weeks later. (...) The Nordic countries agreed a tight-knit defence pact — the Kalmar Arrangement — and invited Britain to join on equal terms. Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria signed their own deal, the Metternich Pact, in February 2024. (...) Weeks later, Italy formed its own Adriatic Alliance, focused on beating back migration from north Africa. (...) Mr Trump’s own assessment, tweeted from the third hole of the Trump International Golf Club in Florida, was curt: 'Europe wanted to build its own army instead of paying its dues to nato. How did that work out for them?'"

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"The Gulf of Guinea is now the world’s worst piracy hotspot"


Der Golf von Guinea vor der Küste Westafrikas habe sich zum neuen globalen Piraten-"Hotspot" entwickelt, berichtet der Economist. "Elsewhere piracy is in decline. Between 2014 and 2018 the number of incidents each year in South-East Asia fell from 141 to 60, and to just three off Somalia, which in 2007-12 faced this century’s worst piracy crisis. Under-reporting is also less of a problem in these regions. The authorities in South-East Asia are more trusted; incidents off Somalia are reported to the international navies deployed there since 2009. (...) Unlike the Somalis, west African pirates never keep the vessels, as they have nowhere to hide them. Instead, armed with ak-47s and knives, they storm a ship, round up some of the crew and return to land, where they hide their hostages. Last year, says Mr Williams, they kidnapped 193 people. The pirates have struck across the region, but are primarily a Nigerian problem. (...) Piracy is intertwined with the oil-rich delta’s myriad other problems. Unemployment is at least 20%, and banditry and oil theft on land are widespread."

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

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