Weekend Roundup: As Mideast War Levels Ancient Cities, Asia Invests in the Future


Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine.

While the Middle East is consumed by an orgy of destruction that has devastated ancient cities like Aleppo and Tikrit, Asia, led by China, is building out the infrastructure of the future. While past wounds drive the tribal and religious rivalries in the Middle East, in Asia the contest — and the cooperation — is about shaping the future.

The most recent scuffle in the contest over the future has been the slew of American allies — Great Britain, Italy, France, Australia and others — who have defied U.S. admonitions not to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which it sees as a rival to the World Bank and IMF system. In the “cooperation” column, Zbigniew Brzezinski observes in a WorldPost interview that China signed on as a guarantor of the Lausanne agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. This, along with the fact it has also joined with the U.S. to curb North Korean nuclear proliferation and fight climate change, shows China is stepping up to the plate as a responsible global power.

Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke writes from Beirut that the U.S. has been “immobilized” in the Sunni-Shia proxy wars and must settle for “an equilibrium of antagonisms.”

Writing from Berlin, Joschka Fischer ponders whether the U.S. Persian pivot means a shift away from the Saudis as a partner. Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass lays out five reasons “not to assume” the Iran accord will succeed. European statesman Carl Bildt explains why Europe fully supports Obama’s leadership on Iran. World editors Eline Gordts and Charlotte Alfred survey Israeli experts on the Iran deal and report on the comments of a former Mossad chief in Israel who embraces the Iran agreement. WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones and Charlotte Alfred describe how there is no way out for many trapped in the Yemen conflict.

Reflecting on the success of the new Asian investment bank in attracting global partners, Wang Wenfeng writes from Beijing that China is reshaping the global order by default because the U.S. Congress has refused to support reform at the World Bank and IMF. Writing from Hong Kong, Rebecca Liao says China’s continuing ability to adapt and reform confounds Western critics. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan visits Shanghai’s marriage market. He also profiles China’s “poison-tongued” transgender talk show host. Writing about an experience from the Red Flag Logging Commune in northeastern China, Michael Meyer tells the improbable tale of a lumberjack who says he slept with an alien.

Daniel Tudor writes that we need to update our view of North Korea to one in which the day when “people follow every rule imposed by the state is well and truly over.” Christine Ahn will test that proposition, as she writes, when a group of women activists, including Gloria Steinem, march to the Demilitarized Zone in May to promote North and South reconciliation.

In this week’s “Forgotten Fact“ series, we remember Ebola, which though no longer dominating news headlines, is not over yet.

On the eve of announcing her candidacy for the U.S. presidency, Hillary Clinton reflects on what drives her to seek power. Steven Cohen of Columbia’s Earth Institute says the current drought must wake up Californians to the limits of their dream with more intelligent management of resources. X Prize founder Peter Diamandis, meanwhile, projects that three to five billion new consumers will rise by 2020, mainly from China, India and Africa. “Our Final Invention” author James Barrat explains why Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates fear artificial intelligence. Harvard’s Michael Porter presents the findings of the 2015 Social Progress Index, which he says is the best metric of national performance.

Buddhist master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse says that the dominance of Islam and Hinduism in India has led the country to neglect its Buddhist heritage.

In our Singularity University series this week, S. Vollie Osborn hails the end of meaningless work. And Fusion reports that Ancestry.com has become a “medical research juggernaut” as people search for their genetic history.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the National Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s editorial coverage. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s Senior World Editor. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are Associate World Editors.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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