Weekend Roundup: Death of the First Global Statesman


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

This week, Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, died at 91. Though the last remaining of the great figures of post-WWII decolonization, Lee was also the first global statesman. As he himself put it, “when we were pushed out of Malaysia we had no hinterland. So we had to do or die, and the globalization of the world helped us. So we made the world our hinterland.” By thinking global, but acting local, Lee was able to vault his small city-state from the Third World to the First World.

The WorldPost remembers Lee through his own words from interviews I have done with him over the years. Writing from Singapore, Pranay Gupte focuses on Lee’s unique accomplishment of “clean governance.” Writing from Beijing, philosopher Daniel A. Bell emphasizes Singapore’s meritocratic government as the core of its success with lessons for China.

Singapore parliamentarian Calvin Cheng busts the myth that his city-state has traded off freedom for stability and prosperity. Looking out from Seoul, Lee Jong-Wha sees the high-quality education of East Asia’s middle class as key to continuing upward mobility and growing pressure for the rule of law and a clean environment. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from Beijing on how “the dancing grandmothers” who exercise in public squares are resisting government regulation.

In this month’s “Following Francis” series, Sébastien Maillard writes from Rome about a new Vatican initiative for the poor, including a tour of the Vatican museums and gardens for some 150 homeless men and women.

In the second part of an exclusive interview with the Huffington Post, U.S. President Barack Obama says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election dismissal of a two-state solution has undermined faith in the peace process. In another interview, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power suggests the U.S. is re-evaluating how Israel is seen at the UN and calls for stepping up the fight against ISIS.

Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke writes from Beirut that the Iranian engagement in the fight against ISIS in Tikrit conjoined with the Saudi invasion of Yemen heralds a new Middle Eastern war.

WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports from Tikrit that Shiite militias contradict U.S. claims that they have left the battlefield. As the battle for Tikrit ensues, she turns to those in al-Dour, a ghost town on the way from Baghdad to the besieged city, who say they are stuck between ISIS and Shiite militias. Lastly, she reports this week that many in Iraq believe the conspiracy theory that the U.S. is behind ISIS. Senior World Editor Eline Gordts outlines what we need to know about how the crisis in Yemen erupted.

In a blog post entitled “Cubs of the Caliphate,” Mia Bloom chronicles ISIS pedophile-like recruitment of children. Ömer Taşpınar cites a sense of “relative deprivation” fostered by global media as a significant factor in ISIS recruitment. Bassem Youssef, Egypt’s so-called “Jon Stewart,” asks jokingly why Muslims have to apologize for ISIS when Americans don’t have to apologize for the Kardashians. Writing from Lahore, Amineh Hoti offers a personalized testament about family life in Pakistan, where “we’re not so different from you.”

In an excerpt from her latest book, “Heretic,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali says reform is the best weapon against radical Islam.

Writing from Havana, blogger Yoani Sanchez sees a growing optimism about the future as the relationship with the U.S. thaws. Jorge Castañeda muses from Mexico City that the new U.S. sanctions against Venezuela are really aimed at weakening its links to Cuba. French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy reviews a new book by Bill Browder — “Red Notice” — that reveals Russia’s “extortion state.” Writing from Moscow, Vedmosti editor Maxim Trudolyubov posits that Putin aspires to be “a Soviet leader for the 21st Century.”

Writing from Paris, Jacques Attali imagines what would happen to France if the far-right National Front took power. From Berlin, Alex Gorlach tells Greeks that Germany has responsibility for Greece as a eurozone member, but that that has nothing to do with World War II reparations.

In our weekly ask an expert series, The WorldPost speaks with Dr. Shadi Hamid, Brookings Institute Fellow and the author of “Temptations of Power,” about the state of political Islam today. In “Forgotten Fact” this week, we turn to Nigeria ahead of the elections, where many will be unable to vote.

In a short video, Next Gen scientist Aaron Pomerantz reports on the remarkable discovery of 30 new species in urban Los Angeles. Our Singularity Series this week looks at smart cities, with India leading the way. Fusion reports that the old Thor superhero comic books have taken on a whole new life with a feminist makeover.


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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