Weekend Roundup: Global Rifts Harden Between the West, Russia and China


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

The military uprising in Turkey and the attack in France signal a world in turmoil. Events elsewhere this week also mark an ominous historic turn of events. From two ends of the globe, geopolitical rifts have hardened. NATO recently announced the deployment of a missile shield and four new battalions in the front line states bordering Russia, prompting former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to say the West is preparing for a “hot war.” A U.N. tribunal on maritime disputes declared on Tuesday that China has no legal basis for claiming sovereignty over shoals in the South China Sea also claimed by the Philippines, prompting Beijing, which sees the U.S. maneuvering behind the scenes, to react in anger and defiance.

“It will certainly intensify conflict and even confrontation,” China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, warned.

Both China and Russia decried America-allied South Korea’s planned deployment of a new anti-missile defense system, also announced recently, as a strategic threat to their national security. We may not yet be in a new Cold War, but we have definitely entered a period of hot peace.

Writing from Moscow, Fyodor Lukyanov is blunt: “The spirit of the Cold War is back — full scale.” From Vladivostok, Artyom Lukin sees America’s policy of “dual containment” of China and Russia continuing to “push[ ] them together to form an anti-Western quasi-alliance and, possibly, even recreating some conditions that, a century ago, led to World War I.”

Writing from Beijing, He Yafei lays out China’s view that the tribunal ruling has no binding authority. “The international standards of law and rules embodied in the U.N. Charter,” he argues, “clearly stipulate that any disputes on sovereignty should be settled by disputants through consultation and negotiation based on international law and practices while respecting historical facts.” In easy to understand graphics, this video produced by the Shanghai-based website Guancha similarly explains why China rejects the U.N. panel’s ruling. Harvard’s Graham Allison is not surprised that Beijing is ignoring the arbitration ruling. “None of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have ever accepted any international court’s ruling when (in their view) it infringed on their sovereignty or national security interests,” he says. “Thus, by rejecting the court’s decision, China is doing just what the other great powers have repeatedly done for decades.” Referring to the island disputes, Jennifer Harris argues that “China’s entire strategy is predicated on the belief that exercising a military option in the next decade would simply prove too costly,” and thus the only way for the U.S to stop Beijing’s “belligerence” is through economic pressure.

Looking at the larger issue of China’s role in the region, Richard Javad Heydarian writes from from Manila that, “the verdict puts into question China’s claim to being a peaceful, responsible and law-abiding power, which also seeks leadership and respect in Asia and beyond. It now risks being branded as an outlaw.” Also writing from Manila, Rommel Banlaoi suggests a bilateral agreement between China and the Philippines may be in the works. “While the ruling may give the Philippines the moral and legal victory on the arbitration,” he notes, “ the Duterte administration believes only in improving bilateral ties with China can the Philippines enjoy political victory.”

Turning to the ongoing implosion of the European Union, Will Hutton writes from London that any Brexit negotiation by the new prime minister, Theresa May, that gives Great Britain access to Europe’s single market “will require May’s government to accept the freedom of movement of people as the quid pro quo — precisely the opposite of the referendum result.” Citing “Connectography” author Parag Khanna saying, “the EU countries are functionally inseparable, an egg that cannot be unscrambled.” And he notes that, already, London’s property market is crashing. HuffPost Reporter Daniel Marans explains how Brexit has unleashed new financial jitters across Europe, especially concerning the solvency of Italian banks.

In this video report, HuffPost Reporter Willa Frej joins an EU rescue mission off the coast of Lesbos, Greece that saved 26 people from drowning. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden report on how African migrants, once numbering as many as 200,000 in Guangzhou, China, are returning home — both because of stricter immigration laws and because it has just become too expensive to live in China these days. Mercy Corps’ Deepmala Mahla pleads for the world not to forget Sudan as other crises overshadow it. “The international community must sustain its interest in South Sudan, “ she writes from the capital, Juba. “The headlines will fade, but the needs will not. South Sudan is a country on a precipice, and all of our help and attention is needed now, and in the months to come, if this new country is to realize its bright future.”

From Istanbul, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones looks at the deteriorating condition of journalist John Cantlie, a captive of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, as he appeared in another one of the group’s propaganda videos. Artists around the world have responded to the terror attack in Nice. See their works below and here.

As part of our continuing series offering a platform for candidates aspiring to the post of U.N. Secretary General, Christiana Figueres, who shepherded the recent U.N. climate summit in Paris to a successful conclusion, presents her case. “People have lost trust that their lives can get better and that institutions are on their side,” she writes. “This in turn is leading to apathy, depression, despair and in some cases to the development of radical views. This cycle must be stopped, before it consumes our collective future.”

As the U.S. presidential race heats up with Donald Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by only four points in a new national poll, some of America’s leading tech entrepreneurs signed this open letter saying “Trump would be a disaster for innovation.”

HuffPost’s Senior Tech Editor Damon Beres reports on the bizarre case of “Pokemon Go” enthusiasts heading to the remote South Korean town of Sokcho, on the North Korean border, because it is apparently the only place in South Korea where the mobile game works. These 360 degree photos of swimming with dolphins in Bimini, Bahamas to touring the Portage Glacier in Alaska immerse you in a virtual vacation without leaving home. Finally, our Singularity series this week shows how a 3-D bioprinter can make artificial bones from scratch.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor to the Berggruen Institute, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Executive Editor of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Suzanne Gaber is the Editorial Assistant of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is News Director at The Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s news coverage. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is World Social Media Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul.

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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