Weekend Roundup: ISIS Savagery Taunts the World


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

The savagery of the Islamic State taunted the world once again this week, striking out at both geopolitically toothless Japan and the tribal kingdom of Jordan. Islamic State fighters beheaded the journalist Kenji Goto and revealed that, in an act of unfathomable cruelty, they had burned alive a captured Jordanian pilot.

Last week Japan’s former defense chief Yuriko Koike wrote from Tokyo that Japan’s constitutional restrictions on using force have prevented it from taking action against ISIS, and argues that that must change. Writing from Beirut, Jordanian analyst Rami Khouri has political misgivings about official support across the Arab world for the anti-ISIS coalition when the public is not consulted. From Amman, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports both on the massive protests against ISIS and on the undercurrent of opposition in Jordan that believes the fight against ISIS “is not our war.”

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter argues that the real aim of the shocking immolation of the Jordanian pilot was to split angry youth in Jordan from their pro-U.S. king. Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab warns that an angry military response is not enough to defeat ISIS.

Writing from Athens, Takis Michas examines the pro-Russian sentiments of the new Greek government and wonders if it will become a “mouthpiece” for Putin in the West. Alexander Motyl takes on the claims of Russia and some in the new Greek government that neo-fascist forces play an influential role in Ukraine.

Writing from Berlin, former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer speculates that the Greek revolt will inevitably force Germany to reconsider its austerity policy for Europe. Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz argues that if there is a moral hazard in the Greek situation, it is on the part of private sector lenders “who have been bailed out repeatedly.” Writing from Paris Jacques Attali, founding president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, offers a new paradigm to cope with sluggish global growth: “We must think of the world as a single economy; as a country.” Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Bob Reich calls out the “sharing economy,” saying it is more of a “share-the-scraps economy” of precarious, low-wage part-time jobs.

In an emotional personal testament, Gursimran Sandhu describes how her mother was shunned like a leper in her Indian community for obtaining a divorce. Singularity University researcher Vivek Wadhwa slams the U.S. deal to provide nuclear reactors to India since renewable energy technologies will be far less costly by the time the new reactors are installed.

Surveying rampant violence across Latin America, Sergio Muñoz Bata traces its roots to lack of trust in government institutions due to the weak rule of law. Writing from Havana, dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez finds that the hopes raised by easing relations with the U.S. are proving hard to meet.

In a WorldPost Essay, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd takes us on a tour of the history of Chinese philosophy and strategic thought and argues for the establishment of “a common narrative” shared by the West and China to avoid a drift into distrust. Writing from Seoul, former Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan expresses his concern that the waning American presence in his region is bolstering China’s strategy of “Asia for Asians.”

Writing from Shanghai, Shen Dingli ponders the debate within the West over free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Chinese law expert Donald Clarke reports on the courageous riposte of Peking University professor Shen Kui who, in response to a new Beijing directive against teaching “Western values,” makes the obvious point that Marxism is a Western import. Looking at the impact of the Internet in China, Han-Teng Liao argues that it has empowered citizens to monitor the corruption of local officials, but at the same time inspires trust in the central authorities in Beijing.

As Nigeria heads to the polls, “Forgotten Fact” this week explains why millions of potential voters in Africa’s most populous country have been disenfranchised.

Philosopher and Google advisor Luciano Floridi ponders the complex balance that must be achieved between privacy and free speech when deciding who has “the right to be forgotten” on Google’s search engines. In an interview, Silicon Valley “anti-Christ” Andrew Keen makes his controversial case that “surveillance is the dominant business model on the Internet.” This week, our Singularity University series looks at how drones are being used to plant trees in remote and difficult terrain. In a short video, Fusion this week focuses on how lungs and arteries are being grown in laboratories.

Finally, drawing on recent biographies, Catherine Corman lays out the compelling parallels between Pope Francis and his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.


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 is the Associate Editor 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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