Weekend Roundup: Merkel in the Middle as Post-Cold War Europe Falters


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

The whole idea of European integration was to anchor Germany in Europe to avoid another world war and to spread prosperity across the continent with a single market and common currency. Russia agreed to German unification after the Cold War in exchange for the West not absorbing Europe’s eastern frontier into its sphere of influence.

Now democratically elected governments in Athens and Kiev — and the responses in Berlin and Moscow — are challenging both post-Cold War arrangements. Angela Merkel, as chancellor of Europe’s unrivaled power, has become, for better and worse, the crisis manager in the middle.

In an interview, European statesman Carl Bildt says Merkel is best to deal with Putin, but Ukraine is a free country that should decide its own status. Writing from Moscow, Ivan Sukhov places the West’s betrayal of its promises to Russia at the heart of the crisis. Nina L. Khrushcheva argues that Putin holds the upper hand with the ready military capacity to keep the West guessing what he’ll do next. Writing from Vladivostok, analyst Artyom Lukin expresses the worldview held by many in Russia and China that the West is seeking to subvert its governments through civil society organizations seeking to foment “democratic revolutions.”

Gianna Angelopoulos pleads for the rest of Europe to give Athens some breathing space, writing, “all we are saying, is give Greece a chance.” Phil Angelides calls on Europe to take Obama’s advice on Greece and fashion a policy of growth instead of austerity. Writing from Paris, European parliamentarian Sylvie Goulard scores Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ call for WWII reparations from Germany as a “truly bad” idea that strikes at the very foundation of the European Union. To round out the European political landscape, The WorldPost offers a useful field guide to the rising far-right parties that are emerging across the continent as European unity cracks.

In light of its February anniversary, Mahmood Delkhasteh remembers the democratic sentiments of the “Iranian Spring” in 1979 as the Shah was overthrown — but before the ayatollahs took over.

As Jordanian jets pound ISIS positions in Syria, Prince Hassan writes from Amman that promoting human solidarity is a better strategy than seeking revenge. Writing from Beirut, former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke says that the aim of the brutal immolation of the Jordanian pilot was to light the fuse of polarization in the pro-American kingdom that has a peace treaty with Israel. Pakistani activist Farheen Rizvi laments the waning enthusiasm for fighting jihadis in her own country. In a joint appeal, Felix Marquardt, Anwar Ibrahim, Tariq Ramadan and Ghaleb Bencheikh call on “Muslim democrats” around the world to unite.

WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports from Istanbul on the worldwide social media outrage over what appears to be a hate crime against Muslims in North Carolina.

As Boko Haram launches its first attack in another African country — Chad — and a Nigerian archbishop warns of the threat the group poses to the continent, this week’s “Forgotten Fact“ turns to Nigeria and asks whether the upcoming elections could deepen that country’s divisions.

Turning toward the future, our Singularity University series this week chronicles how transformative technologies are arriving sooner than we could have imagined and also looks at the future of crime. In advance of the WorldPost conference on the future of work in London on March 5 and 6, author Nicholas Carr wonders whether we might be too quick to surrender meaningful work to robots. Fusion this week takes us on a tour of “the coolest cloning lab” in Argentina, which reproduces competitive polo ponies. It also examines what the brain looks like when the emotions of love strike.

Finally, writing from Hong Kong, Chandran Nair corrects the misimpression that China is a “valueless wasteland,” noting that by mid-century it is likely to host a population of Muslims larger than Saudi Arabia’s and a Christian population larger than any other country in the world.


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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