Weekend Roundup: Not Doing Stupid Sh*t in Iraq


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

Keeping to his credo of “don’t do stupid sh*t,” President Barack Obama sent in fighter planes to prevent ISIS from its genocidal assault on fleeing Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq, while also making it clear that the U.S. can just do so much. Only “inclusive” and “non-maximalist” governments in the Middle East, not deeper American intervention, he said in interviews this week, can ever stabilize the region.

Peter Galbraith hailed this move against genocide as “The Obama Doctrine.” Adel Guindy, an Egyptian Copt leader, called on the UN to live up to its pledge of “never again” to protect religious and ethnic minorities persecuted by those practicing ISIS’ brand of Sunni fundamentalism. WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones recounted the harrowing stories of Yazidi families that found their way to the Turkish border.

In Turkey itself, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan coasted easily to victory as that country’s first directly elected president. Writing from Istanbul, Ali Hakan Altinay fears that Erdogan’s autocratic temper could mean the rise of illiberal democracy. Andras Simonyi sees a common thread of illiberalism tying together Erdogan, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Hungary’s Viktor Orban. Writing from Rome, Marco Valerio Lo Prete examines the appeal of Orban’s recent remarks on “failed liberal Western democracy” in light of Italy’s struggle to reform under the new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy sat down with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev and called upon France to provide him with precision-guided weapons to fight separatist rebels. He also suggests that France should transfer the sale of its Mistral assault ships from Russia to the European Union for “common defense.” Writing from Moscow, Pyotr Romanov argues that to be pro-Western need not mean being anti-Russian.

In Iranian politics, veteran dissident Akbar Ganji analyzes President Rouhani’s fierce battle with hardliners in his reformist efforts to open up the Islamic Republic’s political space.

While a tentative cease-fire continues to hold in Gaza, the many ramifications of that brutal clash continue to echo loudly. Writing from Jerusalem, Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid accuses “lazy intellectuals” of taking “moral relativism to its absurd extreme” by equating a Western democracy trying to defend itself with “homophobic and misogynistic Islamic terrorists” who use civilians as shields.

French-Moroccan writer Tahar ben Jelloun writes about the parallel scourges of anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia the Israel-Gaza war has unleashed in Europe. Idan Barir, a former crew commander in the Israeli Artillery Corps, charges that using artillery fire in heavily populated civilian zones “is a deadly game of Russian roulette” that has resulted in many innocent casualties. Bernard Avishai takes on the Israeli media for its efforts to portray “violence against Israel as the result of American fumbling.” And Bonny Brooks writes about the unseen victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the nonviolent activists of the West Bank.

As Egyptians marked the one-year anniversary of the Rabaa massacre, Sophia Jones revisited that “bloody day.” “It’s like it never happened,” she writes, saying that many Egyptians are still waiting for justice.

On the Asian front, former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans sagely advises that Japan and the Western democracies need to “take a stand, but not take sides” as they cope with China’s rise.

In a joint blog, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Chairwoman of the African Union Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma discuss the current Ebola crisis and what steps the world can take to prevent the next outbreak.

Finally, amidst the outrage that an unarmed 18-year-old was shot to death bypolice in Ferguson, Mo. — an incident that had Palestinians tweeting tear gas advice to Americans — British-American writer Ruth Fowler compares American police to British police, who rarely carry and use guns.


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. Nicholas Sabloff is the Executive International Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s 10 international editions. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s World Editor.

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). Sergio Munoz Bata is Contributing Editor-At-Large.

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy) and Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review). Katherine Keating (One-On-One) and Jehangir Pocha (NewsX India) .

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.

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