Weekend Roundup: One Country, Two Dreams


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

If the sharply contrasting views of students in Xian or Beijing and Hong Kong are any indication, Deng Xiaoping’s ideal formulation of “one country, two systems” has morphed into another reality: one country, two dreams.

George Chen writes that President Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream” competes with other narratives in today’s China: the “get rich is glorious” story of Alibaba’s Jack Ma and the democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong students.

In a conversation with students after a lecture in Beijing, Amitai Etzioni detected a surprisingly aggressive patriotism, and even anti-Americanism, in college students he spoke with. WorldPost Senior Editor Kathleen Miles found similar sentiments when she talked with other students in Beijing as well as Xian. In contrast, WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan observes that the student-led umbrella protests in Hong Kong have become a “defining generational moment,” not unlike the burst of freedom against authority in the 1960s in the West, that will trouble Beijing for a long time to come.

This week, plummeting oil prices are creating geopolitical havoc. Writing from Beirut, former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke argues that more and more energy trade is being denominated in roubles and yuan, undermining the petrodollar that cements the U.S.-Saudi alliance in the Middle East. Elena Ulansky notes what a disaster falling prices are for the Russian economy that is dependent on energy exports. Writing from Moscow, Alexander Golts suggests that “with oil prices falling, corrupt officials see defense spending as their last opportunity to pocket government funds.” Writing from Oman, Alexis Crow notes that Iran’s massive natural gas reserves are a cushion against oil and banking sanctions.

Nobel economist Roger Myerson and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst argue that Ukraine’s voluntary removal of nuclear weapons after the Cold War obliges the West to provide it now with conventional weapons to defend itself against Russian aggression.

Parsing the internal debates in Tehran, Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji argues that Ayatollah Khamenei favors a nuclear deal with the West over the objections of the hardliners who have been his allies. Reporting on a recent visit to the kingdom, CBS News Foreign Correspondent Holly Williams says women are leading a revolution in Saudi Arabia from behind closed doors.

In an interview, Prince Hassan of Jordan scores the recent spate of European parliamentary votes recognizing a Palestinian state as “a gross irrelevance” and says that only a concept of common citizenship can change the Middle East. In this week’s Forgotten Fact, The WorldPost looks at how the state of Palestine was declared long before Europe’s push for recognition. Turning to Israel’s own questions of national identity, Peter Mellgard reports on the divisive stir being caused within Israel and abroad over a legislative proposal to proclaim Israel a “Jewish state.”

Writing from Erbil, UNESCO chief Irina Bokova calls for an end to “cultural cleansing” of historic sites in Iraq and Syria. WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports that the poorly funded U.N. World Food Program is all that stands between Syrian refugees and starvation. She also reports on the migrants crossing the Mediterranean, who are still dying as maritime rescue operations are scaled back.

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen argues that democracies where citizens are information-rich are the best governed. As Nicolas Berggruen and Darrell Steinberg write, the recent reforms of the initiative system by the Think Long Committee in California have enabled just what Dr. Sen prescribed: “enriching the informational base of democracy and making greater use of interactive public reasoning.” Laura Tyson , the top economic advisor during the years Bill Clinton was president, writes that “the U.S. political system is increasingly dominated by money. This is a clear sign that income inequality in the U.S. has risen to levels that threaten not only the economy’s growth, but also the health of its democracy.” Development economist Aashish Mehta lays out five ways to lessen inequality as jobs disappear.

In a wide-ranging interview, European Parliament President Martin Schulz acknowledges that the European Union has “an image problem,” particularly in the wake of Pope Francis’ speech last week in Strasbourg comparing it to “a barren grandmother.”

Finally, in a photo essay from her visit to the small village of Da Ping, Kathleen Miles documents a way of life that is dwindling as China rapidly urbanizes.


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 12 international editions. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s Senior 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).

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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