Weekend Roundup: Protecting the Cloud — At the Bottom of the Ocean


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

This week, a new 21st century debate surfaced: How do we protect the data cloud we have all come to depend on when it is physically composed of cables running across the bottom of the ocean? The issue came to light after it was reported that Russian spy ships were operating near key cable routes.

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis writes that, “Well over 95 percent of everything moving on the global Internet passes through 200 or so highly active cables, some as deep underwater as Mount Everest is tall.” Lixian Hantover offers a profile of what the undersea cloud looks like and what its vulnerabilities are. Carl Bildt, former Swedish prime minister and chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance, calls for a new digital diplomacy to maintain the free flow of information across borders. “The solution to privacy concerns,” he writes, “lies not in data localization, but in the development of secure systems and the proper use of encryption. Data storage actually means the continuous transfer of data between users, with no regard for Westphalian borders. Security in the digital world is based on technology, not geography.”

In our continuing series on The Third Industrial Revolution, Jeremy Rifkin lays out the vast potential of the “Internet of Things” and “the zero marginal cost society.” Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister and a key EU parliamentarian, addresses the obstacles to creating a digital single market in Europe: “We need to end, once and for all, the European aberration in which markets of the past are given preference over markets of the future.” Nobel laureate Michael Spence sees great promise in the emergent “sharing economy.” Guy Standing worries that “cloud labor” — part-time, low-wage flexible work — is creating a new class, “the precariat.” Susan Lund acknowledges both the promise and perils of “free agent labor”on the cloud. Marking a distinct change in course, U.S. President Barack Obama writes about his reservations over the standardized testing he once championed.

The stakes in the strategic battle over whether the U.S. or China will dominate the South China Sea leapt to a new level this week as American warships passed through what China claims are its territorial waters. Writing from Sydney, Hugh White worries that the U.S. doesn’t get it: “Washington still expects Beijing to back off at the first faint sign of U.S. resolve,” he writes. “It doesn’t grasp that Xi Jinping may be at least as determined to change the Asian order as Barack Obama is to preserve it, and that he may believe he holds the better hand.” Euan Graham thinks China’s next move in response to what it considers a U.S. provocation may well be to “militarize” its island construction project. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from Beijing on the cute, cartoonish video that awkwardly seeks to catch the public’s attention ahead of the rollout of the new five-year plan by Chinese authorities. He also breaks down the top questions about China’s new two-child policy.

In the run up to the November 1 elections, Karabekir Akkoyunlu worries that Turkey is in danger of reprising the 1990s conflict between “the deep state” of the security apparatus and the Islamic-rooted AKP of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Stephen Schwartz looks at the complex interplay of competing political interests that have undermined AKP dominance and led the president to play the nationalist and anti-Kurd cards. “Erdogan has set a series of fires that will not be easy to put out,” he says.

Writing from Beirut, former MI6 operative Alastair Crooke argues that Syria is central to Putin’s effort to resurrect Russia as a world power, including offering a venue to demonstrate its modernized military technology. Writing from Paris, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy scores the “Party of Putin” emerging around Europe that buys into what he describes as the Russian leader’s intolerant, anti-cosmopolitan worldview. In an interview, Nataliya Rostova, a chronicler and critic of the Russian media, discusses Putin’s control of the press. Former top Iranian official Seyed Hossein Mousavian explains what’s at stake at the discussions on Syria in Vienna with regard to Iran and Saudi Arabia. “Rather than trying to constrain Iran and isolate it in its own region,” he writes, “the leaders of Saudi Arabia should acknowledge that Iran is their neighbor and that they can and should live in peace with each other.” In yet another reminder of the severity of the situation in Syria, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports that two Syrian activists who documented the Islamic State’s crimes have been beheaded by the terror group.

As the wave of violence continues in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, calls on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-launch negotiations on a two-state solution. Historian M.G.S Narayanan traces the recent controversy over beef-eating to a misinterpretation of Hinduism. “There is no Hindu ‘religion,’” he writes. “Unlike the Semitic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, there is no one founder, sacred book and rules of conduct including procedure for conversion and excommunication applicable to Hindu society as a whole.”

C. Christine Fair takes aim at “The Drone Papers,” a recently published report from The Intercept, specifically disputing the claim that 90 percent of strikes killed people who were not targets.

As the influx of refugees and migrants continues to grow unabated in Europe, Lliana Bird reports on the worsening conditions and increasing desperation of people on the Greek island of Lesbos. A Greek islander tells HuffPost Greece, “It’s hard to live with death every day.” We also document the experience of rescued refugees on the island in photos and learn what motivated some members of MSF’s team on another Greek island — Kos — to help out. In a series of infographics, we look at where refugees are coming from in the Middle East and Africa and where they are going in Europe. World Reporter Nick Robins-Early explains how the refugee crisis is fueling the rise of Europe’s right. And in this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” we remind readers that despite the fact that winter is approaching, the number of refugees arriving in Europe keeps rising.

Writing from Hong Kong, Parag Khanna argues that we are entering a new Middle Ages of the future where, once again, cities will be more important than nation-states. In an inspiring video, we learn about the wonders of “biomimicry,” an approach to innovation that suggests solutions to some of our most pressing challenges already exist all around us. We also watch Chile’s Atacama desert bloom in a rare event and explore the beauty of the dry land that comprises the world’s deserts.

Our Singularity series this week looks at the new blockchain technology designed to prevent corruption in accounting ledgers of companies and countries alike. Finally, Fusion catches up with iconic actor Bill Murray in Morocco, where his new movie “Rock the Kasbah” was filmed.


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 and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors 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 World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is Social Media 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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