Weekend Roundup: Showdown Between the U.S. and China at Mischief Reef


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

Trouble is brewing between the U.S. and China over the aptly named Mischief Reef and other islets in the South China Sea, which China claims. The contretemps over these tiny shoals is an early proxy battle for the grand contest of the 21st century between the rising power of China and the established American world order.

Writing this week from Beijing, Yanmei Xie argues that the U.S. should be defending a global commons in the South China Sea, not naval supremacy. Shen Dingli writes from Shanghai that China has every right to “build sovereignty” there. Harvard professor and former chair of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, Joe Nye, says the U.S. should stick to its long-standing policy of not getting involved in territorial disputes in Asia.

For the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown 26 years ago this week, we publish these never-before-seen photos. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from China this week on the tragedy of the capsized cruise ship in the Yangtze River and, in a lighter turn, the hippie-go-lucky Ultimate Frisbee culture among Chinese youth. China Youthology’s Hannah Lincoln writes from Beijing that China’s youth are turning away from luxury brands, which they see as associated with elitism and corruption.

Prominent Indian analyst Samir Saran makes the case for why the coming Asian Century might belong to India, not China. Former British Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown laments the suffering of Nepalese children as appeals for post-earthquake assistance to rebuild schools fall short.

Writing from La Paz, former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga scores the mismanagement of Venezuela by President Nicolás Maduro and looks forward to his defeat by the opposition. Sergio Muñoz Bata hopes the audience Pope Francis has granted Maduro this weekend will lead to a democratic opening in that troubled South American nation. Mauricio Santoro explores the geopolitics of the recent FIFA soccer scandal. Roque Planas talks to Mexican journalist Anabel Hernández, who explains why so much we hear about the country’s drug war is wrong.

As voters prepare for a general election on Sunday, June 7, in a poll that could strengthen the hand of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Graham Fuller, author of “Turkey and the Arab Spring,” asks whether Turkey can survive President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasingly autocratic ways. From Istanbul, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports that this weekend’s election will determine Turkey’s future for a long time to come. She also talks to a despairing Russian father who feared his daughter had gone off to join ISIS. The missing Russian student was detained while trying to cross into Syria.

Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke writes from Beirut that Saudi Arabia’s aim is to fracture any links between Iran and Syria in a kind of geopolitical “fracking.” Alexis Crowe argues that the best way for the U.S. to help Saudi Arabia is to promote its diversification away from an oil economy and the advancement of women. In a series of six short films under the title “The Trials of Spring,” nine women from across the Middle East are profiled.

Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer worries that a looming Grexit and Brexit will doom the project of European unity. Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, calls for a public-private pact in Europe for investment in sustainable growth and jobs.

Writing from Seoul, Mayor Park Won-soon extolls the key role of cities in battling climate change. In this month’s “Following Francis” series from the Vatican, Sébastien Maillard says Pope Francis wants women to be sisters in the Catholic Church, not servants.

Reporting from Kuajok, South Sudan this week, World editor Charlotte Alfred profiles several girls who, despite hunger and war, still dream big as well. In Tambura, she speaks to farmers striving to feed their impoverished people.

In this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” we turn to one war that is dramatically escalating, but remains hidden from view.

Robert Pappalardo of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab writes that we are about to discover whether Jupiter’s moon, Europa, can sustain life. Prince Charles calls for a “Magna Carta” for the Earth.

In Fusion this week, we look at how a remote town in southern Mexico has reinvented sex and gender. In our Singularity University series, we explore how printing 3-D jet engines is just the beginning of what is possible.

Finally, our photo essays this week look at Turkey’s dazzling colors and contrasts, chronicle the removal of the love locks from the Pont des Arts in Paris and explore our fragile world from above.


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 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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