Weekend Roundup: Victory in Myanmar for Democracy — On a Leash


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

Pent-up democratic aspirations were unleashed this week in Myanmar’s first free election in decades, resulting in a landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi and her opposition party. But as Mark Farmaner and Hanna Hindstrom point out, it is “democracy on a leash” as the long-standing military rulers retain a constraining foothold through the current constitutional arrangement. It remains to be seen if Suu Kyi’s elected government will be “above” those constraints, as she has boldly asserted. Writing from Yangon, Ma Thida lays out the many issues in the political transition ahead.

Harrison Akins reminds us that the “shadow” over Myanmar’s democratic turn is the continuing persecution and discrimination against the Muslim Rohingya minority. In this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” we look at why the Rohingya could be the world’s next big refugee crisis.

If it stabilizes, Myanmar could have a bright future. It sits between the two fastest growing economies in the world, India and China, the second of which is revitalizing the ancient Silk Road trading route that George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, sees as making Eurasia the driver of the future global economy.

In our “Third Industrial Revolution“ series this week, Jeremy Rifkin similarly sees the digital link up between Europe and China through the Eurasian landmass as shifting the economic center of gravity in the world. Byron McCormick says the Third Industrial Revolution is a kind of encompassing Moore’s Law that will unfold at an exponential pace. In her contribution to the series, Lisa Gansky argues that the new “Sharing Economy” can create value from waste. Jonathon Porritt describes how we can reach a low-carbon future even if the Paris climate talks fail. Alexander Kaufman reports that, according to the International Energy Agency, half the power plants built over the last year around the world produce green energy.

In remarks adapted from a speech last week at the Berggruen Institute’s “2nd Understanding China” conference in Beijing, Fu Ying, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, outlines China’s vision of global order. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden report that China’s “land imperialism” in Africa is a myth and that Chinese investments in agriculture are “feeding Africa.” After examining the newly released details, economist Jeffrey Sachs says the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is “too flawed for a simple yes vote in the U.S. Congress.”

As the G-20 gets underway in Turkey, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo ponders whether the “new normal” slowdown of growth in China can be a catalyst to make global economic coordination more effective.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Washington this week in an attempt to make amends with President Obama. In an investigative report Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev describe the relationship as a tense marriage. Zeina Azzam worries about the compensatory arms package Israel will receive from the U.S. to reassure it after the Iran nuclear deal. Sultan Barakat scores the influence of Israel’s “right wing” and blames it for fomenting the Palestinian uprising. In a passionate “open letter” to Hillary Clinton, Layali Awwad calls on the U.S. presidential candidate not to betray the rights of Palestinian women.

Writing from Paris, philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy encourages the French government to “move forward … determinedly, but without illusion, the card of rapprochement and dialogue” with Iran. In the wake of bombings in Beirut, Faysal Itani describes the “minority trap of the Levant.” Also from Paris, Munawar Anees explains why some of the ways to achieve global harmony may actually be found in Islamic ethics.

From India, Pawan Khera assesses the election defeat of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party in state elections in Bihar. He argues the message to the BJP is “reboot or get booted out.” Marvin Weinbaum sees a kind of reconciliation with the Taliban, “where many seem willing to believe their promises to govern differently than in the past” as key to peace in Afghanistan.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde weighs in on the European migration crisis, which she says requires a “global solution.” Writing from Beirut, Robert Fadel notes that while Britain debates how it will absorb 20,000 refugees, Lebanon does so weekly. World Reporter Nick Robins-Early and Alexandra Ma profile a former child refugee from Afghanistan who is now dedicated to helping new refugees fleeing to Europe and report on a U.K. nonprofit providing trailers to the Calais refugee camp in France as the chilly temperatures of winter arrive. A photo essay takes a look behind the scenes at the camp. Egyptian journalist Sara Khorshid thanks Canada for remaining a beacon for humanity “when many across the world were losing faith in human rights and democracy for reasons related to security challenges … and the intensification of the war against terror.” Roque Planas looks at the refugee crisis from another angle — those fleeing to the U.S. from violence in Guatemala.

In an essay evaluating their latest novels, Claire Fallon wonders if Michel Houellebecq is the French Jonathan Franzen.

Fusion this week looks at a new alert device called “Athena” to protect women who are facing sexual assault, but laments it is necessary. Our Singularity series this week reports that “personal” satellites are becoming affordable enough to be widespread.

Finally, this week’s photo essays portray the Festival of Lights celebration of Diwali in India, showcase the appeal of online shopping across China and present a photographic portrait of Italy’s oldest crime syndicates. We also invite you to read the tattooed symbols on the faces of Berber women as a way of peering into a very old culture and see Syrian children go behind the lens to show life as refugees.


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.

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