Weekend Roundup: Where in Hell Did ISIS Come From?


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

What happens when the strategic fatigue of the West meets an energetic jihadist surge aimed at setting up a Syriaq caliphate? That is the question The WorldPost asked our contributors to address this week.

Writing from Beirut, the legendary former MI6 agent and “middleman of the Middle East,” Alastair Crooke, examines the link between ISIS ideology and the puritanical Wahhabi sect of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia. Graham Fuller, who was CIA station chief in Kabul at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and later Vice-Chair of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, draws from his long experience to warn against a “tit for tat” response to the ISIS beheading of James Foley that would perpetuate instead of break the cycle of violence. Writing from Berlin, Joschka Fischer, who was Germany’s foreign minister from 1998-2005, calls on Europe to help fill the vacuum in a brutal world as the U.S. tapers its power. Jane Harman, who for many years headed the House Intelligence Committee, laments a “feckless” U.S. Congress that has gone AWOL on American security policy.

Rula Jebreal argues against the temptation in the West to join forces with Arab autocrats and dictators, who themselves lack democratic legitimacy, in any new campaign against militant jihadists.

The dean of American scholars of Islam, John Esposito, notes the daunting challenge of defeating ISIS since the “drivers of radicalization include moral outrage, disaffection, peer pressure, the search for a new identity, and for a sense of meaning, purpose and belonging.” Looking at this same phenomenon with the lighter weapon of humor, comedian Nadia P. Manzoor offers a whimsical insight into her upbringing as a Pakistani Muslim living in Great Britain.

Writing from Beijing, Deng Xiaoping’s long-time interpreter Zhang Weiwei gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Deng’s conversations with world leaders, including Mikhail Gorbachev. Ted Carpenter advances the provocative concept of accepting China’s dominance of East Asia as a way to create the kind of stability the U.S. has enjoyed historically as a result of the Monroe Doctrine. Writing from Managua, Carlos Chamorro adds a paradoxical twist to Carpenter’s argument, questioning the wisdom of building a Chinese-financed substitute for the Panama Canal through Nicaragua.

WorldPost Beijing Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports on yet another crackdown in China — this one on drug use by celebrities and foreigners. Looking around at the routines of daily life in Beijing, Matt also shows how the elderly in China are more physically fit than their U.S. counterparts.

As the extended cease-fire in Gaza holds, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones documents how Gaza supporters are tweaking the popular ice bucket challenge to promote their own cause: the #RubbleBucketChallenge.

Urban theorist Luis Bettencourt makes the case that, if organized properly, megacities of the future can eradicate many of today’s scourges, from famine to disease.

Finally, in a newly launched series, “Forgotten Fact,” the WorldPost brings you one overlooked aspect of the stories that made news in recent days. This week’s topic: How the ebola outbreak started way earlier than you thought.


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).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy) and Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review). Katherine Keating (One-On-One) and Sergio Munoz Bata is Contributing Editor-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.


The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.

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