After the Italian sea search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum at a cost of nine million euros a month, through which the Italian Navy has rescued nearly 100,000 migrants – although perhaps up to 3,000 have died – from the Mediterranean since October 2013, Europe is now presenting its new face in the Mediterranean.
Less than a week after everybody celebrated the historical agreement
on Nov. 17 between the United States and China on reduction of CO2
emissions, a very cold shower has come from India.
The Oct. 23 attack on the Canadian Parliament building by a Canadian who had converted to Islam just a month earlier should create some interest in why an increasing number of young people are willing to sacrifice their lives for a radical view of Islam.
The new European Commission looks more like an experiment in balancing opposite forces than an institution that is run by some kind of governance. It will probably end up being paralysed by internal conflicts, which is the last thing it needs.
If ever there was a need to prove that we are faced with a total lack of global governance, the U.N. Climate Summit, extraordinarily called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sep. 23, makes a very good case.
In 1979, I had a debate at the United Nations with the late Stan Swinton, then the very powerful and brilliant director of Associated Press (AP). At one point, I furnished the following figures (which had been slow to change), as an example of Western bias in the media:
While the Third World War has not been formally declared, conflicts throughout the world are reaching levels unseen since 1944.
It is a great pity that, beside opening the doors to ethics, social justice and peace, Pope Francis does not also give indications of updating traditional theology. The most urgent task is to update the Seven Deadly Sins.
“An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted” is a phrase from Arthur Miller which applies well to the European elections that have just ended. What those elections showed was that disenchantment with Europe as an ideal has grown to a dangerous point.
Not a day goes by without news on the growing inequality that is the telling indicator of the kind of economic model in which we have put ourselves, following the neoliberal binge unleashed by the Washington Consensus. The idea that economic growth is “a rising tide lifting all boats”, as the late Margaret Thatcher declared when she announced war on the welfare state, and its twin “capital will trickle down to everybody”, are now totally discredited. Facts, as it has been said, are stubborn.
For weeks now, the mainstream media have been unanimously engaged in denouncing Vladimir Putin’s action in Crimea first and Ukraine now. The latest cover of The Economist depicts a bear swallowing Ukraine, with the title “Insatiable”.
In case you missed it, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third and final part of a report on Apr. 13 in which it says bluntly that we only have 15 years left to avoid exceeding the "safe" threshold of a 2°C increase in global temperatures, beyond which the consequences will be dramatic.
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said “The rich are different from you or me”, yet in his days, in the early years of the 20th
century, the rich were not subject to public scrutiny, and were generally an object of envy, not resentment.
It is now generally accepted that the North-South divide created at the end of the colonial era and the coalition of New Countries against the powerful North of the world ended with the arrival of globalisation. There are now areas of the Third World inside the North, and areas of the North inside the South.
At this time of hope for what the new year may bring, it would be useful to look at the legacy we carry with us from the year we leave behind. It was a year full of events - wars, rising social inequality, unchecked finance, the decline of political institutions, and the erosion of global governance.