Recent European movements are working to get rid of the left – Corbyn should beware their underhanded tactics

An old Chinese curse is “May you live in interesting times!” – interesting times are the times of troubles, confusion and suffering. And it seems that in some “democratic” countries, we are lately witnessing a weird phenomenon which proves that we live in interesting times: a candidate emerges and wins elections as it were from nowhere, in a moment of confusion building a movement around his name – both Berlusconi and Macron exploded like this.[ …]

Stranger Danger: To Resolve the Migrant Crisis We Must Recognize the Stranger Within Ourselves

The big news of the last week was the deal between Turkey and European Union on how to contain and regulate the flow of refugees. It brought a sigh of relief: The crisis is over. Europe succeeded in stemming the Muslim invasion without betraying humanitarian compassion. But did it? To see clearly what is wrong with this deal, let us reach back to one of our great classics. In Canto VI of Inferno (lines 77-89), Dante[ …]

Joe Public v the volcano

Many of those who have a fear of flying are haunted by a particular thought: that is, how many parts of such a complicated machine as a modern plane have to function smoothly in order for it to stay in the air? One small lever breaks somewhere, and the plane may spiral downwards . . . When you start to think how many things could go wrong, you cannot help but panic. The people of[ …]

On 9/11, New Yorkers faced the fire in the minds of men

wo Hollywood films mark 9/11’s fifth anniversary: Paul Greengrass’s United 93 and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center. Both adopt a terse, realistic depiction of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. There is undoubtedly a touch of authenticity to them and most critics have praised their sober styles and avoidance of sensationalism. But it is the touch of authenticity that raises some disturbing questions. The realism means that both films are restrained from taking a political stance[ …]

Biopolitics: Between Terri Schiavo and Guantanamo

Now we finally learned what we all suspected: the numerous reports and testimonies about the Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons were a trap to distract the attention of the public from the true secret: in the last days, big media reported that the CIA operates secret detention facilities beyond the reach of the law and outside official oversight at bases in two eastern European countries and some other Asian countries. The CIA has not even[ …]

Give Iranian Nukes a Chance

On August 2, France, Britain and Germany announced that they might cut off negotiations with Iran and pursue punitive sanctions if the country followed through on its threats to resume its uranium enrichment program. The announcement came a day after the Washington Post reported that American intelligence agencies believe the country is a decade away from producing a nuclear weapon-an assessment that differs with earlier timetables cited by Bush administration officials, who estimated that Iran[ …]

The colour of the truth

The Amish practise the tradition of rumspringa . At 18, their children, who have since birth been subjected to strict family discipline, are set free. They are allowed, solicited even, to go out and experience the ways of the “English” – pop music, TV, drinking, drugs and sex. A couple of years later, they have to decide whether to return to the Amish community or to live as ordinary Americans. Far from allowing the youngsters[ …]

Catastrophes Real and Imagined

In Minority Report, the Steven Spielberg film based on a Philip K. Dick story, three humans, through monstrous scientific experiments, have acquired the capacity to foresee the future. The police employ these clairvoyants to arrest criminals before they commit their crime. (The “minority report” from the title refers to those rare cases where one of these clairvoyants disagrees with the others about a crime to be committed.) If one transposes this premise to international relations,[ …]

Gerhard Schroeder’s Minority Report and Its Consequences

In The Minority Report (2002), Steven Spielberg’s last film based on a Phillip Dick short story, criminals are arrested before they commit their crime, since three humans who, through monstrous scientific experiments, acquired the capacity to foresee the future, can exactly predict their acts (the “minority report” from the title refers to those rare cases where one of the three mediums employed by the police disagrees with the other two about a crime to be[ …]