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Contributor PerspectivesDec 25, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Whether and how people celebrate Christmas is clearly a complicated affair, bearing only a subtle relationship to Christianity itself.
The Geopolitics of Christmas
Whether and how people celebrate Christmas is clearly a complicated affair, bearing only a subtle relationship to Christianity itself. The contemporary, increasingly international version of Christmas is less a religious festival than a celebration of affluence, modernity, and above all Westernness. Without anyone willing it, Christmas has become part of a package of Western soft power.
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AssessmentsSep 26, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Red Cross members visit families in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo to listen to their fear of the Ebola virus on Aug. 31, 2019.
In Eastern Congo, Violence Plagues Anti-Ebola Efforts
In July, the World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak in eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo an international emergency. Of the more than 3,000 confirmed cases to date, the virus has taken the lives of more than 2,000 people -- making it the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history. And while the spread of the disease has weakened in recent months, the crisis is far from over, as new cases continue to emerge and fuel the threat of contagion. A number of international and nongovernmental organizations have attempted to contain the virus through an ambitious preventive campaign, which has so far helped vaccinate 225,000 people in the country. But experts have argued this number is still insufficient to fully stamp out the virus, since it represents only a small portion of the approximately 10 million people who inhabit the affected Congolese provinces of Ituri and North Kivu. Plans
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AssessmentsApr 12, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi meet in Washington on April 3, 2019.
Washington Throws Its Conditional Support Behind the Congo's New Leader
The United States is turning over a new leaf with a troubled African giant. New Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi visited Washington last week in a sign that his hosts are willing to reset relations after a controversial election. The move makes sense: For Washington, Tshisekedi's election marks a potential turning point in the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an important country that has abundant mineral resources, as well as profound security and economic challenges. But despite enthusiastic talk of bolstering ties between Washington and the new administration, the elephant in the room remains former President Joseph Kabila, who could yet scuttle Tshisekedi's plans for a new Congo.
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Contributor PerspectivesMay 3, 2017 | 08:54 GMT
Finding the Arab World
Finding the Arab World
The New Jersey-based Palestinian American Community Center has announced the first educational initiative of its kind: The Homeland Project. Subsidized participants will explore and experience the Palestinian territories -- a bit like Taglit or "Birthright Israel," an organization that aims to give every Jewish young adult around the world an opportunity to visit Israel. The primary qualification for applicants is to be "an American citizen of Arab descent." Not American citizens of Palestinian descent. The program welcomes people with heritage from 22 different nations including Algeria, Comoros, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. People of "the Arab World." Having grown up Arab-American with Iraqi heritage, I've long wondered about the term "Arab World." I understood my American identity, but what distinguished Iraq from the broad term "Arab"? Which superseded the other and why, I wondered. Now I bring this question to you: What is the
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Contributor PerspectivesApr 3, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
Japanese Baseball History
How Japan Got Baseball
How did Japan become a standard bearer for the most American of sports? This was actually one of the first questions that emerged when we began entertaining the idea of a column dedicated to the geopolitics of sports -- a semi-joke that became a recurring quip, encapsulating the sort of questions and issues we could tackle in this space: "You know, how did Japan get baseball? That sort of thing." The answer to this question -- at least the brief version I can offer here -- is an exemplary tale of how ideas travel across cultures, take root and find a life of their own.
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Contributor PerspectivesJan 18, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
It's comforting to know that amid the tides of change sweeping the world, we can find haven in the slow-moving undercurrents of history and geography.
A Biologist's Approach to Global Affairs
The biologist's approach to answering questions is different from that of the political scientist, who typically stacks facts and premises in an orderly fashion that preferably feeds into a grand overarching theory. But the principle of Occam's razor -- a scientist favorite that argues for simpler theories being preferable to more complex ones -- only works in areas that are simple enough to be explained by the theories put forth. Or, in the words of Albert Einstein, "Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler." And when it comes to human affairs, even the simplest explanation is still dauntingly complex.
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Contributor PerspectivesJan 4, 2017 | 11:56 GMT
What would people do with free money?
Universal Basic Income and Radical Populism: Making the Link
What will it take to eliminate poverty? Given enough time, market forces might be sufficient. But another approach could accelerate the process: a guaranteed basic income. Before rejecting this idea out of hand as a lefty redistribution scheme, consider that it has support from conservatives from Milton Friedman to Charles Murray. While hardly in the mainstream yet, the concept of a guaranteed basic income has a long history, and it is gaining adherents around the world.
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AssessmentsAug 11, 2016 | 15:04 GMT
In Spain, Little Progress in Forming a Government
Spain Makes Little Progress in Forming a Government
Spain is trying once again to form a government. Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the center-right Popular Party announced Aug. 10 that over the next week the party will consider a list of demands put forth by the centrist Ciudadanos. The Popular Party hopes to secure Ciudadanos' support during a vote of investiture to give Rajoy the prime ministerial post. Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera has said that his party will negotiate if the Popular Party, once it is in power, abides by six conditions that include implementing anti-corruption policies, transparency measures and electoral reform.
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AssessmentsJul 9, 2016 | 13:30 GMT
The Bloody Lessons of the Somme
Bloody Lessons Learned at the Somme
A tranquil river basin in northern France will forever be associated with some of the most vicious and costly fighting of World War I. The terrain around the Somme River provided the battleground for a confrontation between elements of the German army and an Allied force spearheaded by the French and British. At the beginning of 1916, the Western Front was at a stalemate, blocked by the opposing battlements running from the North Sea to the Swiss border. The Allies sought to break the German defenses and to relieve pressure on the French at Verdun, wearing down the Germans in preparation for a decisive victory expected in 1917. It was hoped the Somme offensive of July 1 would provide that break, as well as set the stage for the closing acts of the war.
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Contributor PerspectivesJun 15, 2016 | 08:03 GMT
The Problems a Brexit Won't Solve
The Problems a Brexit Won't Solve
With just a week to go before Britain votes on whether to remain a member of the European Union, yet another Global Affairs column on the topic perhaps seems unnecessary. Stratfor's contributors and subscribers alike seem to lean strongly toward Britain staying, and Betfair, the most influential bookmaking website, estimates a 65 percent chance that that is exactly what will happen. Admittedly, in late May Betfair put the chance of remaining at 81 percent and now says "both sides have everything to play for," but it hardly seems likely that another column from me will have much impact on the numbers. To date, in fact, the more I have written urging Britons to stay, the faster they have turned away from that option. But that is exactly why I am writing this piece. I strongly suspect that when future historians look back on the 2016 referendum, this mass rejection of the
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On GeopoliticsApr 12, 2016 | 08:00 GMT
Chinese President Xi Jinping's harsh clampdown on any form of protest suggests that authorities are concerned about dissent building in the country.
No Exit in China
Paranoia appears to be on the upswing in China once again as President Xi Jinping attempts to force painful structural reforms past resentful provincial and local governments, the bitter medicine for years of distortions imposed by China's wave of economic stimulus. He seems well poised to do this. Observers often call him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. On the outside, it appears to be true. But China's ruling authorities are behaving as if they are anything but secure -- since February, Chinese censors have responded harshly to seemingly innocent slips in the press. China's harsh response suggests that political struggle is more intense than it has been in decades.
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