Paris in the 1930s was a cauldron of political radicalism. The victory of the Popular Front seemed to some to signal the onset of revolution. But it was more a defensive alliance against the far right, whose enduring threat became a reality sooner than anyone could have imagined.
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The case for de-escalation is obvious. But the obvious is the first casualty of the distorted politics of war. We are once again proving ourselves to be the dupes of violence
Reflections on the war between Israel and Hamas
Any humane, responsible reaction to the 7 October Hamas terror attacks on Israel and Israelis must be directed towards de-escalation. That means avoiding inflammatory rhetoric as much as respecting civilian lives.
Thinking critically about war and the world
World peace depends on consensus among the states that do not directly side with either of the two warring parties in Ukraine. Since this consensus is unlikely to materialise around the superiority of liberal democracy, another basis must be found.
Higher education is a prime target of illiberal state capture. The assault on scientific freedom is sometimes couched in the jargon of neoliberalism, at other times it uses the language of nationalism and religion. And increasingly, there are threats of actual violence against academics.
Just like climate activists today, conscientious objectors in the two World Wars broke the law to do the ‘right thing’. Though often ostracised by society at large, communities of dissent provided support in fighting battles of conscience, as the history of British pacifism shows.
Ukraine’s EU candidacy has brought new momentum to an EU enlargement process suffering from a major crisis of credibility. But reservations towards enlargement run deep. The EU should admit this and propose an interim goal that still offers candidate countries genuine incentive for reform.
The lithium reserves in northern Argentina are some of the largest in the world. Here lies the coveted ‘white gold’ that powers the batteries required for the EU energy transition. But the intensive extraction leaves behind domestic conflict and resource competition.
EU enlargement is increasingly connected to the question of Russian influence in the Western Balkans. But while strong cultural ties translate into popular support for Russia, particularly in Serbia, actual Russian involvement is limited. Instead, local elites mobilise pro-Russian sentiments for political gain.
There is now wide consensus across the EU that after twenty years of deadlock a new approach is needed to the accession of the western Balkan countries. But political momentum for a 30+ Union will not translate into real progress unless the public administrations of would-be members undergo far-reaching reforms.
Social democratic journals policy in Scandinavia
State funding for cultural journals in the Scandinavian countries is based on the belief that plurality of opinion is essential. The ‘Nordic model’ can be transferred to settings where reservations about state interference in the media leave journals without a lifeline.
For millions of children in Ukraine, many of whom have been displaced, war has brought trauma that will shape the rest of their lives. Yet children also surprise and encourage adults with imaginative ways of coping. For this father, they are the central heroes of a story of life in wartime.
Three years after the mass anti-regime protests in Belarus, the pro-Russian state continues to brutally repress all expressions of national identity. But people have not forgotten their experiences in 2020 and believe that Belarus’s long history of foreign rule is nearing its end.
Turkey’s skin-deep opposition
Power to the powerful, contempt for the weak: in replicating this rule of Turkish politics, the opposition CHP differs in no way from Erdoğan’s AKP. Indeed, in persecuting all critics of the Turkish state, the Islamists are simply re-enacting the republican legacy.
However urgent, a common European security policy requires democratic legitimacy. The goal of ever closer union is realistic only if Europe has a clear understanding of what a federation is and can be. Part of the series ‘Lessons of war: The rebirth of Europe revisited’.
Marine Le Pen as change-maker
Conveying a traditionally maternal yet anti-patriarchal image, and espousing hardline nationalism and cultural conservatism while encouraging pluralism and gender liberalism, Marine Le Pen is mainstreaming far-right politics in France and beyond.