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A Level Politics teacher - tweeting political news stories and analysis. Photographer: https://t.co/c7NYyDjr6W MA thesis writer, tea drinker and list maker.

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Africa deserves better from Comic Relief | David Lammy | Opinion | The Guardian

Most of all, Comic Relief should challenge its audience not just to feel guilty, but angry: angry that wars that have plagued the continent are permitted by an international market that places more restrictions on the exchange of bananas than it does on AK-47s; incandescent that the corruption in many states is fuelled by “donations” from shell companies linked to corporations that are listed on our own stock exchange. In 2015 the programme spent zero minutes talking about trade and governance. There was little or no discussion about what caused the poverty presented to us, let alone what the long-term solutions might be.

Trump Marks the End of America As World’s "Indispensable Nation" | RealClearDefense

Mr Trump, in this respect, is no anomaly. Pat Buchanan rode “America First” a long way against George HW Bush of New World Order fame in 1992; and after the Iraq and Afghan wars and the financial crisis, it became a national phenomenon. Internationalists such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio went nowhere this year; Bernie Sanders joined Mr Trump in attacking global involvement; and Hillary Clinton was hit from all sides for being too internationalist and too wedded to the idea of the US as the “indispensable nation”, the Bill Clinton phrase that encapsulated the thinking of every president from Harry Truman to George W Bush. President Barack Obama was the transitional figure away from that tradition, and Mr Trump’s election is the decisive break. The US is, for now, out of the world order business.

The vicar’s daughter is more of a gambler than she realises | Andrew Rawnsley | Opinion | The Guardian

That’s motive and opportunity covered. Means are trickier. Before 2010, a prime minister could get an election simply by heading down to Buckingham Palace to ask for one. Now there is the obstacle of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act to be navigated. It certainly makes life more complicated for the prime minister. Still, where there was a will, many of her MPs think, Mrs May could find a way. The simplest mechanism would be to ask parliament to approve an election and dare the opposition parties to say no and make themselves look scared of the people. Quite a lot of Labour MPs would even relish it in a kind of way to get the misery of the Corbyn era behind them.

Tony Blair’s Lesson for President Trump - The New York Times

It’s dangerous nonsense. In the Cold War era the world was glued together by these global institutions and by the fear and the discipline of two superpowers. In the post-Cold War era the world was glued together by these big global systems and a U.S. hegemon. We’re now in the post-post Cold War world, when U.S. leadership and the glue of these big global systems are needed more than ever — because the simultaneous accelerations in technology, globalization and climate change are weakening states everywhere, spawning super-empowered angry people and creating vast zones of disorder. If we choose at this time to diminish America’s global leadership and these big stabilizing systems — and just put America first, thereby prompting every other country to put its own economic nationalism first — we will be making the gravest mistake we possibly could make.

It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle. - The New York Times

More than 92,000 wind turbines have been built across the country, capable of generating 145 gigawatts of electricity, nearly double the capacity of wind farms in the United States. One out of every three turbines in the world is now in China, and the government is adding them at a rate of more than one per hour.

U.S. Wary of Its New Neighbor in Djibouti: A Chinese Naval Base - The New York Times

In recent years, China has moved aggressively to increase its power projection capabilities through the rapid modernization of its navy. Military spending has soared, with Beijing’s defense budget expected to reach $233 billion by 2020, more than all Western European countries combined, and double the figure from 2010, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly. In 2016, the United States spent more than $622 billion on the military, Jane’s said. These days, Chinese naval vessels, including nuclear submarines, roam much of the globe, from contested waters of the Yellow Sea to Sri Lanka and San Diego. China’s decision to establish an overseas military installation comes as little surprise to those who have watched Beijing steadily jettison a decades-old principle of noninterference in the affairs of other countries.

U.S. Wary of Its New Neighbor in Djibouti: A Chinese Naval Base - The New York Times

But the two strategic rivals are about to become neighbors in this sun-scorched patch of East African desert. China is constructing its first overseas military base here — just a few miles from Camp Lemonnier, one of the Pentagon’s largest and most important foreign installations. With increasing tensions over China’s island-building efforts in the South China Sea, American strategists worry that a naval port so close to Camp Lemonnier could provide a front-row seat to the staging ground for American counterterror operations in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.

Terrorism: A history of violence | Middle East Eye

Politicians of all parties and many countries have sought to persuade their societies that terrorism is a unique and special form of crime. They place terrorists in a category of psychopathic evil, marked out by their capacity for inhuman violence. They place terrorists beyond the pale of civilised society and, therefore, beyond the reach of negotiation and settlement. They say that terrorism is the most dangerous and gravest problem of our time. Most of this political narrative is self-seeking nonsense. It allows politicians to strike resolute poses. It allows them to seek and obtain special powers and to expend huge sums on combatting terrorist threats, to the great benefit of defence and security interests, both public and private. Few concepts are more widely discussed than terrorism, and few as poorly understood Few concepts are more widely discussed than terrorism, and few as poorly understood. The idea is constantly reinvented, reshaped and distorted to fit transient political agendas.

What Trump got wrong on Twitter this week (#4) - The Washington Post

Trump always uses too-high an estimate, $150 billion, and makes it sound like the United States cut a check to Iran. But this was always Iran’s money. Iran had billions of dollars in assets that were frozen in foreign banks around the globe, because of international sanctions over its nuclear program. The Treasury Department estimated that once Iran fulfilled other obligations, it would have about $55 billion left. (Much of the other money was obligated to illiquid projects in China.) For its part, the Central Bank of Iran said the number was actually $32 billion, not $55 billion.

US rips 'irresponsible' Iran after missile test - CNNPolitics.com

Iran said Tuesday that its missile program is "solely for defensive purposes" and is not within the "sphere of resolution 2231" because its ballistic missiles are not designed with the capability to carry nuclear weapons, according to Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, citing a statement on Tuesday from Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi. The spokesman went also said that testing ballistic missiles is in "complete conformity with the rights and international obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Iran Test-Fires Medium Range Ballistic Missile: U.S. Officials - NBC News

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif didn't confirm or deny the launch during a press conference Tuesday but struck a defiant tone over the international restrictions. "The missiles aren't part of the nuclear accords," he said, according to Reuters. "Iran will never use missiles produced in Iran to attack any other country." Zarif added: "We're not going to wait for others' permission to defend ourselves ... Maybe the new government that has already shown its image internationally will use this against Iran to start new tension."

‘I Think Islam Hates Us’ - The New York Times

A fearful tone permeates Mr. Flynn’s book, which warns, “We’re in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam.” For Mr. Flynn and fellow radicals, the fight isn’t against a small number of religious fanatics who seek to attack the West and its Arab allies, but an entire religion. Mr. Obama and former President George W. Bush generally agreed that terrorists had perverted the teachings of Islam, not that Islam was the problem. For them and most national security experts, containing terrorism meant focusing on individuals and groups that were intent on doing harm to America — namely Al Qaeda and groups like ISIS — while not turning all Muslims into the enemy. Not so Mr. Trump, who said last year, “I think Islam hates us,” and Mr. Flynn, who has decried Islamism as a “vicious cancer.” Both Mr. Flynn and Sebastian Gorka, the national security editor at the alt-right website Breitbart News, who may be considered for a position in the Trump administration as a counterterrorism adviser and wrote a book titled ”Defeating Jihad,” characterize “radical Islam” to be as grave a threat as Hitler in World War II and the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

The Rwandan Genocide - The New York Times

Michael Dobbs contends that the possibility of intervention by the United States in the 1994 Rwanda genocide was hampered by an absence of “stronger intelligence” about the killings and the challenges of trying to “make sense” of what was happening in Africa. Samantha Power suggested otherwise in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “A Problem From Hell.” Ms. Power, now the United States ambassador to the United Nations, reported that within weeks after the mass murder began, the Clinton administration — and the public — had ample information about it. The killings began on April 7 and continued until well into July. As early as April 23, a New York Times editorial stated, “What looks very much like genocide has been taking place in Rwanda.” Ms. Power showed that the main obstacle to American action was not lack of information but political considerations. She cited a memo from a Defense Department official reporting that the State Department was “worried” that acknowledging that genocide was underway “could commit [the United States] to actually ‘do something’. ” She also quoted Susan E. Rice, then director of Africa affairs for the National Security Council, asking in one discussion among policy makers, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [Congressional] election?” RAFAEL MEDOFF Director, David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Rwanda: French Accused in Genocide - The New York Times

The government of Rwanda issued a report accusing senior French officials on Tuesday of involvement in the 1994 genocide that killed 800,000 people, naming a former president, François Mitterrand, and a former prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, as among those involved. The French Foreign Ministry said officials were reviewing the accusations. French officials were accused in the report of giving political, military, diplomatic and logistical support during the genocide to Rwanda’s extremist government and the Hutu forces that slaughtered minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus. “French soldiers themselves directly were involved in assassinations of Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis,” said the report, which was compiled by a team of investigators from the Justice Ministry.

No country with a McDonald’s can remain a democracy | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

Twenty years ago, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman proposed his “golden arches theory of conflict prevention”. This holds that “no two countries that both have McDonald’s have ever fought a war against each other since they each got their McDonald’s”. Friedman’s was one of several end-of-history narratives suggesting that global capitalism would lead to permanent peace. He claimed that it might create “a tip-over point at which a country, by integrating with the global economy, opening itself up to foreign investment and empowering its consumers, permanently restricts its capacity for troublemaking and promotes gradual democratisation and widening peace”. He didn’t mean that McDonald’s ends war, but that its arrival in a nation symbolised the transition. In using McDonald’s as shorthand for the forces tearing democracy apart, I am, like him, writing figuratively. I do not mean that the presence of the burger chain itself is the cause of the decline of open, democratic societies (though it has played its part in Britain, using our defamation laws against its critics). Nor do I mean that countries hosting McDonald’s will necessarily mutate into dictatorships.

The Casey Review is an ill-conceived intervention | Prospect Magazine

I have read the report, however. It is indeed the type of document that would appeal to a politician who blames traffic jams on immigrants and expresses discomfort when hearing foreign languages on public transport. It warns that segregation and social exclusion are at “worrying” levels, and it does so—extraordinarily—without indicating what it would accept as countervailing evidence. The Casey review is a vapid and ill-conceived intervention by a public servant with a record of superficial statements. In her review “Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime” (2008), for example, Casey stirringly declared that “the public are not daft. They know what’s wrong, they know what’s right, and they know what they want on crime and justice.” The idea that the public should be informed by a review rather than dictate what’s in it apparently didn’t occur to her. Casey’s venture into community relations is additionally mischievous as it insinuates into public debate the notion that responsibility and blame for a lack of integration lie with minority communities—especially with British Muslims.

Boeing: WTO Rules Against Tax Break for 777x Jet

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled on Monday a tax break from Washington state to help Boeing develop its new 777X jetliner was a prohibited subsidy, in a setback for the U.S. plane maker as it eyes victory in a parallel case against Airbus. The WTO said the subsidy came in the form of a renewed cut in Washington state’s main business tax for aerospace agreed in 2013, when Boeing was considering where to base assembly of the latest member of its long-haul jet family. It is the third swathe of taxpayer support for Boeing or its European rival Airbus faulted by the WTO in a record transatlantic trade spat dating back 12 years, and involving mutual accusations of tens of billions of dollars of aid.

With one phone call, Donald Trump might have upturned America’s relationship with both Pakistan and India. | New Republic

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif called President-elect USA Donald Trump and felicitated him on his victory. President Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems. It will be an honor and I will personally do it. Feel free to call me any time even before 20th January that is before I assume my office. On being invited to visit Pakistan by the Prime Minister, Mr. Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people. Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people, said Mr. Donald Trump.

Obama’s Imperial Presidency Now Is Trump’s - The Daily Beast

For nearly eight years, President Obama massively expanded his authority on national security issues: on the prosecution of whistleblowers, secret surveillance courts, wars without congressional authorization, and drone campaigns without public oversight. During this time the left, with the exception of some civil liberties groups, remained largely silent. But now this entire apparatus is being handed over to Donald Trump, a president with a penchant for authoritarianism, who will no doubt point to Obama as precedent to justify the continuation, and perhaps broadening, of these national security excesses.

Electing Trump: the moment America laid waste to democracy as we know it | US news | The Guardian

But Trump couldn’t have won without that shift in the white working class, and racism alone cannot explain that. “Nobody speaks up for the poor,” says Jamie Walsh, who grew up in Muncie and voted for Obama in 2008 and planned to vote for Trump this year. “There is systemic racism, but black people have advocates. Poor white people don’t. The whole idea [of white privilege] pisses poor white people off because they’ve never experienced it on a level that they understand. You hear privilege and you think money and opportunity and they don’t have it. So when Trump says stuff, they can understand what he’s saying, and he speaks to them in a way other people don’t.”

Electing Trump: the moment America laid waste to democracy as we know it | US news | The Guardian

Watching the scales fall from liberal eyes on Tuesday night in Muncie, Indiana, where I have spent the past month, as unexpected results came in from Rust Belt states, felt like Brexit 2.0. Today they wake up to a different country, not because the country has changed but because they can now see it for what it is. Bars in the more liberal downtown were silent and stunned; out in rural areas they were setting off fireworks.

Uncertainty Over Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Risks Global Instability - The New York Times

Whether or not Donald J. Trump follows though on his campaign pledges to diminish or possibly abandon American commitments to security alliances such as NATO, his election victory forces nations around the world to begin preparing for the day they can no longer count on the American-backed order. This creates a danger that derives less from Mr. Trump’s words, which are often inconsistent or difficult to parse, than from the inability to predict his actions or how other states might respond to them. That uncertainty puts pressure on allies and adversaries alike to position themselves, before Mr. Trump even takes office, for a world that could be on the verge of losing one of its longest-standing pillars of stability. “You’re going to see a lot of fear among America’s allies, and in some cases they may try to do something about it,” said James Goldgeier, a political scientist and the dean of American University’s school of international service. This development comes at a moment when rising powers are already pushing against the American-led order: China in Asia, Iran in the Middle East, and particularly Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia in Europe. Those powers will be tempted to test their new limits. Allies in Europe or Asia, suddenly considering the prospect of facing a hostile power alone, cannot wait to see whether Mr. Trump means what he says, Mr. Goldgeier said, adding that they “will have to start making alternate plans now.” Western European states like Germany and France “may decide they can no longer afford to take a tough stand against Putin’s Russia,” he suggested. “They may decide their best bet is to cut some kind of deal with him,” even if it means tolerating Russian influence over Eastern Europe.

How ‘globalism’ became Trump’s boogeyman of 2016 - The Washington Post

“We will no longer surrender this country, or its people, to the false song of globalism.” That was then-Republican presidential candidate — now nominee — Donald Trump, delivering his first full speech on foreign policy in April. The address latched on to a theme that Trump has voice repeatedly in the months and weeks since. It is the specter looming above whenever he grandstands over the dangers of globalization, the perfidy of jet-setting elites and the pitfalls of multiculturalism. The “nation-state,” not the international order, Trump declared in April, was “the true foundation for happiness and harmony.” No candidate in the election cycle had made such a direct nationalist clarion call: By denouncing the “false song of globalism,” Trump threw down the gauntlet. Here was the right-wing sovereigntist, championing America First. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, was the “globalist" -- a politician, he argues, in thrall to interests beyond the nation's borders and eager to let the alien hordes within them.

Destined for War: Can China and the United States Escape Thucydides’s Trap? - The Atlantic

Based on the current trajectory, war between the United States and China in the decades ahead is not just possible, but much more likely than recognized at the moment. Indeed, judging by the historical record, war is more likely than not. Moreover, current underestimations and misapprehensions of the hazards inherent in the U.S.-China relationship contribute greatly to those hazards. A risk associated with Thucydides’s Trap is that business as usual—not just an unexpected, extraordinary event—can trigger large-scale conflict. When a rising power is threatening to displace a ruling power, standard crises that would otherwise be contained, like the assassination of an archduke in 1914, can initiate a cascade of reactions that, in turn, produce outcomes none of the parties would otherwise have chosen.
Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged. RELATED STORY The World According to Chinese President Xi Jinping Based on the current trajectory, war between the United States and China in the decades ahead is not just possible, but much more likely than recognized at the moment. Indeed, judging by the historical record, war is more likely than not. Moreover, current underestimations and misapprehensions of the hazards inherent in the U.S.-China relationship contribute greatly to those hazards. A risk associated with Thucydides’s Trap is that business as usual—not just an unexpected, extraordinary event—can trigger large-scale conflict. When a rising power is threatening to displace a ruling power, standard crises that would otherwise be contained, like the assassination of an archduke in 1914, can initiate a cascade of reactions that, in turn, produce outcomes none of the parties would otherwise have chosen.