Globalization Boosts Some Regions, Marginalizes Others

The skyline of Detroit, Michigan, July 18, 2009
The skyline of Detroit, Michigan, July 18, 2009 (Michael Kumm)

The Economist reports that globalization has marginalized once thriving industrial areas, such as Scranton, Pennsylvania, Teesside in the United Kingdom and France’s Pas-de-Calais.

It is no coincidence that Donald Trump, Brexit and Marine Le Pen got some of their highest vote shares in those regions. Read more

Without Brexit Deal, United Kingdom Would Be Thrown into Chaos

View of The Shard skyscraper in London, England, April 15, 2012
View of The Shard skyscraper in London, England, April 15, 2012 (Flickr/Johnas)

Brexiteers who believe leaving the European Union without a deal would not be the end of the world should think again. Politico reports that the consequences of a “hard” Brexit could be disastrous:

  • Flights between the United Kingdom and continental Europe will be grounded, possibly bankrupting airlines and instantly ramping up demand for ferries and trains.
  • Ports on each side of the English Channel will be paralyzed by new customs checks, with queues of trucks likely stretching for many miles, clogging roads.
  • Fresh produce, caught in the shipping delays, will rot.
  • Tons of decomposing garbage normally shipped for processing on the continent will pile up in Britain.
  • Patients will have to go without state-of-the-art cancer diagnostics that rely on specialized radioactive materials that cannot be produced in the United Kingdom. Read more

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Merkel’s Answer to Populist Challenge: Shift to the Left

German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a news conference in Brussels, March 15, 2016
German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a news conference in Brussels, March 15, 2016 (Bundesregierung/Guido Bergmann)

Angela Merkel’s answer to the defection of right-wing voters is — counterintuitively — to shift further to the left.

Der Spiegel reports that the German chancellor recently told members of her Christian Democratic party (CDU) they need to do better on pay, pensions and housing.

They were expecting a harder line on immigration, which is the issue that galvanized the Alternative for Germany’s voters.

This new far-right party placed third in last month’s election with nearly 13 percent support.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats still won, but with only 33 percent support — their lowest vote share in over half a century. Read more

Spain to Suspend Catalan Home Rule After Independence Vote

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, September 7
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, September 7 (La Moncloa)

The Spanish government has announced it will suspend Catalan home rule in order to “restore legality” in the region.

Mariano Rajoy and his cabinet were unsatisfied with Catalan president Carles Puigdemont’s response to their ultimatum. They had given him until Thursday to clarify that Catalonia had not declared its independence from Spain.

Puigdemont replied that the effect of the October 1 referendum — in which 43 percent of Catalans turned out and 90 percent voted for independence — is “suspended”, but he would not state unequivocally that he still considers the region part of Spain. Read more

Trump Doesn’t Deserve Credit for Defeating the Islamic State

Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Emmanuel Macron of France inspect an honor guard in Paris, July 13
Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Emmanuel Macron of France inspect an honor guard in Paris, July 13 (White House/Shealah Craighead)

Donald Trump wants credit for defeating the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

In a radio interview, the American said he “totally changed the attitudes of the military” after taking over as president from Barack Obama in January.

“We weren’t fighting to win,” he said of the Obama era. “We were fighting to be politically correct.”

Asked why the caliphate is now giving up, the president said, “Because you didn’t have Trump as your president. I mean, it was a big difference.”

Sure. Read more