Last month, I argued here that the election of Donald Trump in America and the vote to leave the EU in Britain could be understood as rural revolts against “the city”. This is a subplot in the story of the blue-red, cosmopolitan-communitarian culture war that is shaping up to be the defining political divide of our time.
I focused on the electoral politics of city versus countryside at the time and sort of skipped the question of why exactly there is so much discontent in the former.
Jonn Elledge answers that question in Britain’s New Statesman.
Put crudely, he argues the reason is that cities have won. Read more
The high-profile killing was everything one could want from a public assassination. Cameras were live; the Western media, less prone to state censorship, watching. The assassin even had a chance to deliver a short speech that was straight to the point and then was promptly killed by Turkish security services. From the standpoint of political murder, it ticked all the boxes.
It goes to show that humanity has made a good leap forward in education that #FranzFerdinand briefly trended on Twitter. That people knew of the long-dead archduke, and knew his killing touched off World War I, is a testament that maybe teachers are doing a good job after all.
Well, a decent job. Because the killing of Ambassador Andrei Karlov is a blip, not a world-shaking event.
There’s a very good reason for it: Russia needs Turkey more than Turkey needs Russia. Even if Vladimir Putin’s own mother was killed in Ankara by a similar rogue agent, Moscow would still very likely not go to war with Turkey.
That’s because Franz Ferdinand tripped a geopolitical bomb waiting to go off. There is no such bomb between Turkey and Russia. Read more
Politico reports that a long-simmering dispute between the two most prominent women of the French far right is getting out of hand.
There is even a risk of a split in the Front national, the website argues: between the faction of leader Marine Le Pen and the socially conservative wing that has rallied around her 26-year-old niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen.
The fact that it’s a family feud, in which the Le Pen patriarch and Vichy apologist Jean-Marie inevitably resurfaces, makes this a headline-grabbing story.
But there are deeper, geographical and political divides at play that have less to do with personality. Read more
Joining Assad and Russia Against Islamic State Is Foolish
Surely you know already the tripwire: Taiwan is a de facto country but a de jure province of mainland China. The people’s republic wants to bring it back under mainland China’s rule while the people of Taiwan want exactly the opposite.
Moreover, Taiwan’s military security is guaranteed by the United States via the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which stipulates the United States must respond militarily to a communist invasion.
So if the PRC tries to bring Taiwan back into the fold by military force, the United States must retaliate. Conventional battles turn to nuclear battles and then we all die in the irradiated glow of our own monstrous weapons. Read more
Merkel Proposes to Ban the Burqa: Why and Why Now?