The unstoppable force of Catalan separatism is about to meet the unmovable object that is Mariano Rajoy.
The Spanish prime minister and conservative party leader has vowed to prevent an independence referendum in the northeastern region at all costs. The Catalans are determined to vote anyway.
Neither side will be able to claim victory on Monday.
Rajoy may succeed in blocking the vote, but his intransigence has already convinced moderate Catalans there isn’t a future for them in Spain. The separatists may manage to organize a referendum, but it will be so marred by illegality and irregularity that the outcome cannot possibly be considered a mandate to break away. Read more
Iraq’s Kurds Deserve the West’s Support for Their Own State
Western countries are falling into the familiar habit of discouraging Kurdish self-determination.
American and European officials have urged Iraq’s Kurds to delay their independence referendum, scheduled for next Monday.
The reasons are by now well-known: a Kurdish state would anger the Turks, destabilize Iraq and complicate the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
All of which is true, but there will always be a reason to deny the Kurds self-rule. They have been stateless for generations. If it isn’t Turkish apprehensions today, it will be fears of an Iranian-Turkish condominium tomorrow.
The Kurds, one of the most progressive people in the Middle East, deserve better. Read more
Democrats in the United States are heaping praise on Republican senator Susan Collins for taking a stand against her party’s health reforms.
The praise is deserved. Collins, a centrist Republican from Maine, refused to support a plan that would have taken health care away from millions of low-income Americans while making it cheaper for the wealthy.
But it’s too bad the left doesn’t extend the same gratitude to conservative purists who joined her.
None of the other supposedly moderate Republicans in the Senate supported Collins in her fight against the rushed effort to replace Obamacare. They all caved to right-wing pressure.
Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Rand Paul of Kentucky held firm. Read more
How can Republicans still support Donald Trump now that there is proof of collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia?
Several users on Twitter have suggested that the right-wing media would have gone berserk if this story was about Hillary Clinton. They’re right. Instead of giving Donald Trump Jr. a softball interview, Sean Hannity would be screaming bloody murder.