Commentary

The views expressed by the authors in the Commentary section are not those of Reuters News.

Commentarya day ago

Examples of Facebook pages are seen, as executives appear before the House Intelligence Committee to answer questions related to Russian use of social media to influence U.S. elections, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Donald Trump’s retweets of anti-Muslim videos first circulated by an anti-immigrant, far-right British party were just the tip of the iceberg. From Myanmar to the United States, controversial posts by political leaders and public figures have sparked a growing and increasingly global debate about how social media may be facilitating the spread of hatred and discrimination.

Commentarya day ago

A re-election campaign advertisement for Russian President Vladimir Putin is displayed on a street in Moscow. Jan. 15, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

We know by now what illiberal democracies are. They are countries like Russia, Hungary and Poland, where the formal rules of democratic elections are preserved – though at times with credible claims of vote-rigging, especially in Russia – but where an authoritarian government so dominates the political and social space, so weakens the institutions of civil society, the news media, and the academy, and so plays on popular fears of foreigners and internal minorities, that choice is effectively skewed in one direction.

Commentarya day ago

Zhang Leilei (L), 25 and Xiao Meili, 28, Chinese women's rights activists, have called on Chinese universities to prevent sexual harassment. Guangzhou, Jan. 25, 2018. REUTERS/Staff

In China, women calling themselves the “silence breakers” have demanded investigations into allegations of sexual harassment. In doing so, they pit themselves against a macho culture, a Communist Party deeply allergic to independent citizens’ initiatives, and an exaggerated and assiduously-cultivated respect for hierarchies, themselves male-dominated.

Commentarya day ago

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson adjusts his headphone during a news conference in Lima, Peru, February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

American foreign policy currently stands at a crossroads. There are two possible paths forward: withdrawal from the world as a result of the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the international affairs budget, or a reassertion of America’s indispensable global role led by a capable, modern State Department and an empowered, adequately-funded U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Commentary2 days ago

Demonstrators protest against the border wall between Mexico and the U.S. in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Nov. 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Mexico has long been a good neighbor to the United States, and in more recent years a good ally – which is why it’s more than a little absurd that a false narrative about our relationship with Mexico contributed to shutting down the federal government last month, and threatened to do so again this week.

Commentary2 days ago

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Thom Baur

The successful launch of entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy on Tuesday marks a major turning point in humanity’s approach to space exploration. For the first time since the United States and Soviet Union began their race into orbit, the world’s most powerful rocket was designed and built by a private corporation.

Commentary2 days ago

A member of a conservative civic group tears a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korea protest as North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92 carrying a 140-member orchestra approaches a port in Donghae, South Korea, February 6, 2018.   REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The woman from North Korea was following the standard party line. “All Koreans all over the world dream of and are working towards unification,” she told me as we chatted in Pyongyang three years ago. “Actually, I hate to tell you this,” I cautiously replied, “but I’ve spent some time in the Village Down There,” borrowing a euphemism Northerners use for South Korea. “Young people have largely lost interest in unification. They see the Koreas as two separate countries and don’t think it’s necessary to rejoin.”

Commentary2 days ago

Cape Town residents line up to collect water from a suburban spring as the city's water crisis worsens, January 25, 2018.  REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Unless something miraculous happens, the city of Cape Town, an iconic international tourism destination and South Africa’s second economic hub, will run out of drinking water in a matter of weeks.

Commentary2 days ago

A sign reading "Stop!" in German and Polish is seen at the former Nazi German concentration camp, Auschwitz, in Oswiecim, Poland, during ceremonies marking the 73rd anniversary of the camp's liberation. Jan. 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Poland’s Senate has passed a bill establishing prison terms for anyone who besmirches the nation’s good name by using the phrase “Polish Concentration Camp,” or suggests that Poles were culpable during the Holocaust. The plan has blown up like an exploding cigar.

Commentary2 days ago

Alexei Navalny promotes his bid to run against Vladimir Putin in Russia's presidental election, December 24, 2017. The opposition leader has been barred from the race. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

It’s puzzling that President Vladimir Putin of Russia is held in high regard by democratic leaders of every shade of politics. Alex Salmond, the nationalist former first minister of Scotland – who called for the impeachment of Britain’s Tony Blair for crimes against humanity in Iraq – regards Putin as having restored Russian national pride. Gerhard Schroeder, former Social Democrat chancellor of Germany, celebrated his 70th birthday with the Russian president at a costly banquet in St Petersburg in April 2014.

Commentary2 days ago

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah visits a water desalination plant in the Gaza Strip Oct. 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

For the past 20 years, Israelis and Palestinians alike have approached peace negotiations with the flawed assumption that, in order to reach an agreement, all core issues must be solved simultaneously. As the conflict continues to claim victims on both sides, it’s important to point out that when President Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, was looking for an early success in the new administration’s peace efforts, he found it - in water.

Commentary2 days ago

Stranded British and French soldiers captured by Nazi troops after the 1940 evacuation from Dunkirk. Winston Churchill cautioned Britons against seeing the operation as a victory. Courtesy Imperial War Museum

“Darkest Hour,” the film portraying Winston Churchill as he takes the helm in a country teetering on the edge of submission to Nazi Germany, has been nominated for six Oscars, including for best leading actor and picture. The movie plays to a deep national sentiment that Britain can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, portraying the ignominious evacuation of British forces at Dunkirk in 1940 as a triumph. In fact, the real takeaway is precisely the opposite.

Commentary3 days ago

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and South Korean President Moon Jae-in attend a men's speed skating event at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Feb. 10, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s Olympic diplomacy simply an effort to divide South Korea from its American ally, as many commentators have suggested? Was Vice President Mike Pence upstaged in Pyeongchang by Kim’s sister, the enigmatic and photogenic Kim Yo-jong? Above all, what will this effort at North-South rapprochement ultimately produce?

Commentary3 days ago

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong arrives in South Korea ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Feb. 9, 2018. Kyodo/via REUTERS

North Korea’s Olympic athletes will not be bringing home any medals, but their participation may have earned the peninsula something more substantial.

Commentary6 days ago

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma announces his resignation in Pretoria. Feb. 14, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

“South Africa’s Zuma is out” was the Washington Post’s headline on Thursday morning. “Will things actually get better?” The question signifies more than journalistic skepticism. It points to a shift in the liberal worldview.

Commentary8 days ago

U.S. President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Nov. 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Back in 2014, in statements by its leadership and in government media outlets, Beijing began to express its desire for a “new type of Great Power relations” with Washington. This bold, if vaguely-defined, ambition was among the first indications that China was beginning to re-conceive its global role. The phrase was clunky, and China finally dropped it with little fanfare. Nevertheless, a new kind of U.S.-China relationship has indeed begun to emerge.

Commentary10 days ago

Fighters from a new border security force under the command of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in Hasaka, northeastern Syria, Jan. 20, 2018. REUTERS/Rodi Said

In its five months in Syria last year, a single U.S. Marine Corps artillery battalion fired more shells than any equivalent American military unit since Vietnam.

Commentary11 days ago

A bulldozer moves coal at the Murray Energy Corporation port facility in Powhatan Point, Ohio. Nov. 7, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

It was always obvious that Donald Trump would never be able to keep his promise – made both as candidate and president – that he would bring coal jobs back to battered mining communities.

Commentary24 days ago

President Donald Trump promised strong enforcement of U.S. trade rules during his first State of the Union address, January 30, 2018.  Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (right) applaud behind him. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool

Around the world countries are working overtime to get an economic edge by striking new trade deals. The United States, meanwhile, sits on the sidelines. President Donald Trump’s protectionist approach and laser-focus on China may have played well on the stump, but it will leave the American workers who ushered him into office at a disadvantage.

Commentary25 days ago

The U.S. Coast Guard's Polar Star, shown in this undated photo, is the U.S. military's only operational heavy icebreaker. REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard/Handout

Last August, a Russian tanker sailed direct from Norway to South Korea through the Arctic Ocean, the first time such a ship had done so without an icebreaker escort. It was a defining moment in the opening up of previously frozen northern trade routes – and it looks to have supercharged an already intensifying arms race and jostle for influence on the roof of the world.

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