Commentary

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

Commentary2 days ago

A pro-Brexit protester demonstrates in Whitehall, central London, December 6, 2018.  REUTERS/ Toby Melville

Theresa May has been stomping the length and breadth of the United Kingdom to make the case that her Brexit deal with the European Union is the only way to bring a divided country together. She hopes that the public will put pressure on members of parliament to eventually back the agreement even if they reject it in their vote on Dec. 11. But the prime minister’s claim is specious. Leaving the EU on her terms will actually make it harder to bridge the deep fissures that the 2016 referendum revealed and magnified.

Commentary2 days ago

Students from anti-Brexit protest group, 'Our Future Our Choice,' demonstrate outside Stormont parliament building in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dec. 7, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

In the “careful what you wish for” stakes, few issues rank higher than the plan for a second referendum by those in the UK hoping for a reversal of the country’s June 2016 vote to leave the European Union (the “Remainers.”) If secured, the outcome could be a fast track to a phenomenon the UK has so far avoided – the creation of a large, angry populist party, probably of the right and perhaps also of the left.

Commentary3 days ago

Protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, demonstrate on the Champs-Elysee in Paris, November 24, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Nicole Barthelemy, the quiet, gracious owner of one of Paris’s premier cheese shops on the Rue de Grenelle, told me this week, with real panic in her eyes, “I have never in 47 years been so afraid as I am today.” And with good reason. Only a few blocks away, on the Rue de Solferino, around the corner from the Musée d’Orsay, in the building where I’ve lived off and on since 1981, two barricades were built on this quiet residential street. One was set ablaze last Saturday and burned for hours.

Commentary4 days ago

U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend the USMCA signing ceremony before the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Stapff

Donald Trump has thrown down a trade gauntlet to the Democrats who will take control of the House of Representatives in January. The day after the Nov. 30 signing of a new deal with Mexico and Canada, the U.S. president announced that he planned to formally terminate the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) “shortly.” Assuming he has the power to terminate (which is debatable), that would give the U.S. Congress six months from the date of termination to approve the new deal known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – or return to the pre-NAFTA rules in effect before 1994.

Commentary5 days ago

Mexico's new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gestures during his inauguration ceremony in Mexico City, December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero

If you really want to understand contemporary Mexico, skip “Narcos” and watch the series “Un Extraño Enemigo” instead. The drama about the horrifying crackdown on the student movement on the eve of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics captures the essence of one-party authoritarianism under the long-ruling PRI, the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Its characters are the commander of internal security forces, student protest leaders, the slithery CIA station chief, then-president Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, and the cabinet members jockeying to succeed him. But at heart, the protagonist of “Enemigo” is the unvarnished, omnipotent power radiating from the presidency.

Commentary6 days ago

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares/Pool

World leaders heading home after the weekend G20 might be justified in breathing brief sighs of relief. Unlike at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit two weeks ago, the heads of state were able to agree on a joint communiqué. A landmark meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping was claimed a success by both sides, avoiding further escalation of their trade war – at least for now.

Commentary7 days ago

Mukhtar Hadi, who survived a Saudi-led air strike on a school bus in August, stands with his brother and sister in Saada, Yemen September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Naif Rahma

The U.S. Senate voted 63 to 37 on Wednesday to clear the way for a debate and final vote on a resolution to end American military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It’s the first time that an anti-war resolution has advanced in Congress since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen’s civil war in early 2015.

Commentary10 days ago

A protester demonstrating against French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to incease fuel prices stands next to a burning barricade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, November 24, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Emmanuel Macron is the largest political force in Europe today, but he is a force now hemmed in, constrained, trapped. The hurricane of his success last year – the defeat of the far-right Marine Le Pen, the sweeping assembly victory of his newly-minted party, La République En Marche!, made him imperial in his power. That power now is much diminished, as is Europe itself. Yet though Macron’s ambitions are curtailed and his power sapped, he has taught the world some useful lessons.

Commentary10 days ago

U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he returns to the White House from the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. The 2018 G20 is being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Last year’s G20 is remembered for the moment when Donald Trump flew off in a huff, leaving differences on issues like climate change unresolved. This year, few Western leaders are likely to have any grand illusions when they arrive in Buenos Aires for this weekend’s 2018 summit. For many, it seems, the U.S. president is operating under one overriding world view. American foreign policy is for sale. The issue is finding just the right price.

Commentary13 days ago

Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, Crimea November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov

When Vladimir Putin opened a new bridge linking Crimea to the rest of Russia across the Azov Sea in May, Russian officials said it was intended to integrate the disputed peninsula – seized by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014 – into Russia's transport infrastructure. By limiting ships transiting the Kerch Strait beneath the giant central span of the bridge, however, it also gave the Kremlin the ability to control maritime access to an area of water roughly the size of Switzerland.

Commentary13 days ago

A child carries a sign with photos of former San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk during a candlelight march in memory of their 1978 assassinations, November 27, 2012.  REUTERS/Stephen Lam

At least four current and former big city mayors are thought to be considering a bid for the White House when voters go to the polls in 2020. These candidates range from representatives of the progressive left like Bill de Blasio to more business-oriented mayors like Michael Bloomberg, who preceded de Blasio as mayor of New York City. Whether they know it or not, all of them owe some debt to a man who served as mayor of San Francisco for fewer than three years and who was killed 40 years ago this week.

Commentary14 days ago

Demonstrators wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, block the motorway in Antibes, France, November 17, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Democratic governments are rarely popular for extended periods, and often have to scrape by with low polls, noisy demonstrations and constant pressure from the media. And though authoritarian regimes can squash dissent and muzzle the news, they too face rising discontent. These patterns aren’t new, but now they happen as administrations of every kind are under increasing, and new, pressures – and the challenge of recession looms.

Commentary18 days ago

Fishermen from Iran's Baluch ethnic minority group push a boat to the shore in the port city of Chabahar, 902 miles southeast of Tehran. About 50 percent of Iranian citizens are non-Persian minorities. Photo taken January 16, 2012. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

Just before imposing new sanctions on Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the country’s “cabinet is in disarray, and the Iranian people are raising their voices even louder against a corrupt and hypocritical regime.” While this is clearly true, it’s also true that sanctions alone are unlikely to topple the government or force democratic reforms. For that to happen, foreign governments and domestic opposition leaders must take another critical step – to finally acknowledge the importance of the country’s ethnic minorities and develop policies to address their demands.

Commentary20 days ago

President Vladimir Putin inspects warships during the Navy Day parade in St Petersburg, Russia, July 29, 2018. Putin’s popularity is dropping as Russia's economy falters. Sputnik/Mikhail Klementyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

The ever-widening Danske Bank money laundering scandal, involving 200 billion euros ($228.5 billion) of “suspicious transfers” over eight years, is not only a disaster for the reputation of Denmark and its largest bank. It also points to the deep institutionalized corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia – and the political challenge facing the president himself.

Commentary23 days ago

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a news conference at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium. Oct. 18, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

BBC political correspondent Chris Mason stood outside of the mother of parliaments on Monday morning and said he didn’t have the “foggiest idea” about where Brexit is going. Then he made what have been described as “exasperated noises” – and promptly became an online viral sensation.

Commentary23 days ago

A girl carries jerry cans to fill them up with drinking water at a camp sheltering displaced people from the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah near Aden, Yemen November 12, 2018. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman

The Trump administration is ending one of the most important elements of U.S. military assistance to the Saudi-led war in Yemen: the refueling of Saudi warplanes. The Nov. 10 announcement is part of the White House response to the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and follows appeals for a ceasefire in the war that Riyadh and its allies have been waging against Iran-backed Houthi rebels since March 2015.

Commentary25 days ago

Protesters take part in a New York City demonstration in support of the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Within hours of the polls closing on Election Day, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been ousted from the Trump administration, to be replaced by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Few doubt that Sessions was essentially fired because of his failure to curtail Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, from which Sessions had recused himself. Whitaker’s previous comments, by contrast, suggest that he might fire the special counsel or simply bury his findings.

Commentarya month ago

A hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration

The election interference tactics originally deployed by Russia against the United States and Europe are now global. Hackers across the democratic world have exploited weaknesses in campaign email servers; probed electronic voting machines for vulnerabilities; set up troll farms to spread highly-partisan narratives; and employed armies of bots to distort the truth online. Tech experts in countries such as Iran and Venezuela have borrowed these tactics and joined efforts toward the same goals: to erode confidence in electoral processes and in democratic governance itself.

Commentarya month ago

U.S. President Donald Trump waits for a group photograph with other world leaders at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. The next G20 summit will begin in Buenos Aires on Nov. 30, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

As the U.S. midterm election results highlight the nation's deep political divide, global affairs columnist Peter Apps looks at the dilemma for G20 leaders trying to find the best way to deal with President Donald Trump's foreign policy.

Commentarya month ago

Newly-elected Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is greeted by her husband’s mother at her midterm election night party in Minneapolis, Nov. 6, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Miller

One of the major political messages of the U.S. midterm elections has been that rural voters dominate the cities. While the Democrats made enough gains in urban areas to take control of the House of Representatives, Republicans were able to expand their majority in the Senate, where each state gets two senators regardless of population size. In an election where neither side can claim a sweeping victory, President Donald Trump’s party did as well as it did because the small towns and the more sparsely populated rural areas of the United States are still, in the main, Trump country. Meanwhile, Democrat votes pile up in the cities, uselessly, from an electoral point of view.

Commentary2 days ago

A pro-Brexit protester demonstrates in Whitehall, central London, December 6, 2018.  REUTERS/ Toby Melville

Theresa May has been stomping the length and breadth of the United Kingdom to make the case that her Brexit deal with the European Union is the only way to bring a divided country together. She hopes that the public will put pressure on members of parliament to eventually back the agreement even if they reject it in their vote on Dec. 11. But the prime minister’s claim is specious. Leaving the EU on her terms will actually make it harder to bridge the deep fissures that the 2016 referendum revealed and magnified.

Commentary2 days ago

Students from anti-Brexit protest group, 'Our Future Our Choice,' demonstrate outside Stormont parliament building in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dec. 7, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

In the “careful what you wish for” stakes, few issues rank higher than the plan for a second referendum by those in the UK hoping for a reversal of the country’s June 2016 vote to leave the European Union (the “Remainers.”) If secured, the outcome could be a fast track to a phenomenon the UK has so far avoided – the creation of a large, angry populist party, probably of the right and perhaps also of the left.

Commentary3 days ago

Protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, demonstrate on the Champs-Elysee in Paris, November 24, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Nicole Barthelemy, the quiet, gracious owner of one of Paris’s premier cheese shops on the Rue de Grenelle, told me this week, with real panic in her eyes, “I have never in 47 years been so afraid as I am today.” And with good reason. Only a few blocks away, on the Rue de Solferino, around the corner from the Musée d’Orsay, in the building where I’ve lived off and on since 1981, two barricades were built on this quiet residential street. One was set ablaze last Saturday and burned for hours.

Commentary4 days ago

U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend the USMCA signing ceremony before the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Stapff

Donald Trump has thrown down a trade gauntlet to the Democrats who will take control of the House of Representatives in January. The day after the Nov. 30 signing of a new deal with Mexico and Canada, the U.S. president announced that he planned to formally terminate the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) “shortly.” Assuming he has the power to terminate (which is debatable), that would give the U.S. Congress six months from the date of termination to approve the new deal known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – or return to the pre-NAFTA rules in effect before 1994.

Commentary5 days ago

Mexico's new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gestures during his inauguration ceremony in Mexico City, December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero

If you really want to understand contemporary Mexico, skip “Narcos” and watch the series “Un Extraño Enemigo” instead. The drama about the horrifying crackdown on the student movement on the eve of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics captures the essence of one-party authoritarianism under the long-ruling PRI, the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Its characters are the commander of internal security forces, student protest leaders, the slithery CIA station chief, then-president Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, and the cabinet members jockeying to succeed him. But at heart, the protagonist of “Enemigo” is the unvarnished, omnipotent power radiating from the presidency.

Commentary6 days ago

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares/Pool

World leaders heading home after the weekend G20 might be justified in breathing brief sighs of relief. Unlike at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit two weeks ago, the heads of state were able to agree on a joint communiqué. A landmark meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping was claimed a success by both sides, avoiding further escalation of their trade war – at least for now.

Commentary7 days ago

Mukhtar Hadi, who survived a Saudi-led air strike on a school bus in August, stands with his brother and sister in Saada, Yemen September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Naif Rahma

The U.S. Senate voted 63 to 37 on Wednesday to clear the way for a debate and final vote on a resolution to end American military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It’s the first time that an anti-war resolution has advanced in Congress since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen’s civil war in early 2015.

Commentary10 days ago

A protester demonstrating against French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to incease fuel prices stands next to a burning barricade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, November 24, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Emmanuel Macron is the largest political force in Europe today, but he is a force now hemmed in, constrained, trapped. The hurricane of his success last year – the defeat of the far-right Marine Le Pen, the sweeping assembly victory of his newly-minted party, La République En Marche!, made him imperial in his power. That power now is much diminished, as is Europe itself. Yet though Macron’s ambitions are curtailed and his power sapped, he has taught the world some useful lessons.

Commentary10 days ago

U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he returns to the White House from the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. The 2018 G20 is being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Last year’s G20 is remembered for the moment when Donald Trump flew off in a huff, leaving differences on issues like climate change unresolved. This year, few Western leaders are likely to have any grand illusions when they arrive in Buenos Aires for this weekend’s 2018 summit. For many, it seems, the U.S. president is operating under one overriding world view. American foreign policy is for sale. The issue is finding just the right price.

Commentary13 days ago

Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, Crimea November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov

When Vladimir Putin opened a new bridge linking Crimea to the rest of Russia across the Azov Sea in May, Russian officials said it was intended to integrate the disputed peninsula – seized by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014 – into Russia's transport infrastructure. By limiting ships transiting the Kerch Strait beneath the giant central span of the bridge, however, it also gave the Kremlin the ability to control maritime access to an area of water roughly the size of Switzerland.

Commentary13 days ago

A child carries a sign with photos of former San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk during a candlelight march in memory of their 1978 assassinations, November 27, 2012.  REUTERS/Stephen Lam

At least four current and former big city mayors are thought to be considering a bid for the White House when voters go to the polls in 2020. These candidates range from representatives of the progressive left like Bill de Blasio to more business-oriented mayors like Michael Bloomberg, who preceded de Blasio as mayor of New York City. Whether they know it or not, all of them owe some debt to a man who served as mayor of San Francisco for fewer than three years and who was killed 40 years ago this week.

Commentary14 days ago

Demonstrators wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, block the motorway in Antibes, France, November 17, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Democratic governments are rarely popular for extended periods, and often have to scrape by with low polls, noisy demonstrations and constant pressure from the media. And though authoritarian regimes can squash dissent and muzzle the news, they too face rising discontent. These patterns aren’t new, but now they happen as administrations of every kind are under increasing, and new, pressures – and the challenge of recession looms.

Commentary18 days ago

Fishermen from Iran's Baluch ethnic minority group push a boat to the shore in the port city of Chabahar, 902 miles southeast of Tehran. About 50 percent of Iranian citizens are non-Persian minorities. Photo taken January 16, 2012. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

Just before imposing new sanctions on Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the country’s “cabinet is in disarray, and the Iranian people are raising their voices even louder against a corrupt and hypocritical regime.” While this is clearly true, it’s also true that sanctions alone are unlikely to topple the government or force democratic reforms. For that to happen, foreign governments and domestic opposition leaders must take another critical step – to finally acknowledge the importance of the country’s ethnic minorities and develop policies to address their demands.

Commentary20 days ago

President Vladimir Putin inspects warships during the Navy Day parade in St Petersburg, Russia, July 29, 2018. Putin’s popularity is dropping as Russia's economy falters. Sputnik/Mikhail Klementyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

The ever-widening Danske Bank money laundering scandal, involving 200 billion euros ($228.5 billion) of “suspicious transfers” over eight years, is not only a disaster for the reputation of Denmark and its largest bank. It also points to the deep institutionalized corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia – and the political challenge facing the president himself.

Commentary23 days ago

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a news conference at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium. Oct. 18, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

BBC political correspondent Chris Mason stood outside of the mother of parliaments on Monday morning and said he didn’t have the “foggiest idea” about where Brexit is going. Then he made what have been described as “exasperated noises” – and promptly became an online viral sensation.

Commentary23 days ago

A girl carries jerry cans to fill them up with drinking water at a camp sheltering displaced people from the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah near Aden, Yemen November 12, 2018. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman

The Trump administration is ending one of the most important elements of U.S. military assistance to the Saudi-led war in Yemen: the refueling of Saudi warplanes. The Nov. 10 announcement is part of the White House response to the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and follows appeals for a ceasefire in the war that Riyadh and its allies have been waging against Iran-backed Houthi rebels since March 2015.

Commentary25 days ago

Protesters take part in a New York City demonstration in support of the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Within hours of the polls closing on Election Day, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been ousted from the Trump administration, to be replaced by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Few doubt that Sessions was essentially fired because of his failure to curtail Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, from which Sessions had recused himself. Whitaker’s previous comments, by contrast, suggest that he might fire the special counsel or simply bury his findings.

Commentarya month ago

A hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration

The election interference tactics originally deployed by Russia against the United States and Europe are now global. Hackers across the democratic world have exploited weaknesses in campaign email servers; probed electronic voting machines for vulnerabilities; set up troll farms to spread highly-partisan narratives; and employed armies of bots to distort the truth online. Tech experts in countries such as Iran and Venezuela have borrowed these tactics and joined efforts toward the same goals: to erode confidence in electoral processes and in democratic governance itself.

Commentarya month ago

U.S. President Donald Trump waits for a group photograph with other world leaders at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. The next G20 summit will begin in Buenos Aires on Nov. 30, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

As the U.S. midterm election results highlight the nation's deep political divide, global affairs columnist Peter Apps looks at the dilemma for G20 leaders trying to find the best way to deal with President Donald Trump's foreign policy.

Commentarya month ago

Newly-elected Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is greeted by her husband’s mother at her midterm election night party in Minneapolis, Nov. 6, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Miller

One of the major political messages of the U.S. midterm elections has been that rural voters dominate the cities. While the Democrats made enough gains in urban areas to take control of the House of Representatives, Republicans were able to expand their majority in the Senate, where each state gets two senators regardless of population size. In an election where neither side can claim a sweeping victory, President Donald Trump’s party did as well as it did because the small towns and the more sparsely populated rural areas of the United States are still, in the main, Trump country. Meanwhile, Democrat votes pile up in the cities, uselessly, from an electoral point of view.

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below