Commentary

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

Commentary7 hours ago

A demonstrator holds a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Saudi Arabia and especially its young crown prince – who has been variously portrayed as naïve, venal and blood-thirsty – appear to have vastly misjudged the reaction to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist who opposed the new heir’s unchecked efforts to reshape the kingdom and the entire Middle East region with his own vision.

Commentarya day ago

Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is pictured during a news conference in Rio de Janeiro, Oct. 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

The next president of Brazil, Latin America’s giant, is all but certain to be former army captain Jair Bolsonaro – who was relatively unknown, even in his own country, just a few months ago, but who now has a very large public profile all round the world. At 63, he has spent years in public life, leaving a mark – but not a large one – as a man of the far right, ready with insults for women who oppose him, disgusted by homosexuality, approving of the military dictatorship that killed and tortured leftists between 1964 and 1985.

Commentary4 days ago

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of attempting to murder former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, are seen in an image handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London, Britain September 5, 2018. Metroplitan Police handout via REUTERS

From unconvincing alibis on visiting cathedrals to highly public revelations of their personal details, a new generation of Russian and other assassins and spies are being publicly identified – and often ridiculed – in ever-growing numbers. But there is nothing funny about their antics, nor the way in which a growing number of states appear not to care if they or their agents are exposed. The world’s increasingly repressive dictatorships – not just Russia, but China, Saudi Arabia and others – are tightening their grip at home and overseas, and espionage and murder have become more central than ever to the playbook.

Commentary5 days ago

Human rights activists and friends of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold his pictures during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

The disappearance and possible murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has cast a long shadow over Saudi Arabia’s global image. If the Saudi government did in fact kill or kidnap him, the crime would have significant implications for Middle East politics.

Commentary7 days ago

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

The messages from Tehran are stark. On October 1, Iranian forces fired six missiles at Islamic State positions in eastern Syria. The weapons landed within three miles of U.S. troops in the country; one missile shown on Iranian state television carried the slogan: “Death to America, “Death to Israel, Death to al Saud.” A statement by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said the missile strike was retaliation for a September 22 shooting attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, that killed at least 25 people.

Commentary8 days ago

Jian Ghomeshi, a former celebrity radio host who has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, leaves the courthouse after the first day of his trial in Toronto, Feb. 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Few great social changes are wholly positive. “Safe spaces,” for example. Most popular in universities, they’re meant to provide a feeling of security for those who feel vulnerable, a place where students can avoid issues that might cause them distress.

Commentary11 days ago

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer holds a "Trump Playbook" document as he stands behind U.S. President Donald Trump as the president announces the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

U.S. President Donald Trump has finally agreed to a fairly modest and sensible update of the North American Free Trade Agreement, while attempting to spin the announcement as the replacement of a horrendous deal with a magnificent new one.

Commentary12 days ago

A demonstrator gestures during a protest  in the southern Gaza Strip against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

On September 27, Palestinian Authority President and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addressed the U.N. General Assembly for the 14th time. Among Palestinians, expectations had been high that Abbas’ speech at the United Nations would be “historic,” and that he would articulate a new strategic path forward for Palestinians in the wake of the Trump administration’s near total adoption of Israel’s positions, namely moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, cutting all funding to UNRWA, the U.N. agency responsible for the well-being of Palestinian refugees, and closing the PLO diplomatic mission in the United States.

Commentary13 days ago

An anti-Brexit demonstrator stands outside the venue of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

If Britain genuinely wanted a good last-minute Brexit deal, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt should probably not have compared the European Union to the USSR.

Commentary13 days ago

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Win McNamee/Pool via REUTERS

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court is in question due to allegations of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor and high school acquaintance of Kavanaugh’s. On Friday, Senate Republicans agreed to delay the vote by one week in order to make time for an FBI investigation into Ford’s claims.

Commentary15 days ago

Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Sept. 26, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The British prime minister and the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition gave speeches on the same day this week, outlining their vision for their country’s economy – and by implication, its society. They had little in common.

Commentary18 days ago

U.S. President Donald Trump sshows a letter from North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un during a bilateral meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Every fall, when the leaves begin turning yellow and brown, I think of my late grandmother. Born in 1913 in what is now South Korea, she spent some of her early life in what is today North Korea. In both parts of the then-undivided peninsula, my grandmother lived according to the rhythm of the changing seasons; in her later years, she loved recalling the harvests of her youth, when Korea’s fields were bursting with life-sustaining golden grain. For me, her granddaughter, fall remains a time to assess what I have harvested in my life, and to examine the fruits the world has borne – or failed to bear. This year I’ve concluded that, while North Korea has reaped a bumper crop of political gains since last fall, the United States has come up empty.

Commentary19 days ago

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The traditional scripts were flipped during Tuesday’s dueling addresses by U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly – the second of the Trump presidency. That should trouble anyone who cares not just about the United States’ global standing, but about the prospects for multilateral diplomacy to address the world’s very real problems with Tehran.

Commentary20 days ago

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers the opening address at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Four years after World War Two, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was asked to reflect on what would have prevented the conflict. The greatest mistake after World War One, he said, was not to properly resource the League of Nations, the international forum of countries created in 1919. Doing so “would have saved us all.”

Commentary21 days ago

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the third day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

Christine Blasey Ford’s now-public allegations that she was the victim of an attempted sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have had a striking and immediate political impact, with the Senate Judiciary Committee delaying its vote on Kavanaugh. Ford’s serious charges present a very close analogy with the allegations made by Anita Hill against her former employer Clarence Thomas during the latter’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991. In the era of #MeToo, a great deal has changed since then. But a great deal hasn’t, and it seems likely that the result will be the same as 1991 – that is, the confirmation of Kavanaugh after a desultory and incomplete investigation.

Commentary25 days ago

U.N. peacekeepers lower the U.N. flag during an event marking the end of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), at the U.N. headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Oct. 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jeanty Junior Augustin

Doors are slamming all over the Western world; we shall not see them opened again in our life. This sentiment – borrowing and adapting a remark attributed to British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey on the eve of World War One (his phrase had lamps going out in Europe) – seems to me at least as defensible as Grey’s prophecy.

Commentarya month ago

An anti-Brexit protester waves an EU flag opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

In scarcely more than six months Britain will leave the European Union. That departure on March 29, 2019 could be toxic and disruptive through a failure to reach a deal, hurting Britain most of all, but the EU as well. Or there could be an amicable parting of the ways. For this to happen European leaders meeting in Salzburg this week must now give some ground as the negotiations enter their final stage.

Commentarya month ago

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the White House on the day he announced additional tariffs against China, September 17, 2018.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

China is fully prepared to win any kind of tariff war that Donald Trump can throw at it with some quite simple stratagems that might all be grouped under a single rubric: Autocratic Capitalism.

Commentarya month ago

Missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

In a rare admission, Israel has broken its “no-comment” policy on air strikes to confirm that it has carried out over 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria over the last two years. In addition to those attacks, a new report claims that Israel has secretly armed and funded at least 12 Syrian rebel groups in southern Syria since 2013. Israel reportedly stopped its transfer of weapons and money in July, after the Bashar al-Assad regime regained control of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Commentarya month ago

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses supporters in Budapest after the announcement of partial results in Hungary's parliamentary election. April 8, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

The largest question in democratic politics in Europe is: who’s in charge?

Commentary7 hours ago

A demonstrator holds a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Saudi Arabia and especially its young crown prince – who has been variously portrayed as naïve, venal and blood-thirsty – appear to have vastly misjudged the reaction to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist who opposed the new heir’s unchecked efforts to reshape the kingdom and the entire Middle East region with his own vision.

Commentarya day ago

Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is pictured during a news conference in Rio de Janeiro, Oct. 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

The next president of Brazil, Latin America’s giant, is all but certain to be former army captain Jair Bolsonaro – who was relatively unknown, even in his own country, just a few months ago, but who now has a very large public profile all round the world. At 63, he has spent years in public life, leaving a mark – but not a large one – as a man of the far right, ready with insults for women who oppose him, disgusted by homosexuality, approving of the military dictatorship that killed and tortured leftists between 1964 and 1985.

Commentary4 days ago

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of attempting to murder former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, are seen in an image handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London, Britain September 5, 2018. Metroplitan Police handout via REUTERS

From unconvincing alibis on visiting cathedrals to highly public revelations of their personal details, a new generation of Russian and other assassins and spies are being publicly identified – and often ridiculed – in ever-growing numbers. But there is nothing funny about their antics, nor the way in which a growing number of states appear not to care if they or their agents are exposed. The world’s increasingly repressive dictatorships – not just Russia, but China, Saudi Arabia and others – are tightening their grip at home and overseas, and espionage and murder have become more central than ever to the playbook.

Commentary5 days ago

Human rights activists and friends of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold his pictures during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

The disappearance and possible murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has cast a long shadow over Saudi Arabia’s global image. If the Saudi government did in fact kill or kidnap him, the crime would have significant implications for Middle East politics.

Commentary7 days ago

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

The messages from Tehran are stark. On October 1, Iranian forces fired six missiles at Islamic State positions in eastern Syria. The weapons landed within three miles of U.S. troops in the country; one missile shown on Iranian state television carried the slogan: “Death to America, “Death to Israel, Death to al Saud.” A statement by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said the missile strike was retaliation for a September 22 shooting attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, that killed at least 25 people.

Commentary8 days ago

Jian Ghomeshi, a former celebrity radio host who has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, leaves the courthouse after the first day of his trial in Toronto, Feb. 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Few great social changes are wholly positive. “Safe spaces,” for example. Most popular in universities, they’re meant to provide a feeling of security for those who feel vulnerable, a place where students can avoid issues that might cause them distress.

Commentary11 days ago

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer holds a "Trump Playbook" document as he stands behind U.S. President Donald Trump as the president announces the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

U.S. President Donald Trump has finally agreed to a fairly modest and sensible update of the North American Free Trade Agreement, while attempting to spin the announcement as the replacement of a horrendous deal with a magnificent new one.

Commentary12 days ago

A demonstrator gestures during a protest  in the southern Gaza Strip against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

On September 27, Palestinian Authority President and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addressed the U.N. General Assembly for the 14th time. Among Palestinians, expectations had been high that Abbas’ speech at the United Nations would be “historic,” and that he would articulate a new strategic path forward for Palestinians in the wake of the Trump administration’s near total adoption of Israel’s positions, namely moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, cutting all funding to UNRWA, the U.N. agency responsible for the well-being of Palestinian refugees, and closing the PLO diplomatic mission in the United States.

Commentary13 days ago

An anti-Brexit demonstrator stands outside the venue of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

If Britain genuinely wanted a good last-minute Brexit deal, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt should probably not have compared the European Union to the USSR.

Commentary13 days ago

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Win McNamee/Pool via REUTERS

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court is in question due to allegations of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor and high school acquaintance of Kavanaugh’s. On Friday, Senate Republicans agreed to delay the vote by one week in order to make time for an FBI investigation into Ford’s claims.

Commentary15 days ago

Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Sept. 26, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The British prime minister and the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition gave speeches on the same day this week, outlining their vision for their country’s economy – and by implication, its society. They had little in common.

Commentary18 days ago

U.S. President Donald Trump sshows a letter from North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un during a bilateral meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Every fall, when the leaves begin turning yellow and brown, I think of my late grandmother. Born in 1913 in what is now South Korea, she spent some of her early life in what is today North Korea. In both parts of the then-undivided peninsula, my grandmother lived according to the rhythm of the changing seasons; in her later years, she loved recalling the harvests of her youth, when Korea’s fields were bursting with life-sustaining golden grain. For me, her granddaughter, fall remains a time to assess what I have harvested in my life, and to examine the fruits the world has borne – or failed to bear. This year I’ve concluded that, while North Korea has reaped a bumper crop of political gains since last fall, the United States has come up empty.

Commentary19 days ago

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The traditional scripts were flipped during Tuesday’s dueling addresses by U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly – the second of the Trump presidency. That should trouble anyone who cares not just about the United States’ global standing, but about the prospects for multilateral diplomacy to address the world’s very real problems with Tehran.

Commentary20 days ago

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers the opening address at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Four years after World War Two, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was asked to reflect on what would have prevented the conflict. The greatest mistake after World War One, he said, was not to properly resource the League of Nations, the international forum of countries created in 1919. Doing so “would have saved us all.”

Commentary21 days ago

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the third day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

Christine Blasey Ford’s now-public allegations that she was the victim of an attempted sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have had a striking and immediate political impact, with the Senate Judiciary Committee delaying its vote on Kavanaugh. Ford’s serious charges present a very close analogy with the allegations made by Anita Hill against her former employer Clarence Thomas during the latter’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991. In the era of #MeToo, a great deal has changed since then. But a great deal hasn’t, and it seems likely that the result will be the same as 1991 – that is, the confirmation of Kavanaugh after a desultory and incomplete investigation.

Commentary25 days ago

U.N. peacekeepers lower the U.N. flag during an event marking the end of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), at the U.N. headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Oct. 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jeanty Junior Augustin

Doors are slamming all over the Western world; we shall not see them opened again in our life. This sentiment – borrowing and adapting a remark attributed to British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey on the eve of World War One (his phrase had lamps going out in Europe) – seems to me at least as defensible as Grey’s prophecy.

Commentarya month ago

An anti-Brexit protester waves an EU flag opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

In scarcely more than six months Britain will leave the European Union. That departure on March 29, 2019 could be toxic and disruptive through a failure to reach a deal, hurting Britain most of all, but the EU as well. Or there could be an amicable parting of the ways. For this to happen European leaders meeting in Salzburg this week must now give some ground as the negotiations enter their final stage.

Commentarya month ago

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the White House on the day he announced additional tariffs against China, September 17, 2018.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

China is fully prepared to win any kind of tariff war that Donald Trump can throw at it with some quite simple stratagems that might all be grouped under a single rubric: Autocratic Capitalism.

Commentarya month ago

Missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

In a rare admission, Israel has broken its “no-comment” policy on air strikes to confirm that it has carried out over 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria over the last two years. In addition to those attacks, a new report claims that Israel has secretly armed and funded at least 12 Syrian rebel groups in southern Syria since 2013. Israel reportedly stopped its transfer of weapons and money in July, after the Bashar al-Assad regime regained control of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Commentarya month ago

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses supporters in Budapest after the announcement of partial results in Hungary's parliamentary election. April 8, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

The largest question in democratic politics in Europe is: who’s in charge?

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