Daniel Bavly writes on how, despite almost constant warfare, Israel has taken leaps and bounds in establishing a booming economy, and building world-class industries and academic institutions. Yet since this most recent war, Bavly raises the question of growing fatigue in Israeli society. With an inexperienced and irresponsible government, a weakened military, and a cynical society, many in Israel are losing the hope they once had for peace. In Bavly‘s opinion, despite the creeping pessimism of recent years, if Israel can shake itself free of its fatigue, and take an affirmative direction towards creating innovative and collaborative strategies for peace, there will still be reason to hope.
George E. Irani discusses how a new source of tension, caused by outside forces, has been created within Lebanon. As the UN Security Council prepares to investigate the assassination of Lebanese Former Prime Minister Rafiq al Hariri, Syria has expressed fears that it will be blamed. While Lebanon is quiet now, it is unclear how long the calm will last.
Juan Pedro García explains why, with the advance of the Internet, printed newspapers are coming up against a great number of challenges. In Garcia‘s opinion, it is essential for the printed media to adapt itself to fit the new times and technologies, not only to ensure their own survival, but also to avoid negative impacts on free expression, and objective reporting. A reduction in the diversity of printed news sources could present a backsliding for pluralism and democracy. The press, therefore, needs to look towards the future, taking advantage of new technologies and offering readers a diversity of viewpoints. If not, we may very well see in our lifetime, the end of printed news.
Miguel Angel Benedicto discusses the progress of negotiations for Turkey‘s membership into the European Union and the conditions that the European Parliament has set on Ankara. Despite Ankara’s battle against torture, corruption, and the violation of women’s rights, 48 percent of Europeans are against Turkey’s integration into the European Union. In Benedicto‘s opinion, the interruption in negotiations could endanger the establishment of ties between the East and the West. Will it be possible to salvage the almost inevitable train wreck?
Walid Salem discusses the lessons that have come out of attempts over the last ten years to establish democracy in Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine. In Salem‘s opinion, the establishment of real participatory democracies, with solid democratic institutions, is essential to solving many of the problems in the Middle East from wars, to extremism, to lack of unity, to the corruption of authoritarian regimes. But democracy must be established very carefully: forging pacts between local liberal democrats, and moderate enlightened Islamists; developing real un-patronizing partnerships between the West and local democracies; and humanizing and respecting the equal rights, liberties, and opinions of all citizens.
By Arshin Adib-Moghaddam (for Safe Democracy)
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam discusses the creation of a new US policy of pre-emptive nuclear strikes. While, the threat of nuclear pre-emption has a history of precedents in the United States, recent antagonistic US actions are working to unravel the diplomatic framework that has helped avoid nuclear proliferation in the past. In Adib-Moghaddamn‘s opinion, the Pentagon’s newly adopted CONPLAN 8022, has successfully replaced the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction with Assured Destruction, dangerously favouring the use of nuclear weapons, even in the absence of a competing nuclear threat.
Mauro Victoria Soares discusses the contention of the Presidential elections in Brazil, which have never been so clearly divided along economic lines: Geraldo Alckmin garnering much of his support from the upper classes, and Lula da Silva from the lower strata of society. Initial polls had predicted an easy victory for Lula in the first round, but due to the sensationalizing of a scandal involving Worker’s Party members, Lula‘s popularity may have been hurt. It remains to be seen whether Lula‘s popular and successful economic redistribution programs will be enough to win him a second chance at the Presidency against a tough opposition.
Mario Toer explains the complex political framework of Brazil, where 49 percent of the votes obtained by Lula and the Worker’s Party in the first round of elections represents a real accomplishment. In Toer‘s opinion, Lula will most likely win the second round, but if he wants to get anything done, he will have to give up his naivety and undertake skillful negotiations with the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party. Toer explains who is who in the vast panorama of Brazilian politics.
Mario Esteban analyzes the relationship between China and Japan since the nomination of the new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the conversion of North Korea‘s nuclear threat into a reality. In Esteban‘s opinion, both Peking and Tokyo will oppose the nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula head on. But when the time comes to decide what measures to take against Pyongyang, the discrepancies will begin to surface.