On Tuesday, November 15, Poland reported two missile strikes against the town of Przewodów, located 6 kilometers away from the Ukrainian border. The strike resulted in two civilian casualties. While Russia was initially suspected, it has since been confirmed that the missiles were fired by Ukrainian air defenses against an incoming Russian missile. Regardless of the missile’s origin, we have never been closer to the risk of a global war since the start of the Ukrainian conflict.
Posts published in “Europe”
The melting of the glaciers is changing geopolitical arrangements. In the Arctic, global warming is opening opportunities for the allocation of needed resources even to non-Arctic states. The region is indeed opening up to new power dynamics and competition as states propel their economic, military, and political claims. New powers, such as China and India, have joined the resources race; but what can they really gain from the frozen Arctic lands? And how will this affect the regional and global balance of power?
It has been almost three months since the British-American writer and faculty member of NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage during a literary event in New York by Hadi Matar at the Chautauqua Institution. On October 14th, 2022, I virtually joined an event, An Evening for Salman Rushdie, organized by PEN International at the British Library to celebrate his strength and dedication as a writer and a champion of free expression. In a way, it was also an evening of reflection. As horrifying as the assault on Rushdie was, it was 33 years in the making. Upon the Satanic Verses publication, protests broke out in India, the novel was banned, and footage of book burnings was widely broadcast around the world. Above all, a fatwa was issued against Rushdie by the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini which sent him into hiding.
In the last few weeks, climate activism groups have filled the news, social media, and online conversations after a series of art attacks. Last week, demonstrators from the Letzter Generation (Last Generation), a German group, threw mashed potatoes on a Monet painting in Potsdam, Germany. At the same time, Just Stop Oil advocates, a UK based group rapidly expanding in Europe, pied a statue of King Charles in Central London and glued themselves to Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painting in The Hague. These events seem to be increasing in frequency lately, certainly due to a culture based on meme imitations and sensationalism. However, they also appear to create even more polarization than the US midterms or the roulette of British PMs.
As Putin’s rhetoric and violence continues to increase, and accusations of war crimes mount against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many around the world are wondering why Russia can’t simply be dismissed from the UN Security Council or at least blocked from voting. In February 2022 Russia Vetoed several Security Council decisions regarding the invasion. Since then,there has been discussion of UN Security Council reform as it has been well established that Putin’s military operation violates the UN Charter on many levels.
On September 16, I watched as Hong Kongers lined up for hours outside the British Consulate in Admiralty, the city’s eastern central business district, to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. A colossal bed of flowers and pictures of the queen were gradually built up against the consulate walls—it may have been one of the greatest displays of affection for the late monarch witnessed outside the UK.
As Italy’s recent election of a far-right leader revives memories of a not-so-distant authoritarian age, European leaders last month invoked history of another kind in Athens at the 10th annual Democracy Forum.
The war in Ukraine, when viewed side by side with recent wars around the world from Yemen to Syria to Ethiopia, indicates disturbing global trends. There is far too little protection for civilians, and the detrimental impact is heightened for already vulnerable groups. Civilians displaced by war sit in limbo for years, and those lucky enough to escape their war-torn countries are relegated to overcrowded and under-resourced camps. The Council on Foreign Relations reports shrinking opportunities for refugee resettlement, a result of the international community’s inability and/or unwillingness to support them or resolve the conflict that caused their displacement in the first place. Refugees in camps can face intense discrimination and fall victim to starvation, illness, and human trafficking. And the perpetrators of all this global violence and suffering tend to be met with impunity. This is the grim status quo.
JPI’s Roya Lotfi sat down with Dr. Damien Leader, former Foreign Service Officer for the United States Department of State and Deputy Director of the…