FRONTLINE

Puerto Rico Is an Ongoing Disaster Area While Trump and FEMA Have Their Heads in the Sand

On September 20, Hurricane Maria swept through the United States territory of Puerto Rico and devastated the island (“A tale of two islands”). The death toll is not yet confirmed. It is hard to know what is happening since the roads in the interior of the island remain impassable and communications networks are down.

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America's Afghan War: 16 Years, as Many as One Million Killed - and the War Machine Keeps on Rolling

The American war in Afghanistan will soon enter its 16th year. Over this period, the United States and its allies have lost close to 3,000 soldiers, while an unknown number of Afghans have died. The official figure for the Afghan dead, above 150,000, is laughable. Each year, as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) finds, the percentage of women and children among the official death toll increases, many of the deaths a result of aerial bombardment.

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Apartheid in Israel - It's a Fact That Pretty Much the World Agrees on, Except the U.S.

Apartheid is a powerful word, with evocations of the South African experience and with implications of crimes against humanity. The United Nations does not use this word loosely. It rarely enters UN reports, and is not heard from the lips of UN officials. But now, in a report released on March 15 in Beirut, Lebanon, the UN has proclaimed that Israel ‘is guilty of the crime of apartheid’. This is a very significant judgment, one with important ramifications for the UN, for the International Court of Justice and for the international community.

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America Has Adopted a Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism

Just before he was inaugurated as the U.S. President, Donald Trump laid out some principles of what appeared to be his non-interventionist foreign policy. “We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” he said in North Carolina. “Instead our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS, and we will.” What Mr. Trump implied is that his administration would not conduct regime-change operations — such as against Iraq in 2003 during the George W. Bush administration — and certainly not indulge in nation-building outside the United States. He promised nation-building within the United States and to enhance the military “not as an act of aggression, but as an act of prevention”.

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After Aleppo: The State of Syria

The Syrian Arab Army now controls Aleppo, which means that the Syrian government once more is in charge of the main population centres in the country. Opposition armed forces are hemmed in around Damascus and in Idlib, while the Islamic State (IS) still holds the northern city of Raqqa. These forces, including IS, are on the back foot, disorganized, weakened logistically and disoriented. Largely abandoned by their benefactors — the West, the Gulf Arabs and Turkey — these fighters have either moved to great desperation in their violence or to near surrender. A ceasefire brokered on December 30, 2016 holds in most parts of the country. Peace talks are to begin on January 23 in Astana (Kazakhstan). Iran, Russia, the Syrian government, sections of the Syrian opposition, Turkey and the United Nations will have seats at the table. The United States and the Europeans will not be there.

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A Deeper Look at the Trump Team: More Scary and Depressing Every Day

Money and the military define the Cabinet of Donald Trump’s presidency. For a man who ran to help the “forgotten Americans,” there are few forgotten people in his team. Most of the Cabinet appointees have experiences far from the crises that wrack rural and industrial America. Amongst the billionaires are mostly people who inherited their money. They do not have the spark of entrepreneurism that is one of the core values of American society. The ex-military men are all generals, people who have long looked at war from the control room and not from the battlefield. Their sensibility is not that of the retired warrior who worries about war. These are men of great braggadocio; for them the battlefield is not a place of great pain but one of honor. For them, battle is worthy. For the billionaires, free-market capitalism is good. Neither the world of money nor the world of the military is prepared to address the actual grievances of the population or the transformation of America’s place in the world. This is a government of fables. It is appropriate that it is led by Trump, a man made more by the world of entertainment than by the world of governance. Glitz is the order of the day. Rhetoric will stand in for policy. Drama is guaranteed.

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America Is Looking Increasingly Frazzled on the World Stage

On June 22, France’s outspoken ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud, said: “The next President will face a multipolar world where the U.S. will be the main but not the only power. Realism is the only possible agenda.” It is unusual for such a close ally of the U.S. to make this statement. After all, it has been one of the pillars of the U.S.’ self-identification that it is the major force in the world. Political leaders in the U.S. routinely speak of the country as the greatest in the world, the only country with truly global ambitions and with global reach. U.S. military bases litter the continents of the world, and U.S. warships move from ocean to ocean, bearing terrifying arsenals. When the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) collapsed in 1991, it became self-evident that the U.S. was the sole remaining superpower. Unipolarity defined the world order. So what is it that makes the French ambassador speak of a multipolar world?

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Economic Liberalization Ignores India's Rural Misery

“Make In India” was Narendra Modi’s campaign slogan in 2014. Increasing India’s industrial production drove his agenda.

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How Bernie Sanders Helped Rescue the Word 'Socialism' in American Politics

FOUR out of 10 people who went to participate in the Iowa Democratic Caucus told pollsters at the door that they identified themselves as socialists. It was perhaps this segment that gave Bernie Sanders, running for the Democratic Party nomination for President, a boost. The final result from Iowa was virtually a tie between Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who represents the more established wing of the party. Socialism is not typically associated with the United States. In fact, the U.S. is seen generally as antithetical to socialism.

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How Libya Has Turned into a Multifront Humanitarian Disaster

In early January, a truck bomb went off in the Libyan town of Zliten. The violence in Libya is at such a pitch that few would have noticed this story. “Libya” comes too often with words such as “violence”, “chaos”, “attack”, and “bombing”. The bombing took place at the old military base of al-Jahfal, now a police-training centre. At least 50 people were killed. The Islamic State (I.S.) did not directly claim responsibility, but its related media outlet, Aamaq, did so on its behalf. The I.S. claims a large tract of Libya, centred around its capital of Sirte, the home town of Muammar Qaddafi. That attack probably originated there.

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