Mês: janeiro 2017

Syria

Interrupted Game Change Jim Kavanagh Jan. 24, 2017 The recapture of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies marks a turning point not only in the conflict in Syria, but also in the dynamic of international conflict. For the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the rolling imperial engine of regime change via American-led military intervention has been stopped in its tracks. To be sure, it’s certainly not out of service, even in Syria, and it will seek and find new paths for devastating disobedient countries, but its assumed endgame for subjugating Syria has been rudely interrupted. And in our historical context, Syria interrupted is imperialism interrupted. Let’s remember where things stood in Syria seventeen months ago. After a four-year campaign, directed by the United States, thousands of jihadis in various groups backed by the US/NATO, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey and Israel, were on the offensive. ISIS occupied Palmyra, Raqqa, and swaths of territory, and was systematically raping, beheading, and torturing Syrian citizens and looting and destroying the country’s cultural treasures. Al-Qeada/al-Nusra had triumphantly poured into the eastern part of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city (and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world), were beheading and crucifying their newly-subjugated Syrian captives, and were beginning their siege of the larger and more populous part of that city. Turkey had commenced military operations on Syrian territory...

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EM = MS

MS Research Highlights of 2016     Professor Alan Thompson highlights some of 2016’s research discoveries in MS Last updated: 24th January 2017   In the latest issue of the Lancet Neurology journal, Professor Alan Thompson, Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, highlighted some of 2016’s research discoveries in MS. Radiologically isolated syndrome He highlights research that followed people with “radiologically isolated syndrome” over many years. Radiologically isolated syndrome implies the presence of MRI brain abnormality (such as lesions similar to those seen in MS) without the presence of clinical symptoms typical of MS. This study was performed at 22 clinical sites in 5 countries and was led by investigators at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The results showed that from 453 people who presented with radiologically isolated syndrome, 128 evolved to symptomatic MS over a follow up of approximately 6 years and 15 of those evolved to primary progressive MS. This is the same rate as the progression in general MS population and may suggest that, in future, radiologically isolated syndrome could be considered as another subtype of MS. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26599831  Oxygen Another study in this report is the work by an MS group at Queen Square in University College London. Brain and spinal cord cells, which are affected by MS more than other cells in our bodies, are dependent on oxygen. In this study Prof Kenneth Smith and...

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Barack Obama and Xi Jinping

Obama passes the baton of global leadership to Xi Jinping   M. K. Bhadrakumar Jan. 18, 2017   Who would have thought that a communist country will ultimately turn out to be the flag carrier of globalization, which was originally designed as a smart way of reallocating the world’s resources that kept the industrial world chugging along as the locomotive of world growth and helped sustain the prosperity of the Western economies? It only underscores how far the locus of world politics shifted in the quarter century since the Cold War ended. A top Chinese pundit at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Sciences writes: Globalization is one of the most effective ways to allocate resources. Regrettably, the past year… saw the rise of anti-globalization sentiments… The public seems to grow more skeptical of globalization. This is a worrying sign… More efforts should be devoted to promoting economic growth and globalization for mutually beneficial results… China’s current challenges also make promoting globalization a priority for the Chinese government. Industrial overcapacity, which surged in recent years, is one of the biggest headaches for China. The nation pledged to push forward various reforms and take necessary measures to tackle this problem. Globalization is an exchange of products and capacities in nature and thus, will help alleviate China’s oversupply. Taking part in the annual gathering (at Davos) of...

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Barack Obama

A tragic hero of our times   M. K. Bhadrakumar Jan. 19, 2016   In his famous existentialist essay The Tragic Sense of Life, the Spanish philosopher, novelist, poet and academic Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936) describes people’s concern with their legacy as a “tremendous struggle to singularize ourselves, to survive in some way in the memory of others and of posterity. It is this struggle…that gives tone, colour, and character to our society.” The desire to bequeath a lasting legacy is a trait of most politicians. But a theoretical construct of what constitutes legacy is never quite satisfactorily arrived at. Is legacy the stuff of an abstract concept or a concrete object? There are no easy answers. The point is, there are ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ legacies and it is difficult to make preferences. Soft legacy bequeaths abstract outcome and principles that cannot be quantified or necessarily derived out of empirical data. It is about empathy, shared experiences and collective memory. Hard legacies, on the contrary are visible in the nature of enduring policies or institutions or events or even pronouncements on historic occasions. The law of nature is grossly unfair. It’s not the Great Society that today defines Lyndon Johnson’s legacy but the Vietnam War, which almost makes him a tragic figure in American political history. Legacies, for sure, will be severely contested. Jimmy Carter, in the ultimate analysis, is not...

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Donald Trump and Russia and China

Rex Tillerson means business and it’s fine with Russia and China   M. K. Bhadrakumar Jan. 24, 2016   Rex Tillerson, US President Donald Trump’s nominee as state secretary, has narrowly won confirmation from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – 11 senators in favor and 10 against. The split is on party lines and the clincher came on Monday when Republican senator Marco Polo (who regarded Russian President Vladimir Putin to be a ‘war criminal’ and vainly insisted that Tillerson agreed with him) fell in line at the eleventh hour. The confirmation now goes for voting next week, by the full 100-member senate where Republicans have 52 votes, and it’s a mere formality. Tillerson had appeared out of the blue as a ‘wild card diplomat’, to borrow BBC’s critique of him. His links to the Kremlin and certain claim to friendship with Putin, had raised hackles in the US establishment and among America’s political class, apart from the controversial business practices of ExxonMobil, which he headed. In a nutshell, the perception has been that he’d be instrumental in turning around the US-Russia relations from deep chill, and that was what prompted Trump to zero in on him. However, that is only part of the story. The point is, Tillerson is a gifted diplomat in his own way too, who has extensively cultivated world statesmen, and Trump surely sees it as an asset....

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