From the FT:
© The Financial Times Ltd 2014 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
At one level, what is happening this week in the cities of eastern Ukraine is thoroughly confusing. Ukrainian security forces are trying to recapture government buildings in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk that were seized earlier this week by unidentified pro-Russia demonstrators. Who exactly is fighting whom? Who is really in charge in the region?
By Gideon Rachman
“Whatever it takes.” Mario Draghi’s declaration that he would save the euro could well go down as the most effective three-word statement by a Roman since Julius Caesar’s veni, vidi, vici.
♦ Twenty years on from the Rwandan genocide, the savage events of 1994 remain pivotal to efforts to build a post-ethnic nation, reports Katrina Manson
♦ Afghanistan steps into the unknown: With Karzai heading for the exit and Nato winding down its troop presence, the country is entering a new era – and many Afghans fear renewed violence and foreign interference.
♦ The US is playing the crooked lawyer in an Israeli-Palestinian drama, says David Gardner.
♦ Anger over the economy simmers in Cyprus even though Brussels and Berlin have judged the island’s bailout to be a success.
♦ A South Sudan rebel leader with a satellite phone, a touch-screen tablet and a copy of “Why Nations Fail” ponders the next step in a young country’s civil war. The New York Times reports.
As the televised brawls between Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader and deputy prime minister, and Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-EU Ukip party have recently shown, the quality of political discussion in Britain is rarely so low as when the topic in question is the European Union.
All the same, sanity and thoughtfulness on the EU issue can still be found in British public life. For this we should thank, among others, the House of Lords, the much misunderstood but invaluable upper house of parliament. Read more
The Associated Press has just released a fascinating piece of investigative journalism about US psy-ops in Cuba, the plan being to use a Twitter-like service to foment social unrest and weaken Havana’s communist regime.
The story is a must-read that shows how the world of espionage is changing in today’s internet-driven world, and how that espionage can fail for new reasons. It may also hand other governments, such as those in Turkey, Russia or Venezuela, an excuse to crack down on social media using the argument that the misinformation spread is all part of a terrible imperialist plot. Read more
• Twenty years ago Rwanda descended into the madness of genocide. UN peacekeepers were stretched to breaking point, but one man stood out, taking huge risks to save hundreds of lives.
Is the European Union in some way to blame for the fate of Ukraine? That idea has been popularised by the British politician, Nigel Farage, who has argued that Europe has “blood on its hands” in Ukraine – apparently because the Europeans irresponsibly encouraged Ukrainian aspirations to “join Europe”, without thinking what they would do, if Russia reacted aggressively. Mr Farage has been roundly denounced for taking this line. But he is not alone in making the charge that the EU is at fault. I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed by Asian and American policymakers. Read more
A new direction for France?
President François Hollande’s socialist party took a serious drubbing in Sunday’s local elections. He responded by swiftly sacking his prime minister and replacing him with Manuel Valls, a tough interior minister and economic reformer from the party’s right wing. So does this appointment signal a modernising direction for France? Gideon Rachman is joined by Hugh Carnegy, Paris bureau chief, and Ben Hall, world news editor and former Paris correspondent, to discuss.
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Commentary on international affairs, with Gideon Rachman and his colleagues