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The crew here at Worldcrunch is busy scouring the best foreign-language journalism in search of untold local stories and points of view from different countries: like this German story from deep in Bavaria or a Chinese op-ed about China's Olympic performance. Sometimes, though, it's also useful to zoom back out, and weave together the whole world in 800 words or less. For that, we know we can always rely on the brain power and prose of Les Echos columnist Dominique Moïsi, a French master-connecter of the global dots.


This latest piece looks back on what appears to be a chain of seemingly unrelated (bad) events, from the July 14 terror attack in Nice, France, to the interests of Turkey and Russia (re)aligning in Syria, to ever uglier rhetoric from the Republican nominee for the White House — and back around to an almost surreal debate in France over what Muslim women wear to the beach. "What the summer of 2016 has shown is how bad we've become at seeing the world's bigger challenges," Moïsi writes. "While some issues are sensationalized, many others go underreported. It's a dangerous mix of ignorance and indifference."


The G20 conference currently being hosted by China in Hangzhou would, in theory, be a chance for world leaders themselves to try to do some connecting of the dots. The annual gathering, after all, accounts for two-thirds of the world population and 85% of global GDP. Though attention is inevitably devoted to things like ice cream and missing red carpets, and binding agreements across the 19 country members (and the European Union) are rare, it does force world leaders to both think more broadly, as well as sit down for some urgent bilateral talks.


Moïsi ends his piece with a whiff of post-summer optimism, imagining how a chain of events could be triggered in the right direction. It all begins, naturellement, in November … with a resounding defeat of Donald Trump.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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