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Economy

Former 'Chicago Boy' Deirdre McCloskey, Transgender Economist Extraordinaire

Deirdre McCloskey, an acclaimed professor and former University of Chicago protégé of Milton Friedman, stunned the academic world with a sex change in 1995. But that's just one interesting part of a woman now focused on a more "human&

McCloskey during a recent lecture in Germany
McCloskey during a recent lecture in Germany
Emmanuel Garessus

WEIMAR – Deirdre McCloskey is as fascinating as she is complex. For starters, she used to be named Donald, a father of two who – in 1995 at the age of 53 – decided to become a woman. McCloskey is also an award-winning author and economist, a former "Chicago Boy" who worked for several years alongside the famous free-market guru Milton Friedman.

The professor has since written a book on her experience. Crossing: A Memoir was cited as the "Notable Book of the Year" by the New York Times. Although her sex change did not affect her career, McCloskey writes about how it did end up separating her from her family.

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Geopolitics

Russia's Military Failures Are Really About Its Soldiers

No doubt, strategic errors and corruption at the highest ranks in the Kremlin are partly to blame for the Russian military's stunning difficulties in Ukraine. But the roots run deeper, where the ordinary recruits come from, how they are exploited, how they react.

Army reserve soldiers go to Red Square to attend a Pioneer Induction ceremony

Anna Akage

To the great relief of Ukraine and the great surprise of the rest of the world, the Russian army — considered until February 24, the second strongest in the world — is now eminently beatable on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces operating with vastly inferior firepower.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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After renouncing the original ambitions to take Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the focus turned to the southeastern region of Donbas, where a would-be great battle on a scale comparable to World War II Soviet victories has turned into a quagmire peppered with laughable updates by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on TikTok.

The Russians have not managed to occupy a single significant Ukrainian city, except Kherson, which they partially destroyed and now find difficult to hold. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are left to suffer the bombing of cities and villages from Lviv to Odessa, with looting, torture and assorted war crimes.

The reasons for both the poor performance and atrocities are many, and include deep-seated corruption and lack of professionalism up through the highest ranks, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had never served in the army, and arrived in his position only because of his loyalty to the No. 1 man in the Kremlin.

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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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