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Geopolitics

U.S. Elections 2016: "An American Spring" — The View From Abroad

When they're not warning us that Trump would put the world in grave danger, foreign media are trying to explain him.

Hillary Clinton cutouts in San Diego on March 22
Hillary Clinton cutouts in San Diego on March 22
Worldcrunch

Whether calling him an "imposter" and purveyor of "caveman politics," an "anti-intellectual" or a "brave" leader who's ready to face down the media establishment, newspapers around the world continue to delve into the drama of the GOP front-runner as the 2016 presidential campaign's primary story line. The phenomenon that was once a punchline, from Latin America to Asia, has instead given rise to unrestrained scolding and castigation. And occasionally attempts to explain him.

"All kinds of historical explanations have been offered for the rise of Donald Trump, but I now see a simpler one," U.S.-based British law professor Niall Ferguson writes for the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post. "Leave aside terms like populism and fascism: This is caveman politics — not just male, but aggressively, crassly masculine. Vladimir Putin is the Russian version. Narendra Modi is the Indian version. Xi Jinping is China's macho man. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Turkey's. They talk tough. They strike tough poses." And, he writes, contrasting Trump with the nurturing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he "would never, ever comfort a crying girl," as Merkel once did.

Ferguson concludes, however, that Trump's tough guy act is likely to be his downfall, as women voters will reject him.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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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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