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John Knych

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Protestors at the entrance of Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul
Saudi Arabia

Khashoggi Murder And The Miscalculations Of MBS And Trump

For Westerners, particularly the United States, Mohammed bin Salman had represented the hope of a kingdom finally prepared to open to the world. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi demonstrates the contrary. Donald Trump will not escape this unscathed.

RIYADH — Values or interests, ethics or realpolitik? The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi commando is the perfect illustration of the dilemma that's at the heart of any reflection on international politics.

Not only is Saudi Arabia a country that the Western world sells arms to and buys oil from — it is also a key to the regional balance of power in the face of Iran. It is also a crucial element for anyone concerned about the evolution of Islam in the world. It is a country that looked to finally be on the path of reform.

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Protest in Strasbourg on Oct. 9

Macron's Unpopularity And The Timeless Wisdom Of Machiavelli

After 17 months in power, Emmanuel Macron is touching the depths of unpopularity. He still has ways to bounce back, but should start by re-reading the author of 'The Prince.'

PARIS — Even if you haven't read Machiavelli, you probably know the timeless saying proposed by the author of The Prince, that it is "much safer to be feared than loved." But it's worth remembering a less quoted and more nuanced passage in the book, a few pages later: "The best possible fortress is to not be hated by the people, because even if you hold the strongest fortresses, when the people hate you, they will not save you."

Amid last week's theatrical resignation of his Interior Minister Gérard Collomb, French President Emmanuel Macron may have remembered these two kernels of wisdom from the illustrious Florentine (whom he has read and written about extensively). If feared, the so-called "Jupiterian" president will be held in lower esteem by those political actors close to him. If simply beloved, he risks no longer garnering full respect. Right now, he is neither.

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The New York Stock Exchange
eyes on the U.S.

The Infuriating, Durable Power Of The American Dollar

As U.S. hegemony fades, the dollar has become the worst currency in the world — expect, of course, for all the others.


PARIS — Can we just be done with dollar? This fiscal fantasy has been a French obsession for decades. In 1964, the young finance minister and future president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, denounced the U.S. dollar as an "exorbitant privilege." Later, when leaders across the political spectrum agreed to create the euro, their goal, in large part, was to be more independent from the American currency. And today, as Donald Trump plunges America into isolationism, the desire to dump the dollar has gone global.

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End of an era?
Smarter Cities

After The Demise Of Paris' Pioneering Electric Car Sharing System

PARIS — This past summer, Parisians bid adieu to Autolib", a pioneering electric-car-sharing service that came to a premature demise after operating for fewer than seven years. But that doesn't mean the French capital is turning its back on the overall concept. There is a plan B in the works, though what exactly it will entail — what, in other words, will be built on the ruins of Autolib's signature, self-serving "Bolloré Bluecars' — remains to be seen.

Most likely, the city will see an assortment of new options, from private car-rental agencies such as Drivy or OuiCar, to scooter and even electric-bike-sharing services. Indeed, competition is heating up as new proposals flood in.

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Fire at Rio de Janeiro's National Museum on Sept. 3

Brazil's Destroyed Museum And Burning Questions Beyond

RIO DE JANEIRO — Protests are expected to continue after the fire early Monday that largely destroyed Brazil's National Museum. The public's anger at the blaze, which is estimated to have destroyed nearly all of the 20 million works and artifacts at the Rio de Janeiro museum, comes amid rising economic and political unrest as the country approaches presidential elections in October.

The citizens of Rio de Janeiro knew the museum was in bad shape, with paint peeling from the walls. But its vulnerability to fire is only now being exposed. The museum lacked a sprinkler system and nearby fire hydrants were empty, reported Folha de S. Paulo. Several Brazilian commentators have noted that cultural institutions have been routinely underfunded since the government began spending millions to build stadiums for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. In 2015, the Museum of the Portuguese Language in Sao Paulo was also destroyed by a fire.

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