Summary of “The War-Torn Web – Foreign Policy”

Despite refusing to sign as sovereigns, the prominence of American companies in pushing for international internet agreements amid its governmental absence highlights one of Macron’s key points: “The internet is a space currently managed by a technical community of private players,” noted one source from the Macron government, quoted by Reuters, “But it’s not governed. So now that half of humanity is online, we need to find new ways to organize the internet.”
Its short, doomed life was one indicator of the beginning of the next era of the internet, one where states actively seek to influence global internet governance and norms through a variety of tactics.
The gulfs in governance and action opening up and the active efforts to influence them indicate the world is coming into a new-and worrying-phase of the internet’s development, one we’ve dubbed the Internet’s Warring States Period.
Each government’s attempt to define the rules either projects its policy globally or fragments what was once the common ground of some aspect of the internet.
The Internet’s Warring States Period is similarly shaping the role of states in the global internet and defining what constitutes acceptable digitalpolitik, which changes by a country’s position and market influence.
We should expect more regionalist approaches in the wake of the GDPR, such as the African Union’s release of internet infrastructure security guidelines and the Pacific Alliance’s evolving agenda on digital governance and policy.
Brazil, with the fifth-largest internet population in the world, regularly leads in technology initiatives like its “Internet of things” policy and its Civil Rights Framework for the Internet, even as the latter has been used to justify blocking WhatsApp.
Without harmonizing institutions, the internet’s warring states are engaged in a brinkmanship approach to policy evolution, where each proposal is both progress and an extraterritorial incursion.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why 2019 Could Be Marijuana’s Biggest Year Yet”

“This is the first Congress in history where, going into it, it seems that broad marijuana reforms are actually achievable,” said Tom Angell, an advocate-journalist who runs Marijuana Moment.
Two bills have already been filed: a reintroduction of the CARERS Act by Steve Cohen and Don Young, which would expand marijuana research, allow VA doctors to discuss pot with veteran patients and prevent the federal government from meddling with state-legal programs without removing marijuana from the schedules created by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970; and H.R. 420, the “Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act” by Blumenauer, which would remove marijuana from the list of most dangerous drugs, “De-scheduling it” in Congress-speak, and shift regulatory authority to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Nothing would solidify 2019 as marijuana’s biggest year yet more than a rollback of that half-century-old designation.
Even before the election, Blumenauer proposed a blueprint for this Congress to legalize marijuana by the end of 2019.
“Joyce has come really far, really fast on marijuana policy,” Justin Strekal of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws told me.
These are the players to watch as marijuana legislation winds its way through the House this year.
“I don’t want to continue fighting some of these old battles.” Former Gov. Rick Scott, who fought against smokable marijuana until his last day in office and is now Senator Scott, is likely a no vote if a marijuana bill ever makes it to the floor of the Senate.
Republicans gained two seats in November, but they lost Dean Heller, a reliable marijuana opponent, when Democrat Jacky Rosen, a fierce marijuana advocate, was elected in Nevada.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Sleepwalking Is the Result of a Survival Mechanism Gone Awry”

Sleepwalking is on the rise, in part due to increased use of pharmacologically based sleep aids – notably Ambien.
Why do some enter into such a potentially harmful state during sleep? One answer comes from studies suggesting that ‘sleepwalking’ might not be an appropriate term for what is going on; rather, primitive brain regions involved in emotional response and complex motor activity remain in ‘active’ states that are difficult to distinguish from wakefulness.
It’s as though sleepwalking results when the brain doesn’t completely transition from sleep to wakefulness – it’s essentially stuck in a sleep-wake limbo.
Why would our brains enter into such a mixed state, representative of neither wakefulness nor sleeping? We need a restful sleep – would it not be more beneficial if the brain went totally ‘comatose’ until that rest was achieved? When one considers our distant, pre-human ancestors, answers begin to take shape.
Many animals can maintain brain activity required for survival during sleep.
‘During sleep, we can have an activation of the motor system, so although you are sleeping and not moving, the motor cortex can be in a wake-like state – ready to go,’ explains Nobili, who led the team that conducted the work.
“Ok, so we are not going to wake up the sleeper” or “This is potentially threatening so we should.” But the process of going from sleep to wakefulness is, in sleepwalkers, dysfunctional, clearly.
Despite evidence of localised activity during sleep in both human and non-human animal brains, sleepwalking is, among primates, apparently a uniquely human phenomenon.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Development as a chapter in the moral tale of economics”

Rather than pack up and go home, the development industry now turned its attention to a new frontier.
As the state withdrew behind the curtains, the development industry took centre stage.
As the state withdrew behind the curtains, the development industry thus moved beyond its traditional supporting role in tackling social problems to take centre stage.
Most importantly, the newly liberated development industry failed to resolve the tension at the heart of free markets.
A wave of popular anger against disconnected ‘elites’ has resulted, which authoritarian populists have skilfully exploited to launch crackdowns on the development industry.
Rather than just stick up unconditionally for the development industry, liberals could benefit from returning their focus, at least in part, to the old model of NGOs aligning themselves more with national than global goals.
Because while the development industry can point to considerable progress, it can’t claim all that much of the credit.
At heart, philanthrocapitalism offered not a new science of development, but an old-fashioned moral tale – one in which a hero, who would reveal himself by some magnificent achievement, would come along to save us from some peril.

The orginal article.

Summary of “10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019 – Foreign Policy”

So too has his flouting of America’s international commitments: tearing up the Iran nuclear deal and, worse, threatening to impose economic punishment on those who choose to abide by it; hinting he will leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty if U.S. demands are not met rather than working within it to press Russia to comply; and signaling, through attacks on the International Criminal Court and chest-thumping speeches about U.S. sovereignty, that Washington regards its actions and those of its friends as beyond accountability.
U.S. pressure to end the conflict could intensify in 2019.
Only pressure from Europe, Oman, and Iran on the Houthis; from the United States on Saudi Arabia and the UAE; from those two Gulf countries on the Yemeni government; and from Congress on the U.S. administration stands a chance of making a difference.
U.S. policymakers mostly regard such an arrangement as inimical to U.S. alliances and interests.
Much like 2018, 2019 presents risks of confrontation-deliberate or inadvertent-involving the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran.
The murder amplified criticism in the United States of both Saudi foreign policy and the seemingly unconditional U.S. support for it.
Foreign actors would maintain a fragile equilibrium in various parts of the country: among Israel, Iran, and Russia in the southwest; Russia and Turkey in the northwest; and the United States and Turkey in the northeast.
Nigerians will go to the polls in February 2019 to elect a president and new federal legislature, and again in March to choose state governors and lawmakers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China is not the economic superpower people think. That’s why it’s important to wait it out.”

As U.S. leaders chart a new course with China it is crucial that they understand an important truth: Time, contrary to popular belief, is on their side.
Twenty years ago, a strategy of economic engagement with China made sense.
Economic development, it was also possible to hope, might nudge China toward political liberalization.
Achieving that goal in a highly interconnected world requires a massive, increasingly sophisticated surveillance state at home and efforts to promote the legitimacy of illiberal economic and political models abroad. China meddles in the elections of nearby democracies and uses carrots and sticks to tie the fortunes of other countries ever closer to that of the Chinese state, thus raising the economic and political costs of defying China.
The challenge China poses to the democratic world looks insurmountable because its path to economic dominance seems certain.
As its economic boom has unfolded, China’s expansion has come to rely more on investment in capital and less on figuring out how to use resources more effectively.
Third, the United States can increase pressure on China by taking advantage of its greater economic and fiscal capacity.
China could either sit the soft-power competition out or try to keep up despite its weaker economic circumstances.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Trump’s Syria decision means on the front lines of the fight against the Islamic State”

The voice of Gen. Mazloum Abdi, the Kurdish commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces militia, is tight and controlled as he describes President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the country and leave America’s allies to their fate.
Mazloum explained the dangers of a terrorist resurgence after Trump’s sudden decision.
What’s more, Mazloum has been holding more than 2,200 Islamic State prisoners, including 700 foreign fighters.
“To be frank, the first thing I thought about when I heard this decision was America’s reputation,” Mazloum said.
Mazloum said Trump’s decision was a shock because it came just a week after a personal visit from Ambassador James Jeffrey, the administration’s special envoy to Syria.
What astonished me most during our hour-long conversation was that Mazloum’s forces continue waging their bloody campaign against the remnants of the Islamic State in eastern Syria, even though his fighters want to return home to Kurdish areas and protect their families.
Mazloum said his forces had suffered at least 27 killed in action since Trump’s abrupt decision, and many more wounded, as a revitalized terrorist adversary sent a wave of more than 10 suicide attacks against Mazloum’s front lines.
“Right now, we are fighting for ourselves, for our existence,” Mazloum said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Happens When a World Order Ends”

From 1815 until the outbreak of World War I a century later, the order established at the Congress of Vienna defined many international relationships and set basic rules for international conduct.
OUT OF THE ASHES. The global order of the second half of the twentieth century and the first part of the twenty-first grew out of the wreckage of two world wars.
A TALE OF TWO ORDERS. The global order built in the aftermath of World War II consisted of two parallel orders for most of its history.
Even in a divided world, the two power centers agreed on how the competition would be waged; theirs was an order based on means rather than ends.
The other post-World War II order was the liberal order that operated alongside the Cold War order.
Although the Cold War itself ended long ago, the order it created came apart in a more piecemeal fashion-in part because Western efforts to integrate Russia into the liberal world order achieved little.
From a Russian perspective, the same might be said of NATO enlargement, an initiative clearly at odds with Winston Churchill’s dictum “In victory, magnanimity.” Russia also judged the 2003 Iraq war and the 2011 NATO military intervention in Libya, which was undertaken in the name of humanitarianism but quickly evolved into regime change, as acts of bad faith and illegality inconsistent with notions of world order as it understood them.
Today’s world order has struggled to cope with power shifts: China’s rise, the appearance of several medium powers that reject important aspects of the order, and the emergence of nonstate actors that can pose a serious threat to order within and between states.

The orginal article.

Summary of “California conservatives and the intellectual engine of Trumpism”

Its founder, Andrew Breitbart, who died in 2012, met former White House adviser Steve Bannon in LA. Ben Shapiro, whom Breitbart mentored and who worked at his eponymous publication, now runs his own conservative media empire, DailyWire.com, out of a nondescript office building in LA. The Claremont Colleges, located on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, were the birthplace of intellectual Trumpism and the “Flight 93 Election” – an influential essay published in the Claremont Review of Books that stated that electing Trump was the only way to save the country.
In September, I traveled the length of the Golden State, stopping at conservative outpost after conservative outpost, to try to understand how one of the most liberal states in the union had become the intellectual engine of contemporary conservatism.
In these conversations, one common theme emerged: Conservatives living and working in California view themselves as philosophically, culturally, and demographically under siege, and the political movement they are ideating, advocating, and building reflects that fully.
As Kesler told me, “The experience of seeing California go from a solidly Republican, Reaganite state to a very solidly Democratic state – so solid that the Republicans are virtually an endangered species in statewide offices – that experience has been very sobering for a whole generation of California conservatives, and that has helped, I think, to create a separate consciousness.”
“The role of demographic change in turning California from a safe Republican into a safe Democratic state … has made immigration a very sensitive issue for California Republicans, more so than conservatives in other states, who really didn’t see any substantial negative effects of immigration, politically, for a very long time,” says Kesler.
This, to conservatives – and particularly to California conservatives – is the nightmare scenario: an America in which they are powerless, demographically swamped, where the particular virtues and ideas that made America great for so long are uprooted by a surging left.
What the future holds The California conservatives are enjoying themselves.
His viewpoint matches much of what I heard and saw from conservatives in California – because no state-level votes or congressional seats depend on them, they can say whatever they want with aplomb.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why California’s Wildfires Are So Destructive, In 5 Charts”

The Camp Fire in Northern California has already been the most lethal and most destructive in state history, and it continues to burn.
Here’s a look at how some of these factors have raised the fire risk in California.
Even if California had gotten more precipitation than usual, it’s no guarantee of a calm fire season.
“As the climate’s warming, our forests are under increasing stress,” said Chris Keithley, the chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Fire and Resource Assessment Program.
First, fire is a natural feature of these wilderness landscapes, but as development encroaches, fires can no longer be allowed to burn naturally without the town being at risk of burning.
“We’ve got a lot of people and development embedded within vegetation types that are very conducive to frequent fires,” said Dave Sapsis, a research program specialist for CAL FIRE’s Fire and Resource Assessment Program.
Although these conditions are likely to continue, ever larger and more destructive fires aren’t necessarily a foregone conclusion.
“The devastation we’ve seen doesn’t have to be the ‘new normal,’ because it is largely a product of our own making,” said Christopher Dicus, a wildland fire researcher at California Polytechnic State University and president of the Association for Fire Ecology.

The orginal article.