The Great Debate UK

from Breakingviews:

Ukraine crisis forced into suspended animation for 2015

December 29, 2014

By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

from The Great Debate:

How to bring North Korea to its cyber-knees

December 23, 2014

North Korean leader Kim gives field guidance at the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang Textile Mill in this undated photo released by KCNA in Pyongyang

President Barack Obama, during his year-end news conference,  promised a proportional response to North Korea’s cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. “They caused a lot of damage,” Obama said, referring to the theft and exposure of corporate records and private emails. “And we will respond. We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.”

from The Great Debate:

Sony hack reveals Hollywood’s bitter civil war

December 19, 2014

Jodie Foster poses with co-chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment Amy Pascal at the 16th annual Women in Entertainment breakfast in Beverly Hills

Nobody ever plunked down 14 bucks to see a movie executive on screen.

That may be an odd takeaway from the Sony hacking scandal that has been wracking the company and the film studio it owns, Sony Pictures Entertainment. But the relative invisibility of these executives vis-a-vis their talent -- and what looks like the executives’ anger about this -- are among the biggest revelations in the document dumps.

from The Great Debate:

Vladimir Putin in jeopardy on all sides as Russia’s economy stumbles

December 18, 2014

Russian President Putin is seen on a screen during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow

MOSCOW – What a difference a plunging ruble makes. A few short days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin was a strategic genius, outplaying Western leaders everywhere – in the Middle East, in China, and especially in Ukraine. Today, he's the destroyer of his country and his political life could be in jeopardy.

from The Great Debate:

How to pay North Korea back for Sony hack? Hit Kim’s cronies where it counts – their wallets

December 18, 2014

North Korean leader Kim visits the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to mark the 61st anniversary of the victory of the Korean people in the Fatherland Liberation War

Moviemakers strive to outdo themselves with fantastic plots, super-heroes and special effects. But the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment this month proves that, even in Hollywood, reality is still stranger than fiction.

from The Great Debate:

Strong or weak, bully or buffoon? Will the real Russia please stand up?

December 17, 2014

Russia's President Putin speaks during a commemoration of the Hermitage's 250th anniversary at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg

The West has been unable to develop a coherent strategic policy toward Russia. There is little agreement on what Russia is and how to deal with it, too much speculation about what President Vladimir Putin will or will not do.

from The Great Debate:

In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

December 16, 2014

Russia's President Putin chairs a meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi

The year ahead could see the outbreak of the third Chechen war, which, in turn, could be the death knell of the Russian Federation in its current borders. 

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Ukraine’s frozen war brings dramatic changes to world economy

December 12, 2014

Pro-Russian separatists from the Chechen "Death" battalion take part in a training exercise in the territory controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic

The “day of silence” observed this week by the Ukrainian army and its pro-Russian rebel opponents was an event of enormous economic importance for global economics as well as geopolitics.

from The Great Debate:

To deter U.S. from torturing again, those involved should be prosecuted

December 9, 2014

Barbed wire fence surrounding a military area is pictured in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytn

The publication of the long-awaited summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s torture provides a useful moment to consider the lessons learned from this sorry chapter in American history and the steps that might be taken to avoid its recurrence. With the truth now told about this blatantly illegal policy, President Barack Obama has a chance to reverse his misguided refusal to prosecute the officials who authorized the torture, ending the impunity that sets a horrible precedent for future United States presidents and governments worldwide.

from Hugo Dixon:

Can we live the good life without economic growth?

December 8, 2014

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Is the good life possible without economic growth?

Merely raising the question challenges the conventional contemporary wisdom that a society’s prime goal should be to boost its income continually. But it is one that the West, especially Western Europe, may have to confront. Europe is not just suffering the after-effects of a nasty cyclical downturn, it has probably entered an era of low growth.