Latest Analysis and Commentary

Coronavirus Poses a Greater Threat to the Ayatollahs than US Sanctions Do

by Con Coughlin  •  April 2, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The Iranian regime's failure to grasp the significance of the outbreak in its own country has led 16 other countries in the region to claim that their own outbreaks originated in Iran. These include Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates.

  • The European aid package, which is said to be worth $548,000, is the first transaction conducted under a trade mechanism known as the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges, or Instex, which has been set up by the Europeans to enable them to barter humanitarian goods and food with Tehran after the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • Tehran would be well-advised, though, not to regard the aid delivery as raising the prospect of the sanctions being eased. The new trading arrangements set up by Europe have been designed not to breach the Trump administration's policy of applying "maximum pressure" against Iran, so that Instex can only be used for the delivery of humanitarian aid and food.

  • This means that, while the aid delivery might help to fight the coronavirus pandemic, it will do little to alleviate the pressure on Iran's incompetent, and increasingly unpopular, leadership.

The Iranian regime's disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic could ultimately pose a greater threat to the survival of the ayatollahs than the impact of Washington's uncompromising sanctions regime. Pictured: Firefighters disinfect a street in Tehran, Iran on March 13, 2020. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

The Iranian regime's disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic could ultimately pose a greater threat to the survival of the ayatollahs than the impact of Washington's uncompromising sanctions regime.

Up until the coronavirus outbreak, the main challenge facing the clerical regime was the devastating impact the Trump administration's hard-hitting sanctions were having on the Iranian economy.

With the economy shrinking at the rate of 10 percent a year, and unemployment hovering around the 20 percent mark, the regime was under increasing pressure from anti-government protesters angry at the regime's mishandling of the economy.

Opposition groups claimed that more than 600 protesters were killed as regime hardliners tried to crush opposition to the regime.

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Austria: The Coronavirus Chronicles

by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff  •  April 2, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Borders matter. For many years, Europeans have been told by their leaders that borders could not be closed to curb illegal migration due to the Schengen Agreement.... In the 14th century, Poland was less affected by the plague because King Casimir isolated his country, closed borders and quarantined the border regions.

  • Freedom of speech matters. The Austrian government has installed a "ministry of truth" in the office of the chancellor....

  • "[W]henever a government got its hands on truth control, it has massively abused it within a very short time to gag and ban critical and oppositional voices. Once they have the power to control opinion, it is a massive temptation for those in power to use it in the self-interest of a government." — Andreas Unterberger, blogger, March 22, 2020.

Pictured: Employees hand out protective face masks to customers arriving at a supermarket in Vienna, Austria on April 1, 2020, following new government regulations that require shoppers to wear masks. (Photo by Helmut Fohringer / APA / AFP)

Week 1 in a country in complete shutdown. Austria has been at the forefront of forcing its citizens to "shelter in place" by enacting measures so severe that even the country's elderly cannot remember anything similar.

To snuff out a virus that originated in China in November and has since made its way around the world, roughly a month ago, the Austrian government, led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, thankfully heeded a dire warning by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, took hard a look at Austria's neighboring country, Italy, and immediately enacted a first set of measures, followed by the drastic rules mentioned above, that were first extended until April 13 and stepped up on March 30.

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Coronavirus: Why Palestinian Leaders Are Not Helping Gaza to Combat It

by Bassam Tawil  •  April 1, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership has done virtually nothing to help the Gaza Strip confront the coronavirus pandemic. Ironically, the only country that has been helping the Gaza Strip in the past few weeks is Israel.

  • The question is, why is the PA ignoring calls to help the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip in their effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus? One explanation -- that accords with history -- is that if a large number of Palestinians living in Gaza there are infected... the PA leadership wants the world to blame Israel.

  • It is important to emphasize that there is no Israeli "siege" on the Gaza Strip. First, the Gaza Strip shares borders not only with Israel, but also with Egypt. It is Egypt, not Israel... that is effectively blockading Gaza.

  • The United Nations, regardless, is also trying to pave the way for holding Israel responsible for the possible spread of the virus in the Gaza Strip.

  • Mahmoud Abbas is undoubtedly looking forward to a day when he can hold Israel fully responsible for the outbreak of the coronavirus in the Gaza Strip. He is also likely waiting for the UN and many in the international community to join him in blaming Israel and Jews for the spread of the pandemic among his people while ignoring his own responsibility for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus, the transit of goods between Israel and the Gaza Strip has continued to operate as seamlessly as before. The Israeli Defense Ministry is working to ensure a steady supply of goods reaches the markets and that a normal routine of living is maintained there. Pictured: Palestinian policemen supervise a line outside a post office in Gaza City, on March 31, 2020. (Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)

After the discovery of the first coronavirus cases in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is ignoring appeals to lift a series of sanctions it imposed on the two million Palestinians living there. Actually, the PA leadership has done virtually nothing to help the Gaza Strip confront the coronavirus pandemic. Ironically, the only country that has been helping the Gaza Strip in the past few weeks is Israel.

The question is, why is the PA ignoring calls to help the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip in their effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus? One explanation -- that accords with history -- is that if a large number of Palestinians living in Gaza there are infected with the disease and there is a huge catastrophe there, the PA leadership wants the world to blame Israel.

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China Using Coronavirus for Further Deceit

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  April 1, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Any hope that the West may have harbored in the past about China evolving into a member of the liberal-democratic international order, should by now be considered dead, expired, extinct.

  • Worse, the wet markets, which were to have been closed, have apparently been reopening.

  • China is a threat to all of us. That is why it is more important than ever for the U.S. and the rest of the West to be aware of the risks involved in developing further alliances -- technological or otherwise -- with a country that has served up nothing but duplicity to its own people as well as to the rest of the planet.

The West needs to beware of abetting China's communist regime in its building of what US Vice President Mike Pence referred to as "an unparalleled surveillance state." Pictured: Surveillance cameras against the backdrop of a portrait of communist China's founding leader, Mao Zedong, in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 6, 2019. (Photo by Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

The coronavirus may be strengthening the determination of China's government. So far, it has been trying to guarantee absolute loyalty from its populace through surveillance technology and turning China into a spookily Orwellian society. Any hope that the West may have harbored in the past about China evolving into a member of the liberal-democratic international order, should by now be considered dead, expired, extinct.

China has not only been stealing intellectual property from the West for years, as US President Donald J. Trump has long observed; it has also behaved abysmally during the coronavirus crisis in Wuhan -- and maybe also before. It is still not known if this coronavirus originated in one of China's "wet markets", which have probably caused other diseases, or in a bio-weapons laboratory -- and we may never know. What we do know is that when the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control offered to help, China ignored them.

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Palestinians: Despite Coronavirus, Jihad Against Israel Continues

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  March 31, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The rocket attacks against Israel appear aimed at distracting attention from the failure of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to provide their hospitals with medical equipment and medicines to curb the spread of the disease. In the past decade, the two groups have invested millions of dollars in amassing weapons and building tunnels to infiltrate Israel and kill or kidnap Jews.

  • These leaders [of Hamas and PIJ] would rather see Palestinians die of the disease than join forces with Israel -- which has doing its utmost to help the Palestinians by providing them with tests kits, protective gear and training sessions for medical professionals....

  • The good news is that a majority of Palestinians disagrees with PIJ. A public opinion poll published last week by a Palestinian center found that 68% of respondents support the medical cooperation with Israel.

  • A statement issued by Hamas on March 30 said that "the only way to liberate the land is through resistance." The only "resistance" Hamas knows is the one that includes launching rockets and missiles at Israel or carrying out suicide bombings against Israelis.

  • Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are again paying the price of failed leaders who care more about fighting Israel than saving the lives of patients and medical teams.

As the world is busy pursuing the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) groups in the Gaza Strip have found the time to remind everyone that they remain committed to pursuing the fight against Israel. Pictured: Masked PIJ gunmen spray disinfectant in the streets of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, on March 26, 2020. (Photo by Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images)

As the world is busy pursuing the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) groups in the Gaza Strip have found the time to remind everyone that they remain committed to pursuing the fight against Israel.

While many international media outlets and human rights organizations, including the United Nations, are warning of a "catastrophe" in the Gaza Strip after the discovery of nine coronavirus cases there, Hamas and PIJ -- the two dominant groups that have been ruling the Gaza Strip since 2007 -- seem to care less about the safety and health of their people.

For these groups, the "struggle" against Israel is manifestly more important than the fight against the immediate threat of a pandemic.

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Amid Coronavirus, Mullahs Speeding Up Nuclear Activities

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  March 31, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • The Iranian regime now has enough enriched uranium to refine and build a nuclear bomb if it desires to do so. Approximately 1000 kg of uranium enriched at just 5% can be refined to create one nuclear bomb.... Moreover, "the agency identified a number of questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at three locations in Iran," according to a recently published second report by the IAEA.

  • It is important to point out that the three undeclared nuclear locations to which the IAEA is referring are in addition to another, fourth, clandestine nuclear site in Iran that was first revealed by Israel.

  • The Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, admitted , as reported on March 3, 2020, "The fact that we found traces (of uranium) is very important. That means there is the possibility of nuclear activities and material that are not under international supervision and about which we know not the origin or the intent. That worries me." ... Iran is also breaching several UN resolutions by not allowing the IAEA to inspect its nuclear sites.

  • If the Iranian government is advancing its nuclear program for peaceful purposes, why has Tehran repeatedly failed to report its nuclear facilities, including those at Natanz and Arak, to the IAEA? Also, why does the Iranian government keep refusing to answer the IAEA's questions regarding its secret nuclear facilities?

  • The United Nations needs to break its silence and, before it is too late, take seriously Iran's latest rapid nuclear escalation.

While many governments around the world are focusing on how to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Iranian regime appears to be concentrating on another issue: rapidly advancing its nuclear program. Pictured: The Natanz uranium enrichment facility in Iran. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

While many governments around the world are focusing on how to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Iranian regime appears to be concentrating on another issue: rapidly advancing its nuclear program.

Amid the coronavirus, Iran has crossed a major threshold concerning its nuclear plans. The United Nations' atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reported that Tehran has increased its enriched uranium stockpile, which now stands at the equivalent of 1,510 kg. Iran is allowed to possess 300 kg of low enriched uranium -- a substantial increase in Iran's enriched uranium stockpile in a short period of time.

Why should having this amount of enriched uranium be regarded as a critical issue? Because the Iranian regime now has enough enriched uranium to refine and build a nuclear bomb if it desires to do so. Approximately 1000kg of uranium enriched at just 5% can be refined to create one nuclear bomb.

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Coronavirus: How "Progressive" Ideology Led to Catastrophe in Spain

by Soeren Kern  •  March 30, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • A class action lawsuit filed on March 19 accuses the Spanish government — highly ideological by any standard, as the Communist coalition partner, Podemos, was founded with seed money from the Venezuelan government — of knowingly endangering public safety by encouraging the public to participate in more than 75 feminist marches, held across Spain on March 8, to mark International Women's Day.

  • The Spanish government's main point man for the coronavirus, Fernando Simón, claimed in a nationwide press conference that there was no risk of attending the rallies on March 8. "If my son asks me if he can go, I will tell him to do whatever he wants," he said.

  • "Honestly, it seems to me a joke that the government has waited until today, clearly for political reasons, to make this announcement. The Socialist-Communist government has once again put its political interests above the common good. This gross negligence should lead to resignations. — Elentir, Contando Estrelas, March 9, 2020.

A class action lawsuit filed in Spain accuses the government of knowingly endangering public safety by encouraging the public to participate in more than 75 feminist marches on March 8, to mark International Women's Day, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: A demonstration during International Women's Day on March 8, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

The Spanish government, comprised of a coalition of Socialists and Communists, is facing legal action for alleged negligence in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The government is accused of putting its narrow ideological interests ahead of the safety and wellbeing of the public, and, in so doing, unnecessarily worsening the humanitarian crisis now gripping Spain, currently the second-worst afflicted country in Europe after Italy.

A class action lawsuit filed on March 19 accuses the Spanish government — highly ideological by any standard, as the Communist coalition partner, Podemos, was founded with seed money from the Venezuelan government — of knowingly endangering public safety by encouraging the public to participate in more than 75 feminist marches, held across Spain on March 8, to mark International Women's Day. The nationwide rallies were aimed at protesting the government's perennial bugbear: the alleged patriarchy of Western civilization.

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Sweden: Culture of Silence

by Judith Bergman  •  March 30, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • "The interviewee realized that the conclusions would be politically unpopular, but had nevertheless written them... Other former employees have pointed out that it was clear that there were political reasons why they were pressured to change content in reports..." — Report by Linköping University about the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), "Can Brå be trusted?"

  • "One employee reported, among other things, that a director-general expressed that 'there is a reality and a political reality' when the director-general demanded that an employee change a report..." — Report by Linköping University, "Can Brå be trusted?"

  • "If results were not liked then censorship was used, correction of results, toning down results and highlighting other parts of [the] study that were not so sensitive or that could show positive results". — Report by Linköping University, "Can Brå be trusted?"

  • "After I was hired at Brå, it took me a short time to understand that working at Brå is a big challenge. As an employee of Brå, you should write and think in a certain way. Brå is extremely controlled from the top. There are some people at Brå who control with an iron hand. If one were to be a little harsh then one could liken it to a sect. I don't think they really understand what kind of culture they have created" — Another employee, from the report by Linköping University, "Can Brå be trusted?"

  • The report also found that Brå appears to strive to hire employees that will "act as obedient bureaucrats at an authority, rather than people who have accepted a researcher's role".

  • Meanwhile, Sweden continues its downward spiral.

A recent report published by Linköping University about the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), has claimed that Brå's reports are politically biased. Pictured: Linköping University's Valla Campus in Linköping, Sweden. (Image source: Anna Nilsen [LiU]/Wikimedia Commons)

A recent report published by Linköping University about the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), "Can Brå be trusted?" has claimed that Brå's reports are politically biased.

According to Brå's own website, "Brå is an agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice and a knowledge centre for the criminal justice system. The agency's mandate is to contribute to the development of knowledge within the criminal justice system and the criminal policy area, as well as to promote crime prevention work. Brå is responsible for the official criminal statistics and other statistics, which includes producing, following, analysing, and reporting on criminality and the criminal justice system's responses to crime".

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He Simply "Hates Christians": The Persecution of Christians: January 2020

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  March 29, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Boko Haram... released another execution video. In it, a masked Muslim child holding a pistol appears standing behind a bound and kneeling hostage, later identified as Ropvil Daciya Dalep, a 22-year-old Christian... kidnapped on January 9 while traveling to his university, where he majored in biology. After chanting in Arabic and launching into an anti-Christian diatribe, the Muslim child proceeds to shoot Ropvil several times in the back of the head. — Independent Catholic News, January 23, 2020; Nigeria.

  • On January 2, Islamic gunmen abducted Reverend Lawan Andimi, a pastor ... in Nigeria. After the terrorists demanded an exorbitant ransom for his release—two million euros, which his church and family simply could not raise—they beheaded the married father-of-nine.... — Morning Star News, January 21, 2020; Nigeria.

  • "Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?" — The International Center for Investigative Reporting, January 21, 2020; Nigeria.

  • After Muhammad 'Awad, 32, was arrested and questioned as to why he tried to murder Rafiq Karam, 56, he confessed that he did not know him, but that he simply "hates Christians." — Coptic Solidarity, January 21, 2020; Egypt.

On January 2, the Boko Haram terrorist group abducted Reverend Lawan Andimi, a pastor and district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, who was married with 9 children. After demanding two million euros ransom, which his church and family could not raise, they beheaded Andimi on January 20. Pictured: A screenshot from a video released by Boko Haram on January 5, with the abducted Reverend Lawan Andimi speaking in front of the camera.

The Slaughter of Christians in Nigeria

During several separate incidents, militant Muslims—whether Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram, or generic terrorists—continued to attack and massacre several Christians.

On Friday, January 17, for instance, Muslim Fulani tribesmen on motorbikes raided a Christian village at a time they knew people were congregating in the village square where Christian fellowship often took place. They then opened fire. "As the people fled into nearby bushes to take cover, the attackers retreated and left," an area resident said. "We are sad about these attacks on our people, which seem to be unending." Two young Christian girls—Briget Philip, 18, and Priscilla David, 19—were killed, and at least three other teenagers were seriously wounded.

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Turkey: Pressures, Attacks, and Discrimination against Christians

by Uzay Bulut  •  March 29, 2020 at 4:30 am

  • When Protestants introduce themselves to the authorities as a church, they receive warnings that they are not legal and may be closed down.

  • In 2019, however, many members of the foreign clergy, as well as church members, were deported, refused residence permits, or denied entry visas into Turkey -- as in previous years.

  • Some textbooks also target Christian communities. "Missionary Activity" continues to be a heading under the section related to "National Threats" in the eighth grade elementary school textbook entitled, Revolutionary History and Kemalism. This teaching continues to be referenced in supplementary textbooks and tests related to missionary activity being considered a "national threat".

On September 6, in the Akçaabat district of Trabzon province, the fronts of several buildings built for tourists were demolished as a result of complaints that their design resembled a cross. Pictured: The shore at Akçaabat, Turkey. (Image source: Sinan Şahin/Wikimedia Commons)

Turkey's Association of Protestant Churches has released its 2019 "Human Rights Violations Report" detailing the state of religious freedom in the country.

The report sheds light on problems Protestant Christians faced in Turkey in 2019. These included barring foreign Protestants from entering Turkey for no other reason than their faith, as well as the inability of Christians to train their own religious workers.

One major difficulty for Protestant Christians in Turkey is that the Protestant community is not recognized as a legal entity.

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Uncertainty in a Bleak Moment

by Amir Taheri  •  March 29, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Uncertainty may also be affecting politics in Iran, where the "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei may have slowed down his bid for exclusive hold on power, in the hope that Hassan Rouhani, the hapless president, will end up carrying the can for the disaster caused by the pandemic.

  • On positive note, the pandemic may have slowed down India's tragic rush towards a major Hindu-Muslim civil war that threatened to tear its democracy apart.

  • If the best we hoped for a few months ago didn't happen, there is no reason why the worst that we now fear may come to pass. The beauty of uncertainty is that it works both ways.

(Image source: iStock)

Regardless of its denouement, the current coronavirus crisis may end up affecting the authority of the political, economic, media and scientific elites who shape world public opinion. The function of the elites, and their claim to legitimacy, has been linked to their ability to create certainty, in defiance of all and sundry Cassandras.

However, the current crisis, which struck like thunder out of the blue, has reasserted the evanescence, even the uncertainty, of human affairs. Just a few weeks ago the received wisdom was that stock exchanges will continue to move upwards while US President Donald J. Trump would sail to a second term and the post-Brexit European Union would settle for a period of anemic growth on the edge of recession. Globally, the elites peddled the certainty of business as usual.

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The West Needs to Wake Up to China's Duplicity

by Giulio Meotti  •  March 28, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • In an article in Xinhua, one of the Chinese Communist Party's mouthpieces, Beijing threatened to halt pharmaceutical exports, after which America would be "plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus... — Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health, Council on Foreign Relations, Twitter, March 4, 2020.

  • China's leaders are probably hoping that you cannot challenge a powerhouse that is selling you most of your vital medications.

  • "Hidden behind declarations of solidarity, China plans to buy out our troubled companies and infrastructure" — Bild, March 19, 2020.

  • Italy, a country hit hard by China's coronavirus pandemic, is now at the center of a strategic Chinese propaganda campaign. Beijing has sent doctors and supplies to Italy and is doing the same all over Europe. In Italy you can see posters saying, "Go, China!" China is trying to buy our silence and complicity. Sadly, that is already taking place.

  • China is not helping at this point out of "solidarity". The Chinese regime is now seeking to portray itself as the world's savior. Beijing, at the beginning of the pandemic, did not care about the lives of even its own people: it was busy censoring the news.

  • "The West is so tolerant, passive, accommodating and naive towards Beijing. Westerners... are seduced like an old man in front of a young girl.... Europe shows all its weakness. It does not realize that the Chinese offensive threatens its freedom and values". — Liao Yiwu, Chinese writer exiled in Berlin, Le Point International, April 6, 2019.

China is waging a double information war: one abroad and one for its own public, both led by the Chinese authorities with President Xi Jinping at its head. They apparently see the West as weak and submissive. We have been. (Photo by Naohiko Hatta - Pool/Getty Images)

The Chinese Communist Party is the "central threat of our times", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo astutely said in January. Back then, coronavirus was already spreading throughout China and over the world; the Communist Party's attempt to hide the epidemic proved that Pompeo was more than right. "My concern is that this cover-up, this disinformation that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in, is still denying the world the information it needs so that we can prevent further cases or something like this from recurring again", Pompeo added this week.

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Coronavirus: The European Union Unravels

by Soeren Kern  •  March 27, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Faced with an existential threat, EU member states, far from joining together to confront the pandemic as a unified bloc, instinctively are returning to pursuing the national interest. After years of criticizing U.S. President Donald J. Trump for pushing an "America First" policy, European leaders are reverting to the very nationalism they have publicly claimed to despise.

  • Ever since the threat posed by coronavirus came into focus, Europeans have displayed precious little of the high-minded multilateral solidarity that for decades has been sold to the rest of the world as a bedrock of European unity. The EU's unique brand of soft power, said to be a model for a post-national world order, has been shown to be an empty fiction.

  • In recent weeks, EU member states have closed their borders, banned exports of critical supplies and withheld humanitarian aid. The European Central Bank, the guarantor of the European single currency, has treated with unparalleled disdain the eurozone's third-largest economy, Italy, in its singular hour of need. The member states worst affected by the pandemic — Italy and Spain — have been left by the other member states to fend for themselves.

  • The European Union, seven decades in the making, is now unravelling in real time — in weeks.

In recent weeks, EU member states have closed their borders, banned exports of critical supplies and withheld humanitarian aid. Pictured: Trucks are backed up on the road leading to the Austrian-Hungarian border crossing near Nickelsdorf, Austria on March 18, 2020. (Photo by Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images)

As the coronavirus pandemic rages through Europe — where more than 250,000 people have now been diagnosed with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 15,000 have died — the foundational pillars of the European Union are crumbling one by one.

Faced with an existential threat, EU member states, far from joining together to confront the pandemic as a unified bloc, instinctively are returning to pursuing the national interest. After years of criticizing U.S. President Donald J. Trump for pushing an "America First" policy, European leaders are reverting to the very nationalism they have publicly claimed to despise.

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Britain Needs to Rethink Its Huawei Decision after China's Conduct over Coronavirus

by Con Coughlin  •  March 26, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "China is trying to turn its health crisis into a geopolitical opportunity. It is launching a soft power campaign aimed at filling the vacuum left by the United States." — Yu Jie, a senior research fellow at London's Chatham House

  • China's cynical attempts to use the coronavirus pandemic to its own advantage are not just deeply unethical: they should be taken as a warning that Beijing is not to be trusted, a lesson the West should take on board as it contemplates its future relationship with the Chinese, on trade and other issues such a 5G.

  • In Britain, for example, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision earlier this year to allow Huawei access to the country's new 5G network was taken despite the fact that the country's security services have long-regarded Huawei as a "high-risk vendor".

  • Mr Johnson's decision in favour of Huawei continuing its involvement in constructing the 5G network is said to have been influenced by threats from Beijing that Britain's vital trading relationship with China would be adversely affected if Huawei was excluded.

China's cynical attempts to use the coronavirus pandemic to its own advantage should be taken as a warning that Beijing is not to be trusted, a lesson the West should take on board as it contemplates its future relationship with the Chinese, on trade and other issues such a 5G. (Photo by Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

China's shameful attempt to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to further its own global ambitions should be seen as yet further evidence of the mounting threat Beijing poses to the West.

The blatant hypocrisy of China's attempts to use the pandemic for its own ends should persuade countries such as Britain to undertake a fundamental reappraisal of their relationship with Beijing, especially when it comes to sensitive technological issues, such as allowing the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei access to the 5G network.

Far from being embarrassed that the rank incompetence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in dealing with the initial outbreak has resulted in the world suffering its worst public health crisis in a century, Beijing has instead embarked on a charm offensive aimed at providing support for affected countries.

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Germany: "Hate-Postings Day"

by Judith Bergman  •  March 26, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • The Federal Police asked the German public to become informants and notify them about online hate speech....

  • In view of what Germany faces on the terrorism front, it seems an odd priority for the Federal Police to be hunting down online thought crimes in two nationwide "Action Days against Hate Postings" in one year alone....

  • In between online thought crimes and terrorists, the German police would seem to have their work cut out.

(Image source: iStock)

In Germany, police recently completed their fifth nationwide "Action Day against Hate Postings".

German authorities initiated the action day more than three years ago; since then, it has been held once a year. According to the Federal Police, the number of recorded cases of hate crime linked to the internet has actually fallen -- from 2,458 cases in 2017 to 1,962 in 2018.

Despite the decrease in cases, German authorities nevertheless decided to have not just one, but two action days this year. The first took place on June 6, when German authorities launched coordinated police raids in 13 federal states against suspects who had allegedly posted hate speech online. In a total of 38 cases, homes were searched and suspects interrogated, the Federal Criminal Police Office reported.

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