16 April 2017   Leave a comment

Turkish voters have apparently approved a referendum to give the President vast new powers under the constitution.  According to reports, 51.5% of voters approved the measure which give the president the right to “appoint the cabinet and an undefined number of vice-presidents, and be able to select and remove senior civil servants without parliamentary approval.”  The changes will not become effective until 2019, but opponents fear that the changes will create a highly authoritarian regime.  Erdogan has become increasingly authoritarian over the years and single-party rule is not out of the question.  The changes will also make it more difficult for the European Union to allow Turkey to join the union.

 has written a very good essay on the challenges of globalization to education.  The topic is often mentioned, but rarely analyzed closely.  Chtatou frames the issues in terms of tradeoffs, an approach that is often misleading, since there are usually a variety of ways to think about things.  But the tradeoffs pose the issues in a debate framework which is a good approach for a discussion .  His tradeoffs are as follows:

  • “The tension between the global and the local: people need gradually to become world citizens without losing their roots and while continuing to play an active part in the life of their nation and their local community”;
  • “The tension between the universal and the individual: culture is steadily being globalized, but as yet only partially. We cannot ignore the promises of globalization nor its risks, not the least of which is the risk of forgetting the unique character of human beings, it is for them to choose their own future and achieve their full potential within the carefully tended wealth of their traditions and their own cultures which unless we are careful, can be endangered by contemporary developments”;
  • The tension between tradition and modernity: how is it to adapt to change without turning one’s back on the past, how can autonomy be acquired in a complementary fashion with the free development of others and how can scientific progress be assimilated? This is the spirit in which the challenges of the new information technologies must be met”.

The need to preserve culture in the face of the homogenizing influences of globalization is one of the most serious challenges we face.  Without cultural identity, we all become rootless.

The world was expecting some sort of North Korean challenge to US President Trump’s rhetoric about “solving” the North Korean nuclear program.  There was a missile test, but it failed.  Missile tests are not unusual since the technology is complex.  But there are also suspicions that the missile failure may have been caused by US hacking into the North Korean program.  We do know that former President Obama had ordered a significant boost to such activities during his terms, but it is impossible to know how effective it may have been (and the US will never admit that it had any role at all).  But the mere fact that North Korea attempted the launch indicates that it intends to test Mr. Trump.  So it is highly likely that other tests, of missiles or bombs, will be forthcoming.

Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un waves from a balcony during a parade for the 'Day of the Sun'


Posted April 16, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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