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Polarization and centrism: Finding a new mean

In his Op-Ed, Paul Ostwald argues that the US and German political culture suffered from opposite evils: While polarization threatened to rip apart the US, an excessive centrism paralysed Germany. But while there is little movement in the US, Germany might have found a way out of the impasse. 

Exactly ten years ago, Angela Merkel’s Conservatives adopted a new “Grundsatzprogramm” that set out the party’s take on the coming twenty years. In it, Merkel claimed the political middle ground for her party, telling her cheering followers that, “here is the political centre, and that’s where we will be in the years to come”.

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Lebanon and foreign interference – is there hope for a way out?

by Constantin Wiegand

Saudi Arabia’s regional standoff with Iran escalated last Saturday, as Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri unexpectedly resigned. He did so in a televised broadcast from Saudi Arabia, blaming Iran and Hezbollah for his decision and alluding that his life was in danger. His resignation ended a political deal that had led to the election of Michel Aoun as president after more than two years of a political vacuum in Lebanon.

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“Most of us identify ​as Taiwanese, not Chinese”

Fei-fan Lin started the Sunflower Movement in 2014, a student protest against China’s increasing pressure on Taiwan. Lin, who today studies at the London School of Economics, and his movement were successful: they prevented a bill that would have given China more economic influence over Taiwan. Today five of the protesters are members of  Congress. The issue of Taiwan’s future, however, is all but resolved.

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Germany should seriously consider an Islamic national holiday

In his Op-Ed, Save Liberal Democracy Founder Alexander Görlach argues that introducing an Islamic national holiday could be a sensible step towards more integration. It would also be a potent symbol of Germany’s liberal democracy, he argues. 

The proposal came at an inopportune moment: Germany’s Conservative Secretary of the Interior Thomas de Maizière suggested introducing an Islamic public holiday. And indeed, it horrified his Conservative party colleagues. The party of incumbent Chancellor Merkel had suffered a major setback in the national election, primarily because of its migration policy. There was much talk of a political shift to the right. The extreme right-wing party, AfD, had gained 13% of the overall vote. In some constituencies, it managed to win up to 30% of the electorate. Especially in the eastern parts of the country.

Political Islam must return to its liberal roots

In his Op-Ed, Dinmukhamed Rakysh argues that the narrative of Islamic politics is deeply ingrained in Egyptian history and will be a source of tension until its narrative can be rewritten to accommodate liberal values. But it already missed its historical opportunity in Egypt. 

A few months ago, the decision was made to award the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights to Mohamed Zaree. Zaree is an Egyptian citizen who works at the renowned Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. However, there was one problem with the award ceremony earlier this week. He has been barred from leaving the country on account  of investigations for ‘using funds to destabilize Egyptian interests.’

 

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“We need to foster a politically active generation in both Russia and the US”

Vitali Shkliarov advised the campaign of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 US Democratic Party primaries, now he’s supporting first-time candidates campaign in Moscow’s local council elections. At the forefront of Russia’s growing oppositional movement, he’s not only made himself friends. 

Save Liberal Democracy: You worked with Bernie Sanders in the last US-presidential election campaign. Why did Trump end up winning, despite the enthusiastic campaign of Bernie Sanders in the democratic primaries?

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„The marketing of liberal institutions is missing“

Sercan Çelebi is a consultant and a co-founder of Oy Ve Ötesi (Vote and Beyond) Foundation, which has since 2014 trained more than 170.000 volunteers around Turkey to monitor elections. He is an alumni of Yale University.

 

SLD: What is the situation like in Turkey these days? Hundreds of thousands of participants marched in the “March of Justice” to protest Mr Erdogan’s regime. Did this change anything in the slightest?

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Why Free Speech Failed in Charlottesville

by Timothy Lam

The US conception of free speech knows almost no boundaries. Charlottesville, argues Timothy Lam, shows how extreme forces misuse these liberties to silence others. And to change that, the US should learn from the German experience. 

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Why Brits should fear the ‘Norway Model’, and need it

Jakob Schram is a Norwegian student of International Relations. He is engaged in JEF Norway (Europeisk Ungdom), a youth NGO working to raise EU debates on the Norwegian agenda. Having previously studied at Oxford University, he is currently finishing a BA at the University of Oslo. 

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