The Korbel Report’s Weekly Link Roundup

The staff of The Korbel Report spends its fair share of time on the internet staying up-to-date on a wide range of international news and trends.  Here’s a list of the articles, blog posts, and resources we found interesting, enlightening, or infuriating this week.

The Shakespearean “To intervene, or not to intervene?” question in response to Syrian use of chemical weapons was hotly debated this week, and several articles on the matter piqued our interest:

  • “Bombing Syria: War as Therapy” by Brendan O’Neill at Spiked
    O’Neill questions whether upholding international norms on use of chemical weapons, with a missile strike out of “moral obligation,” is legitimate or appropriate.
  • “The Legal Consequences of Illegal Wars” by David Kaye at Foreign Affairs
    Absent UN Security Council approval for use of force, what is the legal fallout for the United States in the case of military action in Syria?  This explores the legal basis for international military intervention, and why the United States is unlikely to meet bases without some logical acrobatics.
  • “Syria: One More Reason for a Return of Grand Strategy” from Information Dissemination
    This article explores the strategic and logistical side of military intervention, with plea fora return to more long-term military strategy and planning.
  • “Two Minds on Syria” by George Packer at The New Yorker
    This article, with a few NSFW words peppered throughout, presents the conversation that many are having in reaction to the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria.  Not all perspectives or arguments are represented in the piece, but it raises some thought-provoking points nonetheless.

The world considered issues and stories outside of the Syrian conflict as well:

  • “Don’t Count on China’s Central Bank to Bail Out its Banks” by Gwynn Guildford at Quartz
    How useful is China’s war chest of currency reserves in staving off an economic calamity? Quartz’s Gwynn Guilford finds it less useful than we might have expected.
  • “Fukuyama On Democratization in Eastern Europe” from Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty
    Whether you agree with Fukuyama’s liberal institutionalist viewpoint or not, he raises some salient points on the rocky transitions to democracy in Eastern Europe, with specific emphasis on Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
  • “Live Q&A: Water in Agriculture” 5 September, 1-3pm BST (8-11am EDT) with The Guardian
    This short article is a placeholder and discussion starter for the live conversation to take place on 5 September. The Korbel Report will join in the discussion in the comments section, and by using hashtag #globaldevlive on Twitter. We hope you’ll join in the discussion!
  • “Zhou Yongkang, Former Security Tsar Linked to Bo Xilai, Faces Corruption Probe” from The South China Morning Post
    Zhou is blamed by many activists as being one of the key officials, if not the official, responsible for human rights abuses in the post-2000 era. This is the first investigation of a Standing Committee official since the end of the Cultural Revolution and signals a further intensification of Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption.


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