88

Technically speaking, an oligarch is a member of an oligarchy: a system in which political governance is given to a cadre of wealthy, propertied individuals in society. The archetypal example is the Republic of Venice, which lasted from the 7th century to the 18th, and was ruled by a council of businessmen and aristocrats. We could also look at Athenian ...


79

Everyone realistically spies on everyone else. The US spies on Germany, Germany spies on the US, every marginally powerful country spies on every other marginally powerful country. The fact that two countries are allies merely indicates that most of the time their interests align. But that doesn't mean that their interests always align. To take one ...


78

For many countries, the decision to attend or not is deferred to the national football association. The countries that you mention don't require exit visas, so it would require an exceptional act to prevent the football players from attending the World Cup in Russia. The government can attempt to influence the football association, but it is not a matter ...


67

Part of it is going to be that the region (HK, Singapore, SK?, China) was hit much harder during the 2003 SARS epidemic so spent more time getting prepared. Also, it has long been the expectation that the next epidemic would come out of China, both due to population density and proximity to livestock/wild animals, so those countries could expect another "...


53

Your question is problematic because of the stated and unstated assumptions in it. Russia certainly complains about foreign meddling in their affairs. Various Western governments and government-affilated organizations are supporting civil society in Russia. Democracy activists, civil rights activists, independent journalists, people like that. They complain ...


50

Remember that there are degrees of "spying." What just about everybody does is to have their ambassadors send back confidential evaluations of leaders and policies. What many countries do is to have their diplomats talk to civil society in the host country, and to influence public debate. Some countries have radio intercept stations on their soil. ...


46

In very general terms, the contemporary understanding of freedom of expression is that it should be relatively uninhibited provided that it satisfies two conditions: It does not infringe on other people's rights and liberties. It does not infringe on the necessary conditions for a democratic society to exist. This concept (known as limitation clause) is ...


43

I think these countries are in fact approaching this as a problem that has an obvious solution, as you suggest. The issue lies, however, with convincing their populace to work these seasonal jobs, and the inherent nature of seasonal agricultural work. Firstly, the levels of unemployment are not necessarily going to be as bad as you might think, at least in ...


42

The debate is not unique to the United States, but it may be more vocal there than in some other places. I'm writing from Germany. Here, immigrant groups like the 16th century French Huguenots or the 19th century Poles are fully assimilated, and the Turkish minority were recruited in the 20th century. These Gastarbeiter probably have the best cause for ...


39

It is a bit more complicated. I live in Germany, and StGb §166 (StGb being "Strafgesetzbuch", the penal code) makes insults against religious groups illegal. There is also a paragraph in the constitution that says I enjoy free speech. Since this is at the face of it not compatible with each other, we have courts and judges that, when necessary, ...


38

There is no single conclusive "why" other than the boring and inane "because nobody enacted such laws... Because there is not enough political support compared to opposition for such a thing". However, it's worth looking into the plausible arguments against such a program, of which I can list several: Some people objectively can't work. They are ...


38

The reason that western countries ordered more vaccine than they needed is because, at the time many of these orders were placed, these vaccines were still in various clinical trial phases. It was assumed at the time that many of these vaccines would not work, and so ordering excess was done to ensure that, should one become available, they were able to get ...


34

FIFA has very strong policies against government interference. If a government would pressure its football association to boycott the world cup, the result would be immediate suspension. So not only the decision itself would be unpopular, but it would result in further unpopular consequences (teams not allowed in other country and team international ...


32

Russia does not have free and fair elections; consolidation of power by Putin appears to be very solid. Not only can the Russian government take action against media agencies it doesn't like, the ability of a Western-backed faction to actually do anything is limited - they wouldn't be allowed to win elections, and in the extreme might simply be murdered (qv ...


30

It's difficult to do apples-to-apples comparisons between countries in these matters. Here's an excerpt from a recent CNN article (March 17) contrasting South Korea with Italy and delving into why the comparison (in terms of outcomes) is made difficult by confounding demographics factors: In South Korea, the rate of testing has been quite high (3,692 ...


28

Possibly the most distinct aspect of US racism (and perhaps in a few other nations) is the overarching importance of skin colour over other traits, which is understandable considering its history. In Europe, for example, while skin colour is certainly a major factor, there's also plenty of "white on white" racism both historically and currently, ...


23

There were many preexisting diverging views on international law. The open disagreements about e.g. the NATO intervention in Kosovo don't constitute the main problem, because in such a case the disagreement is made explicit, everyone knows what the differing views are, problems can then be prevented. The main issue are the many cases where Russia believes ...


21

There's no better answer than Thern's, I'm afraid. Some governments have effectively boycotted the 2018 World Cup... by not sending governmental representatives to the official acts. But they haven't done anything to prevent the national teams to compete nevertheless - the only exception being the USA, who boycotted the World Cup by not qualifying. :p ...


21

There are significant efforts to recruit unemployed or underemployed locals for seasonal farm work. In many cases seasonal farm work is actually skilled work, at least if it is to be done quickly and correctly (i.e. pick only the ripe fruit, not all of it). While that can be learned, teaching requires formal or more likely informal instruction. It won't be ...


21

There are indeed a few cases where vaccines were held until close to expiry, and only then donated. Or destroyed, if the logistics didn't work out. But: Many vaccines require a second jab, a few weeks or months later. Delivery schedules have been erratic. So if a health system gets a million doses today, do they use them for a million people or do they hold ...


18

First, let's get some insider information from the man on the ground: I live in Algeria, a North African country. I don't know about the Middle East, but there's no North African islamic government. Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt; none of these are Islamic. Some of these have dealt with problems, some are dealing with problems as I write these ...


17

The day after lockdown measures were implemented in the UK, YouGov conducted a poll of 2788 adults testing whether they supported or opposed the imposition of the measures. They found that 76% of respondents strongly supported the measures, 17% somewhat supported them, and only a combined 4% opposed them in any way. Just over two weeks later, on April 9th, ...


16

Are there oligarchs in Western countries? No. Though it might depend which countries you consider "western" - it is a vague term. A definition of oligarchy is: a small group of people having control of a country or organization. However in relation to "Eastern European" countries, the term is usually applied to countries where the government of the ...


16

Yes, the way the discussion about racism is handled in the USA absolutely is unique. Topics like Whiteness studies, Critical race theory, and corporate diversity trainings all originated in the US. People becoming millionaires from writing books about racism is unthinkable outside of the US. If I tell you of a massive company that changed their codebase to ...


15

Political thinking Current western political thinking tends to be in favour of free market economics and austerity as general principles. from this perspective the following issues arise with job guarantee it is only possible to create so many jobs before either interfering with the free market too much or creating pointless non-jobs Job guarantee schemes ...


14

1. The countries who had most interest in a boycott failed the qualification. England (Skripal affair), Ukraine (East Ukraine split), USA (hostile because of Syrian/Ukraine situation) and the Netherlands (MH 17), they all failed the qualification and were therefore unable to boycott the WM. 2. Sport boycotts don't achieve anything except increasing ...


14

Western powers (or any powers in fact) do not just support a side in war because they like their ideology. War is business. As a person or a party, showing public support for one side in a war can increase your political power, or mean political suicide. And if you bring in military support, you start bleeding money very quickly. Assad has been vilified by ...


14

Except to the extent that "national security interests", immigration policy, or the enforceability of tax laws are involved, a major theme of U.S. law is that the legal standing of a person should not depend on who that person is. This concept is related to the ideas of "equality under the law" and "rule of law". This theme of U.S. law encourages people to ...


12

Because by 1940, the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies became imminent. These colonies were rich in oil, so such an invasion would ruin the energy stability of Europe and the U.S. The Japanese invasion of China started in 1937 and cost about 30 million lives; it was associated with use of chemical weapons, forced labor camps, medical experiments on ...


12

This is debatable, of course, depending what precise definition one attaches to "oligarch". If you consider a stricter one, RedGrittyBrick's answer is essentially correct. On the other hand, Berlusconi has been called "Italy's oligarch". Wikipedia's page on Berlusconi cites a Foreign Policy article titled "Now the Czechs Have an Oligarch Problem, Too" ...


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