The World Cup in Brazil is able to fascinate hundreds of millions of people, despite all facts and rumors on corruption, old men networks, irresponsible labor conditions in Qatar (host of the 2022 World Cup) and authoritarian and aggressive streaks in Russian politics (the site in 2018). The game is easy to grasp (“the round one has to be moved into the square one”), and easy to play. It mobilizes collective emotions second to no other global game, despite the fact that two of the biggest countries are still hesitant to get into it (India), or are not very successful so far (China), while the U.S. is apparently catching up quickly. Is the current World Cup worth being debated in terms of IR? Or are we, the experts, secretly sitting in front of our screens, or anonymously in the crowds of public viewing, hoping to get away with it incognito?
We are watching the establishment of the first caliphate in recent times: ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). This is possibly the most distant political entity in comparison with liberal and secular societies.
The local people who didn’t or couldn’t flee are subject to harsh rituals of a strict Sharia. As a footnote, the rise of ISIS demonstrates the failure of the US led invasion of Iraq after 2001, as well the unapt policies of the Iraqi prime minster Maliki. Also, it amply demonstrates the second failed state in the same region, next to Syria. Given the volatile situation in the whole area – Afganistan, Pakistan, possibly Saudi Arabia – this urgent question arises.
(United Nations Photo/Flickr/Creative Commons)
As the host country for the United Nations, the United States have obliged themselves to act impartially. Now the White House has denied a visa to Iran’s chosen ambassador to the UN because he was part of the Muslim student group that seized the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.