ZINIO logo
The Economist

The Economist January 4, 2020

Add to favorites

Get The Economist digital magazine subscription today and explore domestic and international issues, business, finance, current affairs, science, technology and the arts.

Read More
United States
The Economist Newspaper Limited
51 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
the world this week

After an Iranian-backed militia allegedly attacked an Iraqi army base and killed an American contractor, America bombed the militia’s bases in Iraq and Syria. The militia’s supporters then staged violent protests outside the American embassy in Baghdad. The Iraqi authorities, who had dispersed recent anti-government protests with lethal force, stood by and let the anti-American rioters enter the compound. Donald Trump blamed Iran for organising the mêlée. The Pentagon deployed an extra 750 troops to the region. In Somalia America carried out air strikes against al-Shabaab jihadists suspected of planting a car bomb on the outskirts of Mogadishu that killed at least 80 people. A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced five men to death for murdering Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The closed trial concluded that the…

5 min.
poles apart

ON JANUARY 15TH, after three years of a bitter trade war, America and China are due to sign a “phase one” deal that trims tariffs and obliges China to buy more from American farmers. Don’t be fooled. This modest accord cannot disguise how the world’s most important relationship is at its most perilous juncture since before Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong re-established links five decades ago. The threat to the West from China’s high-tech authoritarianism has become all too clear. Everything from its pioneering artificial-intelligence firms to its gulags in Xinjiang spread alarm across the world. Just as visible is America’s incoherent response, which veers between demanding that the Chinese government buy Iowan soyabeans and insisting it must abandon its state-led economic model. The two sides used to think they could…

3 min.
fled to the med

THE LAST time there was an international fugitive from justice called Carlos lying low in Lebanon was in 1975, when Carlos the Jackal hid in Beirut. Today the man on the run is not a terrorist but a celebrity executive known for fanatical cost-cutting. On December 31st Carlos Ghosn, the former boss of Renault-Nissan, who was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on charges of financial misconduct, jumped bail and fled to Lebanon. He grew up there and it has no extradition arrangements with Japan. Mr Ghosn says he is a victim of “injustice and political persecution” by Japan’s legal system. Japan’s prosecutors, meanwhile, view him as a crook evading justice. In fact, this is far from being a simple morality tale. Each of the three main parties in the…

4 min.

AFTER NEARLY coming to blows in 2019, America and Iran celebrated the new year in fitting style: with prophecies of war. The escalation began on December 27th, when dozens of missiles, allegedly fired by an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq called Kataib Hizbullah, struck an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk, killing an American contractor and wounding American and Iraqi soldiers. Two days later America responded, over objections from the Iraqi government, with air strikes on Iraqi soil that killed at least 25 militia members and wounded over 50. After thousands of militiamen and protesters then attacked the American embassy in Baghdad, President Donald Trump said Iran would be held responsible. “They will pay a very BIG PRICE!” tweeted Mr Trump. “This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New…

4 min.
a year of governing dangerously

WHEN JAIR BOLSONARO took office as Brazil’s president on January 1st 2019, many observers feared the worst. The former army captain had made his name by extolling the military dictators who ruled from 1964 to 1985 and by disparaging women and gays. He won the election because voters were traumatised by the country’s worst-ever recession, from 2014 to 2016, by crime and by revelations of corruption at the highest levels of politics and business. They hoped that Mr Bolsonaro would restore prosperity, peace and probity to Brazil. After his first year in office they have some of what they wanted. The economy has improved, and violent crime has fallen. Yet Mr Bolsonaro has not put to rest the doubts raised by his unlikely rise to power. The provocateur has not become…

3 min.
how to reduce rape

SEXUAL VIOLENCE is less common today than it was in earlier generations. But even in rich, peaceful democracies it is both widespread and distressingly easy to get away with. A fifth of American women will be raped at some point, by one estimate. Yet only a quarter of victims report it. Most stay silent despite the lifelong damage that rape can inflict and the desire to lock up a predator and deter others. They do so partly because the odds are stacked against them. In England and Wales in the 12 months to March 2019 only 1.5% of reported rapes ended in a criminal charge. With so little prospect of justice, many women are reluctant to undergo the ordeal of reporting an attack to the police. Many people think women often…