by Mana Afsari
Tuesday, 23
May 2023

UN calls out intimidation of gender-critical feminists

A human rights adviser has expressed concern about the Global North

Women who discuss sex and gender identity in the “Global North” face smear campaigns, physical abuse and legal harassment, said the UN Human Rights Office in a May 22nd press release.

Reem Alsalem, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, warned of “the shrinking space” in Western countries for women and feminist organisations “to gather and/or express themselves peacefully in demanding respect for their needs based on their sex and/or sexual orientation.

“I am disturbed by the frequent tactic of smear campaigns against women, girls and their allies on the basis of their beliefs on non-discrimination based on sex and same-sex relations,” said Alsalem, one of the UN’s women’s rights monitors. “Branding them as ‘Nazis’, ‘genocidaires’ or ‘extremists’ is a means of attack and intimidation with the purpose of deterring women from speaking and expressing their views.” ...  Continue reading

by Philip Pilkington
Tuesday, 23
May 2023

America is losing the semiconductor battle to China

Beijing's Micron ban shows that other countries want no part of the US trade war

The trade war continues to heat up, and now the boundaries are starting to be defined. On Sunday, the Chinese government announced that semiconductors from the American company Micron would be banned among operators of “critical infrastructure” in China. The ban could arguably have been worse — Beijing could have banned imports of the chips altogether — but the American company will still feel the pinch, given that it derives around 16% of its revenue from China and Hong Kong.

Shortly after the announcement, South Korea signalled that it would not do anything to prevent the Chinese buying chips from their companies as a substitute. Last month, the White House asked Seoul to prevent the American chips from being substituted, but South Korea shrugged it off, insisting that it was a matter for their companies to decide. Even if they wanted to, imposing such a ban would be difficult, with one industry leader pointing out to the Financial Times that “even if we increase our supply to Chinese customers, how can they examine all these deals individually and judge that the increased volume comes from us, replacing Micron’s?” ...  Continue reading

by James Billot
Monday, 22
May 2023

Majority of Americans don’t trust the FBI

A new poll finds that voters believe the agency requires wide-ranging reform

A substantial majority of voters are concerned about FBI interference in a future presidential election, with a similar number saying the agency needs wide-ranging reform. 

According to a new poll by Harvard CAPS-Harris, 70% of respondents said that they were either very or somewhat concerned about interference by the FBI and other intelligence agencies in elections. Further, 71% agreed that changes post-2016 had not done enough to prevent further interference and that “wide-ranging” reform was still required.

Credit: Harvard CAPS-Harris

These results arrive on the heels of the Durham Report, which found that the FBI’s justification for launching the Trump-Russia probe, known as “Russiagate”, in 2016 was “seriously flawed”. John Durham, who led the investigation, wrote that the FBI relied on “raw, unanalyzed and uncorroborated intelligence” when it applied for electronic surveillance search warrants against Trump campaign aides, and chased a politically explosive inquiry that was based on flimsy suspicions about the then Republican candidate. ...  Continue reading

by UnHerd Staff
Monday, 22
May 2023

Top French diplomat: the ‘Western moment’ is over

Gérard Araud says that we have entered a multipolar world

The “Western moment is over” and the world is becoming increasingly multipolar, according to one of France’s most senior former diplomats. Gérard Araud, ambassador to Washington until 2019, spoke to UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers, and pointed to an ever-more unstable global dynamic, in which the US is no longer capable of ensuring peace.

On the “new world order”:

“After 1945, the world was dominated by two superpowers, the US and the USSR […] After the collapse of the communist bloc, there was only one superpower. It was what I call the ‘Western moment’, when the United States was dominating this order. Now it’s over, not because of the decline of the US or the decline of the West, but because of rebalancing. China is back; India and Russia are defending their own interests; and the West has to adjust to this new reality.” ...  Continue reading

by Mary Harrington
Monday, 22
May 2023

Anti-culture protestors vandalise the Trevi Fountain

The target of their rage is no coincidence

It gives me no pleasure to report that the climate protestors are at it again. After Just Stop Oil threw soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and glued themselves to Constable’s Hay Wain, a related group is following their lead and vandalising artistic monuments.

This time it’s Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain: an 18th-century Baroque landmark and one of the most famous fountains in the world. An Italian offshoot of Just Stop Oil, Ultima Generazione (Last Generation), poured diluted charcoal into the water, blackening it and prompting angry backlash from authorities about the absurdity of an environmental “protest” that will necessitate the further wastage of thousands of litres of water to clean the fountain. ...  Continue reading

by Peter Franklin
Monday, 22
May 2023

How Right-wing is too Right-wing for Western leaders?

Joe Biden has been criticised for holding hands with Giorgia Meloni

When Donald Trump was still President and Theresa May still Prime Minister they were photographed holding hands. More than once, in fact.

May’s critics seized upon the images as a way of linking Brexit to Trump. What more proof could there be that these abominations went hand-in-hand? 

Five years on, we find ourselves gazing upon another touching scene. This time it’s Joe Biden holding hands with Italy’s Giorgia Meloni at the G7 summit in Japan. Compared to Trump and May, the body language is less awkward — indeed, they seem very happy in one another’s company.

But what will Biden’s liberal supporters make of that? Meloni, after all, is the first Right-wing populist to become the leader of a Western European country since the Second World War. Her party, the Brothers of Italy, has a convoluted history, but it can be fairly described as the successor to the Italian Social Movement (MSI), which was founded by supporters of Benito Mussolini in 1946. ...  Continue reading

by Lucas Webber
Monday, 22
May 2023

The fall of Bakhmut has major implications for Ukraine

There are fears that Russian troops will make further territorial gains

At noon Ukrainian time yesterday, and exactly one year since Russia captured the coastal city of Mariupol, Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin declared victory in the battle for Bakhmut in a boastful video statement. Kyiv has denied the claim, but most signs indicate that the city is now under Russian occupation. This is a significant, though costly, political and military win for the Kremlin, prevailing in the most intense conventional battle in recent European history. It is also a propaganda victory for the infamous Wagner Group, as the parastate organisation spearheaded a months-long campaign against a large, capable, and determined Ukrainian resistance.

Prigozhin stated that his Wagner Group fighters will be rotating out on May 25 and handing responsibilities for defending the city over to the Russian Ministry of Defence, since his personnel need to rest and refit after the gruelling 224-day battle. He proceeded to note that “when our country, our people, our families need us again, we will come back and defend our people, if necessary.” Notably, Prigozhin thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin, General Surovikin and General Mezentsev, while taking parting shots at Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

Over the next few days, it is likely that Russian forces will push to establish a secure buffer zone around Bakhmut, just as they did after taking Severodonetsk and Lysychansk last year. There are already reports that neighbouring Khromove is in the crosshairs and that Russian forces have their eyes on Ivanivske. In congratulating Wagner, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, encouraged continued advances, saying, “we need to go further and at the same time rebuild the settlements of the DPR.” Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia, similarly tweeted about how his country’s military will take “many more” Ukrainian cities in the future.

The fall of Bakhmut could have considerable implications for the front given the interconnected nature of Ukraine’s current line of defence, with the next one being more open. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in spite of pressure from allies to withdraw from Bakhmut months ago, warned in March that Russian troops would have “open road” to advance to Kramatorsk and Slavyansk if the city were taken. Capturing Bakhmut was also a prerequisite for Russia’s campaign to take the Donbas — one of the chief objectives put forth at the onset of the invasion. Moreover, freed up Russian capacity may be used to bolster offensive pressure in other areas such as Avdiivka and Siversk.

Still, the news is not all bad for Ukraine given recent local operations that have eaten into Russia’s flanks either side of Bakhmut. Kyiv also says it is preparing a large counter-offensive possibly designed to cut into Russia’s land bridge to Crimea, and perhaps to try and make gains in other directions. What’s more, given Ukraine’s proven ability to roll back Russian occupied territory, it’s certainly conceivable that there could be a second battle for Bakhmut. This could be during the coming offensive, or further down the line.
 ...  Continue reading

by Rob Lownie
Sunday, 21
May 2023

Martin Amis was the last great literary cynic

The author has been succeeded by a far more sincere generation

“If the voice doesn’t work,” Martin Amis told the Paris Review in 1998, “you’re screwed.” It’s just as well for the novelist, who has died at the age of 73, that his literary voice did work, so much so that plot, characterisation and moral instruction were all subsumed by the irony and wordplay which guided the reader through his novels.

The obituaries so far have focused on his status as the flagbearer of a dying breed of literary personality. He was an enfant terrible; he was a literary rock star; he was the book world’s answer to Mick Jagger. And so on. Yet the disproportionate fascination with Amis’s love life and famous friendships obscures his satirical gift: he was the Evelyn Waugh of his own consumerist age, and his brand of literary cynicism is at risk of dying with him.   ...  Continue reading