FROM Daniel Bell
Olympics and Politics Seven years ago, the secretary general of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee said this summer's games would "not only promote our economy but also enhance all social conditions, including education, health and human rights." But, just four days before the Games will get underway, China's accused of breaking its promises to clean the air, relax controls on political dissidents and open up to the western media. One sports historian says nobody should have believed China's promises in the first place. But are the Olympics a sure path from despotism to democracy? We look at what Beijing does not want us to see, as well as what's on display, including architecture that rivals the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
Political Aftershocks of the Earthquake in China Three days of mourning are over and the Olympic torch relay has resumed, but the earthquake aftermath will trouble China for years to come. More than 51,000 have died and 29,000 are missing. Five million are homeless and 300,000 are injured. Officials in Beijing say hundreds of dams have been damaged, and that landslides have created 30 new lakes behind fragile mud flows. The UN has praised China for unprecedented openness since the quake struck a week and a half ago, but a return to restrictions on news coverage seems to be under way. We update the damage and the risks to come. Can an authoritarian government survive the free flow of information?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.