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Crash with Chinese characteristics

‘The fundamentals of the Chinese economy have not changed, economic growth is still within a reasonable range, and positive factors supporting the real economy are increasing.’

Premier Li Keqiang, speaking on 25 August 2015, attempts to allay concerns over the ongoing Chinese stock-market crash.1

10.05 billion

Singapore’s GDP (in Singapore dollars) in 1965, the year it gained independence from Malaysia

380.56 billion

Singapore’s GDP in 20142

A Romeo y Julieta story

‘The genie is out of the bottle. And once it’s out, you’re not going to be able to put it back in.’

Former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray Treto reflects on the reopening of the US embassy in Havana on 20 July 2015.3

‘Cuba’s dissidents have fought for decades for the very democratic principles President Obama claims to be advancing through these concessions. Their exclusion from this event has ensured it will be little more than a propaganda rally for the Castro regime.’

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, criticises the decision not to invite Cuban dissidents to the ceremony marking the embassy’s reopening.4

Not funny any more

‘If Trump is nominated, then everything we think we know about presidential nominations is wrong.’

Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, discusses the candidacy of prospective Republican presidential nominee and billionaire businessman Donald Trump.5

‘Do you think when you’re president you’ll be paid as much as if it were a man?’

A young girl asks prospective Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton a question at a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, NV, on 18 August 2015.6

Chilling effect

‘Rubén’s murder is a clear message to all journalists: there is nowhere safe to go in Mexico – impunity reigns.’

Felix Márquez comments on the murder of his colleague, Mexican investigative photojournalist Rubén Espinosa, found dead in a Mexico City apartment along with four women on 31 July 2015.7

‘We can stay and let this turn us all into kamikaze journalists.’

Following Espinosa’s murder, fellow reporter Pedro Canche discusses the danger he and his colleagues face from organised criminal groups if they stay in Mexico.8

Energy bill

‘They could actually end up harming the environment by outsourcing energy production to countries with poor environmental records like India and China. I will do everything I can to stop it.’

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican, condemns US President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at reducing the country’s carbon emissions significantly by 2030.9

‘In 1990, when Republican President George H.W. Bush decided to do something about acid rains, [they] said electricity bills would go up, lights would go off. It didn’t happen.’

President Obama, in a speech on 3 August 2015, accuses Republican critics of scaremongering.10

4.5 million

Native population of Lebanon as of 9 July 2015

1.2 million

Syrian refugee population of Lebanon11

Pyrrhic victory

‘In Europe, things are difficult sometimes, they are critical. But outside Europe is the catastrophe. So we have to choose between catastrophe and difficult.’

Greek poet Titos Patrikios, 87, explains his decision to vote ‘Yes’ in the Greek referendum held on 5 July 2015.12

‘I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.’

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis announces his resignation in a 6 July 2015 blog post.13

‘A currency union in which one partner says “I don’t care, I won’t do anything and I won’t stick to anything which has been agreed” cannot work.’

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble expresses scepticism about any potential new bailout deal with Greece during a speech to parliament on 8 July 2015.14

‘I am fully assuming my responsibilities, for mistakes and for oversights, and for the responsibility of signing a text that I do not believe in, but that I am obliged to implement.’

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gives a televised address on 14 July following the agreement of a new bailout deal with the country’s creditors.15

Inherit the past

‘We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize. Still, even so, we Japanese, across generations, must squarely face the history of the past. We have the responsibility to inherit the past, in all humbleness, and pass it on to the future.’

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reflects on the atrocities committed by Japanese troops during the Second World War, in a speech marking the 70th anniversary of the country’s surrender to allied forces.16


1 James T. Areddy and Lingling Wei, ‘The World Struggles to Adjust to China’s “New Normal”’, Wall Street Journal, 25 August 2015,

2 Tynan DeBold, Rosa de Acosta, Marc Lajoie and Jake Maxwell Watts, ‘Singapore Celebrates 50 Years of Independence’, Wall Street Journal, 7 August 2015,

3 Azam Ahmed and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, ‘U.S. and Cuba Reopen Long-Closed Embassies’, New York Times, 20 July 2015,

4 Elise Labott, ‘John Kerry Reopens Embassy in Cuba, but Tensions Remain’, CNN, 14 August 2015,

5 Tom McCarthy, ‘Here’s Why Donald Trump Won’t Win the Republican Presidential Nomination’, Guardian, 22 August 2015,

6 ‘Girl Asks Hillary Clinton: “As president, will you earn the same as a man?”’, Guardian, 21 August 2015,

7 Nina Lakhani, ‘”Journalists are Being Slaughtered” – Mexico’s Problem with Press Freedom’, Guardian, 4 August 2015,

8 Natasha Pizzey-Siegert, ‘Mexico’s Journalists in Fear after Murder of Reporter in “Safe Haven” City’, Telegraph, 10 August 2015,

9 ‘Obama Climate Plan Derided by Republicans, Hailed by Green Groups’, Deutsche Welle, 4 August 2015,

10 Ibid.

11 Nick Cumming-Bruce, ‘Number of Syrian Refugees Climbs to More Than 4 Million’, New York Times, 9 July 2015,

12 Suzanne Daley, ‘Greeks Reject Bailout Terms in Rebuff to European Leaders’, New York Times, 5 July 2015,

13 Yanis Varoufakis, ‘Minister No More!’, 6 July 2015,

14 Alison Smale and Andrew Higgins, ‘Angela Merkel Faces Monumental Test of Leadership After Greek Vote’, New York Times, 6 July 2015,

15 Hazel Sheffield, ‘Greece News: Syriza Spokesperson Accuses Lenders of Lying about Greek Debt Sustainability ahead of Vote on Bailout’, Independent, 15 July 2015,

16 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speech delivered on 14 August 2015,

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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

October-November 2015

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