BRUSSELS – Both US President Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the Republican party’s putative nominee to succeed him, have criticized European members of NATO in recent months for failing to fulfill their defense-spending commitments. They have a point.
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – Every day, millions of people across the developed and developing world inch through gridlock or squeeze into packed subway cars to get to and from work. And that is likely to be only one of many frequent – if not daily – confrontations with infrastructure systems that are bursting at the seams. In advanced and emerging economies alike, roads and bridges need repair, water systems are aging or inadequate, and power grids are overburdened, leading to blackouts.
LONDON – In the last week of May, at least 1,050 migrants and asylum-seekers died in the Mediterranean Sea, victims of the international community’s unwillingness to address the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people. More than 2,800 migrants have died at sea so far this year – up nearly 40% from the same period in 2015. Almost all of those deaths could have been prevented. With every life that is extinguished, we are losing a bit of our humanity.
MOSCOW – It is difficult to overstate the importance of the oil industry to the Russian economy. Globally, Russia is competitive in defense products, space launches, nuclear power, mineral resources, and information technology. But none of these industries compares to oil and gas exports. To the average Russian, the country’s economy seems to be structured around exchanging barrels of oil for cars and smartphones. The trouble, of course, is that as oil prices have plunged, those barrels buy ever fewer imports.
CAMBRIDGE – We seem to be living in an accelerated age of revolutionary technological breakthroughs. Barely a day passes without the announcement of some major new development in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, digitization, or automation. Yet those who are supposed to know where it is all taking us can’t make up their minds.