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August/September 2018


Cover story



10 Energy

Coal is on the way out in Europe but clings on in Asia

Siân Bradley

New uses for Germany’s abandoned mines

Cristina Belda Font

Why Trump subsidizes yesterday’s fuel Joshua Rhodes

20 Interview Steve Coll, ‘Ghost Wars’ author, on the lessons of America’s Afghan nightmare and a new chance for peace 23 Column Assessing the impact of the globalization backlash Hans Kundnani 24 Surveillance China’s bigger brother Charles Parton The dangers of facial recognition Wendell Wallach 30 Nato Filtering out the noise from Trump’s European tour Amy Pope 32 Europe What a Brexit security treaty needs to cover Nicholas Westcott Travel plans up in the air Kathy Burrell and Matt Badcock 36 Human rights Championing the vulnerable Chanu Peiris 38 The big picture Shrinking glaciers on Svalbard 40 Drug policy Canada legalizes marijuana Celine Cooper 42 Global health The Great War’s greatest killer Laura Spinney 44 Column South Africa’s politics of drought Chris Vandome 45 London Conference 2018 New ideas for liquid times Alan Philps

4 Contributors 5 The world in brief including Jargonbuster, shorts and international events 9 Culture notes Rewriting the social contract Catherine Fieschi 35 Date with history August , : The crushing of the Prague Spring Bernd Debusmann 46 Review Books of  you may have missed How the crooks clean up Alan Wheatley Reading list on coal 50 A week in the life of Marissa Conway, feminist foreign policy advocate

Cover by Sophy Hollington

From the Editor

Viewed from Europe it looks like burning coal to produce electricity is going the way of the steam engine. But as Siân Bradley writes in our cover story, the decline of coal in the West is matched by a rise in use in parts of Asia. Coalexporting countries and those with coal technology to sell are avidly seeking new markets despite the case for renewable sources of energy being uncontestable.

Our interview is with the American journalist Steve Coll (page ) who has spent years forensically picking apart the causes of the United States’ misadventure in Afghanistan. He points an angry finger at Barack Obama who lost faith in a military strategy that was never going to work, but did not dare to repudiate it.

Like it or not, the techniques of facial recognition are going to strengthen police forces all over the world – and police states too. We look (page ) at the contrasting policies of China and the US – the former investing huge sums in what it sees as the guarantee of Communist Party rule, while Washington is conflicted: it wants to nurture US leadership in a technology which is alien to the American ideal of liberty.

Good news is in short supply, but Amy Pope on page looks at how the Nato alliance dodged a bullet during Donald Trump’s visit to Europe. The European Nato members are learning to live with an unreliable ally and to take more responsibility for their defence.

On page we slow the world down for a moment to allow you to catch up on original and intriguing books of the year so far, from the clash of space age egos to how to live without plastic. Alan Philps


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