TIME Iceland

Thousands of Icelanders Have Volunteered to Take Syrian Refugees Into Their Homes

Reykjavik City Before Icleanders Vote On Debt Repayment
Bloomberg/Getty Images Pedestrians pass along a street of brightly painted Icelandic houses in Reykjavik, Iceland, on April 2, 2011

The Icelandic government says it is now looking into increasing its refugee quota

More than 11,000 Icelanders have offered to take Syrian refugees into their homes, after their government said it would accept only 50 people this year.

A Facebook event created Sunday by Icelandic author and professor Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir encouraged members of the public to call on the government to increase its intake of refugees, reports Agence France-Presse.

Messages on the event page offered food, housing, clothes and schooling.

“I’m a single mother with a 6-year-old son,” wrote Hekla Stefansdottir. “We can take a child in need. I’m a teacher and would teach the child to speak, read and write Icelandic and adjust to Icelandic society. We have clothes, a bed, toys and everything a child needs. I would of course pay for the airplane ticket.”

The overwhelming response has led the country’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson to appoint a committee of ministers to discuss the possibility of allowing more refugees into the country, which has a population of about 330,000 residents, reports the Icelandic Review Online.

“It has been our goal in international politics to be of help in as many areas as possible and this is one of the areas where the need is most right now,” he told Icelandic news site RUV.

More than 4 million Syrians have fled the conflict in their home country and a further 7.6 million are displaced inside Syria, according to the U.N. The number of refugees pouring into Europe after fleeing war and persecution in Africa and the Middle East is the highest it’s been since the end of World War II.

Read next: Hungary’s Border Fence Isn’t Stopping Desperate Syrian Migrants

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TIME europe

The European Union Has Called for Emergency Talks on the Refugee Crisis

Transit zone for migrants at Budapest Keleti railway station
Arpad Kurucz—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Migrants camp in a transit zone at Keleti railway station in Budapest, Hungary on August 30, 2015.

Talks will be attended by Interior Ministers from each of the union's 28 member states

The European Union is calling emergency talks to discuss a solution to its rapidly escalating refugee and migrant crisis, which it says has attained “unprecedented proportions.”

The E.U. leadership announced that the talks will be held on Sept. 14 and be attended by Interior Ministers from each of the union’s 28 member states, the BBC reports.

More than 300,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe since January — primarily from the Middle East and Africa — already surpassing the total number for all of 2014.

More than 2,500 of those have died making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea, with 200 missing and feared dead after a boat capsized off the coast of Libya on Thursday, and 71 bodies found in a truck abandoned by the roadside in Austria, only the latest in an increasing number of fatal incidents.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “horrified and heartbroken” by last week’s deaths, and called for a “collective political response” to the crisis.

The talks in two weeks will touch upon measures against trafficking, return policies and internal co-operation, among other topics, according to the BBC.

Germany, France and the U.K. have all suggested the determination of a list of “safe countries of origin,” thereby enabling the immediate repatriation of at least a portion of the arrivals. Germany announced on Saturday that it would allow migrants from Syria — whose continued civil war is a major contributor to the European influx — to seek and obtain asylum.

TIME europe

Europe Will Increase Security Checks on Trains, French Government Says

APTOPIX France Train Attack
AP French police officers patrol at Gare du Nord train station in Paris on Aug. 22, 2015.

The announcement comes in the wake of recent attack attempt on a French train

(PARIS) — European countries will increase identity checks and baggage controls on trains after American passengers thwarted an attack on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris, France’s interior minister said Saturday.

Bernard Cazeneuve said the checks would be carried out “everywhere it is necessary” but did not give other details. He spoke after an emergency meeting in Paris with top security and transport officials from nine countries and the European Union in the wake of last week’s attack attempt.

He called for better coordination on intelligence and security across Europe’s border-free travel zone, and “coordinated and simultaneous actions” by European security forces, saying that is “indispensable” to protecting train travel.

He also said officials are looking at ways to work with the aviation industry on improving train security.

The suspect in last week’s attack had been on the radar of European surveillance but bought his ticket in cash and showed no ID, and brought an automatic rifle and a handgun onboard unnoticed.

The ministers were also talking about giving train security staff more powers, and increasing the number of mixed patrols of international police teams on cross-border trains, according to four French security or justice officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

One thing not on the table Saturday: calling into question the principles of Europe’s border-free travel, known as the Schengen zone.

The security officials said there’s no way to monitor each passenger and bag without choking the continental train system, which Europeans rely upon heavily.

“We can’t do and don’t want complete, comprehensive checks on people or luggage in trains in Germany or Europe,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on the sidelines of the meeting.

He said the main issue is to improve targeted cooperation and the exchange of information on suspicious people.

France alone sees tens of thousands of international train passengers daily, in addition to millions of daily domestic train travelers. The country’s national rail authority SNCF is concerned about the cost of additional security, according to one of the French security officials.

Countries involved in Saturday’s meeting were France, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, as well as the European Union’s top transport and interior affairs officials.

EU officials were expected to press for the increased use of closed circuit cameras in trains and stations and more metal detectors at entrances.

The European Commission was to raise the idea of using full-body scanners for people who try to board at the last minute. Another idea is the more concerted use of passenger information, which some companies already collect, like the traveler data collected in air transport.

Plainclothes “rail marshals” are another possibility.

The results of Saturday’s conference will be debated by Europe’s rail security group on Sept. 11, and forwarded for EU transport ministers to discuss when they meet October 7-8.

___

Geir Moulson in Berlin and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed.

TIME Greece

Greece’s Radical Ex-Finance Minister on Past, Present and Future of Greece

Yanis Varoufakis at a news conference following a Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg on June 18, 2015.
Jasper Juinen—Bloomberg via Getty Images Yanis Varoufakis at a news conference following a Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg on June 18, 2015.

Yanis Varoufakis answers questions from 9 leading academics on Greece and Europe

When Yanis Varoufakis was elected to parliament and then named as Greek finance minister in January, he embarked on an extraordinary seven months of negotiations with the country’s creditors and its European partners.

On July 6, Greek voters backed his hardline stance in a referendum, with a resounding 62% voting No to the European Union’s ultimatum. On that night, he resigned, after prime minister Alexis Tsipras, fearful of an ugly exit from the eurozone, decided to go against the popular verdict. Since then, the governing party, Syriza, has splintered and a snap election has been called. Varoufakis remains a member of parliament and a prominent voice in Greek and European politics.

When asked about Tsipras’s decision to trigger a snap election, inviting the Greek public to issue their judgement on his time in office, Varoufakis said:

If only that were so! Voters are being asked to endorse Alexis Tsipras’ decision, on the night of their majestic referendum verdict, to overturn it; to turn their courageous No into a capitulation, on the grounds that honouring that verdict would trigger a Grexit. This is not the same as calling on the people to pass judgement on a record of steadfast opposition to a failed economic programme doing untold damage to Greece’s social economy. It is rather a plea to voters to endorse him, and his choice to surrender, as a lesser evil.

The Conversation asked nine leading academics what their questions were for a man who describes himself as an “accidental economist”. His answers reveal regrets about his own approach during a dramatic 2015, a withering assessment of France’s power in Europe, fears for the future of Syriza, a view that Syriza is now finished, and doubts over how effective Jeremy Corbyn could be as leader of Britain’s Labour party.


Anton Muscatelli, University of GlasgowWhy was Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras persuaded to accept the EU’s pre-conditions around the third bailout discussions despite a decisive referendum victory for the No campaign; and is this the end of the road for the anti-austerity wing of Syriza in Greece?

Varoufakis: Tsipras’ answer is that he was taken aback by official Europe’s determination to punish Greek voters by putting into action German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s plan to push Greece out of the eurozone, redenominate Greek bank deposits in a currency that was not even ready, and even ban the use of euros in Greece. These threats, independently of whether they were credible or not, did untold damage to the European Union’s image as a community of nations and drove a wedge through the axiom of the eurozone’s indivisibility.

As you probably have heard, on the night of the referendum, I disagreed with Tsipras on his assessment of the credibility of these threats and resigned as finance minister. But even if I was wrong on the issue of the credibility of the troika’s threats, my great fear was, and remains, that our party, Syriza, would be torn apart by the decision to implement another self-defeating austerity program of the type that we were elected to challenge. It is now clear that my fears were justified.


Roy Bailey, University of EssexWas the surprise referendum of July 5 conceived as a threat point for the ongoing bargaining between Greece and its creditors and has the last year caused you to adjust how you think about Game Theory?

Varoufakis: I shall have to disappoint you Roy {Editor’s note: Roy Bailey taught Varoufakis at Essex and advised on his PhD}. As I wrote in a New York Times op-ed, Game Theory was never relevant. It applies to interactions where motives are exogenous and the point is to work out the optimal bluffing strategies and credible threats, given available information. Our task was different: it was to persuade the “other” side to change their motivation vis-à-vis Greece.

I represented a small, suffering nation in its sixth straight year of deep recession. Bluffing with our people’s fate would be irresponsible. So I did not. Instead, we outlined that which we thought was a reasonable position, consistent with our creditors’ own interests. And then we stood our ground. When the troika pushed us into a corner, presenting me with an ultimatum on June 25 just before closing Greece’s banking system down, we looked at it carefully and concluded that we had neither a mandate to accept it (given that it was economically non-viable) nor to decline it (and clash with official Europe). Instead we decided to do something terribly radical: to put it to the Greek people to decide.

Lastly, on a theoretical point, the “threat point” in your question refers to John Nash’s bargaining solution which is based on the axiom of non-conflict between the parties. Tragically, we did not have the luxury to make that assumption.


Cristina Flesher Fominaya, University of AberdeenThe dealings between Greece and the EU seemed more like a contest between democracy and the banks, than a negotiation between the EU and a member state. Given the outcome, are there any lessons that you would take from this for other European parties resisting the imperatives of austerity politics?

Varoufakis: Allow me to phrase this differently. It was a contest between the right of creditors to govern a debtor nation and the democratic right of the said nation’s citizens to be self-governed. You are quite right that there was never a negotiation between the EU and Greece as a member state of the EU. We were negotiating with the troika of lenders, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and a wholly weakened European Commission in the context of an informal grouping, the Eurogroup, lacking specific rules, without minutes of the proceedings, and completely under the thumb of one finance minister and the troika of lenders.

Moreover, the troika was terribly fragmented, with many contradictory agendas in play, the result being that the “terms of surrender” they imposed upon us were, to say the least, curious: a deal imposed by creditors determined to attach conditions which guarantee that we, the debtor, cannot repay them. So, the main lesson to be learned from the last few months is that European politics is not even about austerity. Or that, as Nicholas Kaldor wrote in The New Statesman in 1971, any attempt to construct a monetary union before a political union ends up with a terrible monetary system that makes political union much, much harder. Austerity and a hideous democratic deficit are mere symptoms.


Panicos Demetriades, University of LeicesterDid you ever think that your message was being diluted or becoming noisy, or even incoherent, by giving so many interviews?

Varoufakis: Yes. I have regretted several interviews, especially when the journalists involved took liberties that I had not anticipated. But let me also add that the “noise” would have prevailed even if I granted far fewer interviews. Indeed the media game was fixed against our government, and me personally, in the most unexpected and repulsive way. Wholly moderate and technically sophisticated proposals were ignored while the media concentrated on trivia and distortions. Giving interviews where I would, to some extent, control the content was my only outlet. Faced with an intentionally “noisy” media agenda that bordered on character assassination, I erred on the side of over-exposure.


Simon Wren-Lewis, University of OxfordMight it have been possible for a forceful France to have provided an effective counterweight to Germany in the Eurogroup, or did Germany always have a majority on its side?

Varoufakis: The French government feels that it has a weak hand. Its deficit is persistently within the territory of the so-called excessive deficit procedure of the European Commission, which puts Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, and France’s previous finance minister, in the difficult position of having to act tough on Paris under the watchful eye of Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister.

It is also true, as you say, that the Eurogroup is completely “stitched up” by Schäuble. Nevertheless, France had an opportunity to use the Greek crisis in order to change the rules of a game that France will never win. The French government has, thus, missed a major opportunity to render itself sustainable within the single currency. The result, I fear, is that Paris will soon be facing a harsher regime, possibly a situation where the president of the Eurogroup is vested with draconian veto powers over the French government’s national budget. How long, once this happens, can the European Union survive the resurgence of nasty nationalism in places like France?


Kamal Munir, University of CambridgeYou often implied that what went on in your meetings with the troika (the IMF, ECB and European Commission) was economics only on the surface. Deep down, it was a political game being played. Don’t you think we are doing a disservice to our students by teaching them a brand of economics that is so clearly detached from this reality?

Varoufakis: If only some economics were to surface in our meetings with the troika, I would be happy! None did.

Even when economic variables were discussed, there was never any economic analysis. The discussions were exhausted at the level of rules and agreed targets. I found myself talking at cross-purposes with my interlocutors. They would say things like: “The rules on the primary surplus specify that yours should be at least 3.5% of GDP in the medium term.” I would try to have an economic discussion suggesting that this rule ought to be amended because, for example, the 3.5% primary target for 2018 would depress growth today, boost the debt-to-GDP ratio immediately and make it impossible to achieve the said target by 2018.

Such basic economic arguments were treated like insults. Once I was accused of “lecturing” them on macroeconomics. On your pedagogical question: while it is true that we teach students a brand of economics that is designed to be blind to really-existing capitalism, the fact remains that no type of sophisticated economic thinking, not even neoclassical economics, can reach the parts of the Eurogroup which make momentous decisions behind closed doors.


Mariana Mazzucato, University of SussexHow has the crisis in Greece (its cause and its effects) revealed failings of neoclassical economic theory at both the micro and the macro level?

Varoufakis: The uninitiated may be startled to hear that the macroeconomic models taught at the best universities feature no accumulated debt, no involuntary unemployment and, indeed, no money (with relative prices reflecting a form of barter). Save perhaps for a few random shocks that demand and supply are assumed to quickly iron out, the snazziest models taught to the brightest of students assume that savings automatically turn into productive investment, leaving no room for crises.

It makes it hard when these graduates come face-to-face with reality. They are at a loss, for example, when they see German savings that permanently outweigh German investmentwhile Greek investment outweighs savings during the “good times” (before 2008) but collapses to zero during the crisis.

Moving to the micro level, the observation that, in the case of Greece, real wages fell by 40%but employment dropped precipitously, while exports remained flat, illustrates in Technicolor how useless a microeconomics approach bereft of macro foundations truly is.


Tim Bale, Queen Mary University of LondonDo you see any similarities between yourself and Jeremy Corbyn, who looks like he might win the (UK) Labour leadership, and do you think a left-wing populist party is capable of winning an election under a first-past-the-post system?

Varoufakis: The similarity that I feel at liberty to mention is that Corbyn and I, probably, coincided at many demonstrations against the Tory government while I lived in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, and share many views regarding the calamity that befell working Britons as power shifted from manufacturing to finance. However, all other comparisons must be kept in check.

Syriza was a radical party of the Left that scored a little more than 4% of the vote in 2009. Our incredible rise was due to the collapse of the political “centre” caused by popular discontent at a Great Depression due to a single currency that was never designed to sustain a global crisis, and by the denial of the powers-that-be that this was so.

The much greater flexibility that the Bank of England afforded to Gordon Brown’s and David Cameron’s British governments prevented the type of socio-economic implosion that led Syriza to power and, in this sense, a similarly buoyant radical left party is most unlikely in Britain. Indeed, the Labour Party’s own history, and internal dynamic, will, I am sure, constrain a victorious Jeremy Corbyn in a manner alien to Syriza.

Turning to the first-past-the-post system, had it applied here in Greece, it would have given our party a crushing majority in parliament. It is, therefore, untrue that Labour’s electoral failures are due to this system.

Lastly, allow me to urge caution with the word “populist”. Syriza did not put to Greek voters a populist agenda. “Populists” try to be all things to all people. Our promised benefits extended only to those earning less than £500 per month. If it wants to be popular, Labour cannot afford to be populist either.


Mark Taylor, University of WarwickWould you agree that Greece does not fulfil the criteria for successful membership of a currency union with the rest of Europe? Wouldn’t it be better if they left now rather than simply papering over the cracks and waiting for another Greek economic crisis to occur in a few years’ time?

Varoufakis: The eurozone’s design was such that even France and Italy could not thrive within it. Under the current institutional design only a currency union east of the Rhine and north of the Alps would be sustainable. Alas, it would constitute a union useless to Germany, as it would fail to protect it from constant revaluation in response to its trade surpluses.

Now, if by “criteria” you meant the Maastricht limits, it is of course clear that Greece did not fulfil them. But then again nor did Italy or Belgium. Conversely, Spain and Ireland did meet the criteria and, indeed, by 2007 the Madrid and Dublin governments were registering deficit, debt and inflation numbers that, according to the official criteria, were better than Germany’s. And yet when the crisis hit, Spain and Ireland sunk into the mire. In short, the eurozone was badly designed for everyone. Not just for Greece.

So should we cut our losses and get out? To answer properly we need to grasp the difference between saying that Greece, and other countries, should not have entered the eurozone, and saying now that we should now exit. Put technically, we have a case of hysteresis: once a nation has taken the path into the eurozone, that path disappeared after the euro’s creation and any attempt to reverse along that, now non-existent, path could lead to a great fall off a tall cliff.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME politics

Hamilton Is the Broadway Hip-Hop Musical Every Political Leader Should See

Painting of Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), American politician, by John Trumbull.
DeAgostini/Getty Images Painting of Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), American politician, by John Trumbull.

It reminds us once again of the power of reason and of words in the political realm

What do the new Broadway hip-hop musical “Hamilton” and Europe’s debt crisis have in common? A great deal, actually.

“Hamilton,” which opened on Aug. 6, celebrates the life and public career of one of our nation’s greatest statesmen, Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington and the lead author of the most important and influential commentary on the Constitution, The Federalist.

European leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minster Alexis Tsipras, who squared off recently over the latter’s desperate need for another bailout, should book front-row seats, because “Hamilton” has important lessons for them about debt and government.

Hamilton’s stroke of genius

Hamilton was instrumental in transforming the United States into a true nation, in particular by his policies and actions as treasury secretary, and the musical conveys the scope and drama of his achievement.

One of Hamilton’s most brilliant and successful policies was to have the federal government assume the Revolutionary War debts of the states, which it did in 1790.

Hamilton recognized that the United States would be better able than individual states to make regular payments on those debts and ultimately to retire them. Further, he recognized that the government could use the debt as a means to stimulate economic growth, bolster the strength of the new nation’s currency and shore up its honor in the community of nations – by showing that the U.S. would meet its obligations.

One key insight also drove Hamilton’s policy. He saw that consolidating state debts into a single national pool would require a single national policy. No longer would the United States be plagued by divergent or conflicting state policies. Hamilton ensured that his plan would promote national unity.

To this day, scholars of American constitutional and legal history like us, who try hard to maintain their objectivity in interpreting the past, find it difficult not to admire Hamilton’s constitutional, legal, economic and political creativity. And rarely have Hamilton and his policies seemed more relevant than today, particularly for Europe as it struggles to prevent Greece’s debt crisis from ripping apart the eurozone and potentially the European Union.

A clash of nations

In this crisis, we see individual European nations clashing with one another.

Germany and its supporters have insisted on imposing strict austerity measures on Greece in exchange for a third bailout needed to prevent the collapse of the Greek economy – even at the price of stripping Greece of its sovereign power to determine the structure and workings of its economy and society.

Some even charge Merkel with seeking to turn Greece into a colonial satellite by means of Germany’s economic clout, as it did with its military might during World War II.

Nor have Greece’s political leaders played innocent roles. By holding a referendum on the E.U.’s proposed bailout for Greece, Tsipras and his government sought to blackmail Merkel into abandoning her demands for austerity by asking for reparations for the Nazis’ occupation of Greece and implying current leaders are bent on ignoring Greek democracy and the democratically expressed wishes of the Greek people.

Tsipras refused to follow the consensus-building rules by which the E.U. has governed itself. In our view, his embrace of populist, hardball politics has done serious harm to the mechanisms of European governance, risking destroying them.

Preventing destructive political conflicts

In the 1790s, by contrast, the federal government’s assumption of state debts under Hamilton’s guidance prevented similar destructive political conflicts in the early United States.

When Hamilton proposed his plan to bolster the nation’s public credit, he did so within the context of a constitutional system in which there was a general government, at least arguably supreme in certain spheres of activity over the states. In addition, it was within the context of a union that many Americans saw as necessary to their new independence and ability to create a nation and maintain their liberties.

Vigorous, contentious debates within Congress and the public could thus unfold without threatening to burst the Union or the Constitution – even though some states, which had already paid their Revolutionary War debts, resented that the federal government would relieve other states of their burdens.

Lessons for Europe

Did Hamilton and other founding fathers of the United States behave better than Europeans today?

To be sure, political leaders at all times and in all places will do what they must to please supporters and constituents who place their selfish fears and interests ahead of the need to maintain rational government. By contrast with most of his contemporaries, Hamilton’s defiant candor, which sometimes amounted to tactlessness, often made him and his policies more enemies than friends.

Even so, Hamilton understood, as did most politicians of his time, that the way to avoid irrational politics was to create governmental structures for a federal republic that channeled decision-making in productive directions.

In helping to create the first system of national politics, Hamilton and other founding fathers devised a system that forced voters who wanted to make effective and constructive political choices to unite behind centrist candidates and to make binary choices between partisan alternatives.

A case in point is the election of 1800, when voters rejected many of Hamilton’s domestic and foreign policies, elected his archrival Thomas Jefferson to the presidency and gave the Jeffersonian Republicans control of Congress. This result testifies further to the wisdom of the system that Hamilton helped create in Philadelphia in 1787. That system often showed its ability to contain and damp down heated disagreement over major policy issues.

Indeed, one aspect of the 1800 election that showed the Constitution’s strength and resiliency was the peaceful transfer of power from the Federalists to the Republicans, when President John Adams stepped down from office after losing, making way for Jefferson to become the third president. Behind the scenes, Hamilton urged his fellow Federalists not to block Jefferson’s election, though he admitted his dislike of Jefferson and his political views.

An end to blackmail and conquest

The Greek debt crisis is only the latest problem demonstrating the need to create European political structures that can prevent games of blackmail and conquest and give citizens the political power to attain the economy and society they desire.

Europeans themselves are aware of the need for such strengthening and reform. As the European Commission’s 2015 report “Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union” (EMU) notes:

A complete EMU is not an end in itself. It is a means to create a better and fairer life for all citizens, to prepare the Union for future global challenges and to enable each of its members to prosper.

Hamilton’s career, and the American founding experience in general, offer insight as to how those structures might be built.

Statesmen such as the late Jean Monnet – considered the founding father of the European Union – and modern scholars such as British political philosopher Larry Siedentop have often invoked the American example as a model for a United States of Europe, or of a European Union beyond what we see today.

While recognizing that ethnicity, religion and national heritage may serve as barriers to such a union, these scholars and statesmen have argued for a rational recognition among Europeans of their many shared interests. That step would help to replace self-interested and bitter squabbling among nation-states with a rational means of controlling nationalist resentments, emotions and suspicions.

In the U.S. founding era (comprising the years from the 1760s through the 1830s), even though the early states had few sensible reasons to remain separate and many good reasons to coalesce, suspicions, jealousies and resentments comparable to those plaguing Europe today reigned.

These suspicions and resentments, and Americans’ fears of a too-powerful general government, were so strong that, during the framing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, the delegates to the Federal Convention specifically crossed out the words “nation” or “national” from the working draft. Even so, they created a government strong enough to protect national interests while checked and balanced enough to safeguard democratic governance and individual rights.

Lessons for the U.S.

Not only Europeans could learn a thing or two about rational political decision-making from the new musical “Hamilton.” Americans, also plagued today by a vicious, bitter, either/or form of political conflict, could benefit from the lessons of Hamilton and the other founding fathers.

Those who see “Hamilton” will gain a renewed appreciation for the need to preserve rationality in American politics. The musical’s presentation of complex and difficult policy disputes between Hamilton and Jefferson as well-staged, well-written rap battles shows how words and arguments matter. The show’s author, Lin-Manuel Miranda, recognizes the power of words not only in his use of hip-hop and rap forms but in his close attention to getting the substance of his rap lyrics right.

The play is pervaded by one great insight: the power of language and reason. That power not only enables Miranda’s Hamilton to transcend his humble roots and vault into political leadership of the Revolution and of the creation of an American constitutional republic, it also enables all the founding fathers who appear in the show – Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Burr – to order the American political world with words.

“Hamilton” reminds us once again of the power of reason and of words in the political realm, and of the need for reason to anchor that political world and to direct its course.

Perhaps “Hamilton” might persuade Americans who see it, whether conservative or progressive, of the foolishness of hardball politics and of the need to nurture institutions that promote compromise and to accept it as a legitimate means of getting political things done.

It may convince people that their leaders cannot satisfy every interest demanding satisfaction, and it also may emphasize the need to show respect to their opponents as well as to the values by which those opponents live.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME latin america

Latin America Boasts the World’s Most Emotional Nations, Survey Shows

Citizens of Bolivia and El Salvador experience the most emotions daily

Latin Americans are in general the most emotional people on the planet while the world’s least emotional countries are predominantly from eastern Europe, a new survey has shown.

Bolivia and El Salvador shared top spot with 59% of “yes” responses when respondents were asked whether they experienced any of ten emotions — five positive and five negative — the previous day. Cambodia, Iraq and the Philippines were the only non-Latin countries in the top 10.

The poll, conducted by Gallup, surveyed 1,000 people in 148 countries during 2014. Respondents were asked whether they felt angry, stressed or sad, among other emotions, and also whether they were treated with respect, laughed a lot and felt well-rested.

The most and least emotional countries were ranked based on the average number of “yes” responses to the queries, thus mainly considering whether they felt a range of emotions rather than the nature of the emotions themselves.

Former Soviet nations like Russia, Lithuania, Georgia and Belarus dominate the ranks of least emotional countries, although the nation with the least emotional people — scoring only 37% — is the South Asian nation of Bangladesh.

Read more at Gallup

TIME migration

Italian Coast Guard Finds 50 Bodies on Migrant Ship Near Libya

439 surviving migrants were rescued from the same ship

(ROME) — Italy’s coast guard says some 50 bodies have been found in the hull of a migrant boat that was rescued off Libya’s northern coast.

Coast guard Lt. Claudio Bernetti said the Swedish ship Poseiden, which is taking part in the EU’s Triton Mediterranean operation, rescued 439 surviving migrants from the ship Wednesday.

The rescue was one of 10 requests for assistance that arrived at the coast guard’s operations center as Libya-based smugglers take advantage of calm seas to send boats overloaded with migrants to Europe.

TIME Macedonia

Thousands of Refugees Are Now Expected to Arrive in Macedonia Every Day

The influx has already been described as Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II

As many as 3,000 refugees, largely from war-torn Syria, will arrive in the small Balkan nation of Macedonia every day in the coming months on a northbound journey deeper into Europe, the UNHCR says.

“They are coming in large groups of 300 to 400 people and then traveling onwards by train or bus to Serbia,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said during a press conference, Reuters reports.

Fleming said that the migrants are largely spurred by overcrowded conditions in refugee camps in the Middle East. “People are leaving Turkey, they are leaving Jordan, they are leaving Lebanon and Syrians are fleeing directly out of Syria as the situation continues to be very dire.”

The scale of the migration is already at record-breaking levels, with over 107,500 arriving in Europe in July alone. The numbers for this year so far, at around 340,000, are peaking well above the total number that arrived in Europe last year. Already, at least 2,373 people have died trying to make the precarious cross over the Mediterranean Sea, the International Organization of Migration told Reuters.

E.U. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said last week that Europe was now facing its worst refugee crisis since World War II, the Telegraph reported.

The sheer scale of the influx has proved difficult to manage for local authorities. Riots have broken out on the Greek island of Kos and in Macedonia, with Macedonian police firing off tear gas to control crowds.

European officials are hopeful that numbers will be managed effectively in the coming months, as the flow of migrants shows no sign of stopping. A spike in resources and a greater willingness from countries in the European Union to accept more refugees will help mitigate the crisis, Fleming said, according to Reuters.

[Reuters]

TIME europe

Europeans Fear for the Security of their Rail System After Attempted Terrorist Attack

Free movement has been a cornerstone of European integration

For days, Europeans have hailed the courage of three American tourists — two of them off-duty military personnel — who tackled a lone gunman aboard a high-speed train in northern France last Friday, thwarting a terrorist attack that could have ended with dozens of dead and injured. But even that tale of bravery can not block out the worry: What about the next time?

For Europe, the details emerging about what happened on the Amsterdam-Paris train deepened the sense of vulnerability of the continent. And while European Union governments now vow to tighten security, the quick responses of citizens will likely be essential in averting more attacks. “It ultimately depends on the individual responsibility of men and women capable of doing the right thing under the circumstances,” French President François Hollande said on Monday, during a medal ceremony awarding the country’s highest distinction, the Legion of Honor, to the American train passengers Spencer Scott, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, as well as British business consultant Christopher Norman, all of whom fought the gunmen. Standing in the ornate Elysée Palace, Hollande told the men that their actions were “an example, a sort of inspiration for all of us.”

Beyond inspiration, E.U. officials are grappling with how badly their security systems have failed — or whether the potential for an attack is due in part to the fact that 500 million E.U. citizens can cross the continent without any identity or passport checks. Ayoub El-Khassini, the 26-year old Morocco born suspected terrorist,was able to board the train at Brussels with a Kalashnikov rifle, a pistol, a box-cutter and more than 300 rounds of ammunition, without baggage or identity checks.

For years, the E.U.’s 28 governments have tried to balance the advantages of easy mobility around the continent — a core principle of the union — with the risks it entails. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, which killed 17 people, France posted soldiers and policemen outside tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum, as well as in airport terminals and many major railway stations.

Yet Friday’s attempted attack suggested there are glaring holes, especially on Europe’s extensive high-speed rail network. Those trains — a source of great pride and affection for many Europeans — are crucial to the E.U. economy and to the continent’s lifestyle. They have made international travel routine for Europeans, who buy affordable tickets at the last minute, as if they were taking a short bus ride. Many French officials, for example, shuttle between Paris and the E.U. headquarters in Brussels, a 90-minute ride on the same rail line as Friday’s near attack. In Brussels, passengers can use their tickets for any scheduled departure that day. And unlike airline routes, some of the trains linking major cities stop at countless small towns along the way.

Imposing tight security on the system seems impossible to many officials, even though it exists for all flights in Europe and all trains between the continent and the United Kingdom, which opted out of the Schengen Agreements on free movement within the E.U. French transportation officials say they do not envision airport-style baggage or identity control, and that they are far more likely to begin random checks of bags and passengers. “Stations are public spaces,” Christophe Piednoël, spokesman for the French railway company SNCF said, quoted in Monday’s Liberation newspaper. “We cannot ask the French to wait one hour before boarding a train. And anyway, 15,000 trains cross France every day and traverse 3,000 stations.”

Then there is security within the stations themselves. Even if Khassini had decided not to launch his attack aboard the train, he could easily have slipped his weapons into Paris, once the train pulled into the city’s Gare du Nord terminal.

Since the January attacks in Paris, French soldiers have patrolled the Gare du Nord with rifles and sniffer dogs, part of the contingent of 7,000 soldiers the government has deployed in train stations since the Paris attacks. Yet their small numbers are virtually lost amid the huge crowds.

Extending strict security for travel around the continent seems unlikely. Instead, as Hollande suggested on Monday, Europeans will need to hope for the courage of people like Skarlatos, Stone and Sadler; for Skarlatos, an Oregon Army National Guardsman recently back from serving in Afghanistan, and Stone, a US Airman 1st Class, combat-ready reflexes seemed to kick in as soon as they spotted Khassini in their train car. “It was not really a conscious decision,” Skarlatos told reporters on Sunday evening. “We just decided to act… It was gut instinct.”

 

 

TIME europe

Human Wave of Refugees Surges Through Southern Europe for E.U.

Some 7,000 migrants crossed into Serbia over the weekend

MIRATOVAC, Serbia — In a new human wave surging through the Balkans, thousands of exhausted migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa crossed on foot Monday from Macedonia into Serbia on their way to the European Union.

The rush over the border came after Macedonia lifted the blockade of its border with Greece, after thousands of migrants stormed past Macedonian police who tried to stop their entry by force.

Some 7,000 migrants, including many women with babies and small children mostly from Syria, crossed into Serbia over the weekend by Monday morning. Some were pushed in wheelchairs and wheel barrows or walked on crutches. Hundreds more entered Macedonia from Greece on Monday.

The new migrant tide that has hit the Western Balkans has worried EU politicians and left the impoverished Balkan countries struggling to cope with the humanitarian crisis.

After entering Serbia, the migrants, fleeing wars and poverty, head toward EU-member Hungary from where they want to continue further north to richer EU countries, such as Germany and Sweden.

“I am from Iraq, I want to go to Germany,” said Ali, barely speaking with exhaustion as he sat on a dusty field with columns of migrants heading for an overcrowded asylum center in the Serbian border town of Presevo.

After they formally ask for an asylum, they have three days to reach the border with Hungary which is rushing to build a barbed wire fence on its border with Serbia to block the migrants.

In a separate development, Greece’s coast guard is searching for at least five people missing at sea after the dinghy they were using to cross from Turkey overturned off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos.

The coast guard said it had rescued six people and recovered the body of two men, and was searching the area for the missing. It was alerted after a fishing boat picked up one person off the island’s eastern coast Monday morning, and a second managed to swim to the island. The two told authorities they had been in a boat carrying about 15 people when it overturned.

Greece has been overwhelmed by an influx of mainly refugees reaching its islands from Turkey.

The Greek coast guard said it had picked up 877 people in 30 search and rescue operations from Friday morning to Monday morning near the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos. The figures do not include the hundreds to manage to make it to the islands themselves, mostly in inflatable dinghies.

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