31/01/2014

Stan the Man

Stan Wawrinka’s victory in the Australian Open properly deserves all the superlatives it received.  The first time…The first time…The first time…It also marked the first time that Stan has been ranked ahead of Roger Federer. The perpetual Swiss number two and first time Slam winner has jumped to number three in the world rankings, five places ahead of the 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer. While the 32-year old Federer tries desperately to regain his magic touch – new racket, new coach – the 28-year-old Swiss Romand native has become the darling of more than just the sporting world. He was Man of the Year in Switzerland even before he won in Melbourne.

What explains Wawrinka’s popularity?

 

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27/01/2014

Geneva 2: Politics as the Art of the…Impossible

 

Politics has often been defined as the art of the possible. By this, analysts point to the numerous variables involved in a given situation to construct what would be a reasonable outcome. This type of analysis can further be refined by rational choice theory which uses sophisticated mathematical models. “Possible politics” is thus based on a logical behavior by all actors that can be mapped and predicted.

What would “impossible politics” look like? What would happen if actors in a given situation defied logic?

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20/01/2014

Francois Hollande's Escapade, the NSA and the Private/Public Divide

The recent revealing photos of Francois Hollande's evening escapade together with the sudden hospitalization of the erstwhile (?) partner/First Lady Val←rie Trierweiler raise most interesting questions. Specifically, together with the blowback from the Snowden/NSA revelations we are obviously entering a new era of defining the private/public domains. While we all appreciate how technology has brought the world closer together, the invasion of privacy issue can no longer be ignored. We certainly like to communicate, but we are getting worried that most if not all of our private communications have entered the public domain.  

Hollande's January 14 press conference was riveting. 

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14/01/2014

Ariel Sharon, Frederik de Klerk and Quantum Leaps

Can people change? Can leaders radically change their countries’ policies? We all recognize the audacity of Richard Nixon in his opening to China, but rarely do we examine what caused the change to take place. We admire the signing of the recent nuclear treaty between the United States and Iran, but we cannot fully comprehend the complex reasons behind the shift – the easing of economic sanctions is a simplistic, unicausal explanation.

For example, tributes to Nelson Mandela at his death re-affirmed a universal recognition of his extraordinary personal qualities and leadership in freeing South Africa from the curse of apartheid. 

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10/01/2014

Geneva II Conference: Who’s at the Table?

Inviting people to a party is not always simple. Besides the logistical problem of deciding exactly how many people should be invited and anticipating how many will come, there is the more subtle problem of anticipating who will get along with who. Are these people friends? Does this couple know this couple? Should we try to introduce this unmarried woman to this bachelor? Who should seat next to whom? And the list goes on.

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