The New Cold War. Civic Engagement. Attacks in Sweden and Egypt.


Last week we bemoaned the lack of civic engagement: how technology has seemingly made the world smaller and shown how we are all interconnected, and yet we seem so powerless to actually help others. We asked you all to share some of the ways in which you all have become civically engaged and here are some of the responses we received. Many of these stories are inspiring and uplifting. We hope this motivates others and starts the week on a positive note for everyone!


Sweden Attacked, Europe Weakened: The northern European nation fell victim to an attack on Friday similar to those that have struck Nice, Berlin, and London. Four people died when a truck was driven intentionally down the famous shopping street Drottninggatan, careening into a store front and catching fire.

Police were quick to assign blame to a 39-year-old Uzbek man who had lived in Sweden for several years, and who was singled out for deportation last February. Police had lost track of him and his deportation was never enforced (the Berlin attacker was also singled out for deportation before committing the atrocity).

Sweden faces elections next year and incumbent Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, as are many of his European colleagues, is faced with an insurgent far-right. Calls to empower Swedish security forces in their fight against terrorism have become louder since the country allowed more than 163,000 refugees into its borders since 2015.


Christians Question Safety in Egypt: The Christian minority in Egypt, which accounts for some 10% of the population, have been rocked by two separate bomb blasts in the city of Tanta and port metropolis Alexandria. The attacks, which killed at least 47 people and left hundreds with injuries, came as many Egyptian Christians prepared to celebrate Palm Sunday.

Egyptian president Abdel-Fatah al Sisi responded hours after the blasts to accusations and fears of the Christian minority that their security can no longer be guaranteed. Sisi asserted that the attacks “will not undermine the resolve and true will of the Egyptian people to counter the forces of evil, but will only harden their determination to move forward.”

Sisi has long faced accusations that his government has not done enough to protect minority Christian groups. In 2016, a similar attack killed 29 people as a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a church in Cairo. The latest attack, is set to put an even greater focus on security in Egypt for Christians as Pope Francis prepares to visit the country later this year.

For those who want to read/learn more about Sisi, the New Yorker did an excellent profile on this soft spoken military leader.


The New Cold War, Russia and the United States: After Trump ordered the missile strike against Syria, the talk of the town seemingly centered less on Syria and more on grand power politics. For the conspiracy theory minded folks, one idea was that the strike was a Wag the Dog move to distract Americans from other issues. Meanwhile, a Chinese state paper said the strike was designed to intimidate North Korea. This is an interesting theory given China’s leader was meeting with Trump during the missile strike episode. The Chinese paper warns of catastrophic consequences to South Korea if the US strikes North Korea with missiles. This isn’t an unlikely scenario as a US aircraft carrier led group has been dispatched to the Korean peninsula.

Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State canceled his visit to Russia, and this move greatly miffed the Russians. Who can blame the Russians, as we all know how frustrating it can be to have someone cancel a meeting on you at the last minute. How rude, the audacity!

But Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, will still be proceeding with his visit to Russia on Tuesday. Tillerson seems to be adopting the speak softly, and carry a big stick approach as he lambasted Russia for allowing Syria to commit its chemical attack. He’s arriving in Russia with the US pivoting from its original stance promoted by Trump on the campaign trail that Russia and the US relations should be improved. Tillerson’s prefatory remarks this weekend will mean that his Tuesday meeting with Russia’s top diplomat could resemble the Jets vs. Sharks. Meanwhile, today’s G7 meeting in Italy will be a reminder that while Trump has an America First platform, it’s hard to forget that America is still a superpower.

We were Cold War Kids (musical reference), and it looks like our kids will also be ones too.


More Reads

  • Our Man in Syria. Said otherwise: a story about a San Francisco liberal who treks off to join the Kurds in Syria and tweets about his experience. (NY Magazine)
  • Why do Cops shoot. This is an incredibly long piece but if you really want to learn about race, police power, justified vs. unjustified police shootings, and what guidance police officers have when it comes to resorting to force then this is a must read. If you are a lazy reader, then stay away. Incredible journalism by the (Tampa Bay Times)
  • Only in America: A church with a brand, a business plan, startups, and what happens when you mash it all together. (Businessweek)
  • We think part of the reason people enjoy their email newsletters, like the Daily Pnut is because the web today is trash. There’s so much noise and not enough substance: pop up ads, banner ads, pre roll videos. In fact, we try to never push traffic to ugly/noisy sites because we think it’s a disservice to you, the reader. (The Outline)
  • An excellent true crime story (that would make Truman Capote appreciate it) about the Mafia, an incorruptible man, Middle America, and how crime arises in the context of a community. (New Republic)

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