WORLD ROUNDUPDon’t Panic About Taiwan | Israeli Democracy Faces a Mortal Threat | A ‘New Cold War’ Looms in Africa, and more

Published 23 March 2023

·  Israeli Democracy Faces a Mortal Threat
If Netanyahu and his coalition have their way, my country could deteriorate into a dictatorship

·  The U.S. Has a Troublesome Asian Ally Against China
The Philippines is using U.S. military infrastructure to commit human rights violations

·  A ‘New Cold War’ Looms in Africa as U.S. Pushes Against Russian Gains
As in Ukraine, U.S. is sharing intelligence information with African governments

·  Don’t Panic About Taiwan
Alarm over a Chinese invasion could become a self-fulfilling prophecy

·  U.S. Trains West African Militaries as Jihadi Threat Spreads
Extremist violence in West Africa’s Sahel region spreads

·  If China Cracked U.S. Encryption, Why Would It Tell Us?
Some day, computer scientists will break RSA encryption. That day is not yet here.

Israeli Democracy Faces a Mortal Threat  (David Grossman, The Atlantic)
Israel now finds itself in one of the gravest crises it has ever known. Even after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the dangers the country faced were less tangible: In November 1995, it was clear that a new prime minister would be instated in a lawful, orderly transition. The situation now is different. Three of the Israeli Parliament’s most extremist, nationalistic members—Minister of Justice Yariv Levin; Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chair Simcha Rothman; and Benjamin Netanyahu, the near-omnipotent prime minister—are acting with all their might and no qualms to create a new legal system in place of the present one, which they claim discriminates against them and does not represent their worldview or values.
Legally, they are within their rights: In Israel’s most recent election, last November, the parties that now form the ruling coalition came out four members ahead in the 120-member Knesset. But they are employing a rushed and belligerent procedure that is unprecedented in Israel. Their objective is to enact not only a series of changes to the extant system, but a total alteration of the country’s DNA.
If the initiators of this so-called judicial reform are able to complete their legislative process, they will effectively revoke rule of law in Israel. The judiciary would be subordinated to the Knesset and the government, and new judges would be appointed by politicians. In other words, the citizens of Israel would no longer be guaranteed legal protections against the arbitrariness of the regime. If the process is seen through, Israel will cease to be a democracy and could, under certain circumstances, deteriorate into a dictatorship.
Netanyahu is embroiled in legal proceedings, having been charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. He has proved himself willing and able to do anything within his power to alter the entire legal system in order to avoid going to prison. To that end, he has allied himself with the most messianic, thuggish, and unsavory elements of Israeli society, and has handed crucial and highly sensitive government portfolios to their representatives. Does this man have any constraints?