Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Regionalism


Truly gutted that our grandparents have effectively decided that they hate foreigners more than they love us and our futures.

— Dan Boden, condemning England and Wales’ vote to leave the European Union, via The New York Times


What we need now is more wisdom from both sides… Greece can’t go on because we’re on the edge of cliff. After all this, the question is whether our partners would be so unwise as to push Greece over the edge, because that would be damaging for everyone.

— Loukas Tsoukalis, the president of the Athens-based Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, speaking to the New York Times (With ‘No’ Greek vote, Tsipras wins a victory that could carry a steep price).

Chat Transcript

Rubio on Iraq: “It’s not nation-building. We are assisting them in building their nation.”

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MARCO RUBIO: I think we have a responsibility to support democracy. And if a nation expresses a desire to become a democratic nation, particularly one that we invaded, I do believe that we have a responsibility to help them move in that direction. But the most immediate responsibility we have is to help them build a functional government that can actually meet the needs of the people in the short- and long-term, and that ultimately from that you would hope that would spring democracy.

FOX HOST: That sounds like nation-building.

MARCO RUBIO: Well, it’s not nation-building. We are assisting them in building their nation. We have a vested interest in doing that. The alternative to doing that is the chaos we have now. Because in fact what happened in Iraq under this administration is they rallied around [former Prime Minister Nouri al] Maliki, a Shia leader who used his power to go after Sunnis, and that created the environment that was conducive for ISIS to come back in and create all these problems.

(Transcript from Fox’s Outnumbered via Vox; emphasis ours.)


I wouldn’t say I reject my identity as Chinese, because I’ve never felt Chinese in the first place…The younger generations don’t think they’re Chinese.

— Twenty-year old Yeung Hoi-kiu, a student protestor in Hong Kong, speaking to the New York Times about what he feels his identity is.


Knowing the people of Scotland as I do, I have no doubt that Scots, like others throughout the United Kingdom, are able to express strongly-held opinions before coming together again in a spirit of mutual respect and support, to work constructively for the future of Scotland and indeed all parts of this country.

— Excerpt from The Queen’s message following Scotland’s referendum.


Where to go for more coverage of the Scottish independence referendum

In a momentous vote, Scotland has said no to independence and yes to staying in the United Kingdom. This is one of the biggest political developments in the history of the United Kingdom, and it will have huge ramifications not only there, but around the world. For in-depth coverage of the election and its consequences, we recommend turning to media based in the United Kingdom, which are offering perspectives and insights lacking from media based on the United States.

At the top of our list are the BBC and The Guardian, but there are many other publications in the U.K. worth checking out, such as:



Scotland voted for a stronger Scottish Parliament backed by the strength and security of the United Kingdom and I want to congratulate the No campaign for that – for showing people that our nations really are better together.

— Excerpt from David Cameron’s statement on the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum. Cameron also declared that the U.K.’s federal parties will honor “in full” its commitments for further powers for the Scottish parliament.

Video Clip

Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Glasgow speech calling for a “No Thanks” vote in tomorrow’s Scottish independence referendum is widely being hailed as one of the best speeches ever given by a British orator, and certainly his best. Huffington Post U.K. has the transcript.


I clearly understand the final goal of Putin. He doesn’t want to take just Donetsk and Luhansk… He is trying to take all of Ukraine. He wants to re-form the Soviet Union.

— Ukranian premier Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, speaking to a conference of security experts in Kiev about Vladimir Putin’s endgame (via the New York Times).


The point is not that an independent Scotland won’t work, but that it’s not going to fulfill the expectations shining in the eyes of those angry, optimistic boys.

— Leah McLearen, commenting on the Scottish referendum for The Globe and Mail (When it comes to matters of heart, nations need to think with their heads).

Recommended Link

The Scotsman newspaper backs ‘No’ vote on Scottish independence

Another major publication in Scotland has announced its position on next week’s referendum. The Scotsman, of Edinburgh, is urging readers to vote no and support the Better Together campaign.


The United Kingdom is a precious and special country. That is what is at stake. So let no one in Scotland be in any doubt: we desperately want you to stay; we do not want this family of nations to be ripped apart. Across England, Northern Ireland and Wales, our fear over what we stand to lose is matched only by our passion for what can be achieved if we stay together.

— United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, appealing to Scottish voters to vote no next week and keep Scotland in the union.

Recommended Link

Scottish independence: Vote ‘will go to the wire’

The BBC reports on the latest happenings in the Scottish independence referendum, which is scheduled to be held on Thursday, September 18th. The referendum asks a simple, straightforward question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”


If I wanted to, I could take Kiev in two weeks.

— Remark reportedly made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone call with the new President of the European Commission. The Kremlin is not denying the remark was made, but insists it is being taken out of context, and is also upset that details of a private telephone conversation are being made public.

Recommended Link

The monarchy hurts Canada’s standing in the world – it’s time to let go

Former Canadian diplomat Paul Heinbecker argues that Canada should sever ties with the British monarchy and strike out on its own. Canada has no need for a king or a queen, he says.


The core of all this is political… What we’re facing today is not al-Qaeda, and Prime Minister Maliki wants us to focus on ISIS as the primary threat. The vanguard is ISIS. The breadth and depth of this is basic Sunni Arabs who are fed up.

— Derek Harvey, once a primary intelligence advisor to General David Petraeus, explaining that the threat currently posed by ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is really a symptom of a much deeper problem.

Recommended Link

Who lost Iraq? The Iraqis did, with an assist from George W. Bush

Fareed Zakaria places the blame on Iraq’s security problems where it belongs: on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his associates, who have given Sunnis every reason not to want to work with him, and explains how the administration of George W. Bush played a supporting role.

Recommended Link

Surprise! Now joined to Russia, Crimea’s economy is slliding downhill

Businessweek’s Caorl Matlack reports that Crimea’s separation from Ukraine has come at a extremely high cost: “The tourism industry has fallen off a cliff, the banking system is in turmoil, and prices are rising as Russia curbs shipments from Ukraine,” she writes.

Recommended Link

U.N. General Assembly condemns Crimean “referendum”

The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution condemning the secessionist referendum staged by Russia and the regional government of Crimea. The resolution is symbolic, but its overwhelming passage shows the world community disapproves of Russia’s aggression. One hundred nations voted for the resolution, with eleven against and fifty-eight abstaining.


When George Bush was president, we went to war in Iraq, we went to war in Afghanistan; that did not in any way deter Russia from going into Georgia in 2008… Frankly, in terms of the steps that we’ve outlined and the steps that we’re taking, they go far beyond any previous steps that have been taken in response to Russian aggression.

— Benjamin J. Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser, refuting Republican criticisms that the Obama administration’s foreign policy is partly to blame for Russian aggression and that the United States’ response to the seizure of Crimea has been weak. Under George W. Bush, the U.S. imposed no real costs on Russia in response to the invasion of Georgia, as Rhodes mentioned.


It’s good to be in NATO right now.

— Kadri Liik, an Estonian analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, commenting on Russia’s takeover of Crimea for the New York Times.