‘The AIIB will address the need for investment in Asian transport, energy and telecommunications.’ Jin Liqun (left), Secretary-General of the Multilateral Interim Secretariat for Establishing Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, talks to Khalid A Al-Falih, President and CEO of Saudi Arabian Oil Company, during the China Development Forum  in Beijing this week. Photograph:  EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

‘Failure to stop allies joining Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a substantial political setback for Washington’

“ ‘We are not seeking a grand bargain’, said John Kerry in Riyadh after his nuclear talks with Iranian ministers in Switzerland.”  Photograph: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

US President would be helped along if Netanyahu loses next week’s Israeli elections, as now looks possible

‘While the single currency needs to be strengthened, this may not be politically feasible. Macroeconomists such as Yanis Varoufakis bring a new politics to bear on this question.’ Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg

‘The success of macroeconomists such as Varoufakis will be judged by the precedents they set in inspiring others over that longer(...)

‘Angela Merkel has seemed this week to be deeply informed by the realist school of international relations when she repeatedly insisted there is no military solution to that conflict but only a political and diplomatic one.’ Above, German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the presidential residence in Minsk on February 11th. AFP PHOTO /HO / PRESIDENTIAL PRESS-SERVICE/ MYKOLA LAZARENKO

Merkel is correct: it would be illogical to arm Ukraine without being willing to go to war

‘Other governments will recognise the imperative to fulfil a democratic mandate. They may also understand Tsipras’s argument that the alternative to dealing with radical left governments is to deal with far right ones.’ above, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (front row centre) and members of his government after the first meeting of the new cabinet in the parliament building in Athens. Photograph: REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Alexis Tsipras’s European internationalism can be a material factor if it encourages support for similar policies in forthcoming (...)

 British prime minister David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Stormont House with Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister of State Seán Sherlock. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

The East-West dynamic was clearly visible in the just-concluded Northern negotiations

‘Water becomes a symbol of more general disenchantment with the political system and how it works.’ Above, an anti water charges protest march, in O’Connell Street, Dublin, earlier this year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

‘Compared to the scale and intensity of protest movements in Greece, Iceland, Spain, Italy or France the Irish ones have undoubted(...)

‘Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian profile has been sharply ratcheted up this year, pursuing critics and opponents into an expanding gulag of political prisons.’  Above, Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, at the Kremlin in Moscow, this week. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

World View: It seems better to preserve an analytical detachment, rather than plumping for either camp on the assumption that a ne(...)

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones

Opinion: Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones proposed a constitutional convention on the UK’s future

‘Led by Pablo Iglesias,  Podemus draws substantial support from the young unemployed, precariat graduates, participants in the associated Indignados social movement and from a much wider constituency disgusted with the corruption scandals afflicting the two main parties.’   Photograph: REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Opinion: ‘According to economist Guy Standing, this precariat is recruited from working class, migrants, ethnic minorities and th(...)

A convoy of East German cars queue up at Unter den Linden avenue in East Berlin before crossing the border line under the Brandenburg Gate into West Berlin as a result of the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 11th, 1989. Photograph: Derrick Ceyrac/AFP/ Getty Images

What have been the consequences of German unification for Europe and the world?

 ‘The Scottish referendum campaign on independence hardened public support for all powers of taxation and spending to be held there, with only foreign affairs and defence exercised through Westminster.’ Photograph: Mike Wilkinson/Bloomberg News

Opinion: Government and peoples must choose how to deliver on promise of deeper devolution to Scotland and whether to withdraw (...)

‘Most of the two to four million irregular migrants in Europe have lost their documented status because of exploitation, administrative delays or misinformation rather than because they have broken any law.’ Above, migrants arriving at Porto Empedocle in Sicily after being rescued approximately  40km off the Libyian coast by a Dutch freighter the Dinteldijk. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Opinion: ‘Recent moves in some EU member-states to criminalise those who help refugees make matters worse’

‘Other voices in this debate are more optimistic about the corporate, market and technological means of change even if equally convinced there is only 15-20 years to execute it.’ The rally against climate change in Times Square, New York, last weekend. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Opinion: Politics must be reinvented to cope with the pace of global warming

‘The main question at issue in next Thursday’s referendum  is whether voters decide that statehood is a necessary step towards that condition or whether it can be achieved by radically reconfiguring the UK after a No vote.’ Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Opinion: Scottish political scientist Michael Keating uses term ‘post-sovereign’ to describe the emergent political and social c(...)

“Do more with less. Not just now but permanently”. This message from David Cameron was delivered in his speech to the Lord Mayor’s banquet in the City of London last November. It articulates a common theme among conservative leaders throughout Europe.   Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Opinion: Mark Blyth calls on the ECB to provide a credit line for 80 per cent of the EU’s taxpayers to kickstart growth

Supporters of outgoing Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki carry his pictures during a demonstration in central Baghdad, this week. Photograph: Ali Abbas/EPA

Opinion: ‘Grand bargain’ dismissed by Bush administration in the euphoria of the invasion

‘Anyone attending  a conference– and many do as part of their professional careers – must select ruthlessly what to attend based on their specialisms, interests and curiosities, as well as finding time to network and explore wherever they are held. Presenter

Opinion: Food for thought: from Hirschman to Scott

Under the Obama administration, US policy has rebalanced or pivoted towards Asia.

Opinion: For the most part, European states have no security presence in Asia

Thirty-nine per of  Irish people would choose other  European countries in which to start a new life. Photographer: Dara MacDonaill

Opinion: Just 19 per cent of Irish people would choose Ireland

‘In Turkey, prime minister Erdogan has increasingly antagonised opponents by his growing authoritarianism and intolerance, where his Islamist party once seemed able to court such alliances.’ Above,  a protest against the visit of  Erdogan in Vienna this week. Georg Hochmuth/EPA

Opinion: US military reintervention would deepen existing divisions

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin  and China’s President Xi Jinping attended a signing ceremony last month. Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom  earlier signed a long-awaited gas supply agreement with China. Photograph: Reuters/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Opinion: We now have a Russian pivot to Asia in the form of a gas deal signed by Vladimir Putin on a visit to Beijing

‘Spain, Portugal or Ireland don’t have parties like our neighbouring Ukip. It will have difficulty forging alliances with the National Front in France,  or with the Dutch Vlaams Bloc.’ Above,  National Front party leader Marine Le Pen at a campaign rally prior to the  European Parliament elections. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier Reuters

Opinion: Turnout change is the key thing to watch

 ‘Thomas Piketty and a group of French academics propose that a common tax base must be agreed in the euro zone along with a fiscal capacity, debt mutualisation and much deeper political integration to provide democratic accountability.’ Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

Opinion: How can the EU become more effective?

‘Ottmar Edenhofer said tackling climate change requires an urgent move away from “business as usual”.’ Photograph: Steffi Loos/Reuters

World View: Inequality is built into consumption globally as well as nationally

‘Thomas Piketty   believes  equality must be promoted politically if democracies are to protect themselves from oligarchical rule.’ Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

World View: Piketty warns of swing towards oligarchy

Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond holds a public discussion on Scottish independence at the Volunteer Rooms in Irvine, Scotland.

Outcome of two key referendums will shape future British- Irish relations

‘Observers noted a sharper edge to US diplomacy over Ukraine. It reflects an impatience with European caution about sanctions on Russia and a realisation that the US has less to lose.’ Photograph: Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA

World View: Declining European military spending is a longer-standing US complaint

‘If one side can arbitrarily change the terms of agreed co-operation on energy, is it worth the effort involved?’. Above, British Prime Minister David Cameron and  Taoiseach Enda Kenny  outside No  10 Downing Street, London, this week.  Photograph: Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images

World View: Three-month window on wind energy deal

Demonstrators ride atop an armored vehicle through a street near Independence Square in Kiev earlier this week. Photograph: Uriel Sinai/The New York Times

Opinion: Role of German, French and Polish foreign ministers was highly significant

Opinion: A vote for independence would be a traumatic jolt for the DUP in particular

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamonn Gilmore with  Peter Robinson and  Martin McGuinness. Photograph: PA

Opinion: Ireland has been described as a first world country with a third world memory

Last waltz? Europe traditionally relied on the Franco-German pairing. But now the couple seems unable to compromise for the greater good of the wider union.

Opinion: Barroso and Draghi at odds on whether the crisis can yet be said to be over

David Thornley, political analyst and later practising politician, with Charlie McCreevy. Photograph: Jimmy McCormack

Opinion: There is an argument in favour of allowing academics to pursue their own intellectual interests

Former IMF head of mission to Ireland Ashoka Mody: believes Ireland could have pressed harder

Opinion: Consolidation without further integration could mean a period of stagnation, some economists argue

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond at a press conference in Edinburgh earlier this week.

Opinion: The case for staying within the UK is uncannily similar to that for Britain staying in the EU

Europe at the centre: detail from a map by Willem Blaeu, a cartographer of the 16th and early 17th century.

Opinion: Emerging powers no longer accept the view that Europe’s pioneering role confers privilege

British prime minister David Cameron: targeting equal pay and women’s rights at work. Photograph: PA

Opinion: Cameron’s proposed repatriation of powers is about nullifying workers’ rights

President Hassan Rouhani: offered the Bush administration a “grand bargain” back in 2003/2004. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: Previous offer from Tehran was dismissed by Bush’s neocons

Michael Mallin and Countess Markievicz being arrested in 1916. Photograph: National Museum of Ireland

Opinion: Events of the year concerned not just class struggle but the right to citizenship

US diplomat Richard Haass (centre) assisted by Harvard professor Meghan O’Sullivan (right) during round table talks at the Europa Hotel in Belfast – “Haass’s agenda shows how difficult issues were parked to get the executive running and how limited reconciliation has been at base level.” PHOTOGRAPH: PAUL FAITH/PA WIRE

Haass striving for an Ulster at ease with its various ‘othernesses’

Former prime minister Paul Keating: lost the argument back in the 1990s.

Opinion: Traditional alliance with US competing with geographic factors

Protesters demonstrating against  Mohamed Morsi in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in June. The question of whether his overthrow was a coup or a revolution is still not resolved. Photograph: New York Times service

World View: Egypt and Turkey are similar in many respects, including having a compliant media

The late Charles Haughey, who told Geraldine Kennedy in 1980 he was “hopeful” of seeing a united Ireland in his lifetime. There seems little general enthusiasm now for Sinn Féin’s idea of a Border poll. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Official Ireland understands negative effects of a British disengagement from the EU

The realist literature on multi-polarity and on power transitions in international relations tends towards pessimism as to whether the  major change in the power balance in Asia can be handled peaceably. Photograph: Reuters

Greater interdependence in Asia has been a driver of increases in prosperity

Protesters  in Sao Paulo earlier this month. “Wu Ming” argues that there is “a new international consciousness and activism sweeping world cities from Istanbul to São Paulo to Cairo and all around Europe”. Photograph: New York Times

Protests reveal deep frustration with representative democracy as currently practised

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond. The SNP wants to stay in Nato but not keep nuclear submarines there. Photograph: PA

Any decision to quit EU would boost nationalist sentiment north of the border

Apple senior executives Peter Oppenheimer,  Timothy Cook and Phillip Bullock being sworn in before this week’s US Senate hearings during which Ireland was dubbed a “tax haven”. Photograph: Daniel Rosenbaum/the New York Times

World View: The Irish policy model has served well to attract extraordinary levels of US and other investment here, but how well w(...)

European commissioner Máire  Geoghegan-Quinn at an announcement in 2011 of EU funding of €7 billion for research and innovation.

World View: EU commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn made a strong pitch for the indispensability of the humanities in understanding (...)

A billboard for Ukip in the 2009 European Parliament elections.  “The growing English nationalism affecting the Conservatives and the buoyant Eurosceptic Ukip competing with it are defined against Europe.” Photograph:   Oli Scarff/Getty Images

World View: Britain faces dual constitutional problem concerning its internal arrangements and its relationship with rest of EU

Demonstrators wave flags and shout slogans as they gather on the occasion of the Feast of the Martyrs at Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis, earlier this week. Photograph: Anis Mili/Reuters

World View: Established and social media have key role in organising public space in new democracies

Students saying no  to austerity measures in front of the Cypriot parliament building in Nicosia earlier this week.   Photograph: Milos Bicanski

Loss of confidence in the capacity of its leaders is a big threat to the European Union

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