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Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 4 December

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The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Tom Peck in The Independent

on foreign meddling

Trump’s instructions not to ‘interfere’ in the UK’s general election lasted seconds

“It was a matter of minutes before [Trump’s] sworn pledge not to interfere in the election led to him telling the British public to vote for Boris Johnson. Whoever could have predicted it? Not since Rage Against The Machine were performing their unlikely Christmas number one on the BBC and disobeyed their strict instructions not to sing the words, ‘f*** you, I won’t do what you tell me’ has any broken rule by an American on a little Christmas excursion had quite such an air of inevitability.”

2. Miriam Pawel in The New York Times

on a major candidate waving goodbye

Did we ever know the real Kamala Harris?

“Her candidacy appeared to have no real rationale and no clear constituency. The penchant for zigzagging that marked her policy positions carried over to strategy, as she veered from positioning herself as the fallback candidate for the left, when conventional wisdom suggested the front-runners might falter, to fashioning herself as the option for moderates when that appeared a more likely lane. Her carefully crafted image crumbled under the scrutiny of a national campaign. The bright beacon of hope in a dismal time dissolved into sound bites and bumper sticker slogans. ‘Justice is on the ballot.’ ‘Dude gotta go.’”

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3. Mary Dejevsky on UnHerd

on life after Mutti

Who will miss Angela Merkel?

“For all the periodic speculation, the departure of Angela Merkel from the Chancellery, whenever it comes, will be a huge shock for Germany. But the consequences would reverberate far beyond as well. It is hard to remember now the relatively timid public figure and almost apologetic campaigner who just squeaked into office in 2005. She has become not just a commanding figure in her homeland as Germany’s ‘Mutti’, but an immense force for moderation and international stability, too. Her absence would be felt at once — not least because there is no obvious successor.”

4. Rodrigo Espinoza-Troncoso and Michael Wilson-Becerril on Al Jazeera

on a country on the brink

What is behind state violence in Chile?

“In line with the national security doctrines that devastated Latin American nations in the second half of the 20th century, the Pinera administration declared war against an internal ‘enemy’ who the government claims poses a threat to ‘order’, ‘nation’ and ‘stability’. This internal ‘enemy’ comprises everyone who is opposing the government’s policies and actions, including but not limited to indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, dissidents, lawyers, students, human rights advocates, independent journalists, feminists and the poor.”

5. Giovanni Pigni in The Asia Times

on the uneasy Moscow-Grozny alliance

Chechnya’s dancing strongman extends deadly reach

“With the Kremlin’s carte blanche to annihilate Islamic rebels, [Chechen leader Ramzan] Kadyrov resorted to torture, extrajudicial killings and collective punishment against insurgents’ families. Despite the sharp decline in terrorism in the last decade, those tactics remain in use. Kadyrov’s repression has allegedly shifted focus, targeting alleged followers of Salafism, a form of Islam prohibited in Chechnya, drug users and homosexuals. Elena Milashina, the Novaya Gazeta journalist who broke the story on persecution of LGBTs in Chechnya, calls Kadyrov’s rule ‘totalitarian’.”

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