This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

The Dog-Eaters of Svinia

In this fourth Ulysses prize extract, Austrian writer Karl-Markus Gauss travels to Slovakia and explores the slums of the "untouchables of Europe" – the gypsy Roma community.

Hungary: country without consequences

The political furore in Hungary over the prime minister's admission of lying to citizens is payback for problems unresolved after the communist era, says George Schöpflin.

Ramin Jahanbegloo, Hossein Derakhshan and openDemocracy

openDemocracy's publication of Hossein Derakhshan's article about the release from detention of the Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo was a serious lapse in editorial judgment, says Danny Postel.

Lula 'de novo': a letter from Brazil

Brazil's government, led by President Lula, has presided over a wave of corruption scandals and proved unable to bridge immense social divisions. But voters still seem prepared to give Lula another chance, reports Fred Halliday in Rio de Janeiro.

Filiberto Ojeda Rios: a Puerto Rican life

The FBI killing of an independence campaigner on a day of national resistance highlights Puerto Rico's tense relationship with Washington, reports Ari Paul.

Iraq: the cost of asymmetry

The United States plan to "lock down" Baghdad highlights the imbalance between the "long war's" expensive, ineffective military strategy and a cheap, devastating insurgency.

The Koizumi legacy and Japan's future

There are no miracles in Japanese politics. Shinzo Abe, frontrunner in the three-way contest to succeed Junichiro Koizumi as president of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was indeed elected to the post on 20 September 2006. Abe's 464 votes made it a decisive victory over his two rivals, Taro Aso (136) and Sadakazu Tanigaki (102). That paves the way to a vote in the Diet (parliament) on 26 September which will make him the country's twenty-sixth prime minister under its 1947 constitution.

The double elevation of Shinzo Abe draws the Koizumi era to a natural close. It also raises the question of the departing leader's legacy. The key element in any assessment must be the quality of Japanese governance after five years of frenetic activity and high-octane rhetoric, whose central theme has been that most seductive of all political words: "reform". 

Beyond the neocons: ethical realism and America's future

The future of the United States demands a new foreign-policy model: ethical realism. To get there requires a civil war on the American right – and a defeat of the neo-conservatives who have so damaged the country, says John C Hulsman.

Thailand: a coup for democracy?

Bangkok's new military leaders must move fast to fill the political space created by their overthrow of Thaksin Shinawatra, reports Nick Cumming-Bruce.

The Regensburg address: reason amid certainty

The leading themes of Pope Benedict's Regensburg speech – faith and reason, Christianity and Europe, the emergence of Islam as Christianity's significant "other" – will outlast the furore it provoked, says Michael Walsh.

Neocon fantasy, Iraqi reality

The story of Baghdad's "green zone" cocoon reveals the neo-conservative dreamworld inhabited by the leading agents of President Bush's "war on terror", writes Sidney Blumenthal.

A Jewish-German alliance for Europe's future

The first graduation of rabbis in Germany since 1945 is an opportunity to revivify the great German-Jewish cultural symbiosis and to place Jewish community life anew at Europe's heart, says Julia Neuberger, in her address to mark the occasion at Dresden’s Abraham Geiger College.

We still love the Swedish model

Sweden's election turnaround is less of a shift to the right than it appears, says Mats Engström in Stockholm.

The People on the Street: A Writer's View of Israel

Linda Grant went to Tel Aviv in 2003 intending to write a novel, instead her visit produced a work of another kind – observations from a troubled land of the "people on the street", and the discovery of an Israel of many aliases.

The fantasy link: 9/11, anthrax, and the Iraq war

The post-9/11 "anthrax letters" form a crucial link in a story that began with United States fears of bio-terrorism and ended at the gates of Baghdad, argues Philipp Sarasin.

Pope Benedict XVI: science is the real target

A deeper reading of Pope Benedict's Regensburg speech suggests a message that Catholics and Muslims can share, says Ehsan Masood: that modern science must make room for theology.

Bolivia: the battle for two-thirds

The procedural disputes in the body elected to draft a new Bolivian constitution reflect the country's deep social and regional polarisations, says John Crabtree.

'Seated scribe,' Gentile Bellini

“Seated scribe,” Gentile Bellini, 1479-80

'How Bush rules: chronicles of a radical regime,' Sidney Blumenthal

George W. Bush: a compassionate conservative or wilfully radical? Sidney Blumenthal debunks the Bush agenda.

Iran, the US, and nuclear plans: pen and sword

There is no future in the United States’s punitive mood towards Iran, says Behrad Nakhai: the crisis over Tehran’s nuclear researches can only be solved by dialogue.