Saturday Links: 30 January - 3 February 2017

Germany in the Age of Trump -- Project Syndicate -- Commentary by former German foreign minister and vice chancellor Joschka Fischer on the United States' turn inward, towards nationalism and perhaps even isolationism. Focusing on Germany, Fischer outlines how the resulting change in the world order would affect other countries that have relied on America's military might for protection. Germany has been among the chief beneficiaries, enabling it to concentrate on becoming an economic powerhouse rather than a military force that can defend itself in case of a conflict.

Forget Dow 20,000 — the Boom Times Are Over. Is Democracy Next? -- Foreign Policy -- Slightly polemic argument that democracy and liberalism may be in for tough times. Raising interesting questions: Is capitalism paired with democratic values the best model to generate prosperity and security, as has been believed throughout the 20th century, or could China's model of capitalism without democracy prove more successful? Has the past century's economic growth in Western countries really been the result of a good political system or has it merely been a byproduct of population growth? Must the Western world expect declining economic growth and dwindling prosperity now that the growth of its population is slowing down?

What defines a nation’s identity -- The Economist -- From the magazine's "Daily Chart" blog comes this illustration of how much weight the citizens of different countries give to certain factors that determine whether a person is accepted as somebody sharing the same nationality. For instance, being able to speak the national language seems to be the most important aspect for all countries that were part of the poll. Germans and Swedes don't seem to care much about another person's religion. For Greeks sharing national customs and being Christian is apparently a big deal.

Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World? -- Time -- Portrait of the man who, in his new role as Chief White House Strategist, has not only helped Donald Trump get elected by shaping the president's narrative of a movement towards a new political order in America, but who might also become one of the most powerful people behind the scenes in Washington. Whether Trump likes Bannon getting this much attention remains to be seen. If Trump really is a puppet, like many of his critics and now Time magazine opine, the question to ask would be: Whose hand is up Trump's ass? Bannon's? Putin's? (Excuse the groaner. That one was irresistable.) Personally, I believe the president is perfectly capable of forming his own ideas though... for better or worse.