INTERNATIONAL EDITION APRIL 13, 2018 _ VOL.170 _ NO.13 FEATURE SHOWTIME ALE XEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/GET T Y President Vladimir Putin addresses the crowd at a rally and concert in Moscow’s Manezhnaya Square. The event celebrated the fourth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. COVER CREDIT Illustration by Tracie Ching for Newsweek For more headlines, go to NEWSWEEK.COM 26 Six More Years In Russia, Vladimir Putin’s reign will continue until 2024 and maybe beyond. What will that mean for America—and the world? BY MARC BENNETTS 1 GLOBAL EDITOR IN CHIEF _ Nancy Cooper CREATIVE DIRECTOR _ Michael Goesele INTERNATIONAL EDITION APRIL 13, 2018 _ VOL.170 _ NO.13 NEWS DIRECTOR _ Cristina Silva DEPUTY EDITORS _ Mary Kaye Schilling, R.M. Schneiderman OPINION EDITOR _ Laura Davis EDITORIAL DEPARTMENTS In Focus P. 40 04 Córdoba, Spain Boys in the Hoods 06 Shubra al- Khaymah, Egypt Life of the Party RUNNING MAN Gustavo Petro used to be a member of M-19, a center-left guerrilla group. Now, he’s eager to be president of Colombia, and he has a legitimate shot at it. Beijing Trump Card? Sacramento, California Crying Foul Periscope 08 Politics An Interview With Colombia’s Gustavo Petro 14 Middle East The ‘Truth’ About Syria’s Civil War Breaking News Editor _ Juliana Pignataro London Bureau Chief _ Robert Galster Politics Editor _ Michael Mishak Science Editor _ Jessica Wapner News Editor _ Orlando Crowcroft Gaming Editor _ Mo Mozuch Deputy Editors _ Dante A. Ciampaglia (Culture) Jen Glennon (Gaming) Jason Le Miere, Katie Zavadski (Politics) Jessica Lipsky (Breaking News) Robert Valencia (World) Associate Editors _ Hannah Osborne (Science) Harriet Sinclair (Politics) Maria Vultaggio (Culture) Amanda Woytus (Breaking News) Social Media Editor _ Adam Silvers London Sub-Editor _ Hannah Partos Production Editor _ Jeff Perlah Copy Chief _ Elizabeth Rhodes Ernst Copy Editors _ Bruce Janicke, Kelly Rush, Joe Westerﬁeld Contributing Editors _ Max Fraser, Owen Matthews, Matthew Sweet Video Producer _ Jordan Saville Editorial Assistant _ Zola Ray CREATIVE Horizons 36 Space Buying Real Estate on the Moon 38 Research Diamonds Are a Geologist’s BF 39 Health Grunt Workout 40 Drugs Viagra’s Stiff Competition Culture Director of Photography _ Diane Rice Contributing Art Director _ Michael Bessire Associate Art Director _ Dwayne Bernard Assistant Photo Editor _ Alessandra Amodio Digital Imaging Specialist _ Katy Lyness Production Manager _ Helen J. Russell WRITERS Carlos Ballesteros, Meghan Bartels, Nina Burleigh, Anthony Cuthbertson, Chantal Da Silva, Janissa Delzo, Dana Dovey, Gillian Edevane, Sean Elder*, Emily Gaudette, Nicole Goodkind, Michael Hayden, Katherine Hignett, Kristin Hugo, Josh Keefe, Max Kutner, Jessica Kwong, Tracy Lee, Soﬁa Lotto Persio, Tim Marcin, Melissa Matthews, Cristina Maza, Anna Menta, Alexander Nazaryan, Tom O’Connor, Callum Paton, Sydney Pereira, Maria Perez, Tom Porter, Bill Powell, Greg Price, Tom Roddy, Winston Ross*, Roberto Saviano*, Zach Schonfeld, Damien Sharkov, Kate Sheridan, Ryan Sit, Marie Solis, Jeff Stein, Janice Williams, Christina Zhao (*Contributing) 42 Theater Glenda Jackson’s Return to Broadway 46 Movies The Best Worst Film 48 Parting Shot Abbi Jacobson NEWSWEEK (ISSN2052-1081), is published weekly except one week in January, July, August and October. Newsweek International is published by Newsweek Media Group, 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5LQ, UK. 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Working with developers, fund and asset managers, commercial agents and property managers, we help support letting and sales strategies, retain and manage tenants and ensure that your development looks and feels great at all times. · · · Front of house reception On-site marketing Business-centre management 4th Floor · AMP House · Dingwall Road · Croydon · CR0 2LX Telephone: 0207 355 4343 · Email: email@example.com Twitter: @lahproperty · Web: www.lahproperty.co.uk In Focus 4 NEWSWEEK.COM THE NEWS IN PICTURES CÓRDOBA, SPAIN Boys in the Hoods PABLO PABLO BLAZQ UEZ D OM INGUEZ/GET T Y People ask for forgiveness for their sins at an annual Catholic Easter procession on March 25. The ceremony, which occurs during Holy Week in towns and villages throughout Spain, has long featured penitents wearing conical hats, or capirotes. Despite their resemblance to the pointed hoods worn by the Ku Klux Klan in America, the two outﬁts—and the groups who wear them—are entirely unrelated. → PA B L O B L A ZQ U E Z D O M I N G U E Z A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 NEWSWEEK.COM 5 In Focus SHUBRA AL-KHAYMAH, EGYPT BEIJING SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA Life of the Party Trump Card Crying Foul Women dance outside a polling station on March 27 during the presidential election. Abdel Fattah el-Sissi won re-election with more than 90 percent of the vote, but most of his main rivals are behind bars, and many Egyptians reportedly were threatened and bribed to participate in the voting. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, share a photo op with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan. During Kim’s surprise two-day visit, his ﬁrst known trip abroad since 2011, he reportedly reafﬁrmed his commitment to denuclearization, though critics remain skeptical. President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with Kim by the end of May. Stevante Clark addresses fellow protesters on March 28 in response to the killing of his brother, Stephon, an unarmed AfricanAmerican who was shot by police on March 18 in his grandmother’s backyard. → KHALED DESOUKI 6 NEWSWEEK.COM → KCNA → JOSH EDELSON A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 NEWSWEEK.COM 7 CLO CKWISE FROM LEFT: KHALED DE SOUKI/AFP/GET T Y; KCNA/RE UTERS; JOSH EDELSON/AFP/GET T Y Periscope NEWS, OPINION + ANALYSIS GUERILLA MARKETING Supporters hold signs for Petro in Tunja, a city northeast of Bogotá, the capital. 8 NEWSWEEK.COM A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 ”The lack of reporters in Syria has led to an even more fervent propaganda war.” » P.14 POLITICS Waiting in the (Left) Wings NICOLO FILIPPO ROSSO/BLO OMBERG/GET T Y; TO P R IGHT: DEREK BRUMBY/GET T Y Gustavo Petro used to be a member of a notorious Colombian guerrilla group. Now, he’s running for president more than three decades ago, the m-19, politics. The 58-year-old served as a congressa center-left Colombian guerrilla group, man in the early 2000s and later became mayor stormed the Palace of Justice, the country’s top of Bogotá—a term that almost ended in scandal. court, to condemn then–President Belisario BetanIn 2013, Petro became embroiled in an alleged scandal involving the city’s sanitation program cur for allegedly violating a truce. A 28-hour siege ensued, as militants squared off against the armed that temporarily forced him out of office. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor, and he came back forces, leaving dozens dead, the building burned to finish his term. and the country mired in chaos. A month before the siege, in October 1985, the But as Colombians get ready to vote on May 27, the national army detained a young militant named turmoil in neighboring Venezuela is getting more Gustavo Petro—who was not part of the raid—and attention than Petro’s time running Bogotá. Critics tortured him for days at a cavalry school. After his say he hasn’t adequately condemned the left-leaning release, Petro helped craft a peace treaty between movement chavismo, whose policies have arguably the militants and the government. created a humanitarian crisis along the Colombian Now, he wants to be Colombia’s next president. border. Petro argues otherwise, but this is no mere As of publication, Petro, who is running for the proideological debate: In March, shots were fired at his bulletproof vehicle during a campaign rally. gressive Colombia Humana Movement, was slightly trailing Iván Duque, his staunchest As the authorities continue to inrival. (Duque was nominated by Demvestigate what happened, Petro spoke ocratic Center—a center-right party to Newsweek about U.S. President BY Donald Trump, the late Venezuelan spearheaded by former President Álvaro Uribe Vélez.) leader Hugo Chávez and why politics ROBERT VALENCIA It’s not Petro’s first foray into @rvalentwit is a matter of life and death. NEWSWEEK.COM 9 Let’s talk about Trump. How would you deal with a U.S. president who is increasingly protectionist? Trump’s actions [regarding stiff trade measures, especially on Chinese products] inadvertently would help us because they allow us to impose a tariff on basic imports on farm products and industrial goods, which are of interest to protect Colombia’s agriculture and industry. Would you also renegotiate the free trade agreement Colombia signed with the U.S. in 2006? That would not be necessary from a legal standpoint because of the carbon tax [which measures greenhouse gas emissions on imports]—a tariff I propose. Trump’s protectionist take helps legitimize Colombia’s protectionism, but the position I’m proposing, in the protection of Colombia’s productivity, is founded on mitigating climate change. In recent years, Colombia has witnessed a rise in coca production. How would you tackle drug trafﬁcking? We cannot base our agenda on narcotics like in past decades. The war on drugs is a failure, and that is recognized in Colombia and in the U.S., and it has opened a floodgate of violence across the Americas, from Baltimore to Brazil. I propose an agrarian policy I call land substitution and the democratization of fertile land. Coca leaves do not grow on fertile land, and if farmers can be taken to arable fields, they will produce basic agrarian goods that are more profitable. How would you cooperate with the U.S. when Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump are intent on pursuing a draconian drug policy 10 NEWSWEEK.COM POLITICS and even contemplate the death penalty for drug dealers? Populism can lead U.S. right-wing factions to believe that stringent penalties can end drug consumption. The fact that a death toll reached over 60,000 [in 2016] due to [overdose from illicit drugs and prescription opioids] is a demonstration that the U.S. policy is a failure and is leading to more deaths. traditional political elites or the Trump administration. The Venezuelan regime, for its part, would not have survived if the world had not had a higher demand for oil. Therefore, the discussion over Venezuelan politics would have been very different between the opposition and the [Nicolás] Maduro administration today, but there is a dispute over oil revenues among interest groups. Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Latin American countries should not let China or Russia erode their sovereignty. Do you agree? To think about politics as gray areas or in a binary way is the worst approach to understand societies. This is a naïve policy and rather a stupid one. It’s not about being allegiant to the U.S. or Russia or China; it’s about forging ties with the politics of life, meaning those who want to mitigate climate change for a better future. During an interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos in March, your detractors lambasted you because you couldn’t answer whether Chávez was a dictator. Do you think this interview harmed your chances of becoming president? Not at all. I heard over the earpiece “Is Chávez a dictator or not?” But I differentiate the Chávez years from Maduro’s—and whoever wants to analyze Venezuela in depth must establish that difference, which I was not allowed to do.… If you ask me whether Chávez was a dictator, I would say no. If you ask me whether Maduro is a dictator, I would say yes. They are not the same in this case. Let’s talk about Venezuela. What do you think should be the role of the U.S. in the humanitarian crisis? The best role the U.S. should assume— now, this is a suggestion because I’m respectful of every country’s sovereignty—is to stay away from fossil fuel. However, this is not a concept that’s being analyzed by our “If you ask me whether Chávez was a dictator, I would say no. If you ask me whether Maduro is a dictator, I would say yes.” What makes them different? During the Chávez tenure, he was riding on high oil prices, and he could wield political clout. Maduro, on the other hand, is grappling with plummeting oil prices. Chávez allowed some pluralism…because there was a coup attempt in 2002 against him and several other strikes. He had to maintain or increase that pluralism. Maduro, on the other hand, murders. But during the Chávez years, there were operating TV channels from the opposition, for example. But Chávez allowed the closure of Radio Caracas Televisión, an opposing TV channel, in 2007. A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 CLO CKWISE FROM TOP: NICOLO FILIPPO ROSSO/BLO OMBERG/GET T Y; AFP/GET T Y; EITAN ABRAMOVI CH /AF P/G ET T Y Periscope VOTE FOR PETRO? Though critics fear he’ll turn Colombia into the next Venezuela, Petro, left, has a legitimate shot at the presidency. At bottom right, the 1985 siege. But he sustained a degree of pluralism. Today, Venezuela can’t find a solution to its woes. During the Chávez years, there were elections; he lost a 2007 referendum to stay longer in power, but he accepted his defeat. I can’t find opposition members who would say that there was a fraud during the times he was re-elected, since there was some sort of consensus that the majority of Venezuelans were supporting Chávez. And this is because oil prices were high, turning Venezuela into a bursting bubble—something Chávez, unfortunately, did not foresee. Chávez was aware that Venezuela’s economy needed to be transitioned from an oil-based economy to a more diverse one, but he depended even more on its petroleum until the end of his term. Now, Maduro makes the effort to sustain a higher price of oil, and he does not allow openness for a national dialogue to solve problems. That’s what we call a dictatorship. So do you still support your claim that Chávez was a good president? That’s not what I said. What I’m saying is that Chávez was not a dictator. Whether he was a good or bad leader, that’s up to the Venezuelan society to decide. We did not see a deep-seated authoritarian approach under Chávez, despite aligning Venezuela with the Cuban model. Maduro fights for an increase in oil production, instead of contemplating a transition to a more productive economy—and he closed any democratic forums for social protests. NEWSWEEK.COM 11 If you become president, how would you deal with Maduro while addressing Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis? From the Colombian perspective, it’s all about staying away from coal and oil. That would pave the way for an exemplary model to Venezuela. The richer we are, the more capable we’ll be to help Venezuelan society… stay away from oil. This can only be achieved if Colombia shifts to a more productive economy and supplies Venezuela with more food, so we can curb such a massive exodus. What is the Venezuelan problem? It can’t untether from oil, but that problem can only be resolved among Venezuelans. Your political adversaries could bring up your former M-19 militancy in future presidential debates. How would you cope with those attacks? The history of M-19 showed us that peace is not a pact with guerrillas, but an agreement with society in the pursuit of social reforms to make Colombia, one of the world’s most unequal countries, into a fair one. If we don’t recognize that this is the root cause of drug trafficking, violence or poverty, then we’re having a distorted view of our country. If the Uribe-led conservative movement known as uribismo is defeated and I win, we should discuss with its upper echelon how we can peacefully move from an unproductive large estate to a productive model. Analysts believe that markets are afraid of you. Should they be? What a foreign investor wants is HEAVYHANDED A farmer harvests coca leaves in southwest Colombia. Petro believes America’s war on drugs has failed. 12 NEWSWEEK.COM POLITICS a clear set of rules, so here is mine: Businesspeople dedicated to clean energies like solar power are welcome. Those who want to help us in the industrialization of food production are welcome. Those who want to help us in the programming, web and computer science business are welcome. Now, when it comes to the extractive business, such as ore mining in moorlands, fracking, oil and coal exploration, then they will not find a friendly government. Another left-leaning candidate in Latin America on the rise is Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Despite the Venezuelan experience, do you believe that the left still has a future in a region that has probably grown weary of it? “I no longer see the world as right versus left. The world today sees politics as a matter of life versus death.” I no longer see the world as right versus left. The world today sees politics as a matter of life versus death.… There are entities that support and deepen wars, wall constructions, xenophobia and fossil fuel economies. Those are the politics of death. I don’t know López Obrador…but I’d like to because we would have some much to talk about. There could also be a political change in Brazil if [Luiz] Inácio Lula Da Silva manages to run again. This is also true of Peru. With the ouster of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and the fall of former leader Alberto Fujimori’s ideology, we can witness a beautiful opportunity for a progressive bloc’s rise. This would be a completely different axis from the one made up of Caracas, Managua and Havana. My hope is that this new dawn in Latin American progressivism is established in a productive economy. Would you renegotiate the peace accord the government reached with the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) more than a year ago? The peace deal must be respected, and they must be unvilified because Colombians no longer believe the fallacy that our country was going to be handed over to guerrillas. FARC, now a political party, received a meager 50,000-vote tally in the congressional elections. The treaty with FARC is not a top concern for Colombians. When the country votes in May, do you think you’ll win? Possibly. For the first time in five centuries, a person who is not a member of the elites that have ruled the country has a chance to win the presidency—that is, if I’m not assassinated. A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/GE T T Y Periscope SAVE 57% Subscribe F1OM1€2211111111111 ★★★★★ “Journalism I don’t see elsewhere until later, if at all.” NEWSWEEK.COM /TRY Periscope MIDDLE EAST Tourist Trap Skeptical of media reports about Syria, small groups of Westerners are heading to Damascus to see for themselves. Are they truth-seekers—or pawns of the regime? it almost sounds like the beginning of a joke. A British priest, an American student and a Scottish baroness, among others, were stuck at a border crossing. But the border in question is no joking matter; it’s the one that divides Lebanon from Syria. Skeptical of what they’d seen and heard in the Western media, these men and women had arrived here to learn the “truth” about the then-six-year-old Syrian Civil War. This was last year, and the group was one of hundreds of tourist delegations that have tried to come to 14 NEWSWEEK.COM Syria, many with permission from the regime. Its organizer? Andrew Ashdown, an Anglican vicar from Winchester, a small town in southern England. Since 2014, he’s visited Syria at least nine times on similar tours. His personal highlight came about two years ago when he unexpectedly met President Bashar al-Assad. Many in the West consider Assad a monster, but Ashdown feels differently. Stuck at the border crossing, he was excitedly telling his companions about his encounter. “He was standing there surrounded by all this grandeur, yet completely alone,” Ashdown said. “I felt very privileged. It’s terrible how the media twist things.” Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, it has morphed from a peaceful uprising against the government into a devastating struggle in which both the regime and its enemies have sanctioned rape and torture, according to the United BY Nations. The carnage has led half the counSALLY HAYDEN try’s citizens to flee, @sallyhayd A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 FROM LEFT: HA MZA ALA JWEH/AFP/GET T Y; SASHA MORD OV ETS/G ET T Y “I started…trying to ﬁnd alternative media, which is really difﬁcult. I think I ﬁrst started by looking at TripAdvisor.” with more than 5 million refugees living outside of Syria. Human rights groups say Assad and his Russian allies have killed the largest number of civilians, dropping barrel bombs indiscriminately, targeting hospitals and medical centers, using chemical weapons and carrying out a series of sieges to starve the opposition into submission. Its most recent offensive, in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, has killed more than 1,100 civilians since mid-February, as the Syrian president continues to win back control over his battered country. It has never been easy for the press to cover the conflict, but over time, it has become even more difficult. Syria was ranked as the fourth-mostrepressive country for media in the world last year, according to Reporters Without Borders, which placed it ahead of only Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea. For Western journalists, it’s hard to even get in. Certain outlets—including Al Jazeera and the National Geographic Channel—seem to be completely blacklisted. Reporters who do get a visa are assigned government minders, and they operate with the understanding they won’t be allowed back if they write anything negative. The lack of reporters on the ground has led to an even more fervent propaganda war—in Russian, Iranian and other press outlets and on social media—in which pro-regime pundits call humanitarian groups like the White Helmets “terrorists,” and dismiss children killed by chemical attacks as “actors.” Western tour groups are increasingly playing a role in this battle over information. Most seem to believe that Assad should be allowed to deal with the opposition as he sees fit. They pay their own way, but members of the Syrian government often organize visas, coordinate schedules and make themselves available for meetings. The phenomenon of Westerners traveling to support repressive regimes is not new. Alberto Fernandez, a former American diplomat stationed in Syria in 1990, says it goes back to the 1930s, when Westerners traveled to the Soviet Union for similar reasons. “People…getting information from regimes or going on trips and allowing ROAD TO DAMASCUS Western tour groups are playing a role in the Syrian propaganda war. Most seem to believe that Assad, below, should be allowed to deal with the opposition as he sees ﬁt. Opposite, a child in Eastern Ghouta. themselves to be used by tyrants, that has happened with every movement,” he says. “That is true of Syria.” While these trips draw together a disparate collection of people with varying motivations and levels of knowledge of the region, all those interviewed by Newsweek expressed strong distrust of Western media. And their access has made them increasingly influential online. Take Miguel Valenzuela, a muscular, 29-year-old American living in Australia. He decided to come to Syria in early 2017 because he felt he was getting only one side of the story. Two years before, he visited Iran and says the trip forced him to question many of his preconceptions about the country— from how welcoming civilians were to how they felt about their leadership. As Valenzuela started learning more about Syria—both the war and the nation’s history—he wondered if Assad was simply misunderstood. “I started…trying to find alternative media, which is really difficult,” he says. “I think I first started by looking at TripAdvisor.” On the travel site, he saw postings saying “how beautiful the country was and how free people were…which contradicted the idea of a brutal dictator.” Next, he searched Twitter and Facebook for people who had visited the country. He came across selfstyled activists and citizen journalists who post frequently and conduct interviews on alternative or Russian state-controlled media sites. Valenzuela found them convincing but still wanted to see for himself. He tried getting a visa from the Syrian consulate in Sydney, but it kept canceling his appointments. So he searched for another way. After Googling “Syria tours,” Valenzuela came across Jamal Daoud, a Palestinian-Australian activist who NEWSWEEK.COM 15 Periscope traveled to the country as early as 2013 with a group from Australia’s short-lived WikiLeaks Party that included John Shipton, Julian Assange’s father. Three years later, Daoud began organizing tours to Syria under a group called the Australian Social Justice Network. Prices ran to $850 for a single room, Valenzuela learned, flights not included. But he found it reassuring that the money wasn’t due until Syria approved his visa. The next trip was advertised as “celebrating Easter, celebrating Syrian Independence Day and celebrating the victory of Aleppo”—a Syrian regime victory that ended a brutal siege with a forced evacuation that the United Nations considers a war crime. Valenzuela signed up. His visit was odd, he says. The tour’s organizers gave him a government-issued press card saying he worked for Daoud’s media company, even though he wasn’t a journalist (he runs a supplements company). The group was often joined by SANA, Syrian state media, which filmed them making visits to Aleppo and Damascus and regularly encouraged attendees to provide interviews about what they heard and witnessed, including civilians’ concerns about rising food prices that were fueled by U.S. sanctions. “I was blown away by the strength of the Syrian people,” Valenzuela says. “And also how real the war was.” Among the tour groups that have made it inside Syria, some show a strong desire to help local people. They donate money to charitable causes in the country, and one cryptocurrency enthusiast even suggested using bitcoin to get around U.S. sanctions. In October, a visiting Irishman paid for a young girl’s heart operation, while some have talked about going back to Syria to volunteer as English teachers, though whether they can get 16 NEWSWEEK.COM MIDDLE EAST a longer-term visa is another matter. However, most of the Syrian refugees Newsweek spoke to have already been forced to flee their home country, and they reacted with confusion and resignation when learning about these trips. “I think they don’t know it, but it’s propaganda,” said a Syrian who fled Damascus with his entire family and asked to remain anonymous because he’s still worried about retaliation. “These people who go there, I think they would like to help, to support the people, and they want to see Syria…[but] the regime killed half a million Syrians and 80 percent of Syria is destroyed.” Jalal Mando, a young actor from Homs who was imprisoned for two years for filming protests, said the Syrian regime has always been good at lying to people. “When I was in prison, a lot of prisoners wanted reconciliation with the Syrian regime. I saw many of them, and they were killed under torture,” he said. “Bashar al-Assad wants to deceive people by creating an illusion for them.” Syrian government employees acknowledge a propaganda war is going on, and they’re working hard to help their side win. The government’s Ministry of Information is a critical player in this battle. Ghassan Chahine, a Damascene with 40 years of experience in the Syria tourguide business, praised the ministry for making his job easier. Sitting One woman used her student loan to fund the $1,900 expected cost of the journey (ﬂights not included). in a courtyard in a boutique hotel in Damascus’s party district, Bab Touma, in October, surrounded by guests visiting with another Western delegation, he said he was lucky to have access to an “official voice” for his country. He speculated that tour guides elsewhere must struggle without that guidance. Before the war, 12 percent of Syria’s gross domestic product came from tourism. Damascus is one of the oldest cities on Earth and features one of the largest mosques in the world. The capital is also home to a bevy of former tour guides struggling, like everyone else, to comprehend what has happened to their country. So Chahine is pleased that business is starting up again; in fact, he says, a new delegation arrives every day. “They want to see what happened,” he explains, adding that it gives the government and its supporters in Syria “a way to get our information out.” Social media are a major channel for pro-Syrian propaganda, and many Westerners who go on these guided tours post photos and commentary about their trip on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Several repeat visitors have built up significant followings: Ashdown has more than 2,500 Facebook followers. British-born Vanessa Beeley, a self-proclaimed “independent journalist,” has 25,000 followers on Twitter. Canadian Eva Bartlett, who blogs for Russia Today, a Kremlin mouthpiece, has more than 75,000 followers across both platforms. All three focus on similar topics, including discrediting the White Helmets. They occasionally give talks across the U.K. or U.S. and repeatedly say their access inside Syria gives them more credibility than reporters from more mainstream groups, such as The Guardian or the BBC. Most reporters would disagree, A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 FROM TO P: AM EER ALHAL BI/AFP/GE T T Y; C OURTESY O F SALLY HAY DEN BENEATH THE RUBBLE Members of the White Helmets pull a boy from a collapsed building after a regime airstrike in Aleppo, left. Below, Ashdown with Lebanese police ofﬁcers near the Syrian border. and analysts say these Western visitor accounts are being amplified by bots as well as some Christian groups, which believe the narrative that Assad supports religious minorities. “The space has become a fascinating, often frustrating one where you’re seeing all these actors—good and indifferent—attempting to use these means to shape reality or misshape reality,” says Fernandez, the former American diplomat. Back at the Syrian border, the members of Ashdown’s contingent were getting to know one another. Most attendees were Christian. Some have never been to the Middle East before; others have no experience in a war zone. One woman, a divorced mother who learned of the trip through Ashdown’s Facebook page, used student loan money to fund the $1,900 expected cost of the journey (flights not included). At least two had written letters to family members to be opened if they are killed while away. But it seemed that Ashdown’s contact—a high-level official in the Syrian government—had mysteriously disappeared, along with the group’s already issued visas. “Is it a cock-up or conspiracy?” John Howard, a Methodist presbyter based in the West Bank, quipped as he strolled through the ruined Roman temples at Hezbollah-controlled Baalbeck, in east Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. “That’s the question, isn’t it?” By noon on the fourth day of waiting, Ashdown was passing around whiskey while making plans to return west to Beirut. People were becoming frustrated. A few people began to express quiet doubts: Maybe the mainstream media reports were actually correct? Maybe Assad was exercising extreme control over information while brutalizing his own people. A week passed, but the senior Syrian official never re-emerged to distribute the final permissions, and the attendees—who had flown from as far as South America—were left disappointed. In the end, a string of speakers, all government supporters, traveled to Lebanon to meet with them. Among them was Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix. A Syria-based Lebanese nun, she is best known for conducting her own report into the 2013 East Ghouta chemical attack, claiming the footage of it was fabricated and the children had been anesthetized to create it. (De la Croix had no prior investigative experience.) She also spoke about how the opposition had always been “terrorists,” the “Mafia-like” nature of the media and her theory that Saudi Arabia— rather than Assad—was behind the departure of Syrian refugees to Europe because it longs for the Islamization of the West. Then she attacked the BBC, which she said lied about conditions inside the country. Most of those listening nodded sympathetically, promising to spread her message when they returned home. NEWSWEEK.COM 17 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION J A PA N The Japanese Way: Monozukuri and total quality control When it comes to quality, nobody does it quite like Japanese mandufacturers At the beginning of its rapid industrialization following World War II, Japan imported many concepts from the United States and United Kingdom on factory management and statistical quality control. But over the proceeding decades, Japanese manufacturers left its competitors in the U.S. and U.K. behind, thanks to their ability to produce high-quality goods at a competitive cost. Noted for his quality management innovations, Japanese organizational theorist Kaoru Ishikawa (1915-1989) is considered a key figure in the development of quality initiatives in Japan. During the 80s he released four books on the topic of quality control. “To practice quality control is to develop, design, produce and service a quality product (...) To meet this goal, everyone in the company must participate in and promote quality control, including top executives, all divisions within the company and all employees,” he wrote in What is Total Quality Control? The Japanese Way. Companies like Toyota became renowned for following such an approach. The world-famous Toyota Production System follows the principals of Monozukuri, which revolves around the spirit of not only producing excellent products, but also the ability to constantly improve the production system and processes. Japanese manufacturers both large and small have adopted these principals of Monozukuri, which has helped to set them apart from their competitors when it comes to quality. “One of the main differences between Japan and competing countries such as Korea and China is that we have good teachers and leaders from companies like Toyota and Honda that have taught Japan a lot,” says Mr. Jumpei, Kojima President of IMV Corporation, which, with its 350 employees, manufactures vibration testing systems and measuring systems for the automotive, electronics and construction industries. “Because of the influence of such companies, we kept growing with repeated trial and error to meet their high requirements. They encourage and enable us to grow ourselves.” Aside from an uncompromising dedication to quality and reliability in products and production processes, Mr. Shinkichi Suzuki, President and CEO of Kawakin Holdings Group, says that another distinguishing feature which sets Japan apart from the likes of China and South Korea is the fact that “Japanese corporations make a lot of efforts in customizing their products to fit to their customers’ needs.” Through its subsidiaries, Kawakin manufactures a range of high-tech products that provide safety and reliability in engineering fields for buildings, bridges, industrial machinery, energy, automobiles, ships and other sectors. These include steel, iron and wax castings, rolled steel, seismic isolation and vibration control systems for buildings and bridges, hydraulic cylinders and injection moldings. “Our main competitive advantage is our extensive and diverse product portfolio,” says Mr. Suzuki. “We can adapt to all kinds of structures, from bridges to buildings, including schools, hospitals and factories. The ability to offer to our customers so many different components makes us a one-stop shop. Instead of establishing business partnerships with separate companies, Kawakin’s customers can rely on us as a sole provider for all products needed.” “Japanese people are perfectionists and as such their work ethic is to always strive for perfection” Shuhei Toyoda, President. Toyota Boshoku Corp. “Before cars, make people” is a famous quote of former Toyota chairman, Eiji Toyoda; and “making people” is certainly a priority for Japanese companies like Toa Koki, which manufactures engine components for both cargo and passenger ships for customers around the world. “We have the same mindset as companies like Toyota and Suzuki. We take good care of our employees, especially our highly skilled employees and those with expert knowledge,” says company president, Mr. Wataru Mitsutake. “It is extremely important that the top-level workers teach the younger generation. Under this SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION training system, twenty-year-old employees were ranked 8th at the Monozukuri Championship in Japan last year.” Of course, for Japanese multinationals, training often involves the training of staff in factories and subsidiaries overseas. These companies ensure that the values of Monozukuri and high-quality standards are adopted by their workers abroad. “At Sanyo Chemical, we outsource some of our productions to our overseas subsidiaries. It is essential that the high level of production and product quality is sustained regardless of where the products are made,” says Takao Ando, President of Sanyo Chemical Industries. “We train our overseas staff members to reach the same level of education as our Japanese workforce. This is the main way we ensure our quality and technology is transferred to our overseas affiliates. As part of the training we have a special study, education and motivational program, which include experts introducing them to Japan and ensuring that they have the necessary knowledge about technology and Japanese Monozukuri.” “The Japanese value system takes pride in its own creation, and the meaning of Monozukuri is to differentiate oneself by reaching for uniqueness” Kengo Fukaya, President Fuji OOZX Japanese Monozukuri has faced stiff competition from the likes of China and South Korea in recent decades, who can offer lower cost products. In the forging manufacturing industry for example, China now controls around 40 percent of the global market share. Ohmi Press Work and Forging has been involved in the metal forging business since 1951, making highquality parts for Japan’s famous bullet trains, ships, the aerospace industry and construction machinery. The company has seen firsthand the rise of Chinese competitors offering cheaper products. As a result, Ohmi’s main goal has been to use its 67 years of experience to reduce its costs, while also maintaining and even improving the quality of its products. “It is clear that China and Korea have a very large presence in this market. However, there is no doubt that Japan has a higher quality of steel and other materials than any of its competitors. In addition, it is not only about materials but it is also about the facilities and the factories we have here in Japan,” says Ohmi president, Koichi Sakaguchi. “Japan cannot compete in terms of price, or even quantity, but without a doubt, Japan has the advantage of the quality. Finally, there are so many companies here in Japan that are specialized in one area and have many years of experience. For me, these are the main advantages of the Japanese forging sector compared to the competition.” Another company involved in the metal business, Okabe celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. The company began as a manufacturer of small bolts, but thanks to large investments in R&D, is now a world leader in the manufacturing of building structural products, “Recently, we have focused on producing products which are earthquake resistant. We have developed acute expertise in technologies linked to disaster prevention. By exporting our historical knowledge, we will contribute to the creation of a safer and more prosperous world,” says president, Mr. Makoto Hirowatari. The company has had a presence in the U.S. for 40 years through Okabe Inc., which distributes automotive parts. It expanded its presence in the U.S. in 2002 by establishing OCM, which mainly trades construction material. “The recognition of our OCM brand has been successful and rapidly growing,” says Mr. Hirowatari. In 2005, it acquired Minneapolisbased automotive parts manufacturer, Water Gremlin, which has also been a major success for the company. Since then it has set up subsidiaries in Italy in 2007 and China in 2012. “Japan has used the supply chain system driven by OEMs as in the Toyota, Nissan, or Honda supply chains, and this system continues to provide high-quality” Teruaki Nakatsuka, President, JATCO “Our main competitive advantage is linked to the unrivalled quality of our products. At Okabe, we put quality on a pedestal, and our clients recognize us for this,” adds Mr. Hirowatari. “Secondly, we treat environmental friendliness with an acute attention to detail. Complying to environmental criteria is one of our trademarks.” Automotive industry Car manufacturers like Toyota and Nissan depend on local Japanese original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to supply components for their automobiles. These OEMs must comply with Toyota and Nissan’ high standards of quality, which means Monozukuri principals pervade the whole supply chains. “Japan has used the supply chain system driven by OEMs as in the Toyota, Nissan, or Honda supply chains, and this system continues to work effectively and efficiently to provide high-quality,” says Mr. Teruaki Nakatsuka, President and CEO of JATCO, which produces continuously variable transmissions (CVTs, a type of automatic transmission) for Honda, Nissan and Suzuki. “CVTs are very complicated products that require Monozukuri excellence. The beauty of the CVT is its fuel efficiency and flexibility, and it is in itself an ecofriendly product. Better fuel efficiency will provide significant value to society. “CVT involves making the best use of power from the engine to provide smoother performance, so all car manufacturers can benefit from our new developments and the results will be very beneficial for the environment.” “One good thing for JATCO is that Nissan is the 75-percent shareholder of our company. All transmission SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION “We are a smaller-sized enterprise that is able to oversee every detail in the manufacturing process, thereby yielding higher quality products.” “Our main competitive advantage is linked to the unrivalled quality of our products. At Okabe, we put quality on a pedestal, and our clients recognize us for this” Kazushi Abe, President, Elastomix Makoto Hirowatari President, Okabe companies need to work closely with OEMs and partners, including when they conduct R&D, as transmissions are long-term products. We are lucky to have Nissan with us. OEMs are front runners in adapting to new environments and new technologies. Genchi Genbutsu means ‘Go and See’ and it is a key principle of the Toyota Production System and, indeed, the production systems of its subsidiaries like Toyota Bokushu. It suggests that in order to truly understand a situation one needs to go to genba (‘the real place’) where work is done. “Toyota Boshoku firmly believes in doing things in the way of Genchi Genbutsu,” says Mr. Toyoda. “It is very important for everyone at Toyota Boshoku to understand and practice this philosophy. Japanese people are perfectionists and as such their work ethic is to always strive for perfection and that is why we excel in producing high-quality products.” Another Japanese automotive supplier that strives for perfection, as well as to create eco-friendly #TheWorldfolio #JapanTheWorldfolio PRODUCED BY GLOBUS VISION Antoine Azoulay – Country Director Aline Ouaknine – Project Director Alexandre Marland – Editorial Associate Sean Maplesden – Project Assistant products, is FUJI OOZX. The company manufacturers engine valves, which are a core part of a car engine and essential to overall engine performance. “The mass production of hollow engine valves is our current challenge,” says president, Mr. Kengo Fukaya. “For our company, the car of the future is one that has engine valves with the best engine efficiency and high performance. At FUJI OOZX, we believe that our technology will open up new possibilities.” The company has maintained its leading position in product development based on its research into raw materials, which are supplied by its parent company, Daido Steel. “Our valve material is made of a special kind of steel. Our parent company supplies these materials to us. Our superior technology cools the temperature of the valve, allowing for greater performance and resistance,” explains Mr. Fukaya. Mr. Fukuaya believes the true strength of the Japanese people – the search for creation and improvement – is most visible in the manufacturing industry. “Since the beginning of our history, Japan has placed high value on teamwork,” he adds. “This has created the concept of Monozukuri. This spirit, no matter how big the company gets in size, is highly valued. Toyota for example, despite being enormous in size, still applies the philosophy of Monozukuri.” While FUJI OOZX looks to develop high performance engine valves for the cars of the future, Elastomix is developing next-generation rubber materials for the electronic vehicles (EVs) that will become more commonplace on the road in the coming years. “The trend now is shifting with the rise of EVs and consequently the requirements are changing. EVs heat up much more than conventional cars and therefore rubber compounds must be more heat-resistant. This new trend is affecting not only Elastomix but the whole industry,” says Mr. Kazushi Abe, President of Elastomix. “Unlike other players, however, we are pioneering solutions for electric vehicles. With our knowhow and dedicated R&D center, we are developing new and better performing materials.” Elastomix has over 50 years of experience in manufacturing rubber compounds for the automotive industry, which makes up 50 percent of its business. Aside from automotives, its rubber compounds have various applications: in structural joints, antivibration systems for buildings prone to earthquakes, railways, gaskets, seals and semiconductors. Elastomix remains a relatively small company, but for president Ka- “There is no doubt that Japan has a higher quality of steel and other materials than any of its competitors” Koichi Sakaguchi, President, Ohmi Press Work and Forging zushi Abe, smaller means better: “Our competitive advantage lies also in the size of the company. Unlike many other very large companies in other countries which tend to increase the output by lowering down costs, we are a smaller-sized enterprise that is able to oversee every detail in the manufacturing process, thereby yielding higher quality products.” “Its thanks to our continuous communication with clients that we ensure the highest quality of our products and we are able to customize every detail to match the clients’ requirements. This is what represents for me the Japanese seal of quality and what I think puts Japanese Monozukuri a step ahead of other global competitors.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Monozukuri with a softer touch Historically regarded as a hardware manufacturing nation, Japanese firms are combining their Monozukuri philosophy with software advancements to create innovative products in the age of AI, IoT and cloud services In the early 90s, some commentators tipped Japan to become the world superpower in software development, on the back of its success in high-tech manufacturing. But ultimately, Japan was left trailing far behind the U.S. in software innovation, as Silicon Valley churned out software patents at an incredibly faster rate than Tokyo. The reason for this is mainly attributed to Japan’s focus on Monozukuri – making things like semiconductors, televisions, hi-fis, computers and advanced machinery. Japanese companies viewed hardware as their strength and put little value or emphasis on software as a value creator. “A Samurai would never write software!” – so exclaimed a senior executive of one Japan’s largest electronics firm. But the attitudes towards software have changed with growing internet use and the increasing importance of software, as well as the advent of fourth-industrial- revolution technologies such as AI, IoT and robotics, areas in which Japan aims to be at the forefront over the coming years. Along with advanced robotics, business software is seen as a solution to the country’s chronic labor shortage. The development of business software is growing with some of the country’s large electronics companies buying into the sector. As a result of these changes, the Japanese software industry is set to grow stronger in the future. “Japan used to consider software as a mere accessory to the main product; hardware. There were times when it was very difficult to charge for software applications. Today, Japanese corporations are growing increasingly aware of the significance of software, and Japan is equipped with the correct competitive technology to develop it,” says Jinya Katsube, COO and Representative Director of Zuken Inc. “There are only a few companies in Japan that have technologies in terms of both device and application technology required for IoT, we are one of these companies and as such it is one of our strengths” Mr. Shoji Tada, President and CEO, Nippon Systemware Zuken specializes in software and consulting services for a wide range of fields in the manufacturing sector, from electronics to aerospace and automotive. The company was a pioneer in the development of CAD systems in Japan when it was established in 1976. Four decades after, Zuken has become a leading electronoic design automation (EDA) provider, employing 1,300 employees around the world, including in the Zuken SOZO Center in Silicon Valley, which opened in 2013. With the emergence of IoT, Mr. Katsube foresees the use of Zuken’s software to design the smart cars of tomorrow: “IoT is having a large impact in the field of engineering. When designing a smart car, manufacturers will be required to design a system that can effectively be connected to its surroundings, and I believe that this demand for cross-device connectivity will be Zuken’s future.” Another company aiming to gain from the emergence of IoT is Nippon Systemware (NSW). Established in 1966, NSW has expanded its business from software development to device development, system integration services, IoT and cloud services that principally focus on data center services. “There are only a few companies in Japan that have technologies in terms of both device and application technology required for IoT, we are one of these companies and as such it is one of our strengths. Of course, major Japanese companies also have both of these sectors in their divisions, but as a medium sized company, we have the added advantage of being able to make faster decisions,” says Mr. Shoji Tada, NSW’s president and CEO. “At NSW, IoT usually covers around 80% manufacturing businesses, cloud, data centers, original electronic manufacturers. Our core is essentially software but we oversee all these businesses in our company, which gives a synergy impact throughout the company.” Going forward, the company also wants to develop its capabilities in AI. “We have tested a lot of programs during the past year to bring AI into the digital sector, and you can expect to see more AI technologies to be released this year, including more selfdriving cars and other technologies in this area,” says Mr. Tada. “Going forward, we aim to further expand our business by utilizing new technologies and cultivated know-how and organizational capabilities.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Micro & Fine Technology made of stainless steel wires Finer than a hair, yet as strong as steel: Nippon Seisen adopts ‘Micro & Fine Technology’ to develop the world’s thinnest stainless-steel super-fine wires and metal fibers, which have a range of applications across several industries Japan is seen as a hub for highperformance, cutting-edge technologies, and this is also true in the stainless steel wire and metal fiber industry, where companies are now required to make thinner, stronger and more precise materials for a range of demanding hi-tech industries such as automotive, IT, energy and healthcare. A global leader in the manufacturing of stainless steel wires and metal fibers, Nippon Seisen is building on the technology it has developed over its 66-year history to supply high-quality, next-generation materials that support the high performance of its customer’s end products. The company’s product portfolio of what it calls ‘Micro & Fine Technology’ includes: the world’s thinnest stainless-steel super-fine wires (which the company boasts are finer than a strain of hair); high-strength, heat-resistant stainless-steel spring wires; and its ‘NALSON’ stainless steel metal fibers. Available in cloth, felt, knit, tape and other variations, these metal fibers have the same level of workability and flexibility as a textile fiber, but with the added strength of stainless steel. Employing its superior stainlesssteel fibers such as ‘NASLON’, Nippon Seisen also manufactures metal filters used in carbon-fiber manufacturing and ultra-high-purity gas filters used for semiconductor production equipment, which are characterized by superior particle removal capability and low pressure drop. A special steel manufacturing engineer by trade, the company’s president, Mr. Motoshi Shinkai is unequivocal about the competitive advantages of his company and Japanese manufacturing in general over its regional competitors such as China and Korea. “When producing products that require compactness, lightness and high performance, it is a prerequisite to have a high level of skill and cutting-edge technology that includes material, processing technology, components performance, production machinery, tools and molds. Japanese manufacturing superiority is in the high level of communication and mutually supportive culture that exists between extremely competent, specialty-focused small to mid-sized companies specialized in material processing,” he says. The competitive strengths of Nippon Seisen in particular lies in its ‘Micro & Fine Technology’ and cutting-edge product development carried out in collaboration with its customers, as well as its highquality raw materials. These materials are sourced from the best Nippon Seisen’s stainless-steel super-fine wires are almost eight times thinner than a strain of hair special steel and alloy suppliers in Japan, including its parent company Daido Steel. Indeed, Nippon Seisen’s cuttingedge products are the result of the painstaking work of its R&D department, which has recently developed a hydrogen separation membrane (HSM) for high-purity hydrogen gas production and purification. This innovation is already drawing interest from those in the automobile industry developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and also has applications in the oil & gas and semiconductor industries. “Our R&D is market-oriented as we develop materials required by society. Our target market is firstly the automotive sector, then the environment and IT, and finally the medical sector,” says Mr. Shinkai. “Even though stainless steel, metal fiber and Micro & Fine Technology is a limited field, the range of applications these products have is huge. We have a wide range of highperformance, exclusive products and we want to become a leader in a global niche market.” “Even though stainless steel, metal fiber and Micro & Fine Technology is a limited field, the range of applications these products have is huge. We have a wide range of highperformance, exclusive products and we want to become a leader in a global niche market” Motoshi Shinkai, President, Nippon Seisen SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Sosei Water: an answer to fracking concerns? An environmentally minded Japanese company has developed a special water with unique properties that allow it to be used to power engines and even as a household cleaner to replace shampoos and detergents. Now its founder, Mr. Toshiharu Fukai, believes Sosei Water could also clean up the fracking business For years, shale gas lay dormant in rocks deep underground. Energy companies knew it was there, but because of the high mining costs, nobody could find a way to make money from extracting it. That changed however when the U.S. developed the technology to turn hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, for shale gas into a profitable venture, and since then the industry has grown rapidly. The past few years for the shale industry have been difficult though, mainly due to restrictions placed upon it by the administration of former President Obama and the impact of the plummet in oil prices. But shale drillers are expecting to see somewhat of a resurgence, thanks to the promining and deregulation policies of President Donald Trump. Advocates in the energy industry and political world like Mr. Trump will no doubt point to the economic benefits of fracking and how the U.S. could achieve energy security, boost tax revenues and create jobs by increasing the production of shale gas. But of course, there are those on the other side of the argument who believe the environmental impact of fracking far outweighs the potential economic benefits. In order to blast open rocks to release shale gas, an incredible amount of chemical-infused water is required in the fracking process. The main concerns for environmental groups and community activists is that this chemical liquid contaminates groundwater, drinking water, rivers and agricultural lands. Furthermore, methane gas emissions from fracking will spur further global warming. But one visionary Japanese company believes it may have a solution to the water contamination issues surrounding fracking. Founded by Mr. Toshiharu Fukai, Sosei World Co. has charged itself with coming up with innovative ways to dealing with some of the biggest environmental challenges, from CO2 emissions to chemical pollution and water contamination. The company has developed a special type of water it calls “Sosei Water”, whose unique properties allow it to mix easily with oil and dirt. Sosei Water’s main application is as a powerful energy source. By emulsifying it with fossil fuels, like heavy oil and kerosene, without the use of chemical emulsifying agents, this “burnable water” can produce as much energy as conventional fossil fuel, but CO2 emissions are sharply reduced. “If you burn 100ml of fossil fuel, you get 100 units of energy,” explains Mr. Fukai. “You can also get 100 energy units by burning Toshiharu Fukai, Founder, Sosei World Co. a mix of 50ml of fossil fuel and 15ml of Sosei Water, which means you are using half the amount of fossil fuel for the same amount of energy output.” Due to its unique properties, Sosei Water can also be used as a powerful household cleaner to clean dishes, laundry, hair and skin – eliminating the need for environmentally harmful detergents, shampoos and other cleaning products. But now the company believes this revolutionary water could clean more than pots and pans; it could also clean up the fracking business. According to Mr. Fukai, Sosei Water could be used to replace the chemical liquid used in fracking, which would end water contamination. The added incentive for fracking companies, he adds, is the fact that Sosei Water is not just a greener option, it is also a cheaper one. No chemicals mean no chemical costs, and no time and money wasted on separating chemicals from the mined oil or gas (a process which also emits high levels of CO2). Considering this separation process accounts for about 40% of the total cost of producing shale, fracking companies using Sosei Water could potentially see massive savings. Japan is also exploring its potential to produce shale. And following a meeting with Mr. Fukai in January 2016, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry is very interested in the possibility of using Sosei Water in fracking. So too is Akita Oil Company, which has been granted permission by the government to restart operations on a shale project in the Akita Prefecture. The project was postponed for several reasons, but the company is now looking at the viability of using Sosei Water to reduce costs and environmental impact. Singapore and Malaysian firms are also looking into the possibility of developing shale projects in the Akita area. U.S. shale firms have yet to express interest in Sosei Water, but Mr. Fukai’s company has been in contact with some of them to inform them of its benefits. Perhaps if Akita Oil Company has success with it, American producers might begin to take notice. So, is it only a matter of time before Sosei Water could completely replace the harmful fracking fluid that has caused so many environmental concerns? Mr. Fukai certainly likes to think so. “I’m a Buddhist, and that’s how I came up with this idea,” he says. “I’m not a scientist. It always starts with how to protect this planet.” Reducing CO2 emissions and the use of pollutants was the motivation for Sosei World Co. to develop Sosei Water, whose unique properties enable it to be mixed with oil to run engines and as a powerful household cleaner to replace environmentally harmful detergents, shampoos and other cleaning products, helping to save you money, while saving the environment. www.soseiworld.co.jp Sosei Fuel Water generator Water that saves the environment while saving you money SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Taking hold of the overseas opportunities Japanese companies facing the dilemma of decreasing domestic demand are focusing on strengthening their presence in the U.S., Europe and South East Asia The ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations founded in 1967, has become one of the world’s most vibrant, dynamic, and competitive regions, where GDP growth has surpassed any other region in the world consistently over the last decade and continues to do so. The ASEAN opportunity comes at an ideal moment for Japanese companies across the board, as they look abroad for sales growth to offset the impact of decreasing domestic demand due to Japan’s shrinking and aging population. “The negative demographic line in Japan has reduced the demand for frozen food. Therefore, the frozen food market has been evolving thanks to emerging countries such as China, South Korea, Thailand or Vietnam, where increasing income rate is coupled with clear demographic growth. In the future, it will be our objective to respond to the demands of these nations for frozen food, a market which is bound to increase in size and volume,” says Mr. Toshio Yoshikawa, Chairman of Yokorei, a multinational engaged in import and export of agriculture and seafood products and refrigerated housing and transport. To strengthen its presence in the region, Yokorei last year invested in Agrobest, a Malaysian back tiger shrimp operation. Yokorei is also targeting the U.S. and European markets and has acquired Fjordlaks Aqua and Hofseth International in Norway, through its subsidiary Alliance Seafoods. “One of the main milestones for us was the M&A with Alliance Seafood, originally a trading company specialized in the export business. For our company to facilitate its “Although there are areas in South East Asia that are growing, there are still many issues to be tackled within the region” Toshio Yoshikawa, Chairman, Yokorei overseas operations, it was crucial to ally with a company that had expertise in exportation,” says Mr. Yoshikawa. “There is more room for growth in Europe and in the U.S., where there is tremendous demand for Japanese culinary products. Although there are areas in South East Asia that are growing, there are still many issues to be tackled within the region. While we will be focusing on the Asian regions, I believe that the European and the American markets have the greatest potential.” Principally engaged in the manufacture and sale of packagingrelated materials for the food and chemical industries, Ohishi Sangyo is another company looking to expand its presence in South East Asia, where consumer demand for higher quality is increasing. “In South East Asia, the packaging material business is developing similarly to the U.S. and to the EU. Many consumer-packaging players, such as Dai-Nippon, have therefore moved to these areas. Previously, we used newspapers and basic materials for wrapping and packaging. Today, consumers require aesthetic and high-performance products,” says company president, Mr. Norio Okubo. “At Ohishi Sangyo, we have already relocated our factories to South East Asian countries, where the labor force is more cost effective. Japanese corporations know that domestic demand is declining, and that applies to every “Our products have great performance unmatched by our competitors. We successfully expanded into the overseas market because of the uniqueness of our products” Norio Okubo, President, Ohishi Sangyo business line. Therefore, our customers have moved from Japan to Asian countries.” As they have expanded their presence overseas, both Yokorei and Ohishi have ensured that they provide their overseas customers with the same level of quality that their customers in Japan demand. “For the food and chemical businesses, high-quality, performance and reliability are required,” says Mr. Okubo. “We specialize in creating stable, high-quality and technologically advanced products. We provide to our clients the stability required to attain a safe level of productivity.” “Japanese people are excessively sensitive to the quality and safety of their food,” says Yokorei’s Mr. Yoshikawa. “It is impossible for the frozen food market to evolve without warehouses and freezers where frozen food can be stored with quality maintenance.” “One of the most important things for us when entering into the U.S. and the European markets is being able to offer a high-quality product that enjoys clear traceability. Our strength lies in having refrigerators that can maintain high quality and low temperatures.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Creating a bridge between Japanese and American companies in the polyurethane industry INOAC: a merger between innovation and action Japan may not dominate the market for hi-tech, end-user products like it did in 80s or 90s. But Japanese-manufactured components and materials can still be found in a large number of today’s tech gadgets, as well as electronic equipment and machines. From iphones, to automobiles and Japan’s famous ‘shinkansen’ bullet trains, Japanese firm INOAC’s materials, derived from polyurethane, rubber, plastic and composites, are used in a number of products and applications. Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2016, the company was established in 1926 as a manufacturer of bicycle tires and tubes. From those humble beginnings, it has grown to become a global conglomerate, producing hi-tech materials for the automotive, IT, construction, cosmetics, medical and home decoration industries across the globe. According to a report by MarketWatch, the value of the global polyurethane foam market will grow from $46 billion in 2015 to $74 billion by 2021, propelled by increasing demand and wide application in a diverse range of industries. This is good news for INOAC, as it continues to expand its global presence, in the face of a dwindling domestic market in Japan. Japan, however, still remains the largest market for its products, where it generates 36 percent of its sales. “The polyurethane material has many applications,” says its owner Mr. Soichi Inoue, who has been chairman of INOAC since 2000. “We began by making very simple products. Following this, we supplied furniture and went on to produce automotive parts. We also make special parts such as the SIM cushion for the iPhone, and we have gone on to make many other items. Over thirty years ago, we established a joint venture with the American company Rogers, and today we are collaboratively making special polyurethane products.” INOAC has had a presence in North America for more than 60 years. It established its first sales office in the U.S. in 1966. In 1985, it entered into its first joint venture in North America with Canadian company Intertec Systems LLP, and a year later in 1986, established INOAC U.S.A., which was the same year it also began business in Europe. The North American market currently makes up 23 percent of its total sales revenue, making it INOAC’s second largest market after Japan. Since 1986, Mr. Inoue has seen a number of U.S. presidents come and go, but perhaps none as unorthodox as the incumbent Donald Trump. Nevertheless, he is optimistic about some of Mr. Trump’s trade policies, which he believes will be beneficial for his company. “My personal philosophy is to get to know the local people, create mutual trust and build friendships while respecting the local community.” Soichi Inoue, Chairman of INOAC “His policies open up new opportunities for the INOAC Group,” he says. “We have a number of bases in North America, and with President Trump’s policies, we are talking with our customers and suppliers in order to work in close collaboration with them. On the one hand, they provide us with new technologies and manufacturing methods. On the other hand, we handle production from our U.S. factories and we provide them with basic materials. “We have been collaborating with BASF for years. Today, BASF focuses on basic raw materials, which gives us excellent opportunities for supplying parts to the automotive industry. We also make many components for insulation and building materials.” In times when technology moves at break-neck speed, particularly in industries such as IT and automotives, INOAC, like many of its Japanese peers, stays ahead of the curve by investing heavily in R&D and innovation, making not only state-ofthe-art, but also environmentally sound, products. Focusing its R&D efforts on polymer products, INOAC performs research using the most valuable two resources in the development of high technology: creative scientists and the most sophisticated equipment. “Supplying compound materials for the car industries is difficult because of the rate of innovation. Within a matter of years, products can become obsolete, so it is imperative to be on top of innovation,” says Mr. Inoue. “Many people say INOAC comes from my surname (Inoue), but that is not completely true. The real origin of our name comes from a merger between INNO-vation and AC-tion. I constantly ask our people to keep this in mind, every day. I was a mountain climber when I was young. To a large extent, you could say that I learnt my management philosophy from climbing mountains.” In Russia, Putin’s reign will continue until 2024 and maybe beyond. What will that mean for America—and the world? 26 NEWSWEEK.COM A PR I L 13, 2018 ALE XEI DRUZHININ/AFP/GE T T Y by Marc Bennetts NEWSWEEK.COM 27 It was close to midnight on march 18, and a triumphant Vladimir Putin stood at a podium at his campaign headquarters near Red Square. Dressed in a jacket and open-necked shirt, Russia’s longtime leader looked weary but satisfied. He had just secured a fourth presidential term in a landslide election, extending his rule for another six years, until 2024. Undeterred by the freezing weather, his supporters in central Moscow waved flags and chanted, “Russia! Russia!” Despite allegations of widespread ballot-stuffing, demoralized opposition activists stayed off the streets. For Putin, it was the end to an almost perfect day. As TV crews from across the world jostled for position, the Russian president spoke about a range of issues, from Ukraine to China to the nerve agent attack in southern England on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who once spied for Britain’s MI6. Putin dismissed British allegations that he had ordered the hit, which left Skripal and his daughter hospitalized in critical condition. “Nonsense,” he said. “It’s unthinkable that Russia would do this.” And then, at the end of the news conference, a journalist asked Putin something that was on everyone’s mind: Was this his final presidential term? The former KGB man scoffed at the question. “Am I supposed to sit here until I’m 100?” he replied. “What you are saying sounds slightly ridiculous.” Is it? Russia’s constitution forbids anyone from serving more than two consecutive presidential terms, but it says nothing about subsequent periods in office. Putin served two presidential terms, from 2000 to 2008, before swapping jobs with Dmitry Medvedev, the prime minister. And he remained Russia’s most powerful politician before returning to the Kremlin in 2012. There is, theoretically at least, nothing but old age to stop him from pulling the same trick again in 2030, when he will be 77. Not surprisingly, Putin’s response did little to console his critics—especially those abroad. His re-election comes as Russia and the West continue to face off over the wars in Syria and Ukraine, as well as accusations of Kremlin plots to interfere in elections in the United States and Europe. Will the next six years be more of the same? Putin is far from predictable; nothing he said or did before his last electoral victory indicated that Russia would 28 NEWSWEEK.COM seize Crimea or send mercenaries to support the embattled regime in Damascus. But some analysts say Russia’s president has no intention of backing down in his increasingly risky standoff with the United States and its allies; his domestic popularity and strongman image largely depend on his confrontations with the West. In Moscow after the election, state media and pro-Kremlin figures were uncompromising in their support for Putin. Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of RT, the Russian state-funded TV channel, described him as the country’s vozhd. That Russian word means “father of the nation,” a term reserved for such figures as Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union. “[Putin] used to be simply our president, and he could have been changed,” Simonyan wrote in an article published on RT’s website. “But now...we will not allow him to be changed.” ‘Extremely Dangerous’ weeks before the election, during a bellicose speech in Moscow, Putin hailed what he called Russia’s new “invincible” nuclear weapons. The country, he said on March 1, had been forced to create the advanced weapons, including nuclearpowered cruise missiles, in response to American missile shields in Europe and Asia. He also lashed out at what he said was Washington’s refusal to enter into new arms control talks. “Nobody listened to us before,” Putin said to rapturous applause. “Well, listen up now.” His speech was accompanied by an animated video, broadcast live on national television, that showed Russian warheads raining down on Florida, where President Donald Trump often spends weekends at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Though Trump has been unwilling to criticize Putin directly, saying he wants to “get along” with him, Washington’s relationship with Moscow is the most contentious it has been for decades. Medvedev, the prime minister, described it recently as “disgusting” and claimed that the American political establishment was sabotaging Trump’s efforts to improve ties between the two countries. In February, the White House described Putin’s regime as LAST CALL After Putin’s latest electoral victory, many wondered if he’ll ever voluntarily give up power. Above: Russian servicemen in Crimea. Right: Pavel Grudinin, the Communist Party candidate, who came in second in the election. A PR I L 13, 2018 FROM TO P: AL EXEY DRUZHININ/A FP/GET T Y; PAVEL RE BROV/RE UTERS; TAT YANA MAKEYEVA /R EUTERS PUTIN a leading danger to international security. “Russia has demonstrated its willingness to use force to alter the map of Europe and impose its will on its neighbors, backed by implicit and explicit nuclear first-use threats,” said the Trump administration’s review of its nuclear defense policies. The Kremlin interpreted the statement to mean that Washington now considers Moscow its main long-term adversary, says Fyodor Lukyanov, head of a Russia-based think tank that sometimes advises the Russian government. “We have entered a state of Cold War,” he points out. “There is no longer a mutual starting point from which to even begin a dialogue. Both sides are taking impulsive actions and reacting immediately to events, rather than implementing well-thought-out strategies. This is extremely dangerous.” Analysts say the likelihood of an open military confrontation between the two countries remains low. Yet in February, an American airstrike killed scores of Russian mercenaries when they attempted to seize a U.S.-protected oil refinery in eastern Syria. (There were no reports of U.S. casualties.) The strike marked the first time American soldiers had killed Russians in a conflict since the end of the Cold War. The Russian mercenaries were employed by the Wagner Group, a shadowy, Kremlin-linked private military contractor. Weeks later, The Washington Post reported that Yevgeny Prigozhin, who allegedly controls Wagner, was in close touch with Kremlin and Syrian officials ahead of the assault on the oil refinery. It remains unclear whether Putin or other high-ranking Russian officials signed off on the decision. The Kremlin downplayed the fighting and made no move to carry out retaliatory strikes. Tensions remain high, however, with U.S. troops and Russia-backed forces based a few miles from each other in eastern Syria. On March 13, Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s military chief, said Moscow would retaliate if the U.S. attacked Syria’s army. Yet it’s in Ukraine where the biggest danger of conflict between Washington and Moscow may lie. For the past four years, Kiev and Russian-led separatists have been fighting a war, which has killed over 10,000 people. The hostilities began in 2014, when a pro-Western government came to power in Ukraine, boosting the chances of the former Soviet state one day joining NATO. Putin was horrified. The Kremlin opposes Ukraine becoming a member NEWSWEEK.COM 29 PUTIN of that Western military alliance, mainly because it does not want American troops on its borders. “If there’s ever a real clash, it’ll happen in Ukraine,” Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank, told the Meduza news website. For Putin, Trenin said, Ukraine is a last line of defense against NATO. The Trump administration announced in December that it would begin delivering lethal weapons, including advanced Javelin anti-tank missiles, to Ukraine’s military. (The Obama administration, concerned the move would ratchet up the conflict, had resisted Kiev’s appeals for such weapons.) Moscow reacted with predictable fury to the Trump administration’s move, calling Washington “an accomplice in fomenting a war.” Yet Trump and U.S. national security advisers one member is an assault on all. It’s unclear if the U.S. and other Western powers would be willing to go to war with Russia to defend an Eastern European country many American citizens might have difficulty finding on a world map. Yet the failure to do so would destroy NATO as a viable military alliance and represent a major success for Putin. An outright Russian invasion of the region is unlikely in the immediate future, says Aliide Naylor, author of The Shadow in the East, a forthcoming book about Russia and the Baltic states. But all three countries frequently accuse the Kremlin of waging a low-level form of hybrid warfare against them. NATO and Baltic officials say Moscow was likely behind the jamming of Latvia’s mobile communications network ahead of Russian war games in the region in September, while Lithuania has The strike marked the first time American soldiers had killed Russians in a conflict since THE END OF THE COLD WAR. appear divided when it comes to Russia policy. On March 20, the president congratulated Putin on his re-election, reportedly ignoring warnings from advisers and briefing materials that said, “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.” Officials perhaps felt doing so shortly after a federal grand jury had indicted 13 Russians with interfering in the 2016 U.S. election would send the wrong message. Trump’s recent appointments of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and John Bolton as national security adviser are unlikely to improve the situation: Both men are Cold War warriors and longtime Russia critics. “The Kremlin sees the United States as divided,” says Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. “We should expect the Kremlin will believe that this situation gives Russia running room to push its agenda more aggressively.” There is one obvious step Putin could take to push back against NATO, experts say, but it’s fraught with risk: attack one of the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), all former Soviet republics that joined the Western military alliance in 2004. According to NATO’s defense treaty, an assault on 30 NEWSWEEK.COM many Western leaders would envy. But for a Russian president with total control over state media, it was worrisome. After the Kremlin annexed Crimea, however, a wave of patriotism swept Russia, and Putin’s ratings rocketed to over 80 percent, where they remain today. As numerous critics put it at the time, it was exactly the kind of “small, victorious war” that the ex-KGB officer badly needed. FROM TO P: GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/GE T T Y; KIRILL KUDRYAV TSEV/AFP/G ET T Y ‘Putin’s Weak Spot’ WAR AND FLEECE? Some analysts say Putin’s popularity largely depends on his confrontations with the West. Above: Ukrainian soldiers wait on a road that’s blocked by proRussia separatists. Left: An anti-Putin protester in Moscow in 2012. faced frequent cyberattacks. Estonia says Russian military planes have made a number of incursions into its airspace in recent years: The most recent alleged incident came on March 12. Moscow denied the charge. “The prospect of Russian aggression in the Baltics will be an enduring concern,” says Naylor. “At present, it is not in Russia’s interests to risk attacking a NATO member, but this may change. The West needs to be calm but extremely vigilant.” Critics say Putin could order Russia’s army into action to distract attention from domestic problems. That’s something that has already worked for him on two occasions. In 1999, when he was a little-known and unpopular prime minister, Putin took control of the Russian military’s campaign in Chechnya, where he vowed to “rub out” militant separatists. Russians loved his tough image, and his approval ratings shot up, leaving him perfectly placed to succeed the ailing Boris Yeltsin as president. In 2014, ahead of the crisis in Ukraine, Putin’s ratings were hovering around 60 percent. That’s a figure in 2012, when putin returned to the presidency after a four-year break, he appeared to cry with happiness—or maybe relief—at a victory rally near Red Square. But after his win last month, Putin’s speech was brief, almost boilerplate. Standing in front of flag-waving supporters near the Kremlin’s walls, he spoke for less than three minutes. “We will be thinking about the future of our great motherland, about our children’s future,” he said. “Success awaits us.” Then he exited the stage. There’s a reason the two speeches were very different. Six years ago, a newly confident opposition movement staged massive protests in Moscow over alleged vote fraud. For a few weeks, it seemed as if the Kremlin’s foes had real momentum—perhaps even enough to topple Putin himself. No more. Going into his fourth term, he is the strongest he has ever been, at least domestically. Russia’s government-controlled election committee barred Alexei Navalny, the opposition figurehead, from running for president, while a Chechen gunman shot dead Boris Nemtsov, another prominent Kremlin critic, near Red Square in 2015. In the runup to the national vote, authorities jailed dozens of opposition supporters, while pro-Putin activists attacked them with impunity. Now that the vote is over, critics fear the government is planning another large-scale clampdown on dissent. “The opposition has long been portrayed as national traitors willing to sell their country out to the West,” says Dmitry Oreshkin, an independent political analyst. “It’s a tactic that Putin will continue to use.” NEWSWEEK.COM 31 32 NEWSWEEK.COM PATH OF MOST RESISTANCE Putin has been accused of massive personal corruption by opposition ﬁgures such as Navalny, middle. He denies the charges, but one day he may be forced to answer them. Above: Riot police in Russia detain a protester. Below: The residence of the Russian consul-general in Seattle. FROM TO P: AL EXANDER UT KIN/AFP/GE T T Y; O LEG NIKISHIN/EPSILON/GET T Y; DAVID RYDER/BLO OMBERG/GET T Y Of course, Russia does have domestic problems. Poverty is rising, anger over high-level corruption is mounting, and there are frequent protests throughout the country, although mainly over local issues. On March 21, demonstrators at a rally against a landfill site near Moscow attacked a city official and hurled lumps of ice at Andrey Vorobyev, the regional governor. But Western economic sanctions against Moscow over its actions in Ukraine have allowed Kremlin propaganda to blame falling living standards on foreign powers, diluting public anger and boosting a sense of resurgent nationalism. Far more effective, opposition figures say, are individual sanctions against Putin and members of the Kremlin-linked elite. Although Putin’s political and business allies profess an undying love for Mother Russia, they use foreign banks, and their children and grandchildren are educated abroad. They also purchase luxury property in the United States and Europe, where they are free to feast on French cheeses, Spanish ham and Italian tomatoes—all of which Putin has banned domestically. It’s figures close to Putin that Western countries should be increasingly targeting, not ordinary Russians, opposition figures say. “When sanctions are imposed against Putin’s establishment, this provokes a crack in his inner circle,” says Ilya Yashin, a prominent anti-government activist. “This is Putin’s weak spot. He wants to rule like Stalin but live like [Roman] Abramovich,” he adds, referring to the oligarch owner of Britain’s Chelsea FC soccer club. Western critics also often liken Putin to Stalin, portraying him as a malevolent chess master. Yet those who have studied the Russian president say that’s not quite true. “Sometimes Western policymakers tend to assume an overreaching strategy to his actions, one aimed at undermining international rules,” says Anna Arutunyan, a senior analyst on Russia for the International Crisis Group and author of the book The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia’s Power Cult. “There is no such strategy. [The] assumption that there’s a grand evil plan only feeds the domestic myth of a Russia under siege.” Instead, Arutunyan says, Putin is more opportunistic. As chaos swept over Ukraine after the 2014 revolution, he annexed Crimea. He wasn’t necessarily looking for a fight; he was gambling that the West wouldn’t stop him. And he was right. “Putin,” PUTIN Arutunyan says, “doesn’t relish confrontation per se.” Lukyanov, the Kremlin-linked analyst, says the Russian president isn’t as powerful as the West makes him out to be either. “He is portrayed as some cynical figure who [personally] interferes in elections all over the world, uses chemical weapons in England and then sits around chuckling in the Kremlin about it all,” Lukyanov says. “This is like something from a James Bond film. But these kinds of people don’t exist in real life.” As U.S. intelligence agencies fret over potential Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond, pro-government figures in Moscow warn that exaggerated Western depictions of Putin and his global influence only increase the tension between Russia and the West. That tension escalated on March 26, when the United States and European countries expelled economic sanctions or diplomatic expulsions, his downfall is more likely to come as a result of Kremlin infighting. Unlike in most Western countries, where leadership changes are generally smooth, presidential successions in former Soviet states are far riskier affairs. Putin has been accused of massive personal corruption by Russian opposition figures. He’s also been accused internationally of war crimes over the devastation of Chechnya and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine by an alleged Russian-supplied missile. He denies these charges, but one day he may be forced to answer them—in Russia or in an international court of law. It’s a danger that the Russian president is all too aware of. “He has to ensure his own personal security before he can give up power,” says Andrei Kolesnikov, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank. Putin’s situation is similar to the one Yeltsin found himself in almost 18 years ago. Russia’s first president was facing an investigation into money laundering allegations. In a move aimed at guaranteeing his freedom from prosecution, he installed Putin as his successor. The gambit worked. And the former KGB man has remained in power. As Putin hunts for his own successor, his inner circle is jockeying for position. But these influential figures—men such as Igor Sechin, the powerful head of Rosneft, Russia’s top oil producer—will likely have their own ideas about who is best for the post, says Gleb Pavlovsky, a former adviser to both the Yeltsin and Putin administrations. “They have to choose him a successor, but they can’t do this openly,” says Pavlovsky. “Putin and his inner circle will try to outwit each other, and the game will become very acute in the next couple of years. We are entering a very dangerous period.” For now, however, Putin isn’t going anywhere. And some say it is naive to expect him to ever step aside. “Let’s not have any talk about ‘another six years,’” wrote Oleg Kozlovsky, a longtime opposition activist, in an online post. “[Putin] will only leave power when he dies, or when he is kicked out. And neither event is tied to the electoral calendar.” “Putin and his inner circle will try to outwit each other. We are entering a very DANGEROUS PERIOD.” scores of Russian diplomats and spies over the Kremlin’s alleged use of a nerve agent against Skripal and his daughter in Britain. The move dwarfed the scale of similar Soviet-era expulsions and came just eight days into Putin’s new six-year term of office. Afterward, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert described Putin’s Russia as a “beast from the deep sea” with “lots of tentacles.” Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, said the expulsions were part of an orchestrated effort to alter what he called the Russian leader’s destructive mindset. “[Putin]... wants to cause trouble wherever he can,” he said. Moscow immediately vowed to retaliate against the expulsions, which it did. On March 30, Russia ordered dozens of U.S. and European diplomats to leave the country, and many expect the crisis to continue. “We reserve the right to respond,” Nauert said. “Russia should not be acting like a victim.” Reach for the Czars? although western leaders are increasingly speaking about ways to weaken Putin through NEWSWEEK.COM 33 East, West, Home Is Best Growing number of overseas Chinese choose to return to their home country and pursue their careers I n his 12th year in the United States, Zheng Chunyang hit a ceiling. Zheng, a 42-yearold Chinese scientist in the application of biomedical sciences, got his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester and pursued post-doctoral studies at Cornell University. “Progress was gradual with an annual increase in salary. That’s what life was all about there,” Zheng said. He also found it difficult to think and live as an American. “I didn’t grow up with American football,” Zheng said. Because of a talent project of China, Zheng got a chance to return to his home country in 2010. Launched in 2008, the project mainly provides assistance for native talent studying or working overseas to come back to China and further their research and entrepreneurship. Zheng received 4 million yuan ($633,443) as a start-up grant from in March, Zheng came up with a proposal on the development of the cosmetic industry. In his opinion, the domestic cosmetics are high in safety but must improve in advanced technology. He also suggested that the government guide the industry to increase investment in research and development (R&D). the government. He founded Robustnique Corp. Ltd. in the Tianjin Binhai New Area in 2010. Everything was built from scratch as he led his team in the development of dozens of tool enzymes which were then taken up by researchers and other brands. Through innovative achievements, Zheng also established a successful brand selling skin care products that have since become popular among Chinese customers. The profitability of these popular products is helping the company further their other areas of research. This year, Zheng’s achievements saw him nominated as a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body. At the annual session of the 13th CPPCC National Committee held A golden era COURTESY PHOTO Zheng Chunyang at a laboratory in his company in the Binhai New Area in Tianjin In 2008, two years prior to Zheng’s homecoming, 40-year-old Liu Yi quit a senior position and a comfortable life in the United States and returned to China to further his career, as the environmental protection industry was just emerging in the country. Ten years later, Liu believes he got the timing just right with his return. “It’s a golden era for startups here in China,” he said. Having attained his master’s and doctoral degrees in engine energy saving and emission reduction in the United States, he spotted a high demand for exhaust treatment in China as well as a huge market. “As the number of automobiles in China increased, pollution would get worse,” Liu said. He then founded Act Blue, a company specializing in exhaust treatment, in east China’s Anhui Province shortly after he got back. In the initial period it was hard to make ends meet due to the small size of the market, as well as the high cost of R&D and a shortage of equipment and trained professionals, which together applied mounting pressure to Liu. In spite of these challenges, he refused to accept a venture capital investment of 45 million yuan ($7.13 million) from investors who demanded he lower the emission threshold. Liu wouldn’t be swayed, believing it of vital importance to make the perfect product from Liu Yi (left) introduces the latest technology developed by his company to an inspection group in August 2015 COURTESY PHOTO the very beginning. The difficulties were far greater than expected, but Liu never lost faith in his original decision. “What touched me is that the government offered great support, which helped our company to survive many difficulties,” Liu said. Noticing his predicament, the Anhui provincial government provided a loan of 20 million yuan ($3 million) and offered him a building for his factory as well as housing facilities for employees. After nine years of hard work, Act Blue has developed a series of engine exhaust purification products targeting diesel, gasoline and natural gas. “Our products can remove 95 percent of main pollutants from a car’s exhaust,” Liu said. “Our partners include not only top Chinese car makers, but also industry giants from the United States and Japan.” “I truly believe that one’s personal career should be consistent with the requirements of the era, and then you will make it,” Liu said. This January Liu became a CPPCC National Committee member, and he is glad for the responsibility and opportunity to participate in the administration of state affairs. Liu was pleased to hear that this year’s Report on the Work of the Government revealed plans to address the excess emissions of diesel trucks in 2018, which will be another way forward in the battle against pollution. “The report made a summary of China’s work over the past five years, and laid out a blueprint for the future. In fact, it was in many ways like my own work report about what I have done in the past and what I plan to do in the future,” Liu said. Growing trend In the past few years, Zheng has been impressed by China’s entrepreneurial environment. “Those talent- and entrepreneurshiporiented policies can streamline procedures with related departments also keen to help,” he said, particularly in the five years after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012. In the 2018 Government Work Report, both Chinese with experience studying overseas and foreign talent are encouraged to start businesses in China. “Many overseas Chinese are now looking By Li Fangfang for a chance to come back,” Zheng said. “The trend has changed.” Some 432,500 people came back to China after studying overseas in 2016, a 58.48-percent increase on 2012, according to a report published by the Ministry of Education in January 2017. In 2002, the second year after China’s joining in the World Trade Organization, the ratio of people who had gone abroad to those who had returned was around 7:1, while in the year 2010 the ratio was closer to 2:1, according to China Youth Daily. It stood at 1.28:1 in 2015. “China’s development depended on a demographic advantage in the past, while in the coming 30 years, our growth will rely on talented people and trained professionals,” said Wang Huiyao, Director General of the Center for China and Globalization. In the 1960s, thousands of Chinese scientists gave up good living conditions and sound research environments to come back and made significant contributions to the country’s development in science, economy and defense. This is regarded as the first major wave of returning overseas Chinese. Their spirit continues to affect younger generations today. In Liu’s opinion, “Every generation has their mission. The past is already gone; the future is ours.” “In the past, people would talk about how much a returned scientist had sacrificed for the development of his country. But times have changed. Now we can pursue our careers and at the same time live a better life,” Zheng said. ■ Scan QR code to visit Beijing Review’s website Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY + HEALTH SPACE Mortgaging the Moon As businesses eye the lunar landscape, astronomers fret about losing the last quiet place within reach 36 NEWSWEEK.COM the barren moon is ripe for development. A cellphone company is hoping to install outposts for service there. Chinese graduate students are living in simulated moon colonies. And President Donald Trump wants America to return there in the early 2020s. All these plans would interfere with the one many astronomers dream of: radio telescopes. Radio waves, the longest in the electromagnetic spectrum, can cross the entire universe. That feature makes them the best hope scientists have for studying the beginning of the cosmos. Radio telescopes can pick up faint signals from distant space, giving us clues to how the universe works. The moon, say radio astronomers, is ideal for that work. “The far side of the moon,” says Joseph Silk, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University, “is the best place in the entire inner solar system.” On Earth, where the seven continents host more than 100 radio telescopes, those signals have an increasing amount of competition; humans use radio waves to communicate, drowning out the sounds of the universe. Astronomers working with the Federal Communications Commission, which divvies up the radio band, are pushing to keep science a priority. But such agreements can’t save radio astronomy from all the interference. That’s where the moon comes in. The logistics are extremely challenging: Humans haven’t even set foot on the moon since 1972. But Silk argues that building the infrastructure needed for moon telescopes would fit fairly smoothly into current Trump administration plans to return to there. Robots could accomplish much of the construction work, says Silk, who imagines covering a large area with telescopes. “In principle,” he says, “there should be no reason why we can’t do this.” Except for all the would-be lunar businesses. These new “space opportunities,” as Jill Tarter, an astronomer at the SETI Institute, which is dedicated to finding intelligent life, calls them, “could very well pollute [the moon] before we get a chance to exploit it for radio astronomy.” To save our last chance for radio silence, commercial interests could establish a radio wavelength timeshare with astronomers, says Tarter. “The only opporBY tunity that we have for that kind of thinking,” she says, MEGHAN BARTELS @meghanbartels “is the moon.” A PR I L 1 3 , 2017 FROM LEFT: KRISTIAN SE KULIC /GET T Y; HAITONG YU/GET T Y Horizons “The far side of the moon is the best place in the entire inner solar system.” STARRY NIGHT Radio telescopes installed on the interference-free moon may be even more powerful than those here on Earth. NEWSWEEK.COM 37 RESEARCH Diamonds Are a Geologist’s Best Friend Scientists solve a secret of the Earth’s crust with the help of a gem william blake saw the world in a grain of sand. Graham Pearson, who teaches Earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Alberta, sees proof of a long-suspected geological theory in a mineral. But not just any mineral: Pearson has wrestled a revelation from a crystal found near the surface of the Earth. The source of Pearson’s fascination is calcium silicate perovskite, which scientists estimate is the fourth most abundant mineral on the planet. That bountifulness means this compound is crucial to the Earth’s lower mantle, making it a source of great interest to geologists. But despite its prevalence, researchers like Pearson had never 38 NEWSWEEK.COM been able to study the compound. In fact, no one had seen it before. That’s because at the surface of the Earth, calcium silicate perovskite is entirely unstable. The only place this essential mineral normally exists is buried 400 miles below ground, where pressure squeezes the components together. There was just one way to keep it stable enough for scientists to study, and that would require preservation in an “unyielding container,” says Pearson, “like a diamond.” That’s exactly where BY he and a team of international researchers KATHERINE found it: in a diamond HIGNETT from S outh Afric a’s @krhignett Cullinan Mine, famous for producing two of the largest diamonds in the British crown jewels. Finding the unusual mineral was, says Nester Korolev, postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia, “a complete surprise.” It also, the authors noted in a paper published in a March issue of Nature, verified a theory regarding how the Earth’s crust moves. Diamonds, Pearson said in a statement about the discovery, “are really unique ways of seeing what’s in the Earth.” A close look at this particular gem and its calcium silicate perovskite inclusion revealed its unusual past. The gem, the researchers deduced, formed when a piece of oceanic crust sank from the surface of the planet to about 500 miles below, into the lower mantle, where it was subjected to more than 24 billion pascals of pressure—roughly equivalent to the pressure created by a stack of paper 240 billion sheets tall, enough to crush steel. Gradually, the diamond ascended with a bit of lower mantle encased inside, eventually ending up half a mile below the Earth’s surface. Such recycling—a piece of the Earth’s crust descending into the mantle and then rising back up again—has been suspected but never confirmed. But the specific composition of the perovskite found in the diamond, says Pearson, “provides fundamental proof of what happens to the fate of oceanic plates as they descend into the depths of the Earth.” The same goes for the existence of calcium silicate perovskite, which researchers believe makes up more than 90 percent of the lower mantle but has never been seen. Now, they are sure it exists. Pearson calls the discovery “a nice illustration of how science works.” You could also call it a gem of a find. A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 FROM TO P: SE BASTIAN KAULITZKI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBR ARY/GET T Y; SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/GET T Y Horizons H E ALTH Grunt Work ZHONG ZHI/GET T Y Making noises during exercise may serve a purpose do you really have to grunt during your workout? That question, posed by many an irritated gym-goer, has also been asked by a team of exercise scientists. Their findings won’t settle the debate, but they do confirm that grunting is not just a sound but also a tool. Among the professional sports, tennis may have the most notorious grunters. Maria Sharapova, Monica Seles and Serena Williams have all been accused of distracting players with the loud cries they emit when hitting a ball. In 2009, Martina Navratilova called grunting “cheating, pure and simple,” insisting that it muffles the sound of the ball hitting the racket, which opponents rely on as a cue. The pros aren’t the only complainers. Nationwide gym chain Planet Fitness prohibits grunting and will revoke the membership of a persistent offender. The gripe among amateur athletes is more relatable: Grunting, they say, is just plain annoying. Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of British Columbia wanted to know whether grunting serves a purpose, be it as an exercise enhancer or a disturbance. In one experiment, 20 students at a mixed martial arts academy kicked a 100-pound bag while grunting and also silently. An accelerometer attached to the bag enabled the researchers to measure the force of each kick. According to the results, published in February in PLOS One, the students moved the bag with 9 percent more force when they grunted compared with when they stifled their inner Sharapova. From that result, the researchers concluded that these noises can serve a useful function during a workout. The result supports prior evidence that grunting boosts performance when people are exerting their maximum effort. Syracuse University exercise scientist Kevin Heffernan, who was not involved with the new study, thinks grunting may be more of a reflex than a conscious choice. “For heavy exercise, it’s actually instinctive to hold your breath,” says BY Heffernan, “and give that little grunt.” MELISSA MATTHEWS The second experiment @m_matthews probed the concentration issue. The researchers asked 22 people to watch video clips of a martial artist kicking and then determine whether the kick went high or low. Each of the 40 clips was played twice, either with or without a loud burst of white noise intended to simulate a grunt. Grunting negatively affected both attention and response time. The participants were slower to state the direction of a kick when it was accompanied by a grunt, and they had a harder time saying its direction. In other words, the grunt is potentially an excellent weapon of mass distraction. But, grunters, take heed: Your vocalizations could harm you. The breath holding that precedes a grunt creates pressure in the chest that pushes on the aorta. The resulting rise in blood pressure means the heart has to work harder to keep blood flowing, which could lead to popped blood vessels. Alternatively, the person on the spin bike next to you could smack you with a sweaty towel. I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM Sharapova has become known for her hallmark grunting on the tennis court. Horizons BRINGING SEXY BACK DRUGS Stiff Competition Twenty years after Viagra’s approval, the FDA is scrambling to catch dangerous impostors on march 27, viagra celebrated its 20th anniversary. Over the past two decades, millions of men have taken the erectile dysfunction drug, which rakes in about $1.5 billion per year on average. In the process, the little blue pill has become a cultural touchstone, featured in rap lyrics, on TV shows and in movies—even starring in one, 2010’s Love & Other Drugs. 40 NEWSWEEK.COM And as with any classic, knockoffs have followed. Sexual enhancement supplements sold online and at corner stores promise performance improvements without a prescription. All a customer needs is a working credit card or the ability to ask the BY cashier for Tyrannosaurus Sex or Stiff Nights KATE SHERIDAN with a straight face. @sheridan_kate These supplements, advertised as “natural,” have the U.S. Food and Drug Administration alarmed. In violation of FDA regulations, many brands contain a hidden and sometimes harmful modification of sildenafil, Viagra’s active ingredient, or another compound found in FDA-approved erectile dysfunction medications. The FDA has been chasing the purveyors of these products for years, but so far the effort has only resulted in revealing the agency’s, well, impotence. Among the compounds capable of producing an erection, sildenafil is the easiest to counterfeit. “The raw materials are more readily available and cheaper,” said Koh Hwee Ling, a pharmacologist at the National University of Singapore. But sildenafil carries serious side effects when taken with certain medications, such as dangerously low blood pressure. “Let’s imagine a sedentary 70-year-old gentleman who suffers from coronary artery disease,” says Dr. Edgardo Becher, a urologist affiliated with the University of Buenos Aires. If he dies of a heart attack after taking one of these supplements, Becher explains, no one will suspect that the pill caused his death because the modified sildenafil is not indicated on the label. Tracing these hidden drugs to their source—to the various distributors, wholesalers and retailers around the world—is often impossible, says Brad Pace, who directs the FDA’s division of nonprescription drugs and health fraud. His group has had some success. In 2011, Kelly Harvey, the A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 FROM LEFT: VIA FR AME/GE T T Y; JOHN CR AIG/THE ISP OT The little blue pill known as Viagra, left, has transformed physical intimacy for many men, becoming a cultural phenomenon in the process. owner of NovaCare, which sold tainted sexual enhancement and weight loss supplements, pleaded guilty to six felony counts related to the products and received a 36-month prison sentence. And in 2016, following 29 consumer warnings and recalls in 2010, a federal judge sentenced Gustavo Barni, who owns Atlas Operations, a supplement supplier, to six months in prison for fraud. But as soon as one company is caught, another replaces it. “It’s just a cat-and-mouse game,” says Dr. Pieter Cohen, an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance who has researched tainted supplements extensively. In November 2017, the FDA issued consumer warnings about more than a dozen of these products, and a settlement in March forced yet another company to test its supplements before making more of them. A pilot program to check packages arriving at international mail facilities for suspicious goods found 119 products with sexual enhancement claims on the label, 95 of which contained an undeclared active ingredient. Generic sildenafil, which came on the market in December 2017, might put a dent in counterfeit sales. The more affordable price tag—$25 per pill versus about $70 for Viagra— could help consumers avoid shadier supplements. And with these legitimate pills, the active ingredient is easy to identify. Just look at the label. Go With the Flow THE CHEMISTRY BEHIND TREATING ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION sexual enhancement drugs do just what they say: They enhance a natural process. An erection aided by drugs like Viagra starts the same way as an erection sans pharmaceuticals, with a man getting turned on. That state releases nitric oxide in a spongy tissue known as the corpus cavernosum, or, more plainly, erectile tissue. The infusion of this colorless gas stimulates production of a protein called cGMP. When levels of cGMP escalate, the walls of the arteries relax, allowing more blood to ﬂow into the penis. But for some men, another protein, known as phosphodiesterase type 5, can intrude. PDE-5 breaks down cGMP. And when levels of cGMP plunge, so does the hope of an erection. Viagra, Cialis and Levitra prevent PDE-5 from dismantling cGMP. With PDE-5 restrained, levels of cGMP are free to escalate. And the more cGMP there is, the more relaxed the arteries become and the more blood can ﬂow. That simple mechanism has transformed life between the sheets for millions of couples since 1998. This (ahem) rise is not without its fall, though. Commercial erectile dysfunction drugs carry warnings against taking them simultaneously with nitrates for chest pain since the combination could cause blood pressure to plummet. That’s because nitrates break down into nitric oxide— the compound that stimulates production of cGMP—and mixing these two medications churns out too much cGMP. The protein left over after the arteries are relaxed ends up dilating blood vessels, and that widening forces blood pressure to drop. In the best-case scenario, a man may feel dizzy or lightheaded, but he could also pass out—or even go into potentially fatal shock. And that is not the sort of bedroom surprise anyone is looking for. —K.S. WOMEN SHOULD ALSO BEWARE OF SUPPLEMENTS PROMISING SEXUAL ENHANCEMENT products secretly laced with drugs for livening up the bedroom aren’t just for men anymore. In April 2017, the FDA found two supplements illegally containing hidden ﬂibanserin, the active ingredient in Addyi, also known as female Viagra. The moniker is inaccurate: Unlike Viagra, which works on a physiological level, Addyi increases desire by altering neurochemistry. So far, the results are far less spectacular: In a clinical trial, women taking Addyi had only an extra half of a “satisfying sexual event” per month. —K.S. NEWSWEEK.COM 41 Culture HIGH, LOW + EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN ONE TOUGH MOTHER Jackson in the Edward Albee revival. As “A,” she plays the oldest version of a woman in three stages of her life. THEATER Lioness in Winter Glenda Jackson returns to Broadway after 30 years, in Three Tall Women. At 81, she can still level a room with one glance 42 NEWSWEEK.COM A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 WORST IN SHOW L EFT: BR IGIT TE LAC OMBE; TOP RIGHT: CO URTESY OF BRU CE STEPHENSON/MAGIC STONE PRODUCTIONS The Room is bad, but is it the best bad movie ever made? » P. 46 after 23 years as a member of the british in Love was a watershed moment for many young Parliament, Glenda Jackson returned to actwomen in 1969. She looks stunned. “Really? Why?” ing as only she would, ferociously, as King Lear in Because in a single performance, Jackson defied an acclaimed 2016 production at London’s Old Vic. every female stereotype. She listens intently, looking That she vanquished Shakespeare’s mad king withvaguely flummoxed. “Good God,” Jackson says finally. out any particular fuss made over the part being Stereotypes and gender barriers continue to displayed by a woman was unsurprising to a Jackson solve in her hands, yet despite her award-winning completist. Consider her first starring film role, turn in Lear, she isn’t optimistic about more thein Ken Russell’s Women in Love, an adaptation of ater work. “I think parts for women of my years are D.H. Lawrence’s psychosexual novel. What got the well and truly finished,” she said in a 2016 interview most attention when the film debuted was a homowith The Guardian. erotic nude wrestling match between its male stars, And yet, here is Three Tall Women. Albee’s Pulitzer Prize–winning piece is a veiled portrait of his Alan Bates and Oliver Reed. Watching it now, that moment seems quaint, as does the film. Jackson’s domineering mother, who preferred horses to her Oscar-winning performance, as Gudrun Branadopted son. She is played in three stages of her life by Jackson (at 92, approaching senility with gwen, Lawrence’s man-killer, on the other hand, remains singularly fierce and brazen. She looks rip-snorting rage), Laurie Metcalf (a cynical 52) and like no movie star before her, and not many after. Alison Pill (26 and full of hope). In Metcalf, Jackson Reed, a lusciously handsome Michelhas found her match in dishing out conangelo statue come to life, famously tempt with acidic eloquence. They also fought Jackson’s casting as his lover, BY share a gift for facial improvisation, riffsaying she wasn’t physically desirable ing as others might with dialogue, resultMARY KAYE enough. He was the movie’s putative ing in unscripted moments of hilarity. SCHILLING star, but it’s Jackson—with her splotchy “Oh, she makes me laugh,” says Jackson. skin and sharply angled features—that “Is there anything she can’t do?” you can’t take your eyes off. “Flat as a pancake, no This isn’t Jackson’s first Albee role. She played makeup, lank, unattractive hair,” a female friend Martha in a 1989 revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia said of her in a 1970 Look magazine profile. “But an Woolf? in Los Angeles—a production directed by actress like Glenda makes you believe she’s beautiful.” the playwright (John Lithgow played George). “We didn’t get on,” she says of Albee. “He was so Interviews throughout her career invariably closed off.” And yet, he wrote female characters make much ado about her disinterest in the trappings of female stardom: a bare-faced, sensible-shoe of irresistible complexity. What is revealed in the aesthetic that endures. For a recent New York Times course of both plays is that the eviscerating verbal portrait—heralding her return to Broadway after missiles these women deploy shield deep wounds; three decades, in a revival of Edward Albee’s Three they are bullies, yes, but also victims. Tall Women—she posed in a Tintin sweatshirt. “Albee was quite categoric that Three Tall Women (Somewhere, Frances McDormand was high-fiving.) is not a revenge play [against his mother]. I think it We met on an unreasonably cold Manhattan is, but there you go,” says Jackson. “The really intermorning at a tea salon on New York City’s Upper esting thing,” she adds, “is that right at the end of East Side, a few weeks before Three Tall Women’s his life Albee wrote—and I’m paraphrasing here— March 29 opening. Jackson is late because she forthat he’d never met anyone who liked his mother in got the appointment, and she is mortified. “Old life, but he’d never met anyone who didn’t like her age,” says the 81-year-old, with a roll of her eyes and in the play. ‘What have I done?’ he said.” a Brit’s tip of the chin, the multipurpose dismissal It would be a mistake to assume that Jackson took this part, or any other, because of some of anything regrettable. After she orders a pot of Earl grand career plan. (When I mention the current Grey tea, I mention that her performance in Women NEWSWEEK.COM 43 “branding” trend, she nearly chokes on her tea.) “I’m a jobbing actor. It’s what comes through the door, if anything comes through the door.” She did not, for example, take the part of Gudrun in Women in Love because she was an uncommonly strong female character. “Come on!” she nearly barks. “I took it because it was a job I was offered.” Back then, Jackson had a young son, Dan, with husband Roy Hodges (they divorced, after 18 years, in 1976). She was a rising star in London, after her 1963 turn as Charlotte Corday in Peter Brook’s groundbreaking production of Marat/ Sade, but actors weren’t paid much in England at the time. The financial uptick only began with her Academy Award win for Women in Love. In 1971, she played Queen Elizabeth I in the BBC’s Elizabeth R—a MOVIES definitive portrayal that won her two Emmy awards. John Schlesinger’s superb Sunday Bloody Sunday came out the same year. The film, about a young, bisexual man shared by a male doctor (Peter Finch) and a divorced woman (Jackson), remains startlingly fresh. “Best bloody script I ever read,” says Jackson. She won her second Academy Award in 1973, for the romantic comedy A Touch of Class, co-starring George Segal. Acting in Hollywood “If you’re successful, you’re the exception to the rule. If you’re a failure, well, you’re just a woman.” offered rewards well beyond a trailer bigger than her flat back in London. “When I began in the theater,” she says, “it was fashionable for English actors to pretend that the least important thing in their lives was a performance. ‘Oh, it’s just a play, darling.’ And here was George, for whom acting was life and death, and he was just amazing to work with. For me, that was just glorious.” Glorious, too, was meeting one of her two childhood movie idols, Bette Davis. The other was Joan Crawford, and those infatuations make sense. You can say of Jackson, just as she once said of them, “They had a superb sense of arrogance. When they walked, they ground the poor earth beneath their heels.” But Jackson won’t hear of a comparison. “I was never a star,” she insists. “I mean, Davis was a star. That meant something.” Still, she adds, tough women on screen, and off, “always got their comeuppance, didn’t they?” Strong female characters are no longer routinely punished, and that’s an improvement. But, says Jackson, “I find it very curious that given the advances in women’s lives and capacity to actually speak up, that contemporary dramatists still don’t find women interesting. Rarely is a woman the dramatic engine of anything.” jackson grew up in west england, the daughter of a bricklayer and a cleaning woman and the eldest of four sisters. “I once accused my mother of giving me an overdeveloped sense of responsibility too early,” she says, “and she looked at LOCAL HERO Jackson campaigns in 2010. The die-hard socialist gave up acting for politics in 1992, serving as a Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate in the House of Commons until 2015. 44 NEWSWEEK.COM A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 CLO CKWISE FROM LEFT: PA IMAGES/ALAMY; BET T MA NN ARC HIVE /GE T T Y; ROBBIE JACK/CORBIS/GET T Y Culture GOLD MINING Clockwise from top: Jackson (with Reed) won her ﬁrst Oscar for 1969’s Women in Love; her second was for 1973’s A Touch of Class; as King Lear in 2016, with Rhys Ifans. me as if I was completely mad.” That sense of responsibility, as well as her unwavering socialism, eventually pushed her out of acting and into public service. In 1992, she was elected to the House of Commons as the Labour candidate for London’s Highgate and Hampstead, becoming a regular critic of Prime Minister Tony Blair. For over two decades, she didn’t give acting a thought. Perhaps it was because Parliament is its own odd stage show; take a look at her 2013 speech on the occasion of Margaret Thatcher’s death. As political opponents mercilessly hector her, she eloquently demolishes Thatcherism for inflicting the “most heinous social, economic and spiritual damage upon this country.” As for Thatcher, she said, “A woman? Not on my terms.” Jackson says she had no experience of sexism in Hollywood, but “in Parliament it was very obvious.” That’s improved with more women entering politics and younger men actively parenting. “But we still avoid what is the basis of it all, that women are always regarded as a representative of their gender. If you’re successful, you’re the exception to the rule. If you’re a failure, well, you’re just a woman. And that is throughout the whole of society. Two women die every week in my country at the hands of their partner, usually male,” she says. “That isn’t front page news, like sexism in Hollywood, but it should be. And we certainly haven’t changed the law with regard to domestic violence.” Having lived through one liberation movement, Jackson is circumspect about #MeToo and Time’s Up. “The world has been the way it is for ever so long. You cannot transform it overnight,” she says. “It’s tiny, tiny steps. Yes, there have been changes, but we kid ourselves if we think equality is here. “What is forgotten,” she adds, “is that women’s issues are linked to so many other things that are happening in the world. My country is leaving Europe, for God’s sake! What’s happening in your country, what’s happening in Europe—the shifts to the right are extremely concerning.” For the moment, Jackson can distract herself with Three Tall Women. When the limited run ends on June 24, she’ll return to her basement flat in the London townhouse of her son, a political columnist. There, she isn’t an Oscar-winning actress ending her nights with standing ovations, or a former member of Parliament, but the “rather boring” granny of an 11-year-old who mocks her technological ineptitude. “I once had to temporarily use a smartphone,” says Jackson with a laugh. “My grandson gave up on me. ‘I’ve told you how to do this three times. Stupid granny!’” NEWSWEEK.COM 45 Culture M O V I ES Bad to the Bone The Disaster Artist turned the making of a turkey into award-winning gold. But is The Room really the best worst movie ever made? on april 11, 2006, george hardy woke up and discovered he was a cult film star. This was odd for a few reasons: Hardy is a dentist living in Alexander City, Alabama; he has no serious acting experience; and he hadn’t appeared in a movie in over a decade. But that film—an outrageously amateurish horror disaster called Troll 2 (1990), which features Hardy in a starring role— had built up a remarkable cult following on the internet. He learned this when a reporter from Furman University’s school paper called to ask if he’d be attending the Troll 2 cast reunion that week. Cast reunion? Hardy was bewildered. “If you don’t believe me, go to IMDB,” the writer said. Hardy did, and he found that the event was scheduled for two days from then, on April 13, in Provo, Utah. “I said to myself, ‘I gotta do this.’ Spent $750 on a flight. Jumped on a plane. And it was the first screening ever of Troll 2 on the big screen.” “Big screen” is misleading. The film was projected on a brick wall in an abandoned building. And yet, says Hardy, “when the lights came on, I got mobbed for autographs. BY I thought, What in the world is going on?” ZACH SCHONFELD That was more than a @zzzzaaaacccchhh decade ago, but it’s a moment he finds himself thinking about a lot, ever since last year’s The Disaster Artist— recounting the tumultuous making of 2003’s amateur classic The Room (famously declared “the Citizen Kane of bad movies”)—brought the glory of so-bad-they’re-good movies to the forefront of mainstream pop culture with two Golden Globe wins and an Academy Award nomination. Once a Hollywood pariah, Room director Tommy Wiseau was making high-profile appearances on late-night TV and at the Globes, where James Franco took home the best actor award for his performance as the bizarro, greasy-haired filmmaker. Such notoriety has also reawakened the battle for the gold in the Olympics of terrible moviemaking. “I’ve seen a lot of other bad movies, and I don’t think there’s anything within 1,200 miles of the pure awfulness of Troll 2,” says Jason Wright, a novelist and public speaker who played a supporting role in the film. “Maybe we’ll be talking about The Room in 25 years, but I doubt it.” Even Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), arguably the granddaddy of all lovably crappy movies, received a publicity boost recently, when one of its actors, Conrad Brooks, died at 86. Plan 9 was directed by prolific low-budget maestro Ed Wood, and critic Michael Medved declared it the “worst film ever made” in 1980. (Wood, like Wiseau, eventually had his own acclaimed film tribute, Tim Burton’s Ed Wood.) But Plan 9’s cult popularity surged long before the internet provided a space for bad-movie junkies AMATEUR HOUR Franco won a Golden Globe playing Room director Wiseau in The Disaster Artist. Opposite: Two of Troll 2’s goblins prepare for their closeup on the Utah set in 1989. 46 NEWSWEEK.COM A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 FROM LEFT: PICTO RIAL PRESS LTD/ALAMY; COU RTESY OF BRU CE STEP HENSON/MAGIC STONE PRODUCTIONS to find one another. Troll 2 solidified its oddball fan base in the early 2000s and inadvertently helped establish the blueprint for The Room’s remarkably obsessive followers. Troll 2 was dreamed up by an eccentric Italian filmmaker, Claudio Fragasso, who wrote the script in broken English and reportedly refused to let his American actors correct the awkward-sounding lines. He shot the film in Utah in 1989, relying largely on local residents like Hardy, who was handed the lead with no prior acting experience. (One “actor” filmed his part while on leave from a nearby psychiatric hospital; he was a patient.) The plot requires large quantities of weed to comprehend fully, but in brief, Troll 2 is about a young boy whose family relocates to a sinister town overrun by grotesque “vegetarian” goblins who transform humans into plants before devouring them. The boy is aided by visions of his dead grandpa, who warns him about the goblins’ evil intentions. (The movie, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with 1986’s Troll or “I don’t think there’s anything that’s within 1,200 miles of the pure awfulness of Troll 2.” trolls in general; the distributor, MGM, simply titled it Troll 2 as a cheap marketing ploy.) The resulting train wreck is enormously entertaining thanks to uproariously goofy visual effects, goblins wearing what look to be Halloween costumes and remarkably amateurish overacting that produces unintended comedy. One particular line delivery, in which a terrified teen character shouts, “Oh my God!”— stretching out the word “God” to four agonizing seconds—has become a popular internet meme. Yet in a lengthy email to Newsweek, Fragasso insists his movie has been misunderstood; it was meant to be a comedy. “I wanted to make people laugh, and I succeeded,” he says. The Room, he maintains, “has nothing in common with my film.” (Indeed, The Room is more of a melodrama whose plot revolves around a love triangle. And Wiseau, unlike Fragasso, had a seemingly bottomless budget, thanks to his own mysterious wealth.) Michael Paul Stephenson, the child star of Troll 2, first saw the finished movie when his parents gave him the VHS tape as a Christmas present. For years, he was deeply embarrassed by it, especially when it began to appear regularly on latenight HBO programming. “Every Sunday, I would pull out my newspaper’s TV guide and hope that I wouldn’t find Troll 2 listed,” he says. Instead of the usual four stars that run under reviews, there would be “a little icon of a turkey,” signifying the worst possible rating. But as an adult, in the mid-2000s, Stephenson began getting messages from fans on Myspace. “They would send photos of Troll 2 parties they had in a basement or somewhere. My first thought was, Why? This movie should never be spoken about again.” Eventually, Stephenson embraced his childhood humiliation, and in 2009 he directed the documentary Best Worst Movie, tracing Troll 2’s meteoric rise from low-budget mess to cult classic. In the film, a pair of hardcore fans describe their response upon meeting a Troll 2 virgin: “No matter what you’re doing, you drop what you’re doing,” they say. “We’re watching it now.” Hardy acknowledges some sadness in the documentary, in the spectacle of once hopeful actors realizing they have made a cinematic punch line. But there is joy there too, in the reaction of fans and the discovery that pleasure has been provided, as well as history made—even if it’s dubious history. “People will talk about Troll 2 and The Room forever,” Hardy says with genuine pride. NEWSWEEK.COM 47 Culture Illustration by B R I T T S P E N C E R P A R T ING SHOT Abbi Jacobson it’s been said that comedy is harder than drama, which helps explain why so many comedians, from Steve Martin to Kristen Wiig, have aced dramatic roles. With the indie film 6 Balloons, now on Netflix, you can add Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson to the list. First-time director Marja-Lewis Ryan’s merciless look at the cost of enabling someone you love stars Jacobson as Katie, a young woman desperate to keep her backsliding addict brother Seth (Dave Franco) from relapsing again. “It was a challenge to internalize all the emotions Katie has bottled up,” says Jacobson, who gives a revelatory performance, conveying years of entrenched anxiety, often with just body language. The weirdly sweet Broad City—back for Season 5 later this year—is based on the voracious friendship between Jacobson and co-creator Ilana Glazer. Like TV “Abbi,” Jacobson is a self-deprecating sometime illustrator who loves comedy. So while she enjoyed the challenge of a role “that really scared me,” she’ll stick to funny for the near future. As long as Donald Trump’s in charge, she says, “I need to escape.” “In my day-to-day life, constant chaos is where I’m most comfortable.” What attracted you to 6 Balloons? I thought the script was beautiful, and I related to the character. Not in terms of her speciﬁc situation, but I’m from the suburbs of Philly, and the town I grew up in was very affected by the opioid epidemic. I knew a lot of people who overdosed. Even though it’s a serious role, you bring a lot of comedy to Katie—similar to Abbi’s humor on Broad City. My favorite dramatic movies have moments of levity. You’re more in the story when you see the full person. Weirdly, I think Katie is more like me in real life. She is constantly playing this duality—on the one hand, “Everything’s under control!” but there’s anxiety looming. In my day-to-day life, constant chaos is where I’m most comfortable. So that resonated with me. Also, the movie takes place over one night, which I’m used to doing on Broad City, where each episode covers 24 hours. Abbi hit a real low in Season 4. It was sometimes hard to watch! [Laughs.] You know, “Abbi” is known for hitting those lows, but highs are coming. We’ve been writing these characters we love, and they’ve been in a state of nongrowth for a couple seasons. Now, we’re asking, “What’s changing?” Abbi will start dating someone, career moves will happen—there’s growth in Season 5. —Anna Menta 48 NEWSWEEK.COM A PR I L 1 3 , 2018 .