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The week that was: exploring what’s hidden below the surface | View

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A warm welcome, as always, to this, our weekly round-up of the latest View opinion articles. Amongst the hot topics that have had you talking this week are Donald Trump and his border wall fight and the latest installment in the Brexit saga. Presenting all points of view, we aim to give you a flavour of the opinions that have driven debate across Europe and beyond over the last seven days.

The 24-hour news cycle can often be described as an iceberg. There’s only so much of a newsworthy story visible above the waterline that consumers can see while the rest - the gritty detail of the story – is often obscured. It is this struggle between transparency and obscurity, tangibility and intangibility, that colours the biggest news stories around the world, particular this week.

Of course, there is perhaps nowhere this applies more than the United States at present with its incumbent commander-in-chief, Donald J. Trump. Publically, he is either loved or ridiculed depending on where you are on the political spectrum. But behind the public face of Trump, what is there to see? According to contributor Keith Koffler, the man behind the rude, abrasive, widely derided and devisive figure is a much more sophisticated political animal, someone who isn’t given enough credit for being a better strategist than his opponents. “Democrats who dismiss Trump as an empty suit do so at their own peril,” warns Koffler.

Then again, there is only so much lip service you can pay to a world leader to praise his political acumen who is using the pain of others, in this case women, to achieve their goals. In her op-ed this week, Danielle Campoamor blasts President Trump for using sexual assault victims for his own political gain in the fight against Democrats and the building of his border wall. “If Trump truly cared about the sexual violence immigrant women face,” she writes, “he would make it easier for those women to seek safety in the United States.”

As everyone who is keeping track of the latest news will know, Brexit continued to careen out of control this week, with Theresa May’s withdrawal deal receiving a bloody nose from British MPs. Paradoxically, in the face of a historic defeat in the Commons, MPs backed Theresa May’s premiership in another vote. This is the only part of the negotiations which are in the public eye. But behind closed doors, with just under 10 weeks to go until the UK’s official departure from the EU and an agreement that was two years in the making now gone up in smoke, what will happen now? Amid the backdrop of chaos and contradictions, are the UK and EU forging a new relationship? Euronews’ political editor Darren McCaffrey says this new relationship might be better if it were fashioned through a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Who among the UK’s political leaders will the first have the courage to say that remains to be seen, however.

As we saw in the Brexit referendum campaign, the line between facts and untruths can be blurred beyond recognition as is often the case when passions run high between two opposing sides. The same is arguably happening in Catalonia just now. On View, we give a platform to air all sides of a debate, as we saw this week with a rebuttal of an op-ed by pro-independence contributor Aleix Starri Camargo. Gabriel Colomé took exception to the arguments laid out in the piece, writing: “This article reflects, yet again, the shameless use of falsehoods by Catalan secessionist politicians for the sole purpose of justifying independence for Catalonia.” Read Colomé’s full rebuttal here.

From the outside looking in, Davos appears to be a meeting of the world’s richest and most powerful figures to decide the future of the planet, something that will directly affect those most struck by poverty and disenfranchisement. Much of the important discussions take place in closed meetings but, as analyst Radu Magdin reminds us this week, to be really able to change the world, the elites must learn to connect with regular people who are not visible in Davos and have no voice at the table.

Also worth a read this week is Srdjan Cvijic’s op-ed on the future of newly-christened North Macedonia and its place in the European project. While Greece now needs to give its assent to the name change in a parliamentary vote, the EU too, Srdjan argues, needs to honour its end of the bargain and restart accession talks for North Macedonia to become a fully-fledged EU member state. In other European news this week, Amnesty International takes aim at authorities preventing effective search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean. “More women, men and children will suffer unless European governments agree on a swift and predictable disembarkation policy in line with international law and a fair system to share responsibility among EU countries,” writes contributor Matteo de Bellis.

This week, blogger Ani Bundel writes about a welcome return to our screens. Fans of HBO series True Detective were unresponsive to season two but will be overjoyed to read that season three, which premiered this month, brings back some of the magic of the show’s first season “while adding a new layer of brutal nihilism.”

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