Friday 23 June 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 23/6/2023

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Tomos Lewis

Running for office

Miami’s 45-year-old mayor, Francis Suarez (pictured), announced his run for the US presidency with a fairly on-the-nose political allegory. His cinematic, two-minute-long launch video depicted him in a torso-hugging, Republican-red T-shirt, running around the city that he has governed since 2017.

Suarez’s jogging prowess aside, what felt particularly striking was his pitch that a mayoralty is a strong starting line from which to run for the highest office. No sitting mayor has ever been elected US president, even though several notable former mayors – Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg and Rudy Giuliani among them – have tried. Despite achieving an unexpected win in the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses, Buttigieg had to battle with the idea that being a mayor is too small-time a qualification for an aspirant president.

But mayors have a proximity to their voters that those in more senior national roles arguably don’t. Running a city is no small feat; seemingly granular issues can easily make or break an official’s term, no matter how grand their ambitions might be.

Suarez is right to challenge the perception that being a mayor isn’t enough. In his video, instead of relying on the usual patriotic rhetoric, he instead focuses on his work in office. He touches upon his efforts to help Miami’s children open their first bank accounts and cites precise figures on how he tackled homelessness.

Presidents deal with issues writ large but mayors have to find solutions for their cities’ problems from the ground up. Amid the ideological fog of a presidential campaign, this should not be discounted as a qualification for a higher office than City Hall.

Tomos Lewis is Monocle’s Toronto correspondent. For our interview with Francis Suarez, tune in to The Urbanist. And for more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

Image: Getty Images


System reboot

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron (pictured), is hosting heads of state and the leaders of more than 100 countries – alongside representatives from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – to lay the foundations for a new financial system that can tackle today’s global crises. The Summit for a New Global Financing Pact will discuss ways of overhauling the world’s development banks as war continues to rage in Ukraine and the calamitous effects of climate change begin to be felt.

On Thursday the World Bank’s president, Ajay Banga, announced a new “toolkit” to aid countries that have suffered natural disasters, including a pause in debt repayments and greater flexibility in redirecting funds. For Macron, the summit is an opportunity to portray himself as a global leader – but whether those taking part will end the summit with solid commitments remains to be seen.

For more on the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact, tune in to ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle Radio from 07.00 London time.

Image: Reuters

Diplomacy / USA & India

Strategic alliance

The US welcomed India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, for a state visit this week to discuss strengthening defence ties, fostering technological partnerships and the south Asian country’s role in the Indo-Pacific region. However, his visit has angered human rights advocates who have criticised Joe Biden (pictured, on left, with Modi) for cosying up to India despite the Modi government’s authoritarian trajectory.

“The geopolitical situation is changing as a result of the US’s rivalry with China and India is seen as a key strategic partner,” Shruti Kapila, a professor of history and politics at the University of Cambridge, tells The Monocle Minute. “The US has done Modi a huge favour and he will make the most of it by pointing out to his opponents that it is under his rule that India has become a stronger, bigger and more important global player.”

Image: Netflix

Culture / South Korea

Korea development

Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos reaffirmed the streaming service’s commitment to Korean-language content during a three-day visit to Seoul this week. His trip to South Korea comes after an announcement in April that Netflix is investing $2.5bn (€2.3bn) in the country’s content. More than 60 per cent of the company’s subscribers have watched Korean-language programmes, from the breakout drama Squid Game to reality shows such as Singles Inferno and Physical 100 (pictured).

Sarandos announced an additional $100m (€91m) in funding during the visit and met Park Chan-wook, director of Oldboy, who is currently producing his first film for Netflix. The world’s biggest streaming service is known for making big bets on new formats but these announcements show that the company is also steadfast about sticking to what works.

Image: Taran Wilkhu

Design / London

Crossing the threshold

This week the Turkish entry at the London Design Biennale picked up the Public Medal for its sculptural display at Somerset House. The winning work, curated by Istanbul-based artist and architect Melek Zeynep Bulut, uses oversized chimes to create an abstract installation with metaphorical “gates”, blurring the border between the space’s interior and exterior.

Its objective is to encourage visitors to reflect on how we might design better thresholds, from doors to national borders. Those hoping to see the Turkish entry and the other 44 pavilions should head to the biennale before it wraps up this Sunday.

Image: Getty Images

Monocle Radio / The Foreign Desk

Africa’s peace mission

Andrew Mueller explains the recent trip of African leaders to Ukraine and Russia, and assesses whether it made any difference in terms of helping to end the war.

Monocle Films /

Monocle preview: July/August issue, 2023

Who tops our liveable leaderboard? Monocle’s annual Quality of Life Survey puts the world’s best cities through their paces and profiles the urban centres on the up. We also get set for summer by gardening in Hiroshima, dining in Marseille and dancing in Mexico City. Plus: how Bratislava’s bass-playing, architect mayor is helping the city to find its groove.


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