Une épidémie de politique

Les Américains, comme les citoyens de tous les pays du monde, en sont arrivés à accepter le fait que la politique joue un rôle important dans la nomination de certaines sortes de représentants publics. Peu d'entre nous sont surpris (bien que certains puissent être déçus) lorsqu'un juge fédéral ou un diplomate senior est nommé parce qu'il a réussi un test crucial de fidélité à un principe important aux yeux du parti du président ou du premier ministre. Mais la science, de l'avis de tous, occupe une place à part et sur ce point, les Etats-Unis commencent à servir d'exemple d'avertissement pour le reste du monde.

Les nominations scientifiques doivent reposer sur des critères objectifs de formation, de compétence et de performance. A l'évidence, il est légitime d'interroger un futur secrétaire à la Santé et aux Services humains (SSH) sur ses vues sur l'avortement. Mais il est totalement déplacé de soumettre les candidats retenus pour siéger dans des comités consultatifs scientifiques à des tests de loyauté politique. De même, l'appartenance à des organismes examinant les propositions scientifiques, un processus fondamental pour le progrès scientifique, devrait sans aucun doute être affranchie de toutes les barrières qui sont sans rapport avec les qualifications professionnelles.

Malheureusement, les scientifiques aux Etats-Unis se heurtent de plus en plus souvent à ces barrières. Au cours de l'automne dernier, la revue Science a publié plusieurs reportages sur la question.

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  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.