Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 13

June 30, 2012 by

I don’t recall the issue of censorship being discussed in our Peace Corps training program at Georgetown University during the summer of 1962. Our means of communicating with home were very basic and primitive when compared to the instant internet communications of today. My weekly letter home was anticipated and shared with family members and friends. Among my parents’ generation there was a great reservoir of good will towards Ethiopia and His Majesty Haile Selassie. They remembered with great emotion his 1936 appearance before the League of Nations where he appealed to the world to take collective action against the Italian Fascist invasion of Ethiopia and their horrific killing of civilians.

The Moral Obligation Next Door

June 29, 2012 by

Despite the rhetoric coming from the campaign trail in the next few months, the United States is still the major power player on the global stage. To be sure, American dominance is not what it used to be as serious power brokers, such as China, rise globally and growing powers, such as Brazil, rise in the Western Hemisphere. But the US is still the most powerful nation in the world. With that power often comes the expectation that the US should be the great force for peace and justice globally.

The G-20 and India: Was India Vindicated?

June 29, 2012 by

India made its presence felt at the G-20 Summit by deliberating the core issues of the Eurozone crisis and also pledging to help relieve the financial burdens felt by several EU states. The seventh G-20 Summit at Los Cabos, Mexico issued a strong message from non-European members to Europe to end the bickering so that Eurozone’s finances can be supervised by the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). India’s PM, Manmohan Singh, a noted economist, stated that a crisis in the European banking system can choke trade and economic growth not just in the Eurozone but throughout the world.

The Vice of Memory: Vidovdan and Serbia’s Jerusalem

June 28, 2012 by

In the Belgrade fortress that used to boast one of the Ottoman Empire’s most formidable bastions, rests a charming church aromatic with incense. A strict placard lies in wait at the entrance, warning the attendees that they should dress properly, keep their hands out of pockets, take their hats off and observe in respect. The side entrance of the ‘Rose’ or Ružica church is flanked by the sentimental sculptures of two Serbian soldiers from different eras – one from World War I, the other from the 14th century.

European Debt Crisis: George Soros Exudes Optimism

June 28, 2012 by

George Soros probably understands the nature of the immediate problem facing the Eurozone. Namely, the accelerating bank run which, amongst other things, potentially exposes Germany to trillions of contingent euro liabilities. But even Soros reflects the prevailing – and mistaken – view that Greece might need to become the sacrificial lamb required to save the euro. He said as much in a recent interview in Der Spiegel.

U.S. Foreign Policy and the Human Rights Council Resolution on Sri Lanka

June 28, 2012 by

The Obama administration did fight to get a seat on the Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2009; something that George W. Bush probably did not even contemplate. And, as David Bosco has noted, the US has been relatively active at the HRC since that time. Bosco goes on to say that “The United States has laid special emphasis on the Council’s use of special experts, individuals given a mandate to investigate some particular country or human rights theme.”

Damned by Riches: How Afghanistan’s Mineral Wealth Undermines NATO Mission

June 27, 2012 by

It is like something out of a movie: deep in the archives of a war torn country a team of intrepid scientists discovers forgotten maps leading to buried treasure. Fantastical as it seems, such a scene played out in 2004 when American geologists found a cache of charts in the Afghan Geological Survey’s library dating from the days of Soviet occupation. Returned to the library after the NATO invasion, these Russian charts were protected in geologists’ homes through the tumultuous 1990s’ and for good reason.

The Mysterious François Hollande

June 27, 2012 by

French President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party and its allies secured an absolute majority in the country’s recent parliamentary elections. After months of non-stop campaigning, the Socialists now must govern. The win provides Hollande the political firepower to push through the pro-growth agenda he argues Europe needs to end its three-year old debt crisis, and his solid domestic position makes him a pivotal player in European politics. Given his new-found importance in both domestic and European circles, it is somewhat surprising how little is known about Hollande and his ideology.

The Predicament of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

June 27, 2012 by

When Lebanese security reportedly killed 18-year-old Ahmad al-Qasim over a documentation dispute in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, the camp’s Palestinian refugee population erupted in anger and dismay. Within a few days of the June 15 incident, the outrage had spread and more refugees were killed. Fouad Muhi’edeen Lubany was killed on June 18, as a crowd of mourning refugees attempted to bury the first victim of Nahr al-Bared, near Tripoli in the north. Another victim of the violence was Khaled al-Youssef, who was shot in Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp, near Saida, about 30 miles south of Beirut. More Palestinians were reportedly injured, along with three Lebanese security officers.

Syria One - Turkey Zero: For Now

June 26, 2012 by

What was that Turkish F-4 Phantom II up to when the Syrians shot it down? Ankara said the plane strayed into Syrian airspace, but quickly left and was over international waters when it was attacked, a simple case of carelessness on the part of the Turkish pilot that Syrian paranoia turned deadly. But the Phantom—eyewitnesses told Turkish television that there were two aircraft, but there is no official confirmation of that observation—was hardly on a Sunday outing.

Angela Merkel’s Nein Problem

June 26, 2012 by

The pattern is becoming despairingly familiar. The embattled periphery countries, led by Italy and Spain but also endorsed by France, propose more fiscal integration in the form of mutual debt pooling and shared financial liability. Such reforms are met with resounding rejections from Germany who instead point to the long run benefits of austerity in terms of promoting a sustainable economy.

Somalia and Somaliland: Chevening House Declaration

June 26, 2012 by

Delegations representing the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the government of Somaliland met at Chevening House in London on 20-21 June as part of a dialogue that began at the London Conference and continued at Istanbul II. The Chevening House Declaration is unexceptional. It primarily commits both sides to continue the dialogue and cooperate in the fight against terrorism, extremism, crime, piracy, illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping. Importantly, however, it suggests that both sides are willing to continue the talks.

Everyone’s Assange

June 26, 2012 by

Julian Assange has a few tricks left up his sleeve after his 16-month battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, and seeking asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London has been one of them. He has managed to throw an assortment of spanners into the works of state since becoming a figure of notoriety. He has, for instance, made a threat to run for a seat in the Australian Senate, an apt riposte to Australia’s indifference in mounting consular interventions on his behalf. He has been given his own program on the Russian network RT.

Women’s Rights in Malaysia

June 26, 2012 by

The mostly Muslim nation of Malaysia has always walked a fine line between protecting the rights of Malay women and acknowledging the role that Islam plays in the daily lives of its citizens. Yet many of the obstacles facing Malaysian society disproportionately affect women. These include endemic poverty, human trafficking, environmental degradation, a rise in the numbers of refugees, civil unrest, crime and a resurgent Islamic movement.

The Eurozone Still Faces Several Challenges

June 25, 2012 by

European financial officials are preparing their policy package to deal with the current crisis for the meeting scheduled next week. It is not clear whether any of the proposals will be able to stop the ongoing bank run. Here are some of the rumored proposals: Euro members jointly issue short term bills – in effect, short term euro bonds, a debt redemption fund as proposed by economic advisors to Merkel, new procedures for euro area banking supervision and using the ESM to purchase peripheral nations’ bonds in order to reduce their sovereign interest rates.

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