A Fresh Dose of Pragmatism in Mexican Politics

August 31, 2012 by

Former Mexico City Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) hates to lose. Narrowly defeated in Mexico’s 2006 presidential election, AMLO refused to recognize the results. He demanded a recount, declared himself the winner and occupied Mexico’s City’s central square (the Zócalo) and other streets for several months. While such actions did little to curry favor with the incoming National Action Party (PAN) administration, his protests did enjoy widespread support from Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) supporters.

On the Poisoning of Yasser Arafat

August 30, 2012 by

It is the language of brutal indifference – words that are chewed, gnawed, spat out with derision. But when asked whether the Israeli authorities might have had a hand in the death of Yaser Arafat, the reaction is stubbornly predictable. “Israel did not have any hand in this,” claimed Dov Weisglass, the relevant chief of staff of then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004. “We did not physically hurt him when Arafat was in his prime…so all the more so we had no interest in this kind of activity when he was politically sidelined.”

Products with a Purpose

August 29, 2012 by

In Eli Marmar’s life story, water is a recurring theme. “I was raised in the Bay Area as a competitive swimmer and spent my formative years in the ocean surfing. It rained on my wedding day. My son was born in a birthing tub.” No surprise then that he launched his company Freewaters with one mission: provide clean drinking water, one pair of sandals at a time. That’s right, sandals. San Francisco-based shoemaker Freewaters represents a new breed of social enterprises that have philanthropic agendas built explicitly into their corporate DNA.

Purging Sports and Humbling Men: The Lance Armstrong Affair

August 28, 2012 by

He was the superman of the sport, the untouchable product of well honed athleticism. Precisely because he seemed to hum into cycling history, to purr onto the podium with feline ease, the critics grew in number, as did the questions. Was Lance Armstrong taking something? “There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1997.”

Burma: Legacies of Political Activism and Authoritarian Rule

August 28, 2012 by

In the past 18 months, Burma, also known as Myanmar, unexpectedly released more 600 political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Laureate and de facto leader of the opposition movement. Internet websites such as the BBC and Gmail have ceased to be blocked. Parliament passed legislation that included a labor law that allows unions, illegal since 1974, and laws outlawing forced labor. The Press Censorship Board no longer requires publications to have all articles approved in advance. The National Human Rights Commission was established by President Thein Sein to investigate current incidences of rights violations by the government.

Tehran’s NAM Summit

August 28, 2012 by

The 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement kicked off in the Iranian capital of Tehran on August 25 and the 120-member organization is slated to discuss international developments ranging from the civil war in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran’s nuclear program.
During the summit, the rotating presidency of NAM will be conferred to Iran by Egypt. Consisting of nearly two thirds of the United Nations body, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is the second largest international organization and its members are said to be politically independent.

Left Behind: Re-Evaluating American Hegemony

August 27, 2012 by

Over the past decade, amidst appalling civilian casualties in one war of questionable legality and another of dubious wisdom, American foreign policy became the great bogeyman of the political left the world over. For liberal Americans, the bullish behavior of the Bush Administration induced the pretension of Canadian citizenship abroad and a previously unimaginable mainstream audience for leftist favorites Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky at home.

Remembering the Man on the Moon: The Passing of Neil Armstrong

August 27, 2012 by

It should surprise no one, and yet, the passing of the first man on the moon enabled space – and the American way of life – to be yanked into the public fold with a degree of hubris that should turn any human off extra-terrestrial missions. Tributes are flooding various forums, extolling Armstrong as human, humane and gifted. These invariably leave out as much as they tell. Personal reminiscences of the man have been effusive, which demonstrates that cardinal rule that he who says little in public life shall have much spouted about him.

The Crisis in Mali

August 26, 2012 by

The reports filtering out of Northern Mali are appalling: a young couple stoned to death, iconic ancient shrines dismantled, and some 365,000 refugees fleeing beatings and whippings for the slightest violations of Sharia law. But the bad dream unfolding in this West African country is less the product of a radical version of Islam than a consequence of the West’s scramble for resources on this vast continent, and the wages of sin from the recent Libyan war.

Britain, Ecuador and the Case of Julian Assange

August 26, 2012 by

A decade ago, the British government of Labour prime minister Tony Blair decided to back President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq even though foreign office lawyers in London had warned that such an attack had no “legal basis in international law.” In the midst of sharp divisions in government and British society, the invasion went ahead in March 2003. The consequences were far-reaching and they undermined the Blair government’s authority at home.

Mali: Not on Clinton’s Farewell Agenda

August 24, 2012 by

On August 10, 2012 Secretary Hillary Clinton ended her ten day trip to nine sub-Saharan African countries: Senegal, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Benin. The trip was publicized as her last to the continent, as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. The common thread throughout her structured remarks was on the building blocks for democratic institutions, good governance, rule of law, corruption, security, and trade.

Mohamed Morsi’s Evolving Relationship with Egypt’s Military

August 24, 2012 by

Ever since early April when he became an official candidate in the first post-revolution presidential election, Dr. Mohamed Morsi has been generally dismissed by most political observers as a weak and unimpressive politician. In fact, he was an accidental contender since he was the stand-in candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) first choice, senior leader Khairat Al-Shater.

The Politics of ‘Legitimate Rape’

August 24, 2012 by

If a campaign can self-destruct in an inferno of imbecility, then this must surely provide a good recipe for it. Aiken’s grasp of reality, at least when it comes to those of the opposite gender, is slim, caricatured and severe. Enter then, the disastrous move that requires a contrition tour to rival that of Bill Clinton, the antics of Congressman Todd Akin and his remark about “legitimate” rape.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 15

August 23, 2012 by

When I was assigned to teach agriculture at Haile Selassie 1 Secondary School in Gondar I had a lot to learn about agriculture in Ethiopia. Unknown to me at the time of my arrival in Gondar was the fact that there were two agricultural extension agents in the area, Ato Arega Effende and Ato Yilma Degafa. Ato Arega was assigned to Gondar and points south and Ato Yilma to the north around the Debat area. They were both a big help to me.

Exploring Sino-Russian Relations: The Dynamic Partnership

August 23, 2012 by

Exploring the dimensions of Sino-Russian relations reveals a perplexing question, “who is the junior partner?” No definite answer presents itself because Sino-Russian relations change depending on different issues and situations. In the post Cold War era, China has proved to be very adaptable to change while Russia has struggled to restructure to the new order.

Page 1 of 512345