Repudiated Principal Agent Relationship with “Fragile States” Persists in Somalia

October 31, 2012 by

Somalia adopted a UN-drafted Provisional Constitution, formed a new national parliament representing the entire population of the country and elected a national leadership for ending 12 years of a chaotic transition period and established a permanent, representative and accountable government eligible for substantial Official Development Assistance (ODA). Majority of Somalis believed that the international community would treat the post-transition government as a sovereign authority primarily representative of and accountable to its people.

American Foreign Policy in MENA: Bridging the Gap

October 31, 2012 by

There have been significant changes in the political and social structures in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) since the beginning of the Arab Spring. These popular uprisings continue to alter American foreign policy. The dissolution of several totalitarian regimes in the area after forty years of rule heralds a new era of uncertainty not only for the local populations but also the international community. The establishment of new political institutions is leading to unforeseen areas of unrest.

Insider Trading, Chinese Style

October 30, 2012 by

Regarding the epic financial machinations allegedly practiced by the family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, his supporters can draw consolation from the fact that the Wen family compares favorably to the Bo Xilai family in the matter of financial sophistication, investment success, and in not murdering its financial adviser. They may also be heartened by the thought that China’s tycoons are achieving parity with the West in best practices of legalized insider trading and self-dealing.

Sharp Drop in Somali Piracy

October 29, 2012 by

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has just released its global piracy report covering the period 1 January through 30 September 2012. Somali pirate attacks cover an area that includes the Gulf of Aden, southern Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and off Somalia, Yemen, Oman, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mozambique, and the Maldives.

Reheating the Beans: The Gillard White Paper on Asia

October 29, 2012 by

It has a familiar ring to it. Australia, that White Tribe of Asia, is now sounding desperate, hoping for recognition in a region it has struggled to comprehend since the days of British colonisation. If human beings are seeking to find the common thread of expression, that elemental language amongst Babel’s sea of tongues, then we can say that the White Paper on the Asian Century seeks to do so – in part.

Speech that Spreads Conflict Requires New International Regulation

October 29, 2012 by

The ease with which an individual opinion can cause international conflict has created the need for new regulation. Freedom of speech is respected across most of the Western world, is a tenet of American civil liberties, and is protected in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. U.S. Supreme Court decisions have upheld First Amendment protection of defamatory statements regarding government, gender, sexuality, race, and religion.

Catching Il Cavaliere: Berlusconi’s Conviction

October 29, 2012 by

Saviour and buffoon, makeup demagogue and extremist. He is the sort of character one misses because of his enormously negative potential, thinking that monochrome politics might be a worse option. But the conviction of Silvio Berlusconi by a Milan court for tax fraud last week, labelled political homicide by members of his own party, is yet another page turner in Italy’s sordid political drama.

Some Pre-November 6 Humor

October 29, 2012 by

As is often the case I receive mass emails from time to time. One email in particular I thought worthy to share and upon reading it there is some truth in it.

Eradicating Poverty through Social Business

October 29, 2012 by

Poverty is endemic in Bangladesh. Currently, Bangladesh ranks 146 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) ranking. Lack of adequate necessities, clothing, shelter, and healthcare constitutes poverty. The last 10 years saw a significant improvement in reversing the rising trend of poverty. Stable economic growth contributed to the fallen poverty rates. The government of Bangladesh has improved the distribution of healthcare, education, and other necessities. It has also supported microcredit programs which have empowered women and created jobs.

Is the ICC Overstepping its Mandate in Libya?

October 26, 2012 by

In the next few weeks judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be asked to make a landmark decision involving international criminal law and jurisdiction. The contentious debate revolves around whether Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Muammar al-Qaddafi, and Abdullah Senussi—Libya’s former intelligence chief—can receive fair trials if they are conducted at national courts in Libya.

Raising the Stakes in Asia

October 26, 2012 by

Depending on one’s ideological bent, America’s so-called “pivot to Asia” could be interpreted in varying ways. However, one thing that is increasingly clear is that the Obama administration is intent on re-asserting America’s strategic centrality in the Asia-Pacific. This was very explicit in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2011 piece for Foreign Policy, entitled “America’s Pacific Century.” The U.S. pivot to Asia is motivated and shaped by both economic and military-strategic factors. Essentially, it is still an ongoing process that will depend on the cooperation of regional allies as well as the evolving patterns of Sino-American relations.

China’s Reformers Hope for a Game-Changer

October 25, 2012 by

Jaded China watchers observe the fall of Chongqing’s “Red Leader” Bo Xilai and see little more than the disposal of another corrupt Communist sociopath who crossed multiple red lines - not of reckless criminality, but of naked ambition, of disobedience to the Center, and of unseemly and embarrassing behavior involving foreigners - and got slapped down by the party leadership.

The Social Economics of Thorstein Veblen

October 24, 2012 by

Those who wish to understand the many and deep contributions of Thorstein Veblen to economics will find that this offering falls short of the mark. The title promises to treat the social policy content of Veblen’s economic thought. Describing the ways in which markets were being distorted by predatory finance and other special interests, Veblen was read by every socialist leader and most progressives in early and mid-20th century America.

Prelude to Election: The Third Presidential Debate

October 23, 2012 by

There were no spectacular implosions, no remarkable points of stumbling. The third and last debate between President Barack Obama and contender Governor Mitt Romney was not the most exciting affair, though it showed Obama to be far more accomplished, and the result for Romney acceptable. Sitting down, Obama could assume the role of academic in viva mode, searchingly probing Romney on vulnerable points.

Will the Rest of Africa Be the Next Phase of the “Arab” Awakening?

October 23, 2012 by

As the Syrian conflict descends into an abyss, Libya has become a land of battles between security forces and jihadists, and Egypt is struggling to adjust to its evolving version of ‘democracy.’ Little seems predictable — in the short or longer term — in the countries that have to date experienced the Arab Awakening. Little has turned out as had been hoped — by these countries’ people, regional governments, or the larger global community — and optimists about the future are rare.

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