Asia

Post-Geneva Delusions: The Next Steps in Sri Lanka

March 31, 2012 by

Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs, G.L. Peiris, has recently given one additional reason for the passage of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva: “collective commitments.” Evidently, Mr. Peiris had been informed by one of his European counterparts that certain members of the European Union (EU) were unsupportive of the resolution, but were compelled to vote in favor of it, since a group decision had been taken by the EU.

Seoul Nuclear Security Summit Blocks Nuclear Power Industry Development

March 28, 2012 by

The nuclear security summit in Seoul adopted a vague communiqué suggesting the renunciation of highly enriched fuel. Apart from being aimed at non-proliferation, this appeal may testify to the intensification of competition for new technology in nuclear power engineering. Third World countries are being forced to adopt obsolete light water reactors, while the rivalry between leading nuclear powers is growing.

The Effects of the US Resolution Against Sri Lanka

March 23, 2012 by

Europe and most of Latin America supported the US resolution against Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council’s (HRC) 19th session in Geneva. China, Russia, and several countries in Africa and Asia voted against it. Unsurprisingly, Cuba and Ecuador also opposed the resolution.

Disengagement the Best Engagement for North Korea

March 21, 2012 by

It took a record one month for U.S.-North Korean talks over a food for nuclear freeze swap to fall into the all too common war of words where Pyongyang threatens with war against the U.S. and South Korea. And while admittedly this game of hot and cold isn’t anything new, what’s different this time is the record speed in which it happened.

A Need for Pan-Asian Institutions in Asia

March 20, 2012 by

For over a decade, many relevant academic journals have prophesized the 21st century as the Asian century. The argument is usually based on impressive economic growth, increased production, trade and booming foreign currency reserves. Undoubtedly, the fact that Asia holds nearly 1/3 of the total world population doesn’t hurt its chances from overtaking the United States and Europe in many areas.

Salt on Old Wounds: Post-War Sri Lanka

March 20, 2012 by

‘Salt on Old Wounds: The Systematic Sinhalization of Sri Lanka’s North, East and Hill Country’ the first study published by The Social Architects (TSA), seeks to set out the systematic, increasing and widespread process of Sinhalization that is taking place in historically Tamil areas in the North, East and Hill Country in post-war Sri Lanka.

North Korea’s Space Program Not to Lift off Any Time Soon

March 19, 2012 by

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is making a third attempt to convince the world that it can launch spacecraft. Although Pyongyang claims that two satellites have been orbited, independent analysts are unable to detect them. Even if the third launch attempt proves successful, it is unlikely to be completely functional.

China’s Big Economic and Political Choices

March 19, 2012 by

There were more than a few surprises in the events that surrounded the Chinese National People’s Congress in Beijing last week. All of them underline the stark economic and political choices that the new Chinese leadership will face in dealing with the next phase of national development. Premier Wen Jiabao’s speech to the Congress embraced a call for comprehensive reform.

Who Will Win at the Human Rights Council?

March 15, 2012 by

The US recently tabled a draft resolution against Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council’s 19th session in Geneva. No one should be too surprised by this; everyone knew it was coming. However, the draft resolution is so incredibly weak that President Mahinda Rajapaksa must be breathing a sigh of relief. It is no wonder that the US feels confident that it has the votes in needs. Besides, it is likely that the resolution will be watered down even more in the coming days—making this exercise seem that much more formulaic and pointless.

Sri Lanka: International Governments Must Take the Lead in Investigating War Crimes

March 15, 2012 by

There is a growing danger that the political leaders responsible for the greatest single atrocity of recent years will suffer no consequences. Journalists, not governments, have taken a lead in raising the issue to the international agenda of command responsibility for violations of humanitarian law in Sri Lanka. The UK’s Channel Four has now screened the second of two hard-hitting documentaries, containing compelling visual evidence that civilians were knowingly targeted, and surrendering prisoners executed, on orders issued in a direct chain of command from the country’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

We should have been prepared for the Fukushima tsunami

March 11, 2012 by

A year ago yesterday the Tōhoku-Oki earthquake and resultant tsunami hit the Japanese coastline, triggering the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster. A year on, many questions are being asked about how bad conditions really are one year after the disaster, and how long it will be before Japan truly recovers.

Do Country Acronyms Have a Meaningful Place in a Dynamic World?

March 10, 2012 by

When Goldman Sachs first coined the term “BRICs” in 2001, it did so on the assumption that these four countries were going to heavily influence the direction of the global economy. It turned out that China was much more influential than any of the other three, and that Brazil well underperformed the others based on its decade-long average GDP growth rate of approximately 3.5%.

Just Plain Stupidity Or A Failure By Design?

March 4, 2012 by

The explosion of national anger in Afghanistan after the revelation that U.S. soldiers dumped and burned copies of the Quran in an incineration pit has an uncanny familiarity with the history of previous foreign occupations of the country. Despite the ceaseless official media campaign through the decade of the U.S.-led war to convince us how well things were going for NATO, the battle for the hearts and minds in Afghanistan has not been won.

North Korea’s Pivot

March 1, 2012 by

After three years of frozen relations between North Korea and the United States, the two longstanding adversaries are on the verge of a thaw. In what has been called the “leap day deal”, North Korea has pledged to stop uranium enrichment and suspend nuclear and missile tests. The United States, meanwhile, will deliver 240,000 metric tonnes of food to the country’s malnourished population.

Review of the BBC’s ‘This World: Inside the Meltdown’

February 29, 2012 by

The BBC documentary, “Inside the Meltdown,” on the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant is oddly powerful in its depiction of the savage destructive nature of the environment as it battered and subsequently caused the meltdown of the Fukushima plant.

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