Analysis by Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 2014 (IPS) – When world political leaders arrive next week for the annual ritual of addressing the United Nations, they will be speaking inside a newly renovated General Assembly hall – part of a hefty 2.1-billion-dollar, seven-year refurbishing project – with an extended seating capacity for 204 member states, 11 more than the current 193.
The Editors – The Nation
The crisis in Iraq and Syria demands a political solution. Here are the key diplomatic steps needed to get there.
Too often in the United States, when responding to international crises, we equate “doing something” with “doing something military.” In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush gave a traumatized American public two options: either we go to war, or we let the terrorists get away with it. Faced with that choice, it’s hardly surprising that a vast majority of Americans supported war.
D.D. Guttenplan* – The Nation
On the train north to Edinburgh two songs kept running through my head. The first was “Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell’s breakup ballad with its wry warning: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” In the past two weeks the British have finally, belatedly, realized that when they wake up tomorrow morning the “Great” in the country’s name may have already gone for good.
By Jim Lobe*
WASHINGTON, Sep 18 2014 (IPS) – A successful agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme could significantly enhance U.S. leverage and influence throughout the Greater Middle East, according to a new report signed by 31 former senior U.S. foreign-policy officials and regional experts and released here Wednesday.
By Joel Jaeger
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 17 2014 (IPS) – A widespread perception exists that developing countries must make a choice between tackling climate change and fighting poverty. This assumption is incorrect, according to the authors of a new report on green growth.
By M K Bhadrakumar* – Asia Times
What readily comes to mind are the lyrics of the famous Frank Sinatra song. Watching the “falling leaves drift by the window … I see your lips, the summer kisses/The sunburned hands I used to hold …”
by Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service
EDITORIAL, 15 September 14
As Carl Gustav Jung said, and the Chinese before him–the shadows are long and dark. Jumping does not help, they follow us. Thus, the USA is wrong in believing that they can get away with the misdeeds of the past, that people will forget; they are not historians. Moreover, when done by the USA, deeds are not evil, at worst “tragic”, and not only for the victims but also for the perpetrators accused.
Posted by Yves Smith – Naked Capitalism
The Washington Post has a story that blandly supports the continued strip mining of the American economy. Of course, in Versailles that the nation’s capitol has become, this lobbyist-and-big-ticket-political-donor supporting point of view no doubt seems entirely logical.
By A. D. McKenzie
PARIS, Sep 2014 (IPS) – The Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave opened many people’s eyes to the barbarity of slavery and fuelled some discussion about that period in world history. But the film is just one of the many initiatives to “break the silence” around the 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade and to “shed light” on its lasting historical consequences.
By John Feffer* – Foreign Policy In Focus.
In ’89, it looked as though the war had finally ended.
For five decades the conflict had ground on, and both sides had grown weary of it all. There had been previous pauses in the hostilities, even a détente or two, but this truce looked permanent. Sure, there were still tensions after ’89, and a few skirmishes broke out. But the peace held, miraculously, for more than 25 years. Then, as suddenly as it had begun, the truce collapsed in ’15, and the war picked up where it left off.
Steve Fraser – The Nation
Why are multibillionaires dictating how America teaches its youth, provides healthcare and collects taxes?
George Baer was a railroad and coal mining magnate at the turn of the twentieth century. Amid a violent and protracted strike that shut down much of the country’s anthracite coal industry, Baer defied President Teddy Roosevelt’s appeal to arbitrate the issues at stake, saying, “The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for…not by the labor agitators, but by the Christian men of property to whom God has given control of the property rights of the country.” To the Anthracite Coal Commission investigating the uproar, Baer insisted, “These men don’t suffer. Why hell, half of them don’t even speak English.”
By Jim Lobe*
WASHINGTON, Sep 12 2014 (IPS) – U.S. President Barack Obama’s new strategy to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is being met with widespread scepticism among both hawks and doves, as well as regional specialists.
Alec Luhn – The Nation
The cease-fire appears to be a politically useful fiction.
Donetsk—Separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk may have agreed on a cease-fire with representatives of Ukraine’s government, but they are still at war.
That was the message at a rally for Donbass Liberation Day, the celebration commemorating Soviet forces’ victory over German troops in the region in 1943. Speaking in the shadow of a 100-foot tall monument featuring a Red Army soldier and a coal miner, Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, promised to repulse Ukrainian government forces, which he called the “same kind of invaders” as the Nazis, from the region.
By Shada Islam
BRUSSELS, Sep 2014 (IPS) – The appointment of Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini as the new European Union foreign policy chief offers the opportunity for an overhaul of EU foreign and security policy.
Tom Edsall* – The New York Times
Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and the End of Political Transparency
Tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations, the new political weapons of choice, are widening the gap between the rich people who control campaign financing and the economically anxious voters targeted by their ads.
By Jim Lobe*
WASHINGTON, Sep 10 2014 (IPS) – A top-level international panel called Tuesday for a major shift in global drug-control policies from prohibition to decriminalisation and regulation.
IRIN – Humanitarian news and analysis*
LONDON, 9 September 2014 (IRIN) – The event itself is still nearly two years away, but already the “pre-summits” are in full swing. Concept notes have been written, regional consultations have started, and online forums are open for comments – all leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit itself, scheduled to take place in Turkey, probably during May 2016.
Submitted by George Washington – Zero Hedge
Stephen Cohen is one of America’s top experts on Russia. Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University, and the author of a number of books on Russia and the Soviet Union.
Cohen says that the West is mainly to blame for the crisis in Ukraine:
This is a horrific, tragic, completely unnecessary war in eastern Ukraine. In my own judgment, we have contributed mightily to this tragedy. I would say that historians one day will look back and say that America has blood on its hands. Three thousand people have died, most of them civilians who couldn’t move quickly. That’s women with small children, older women. A million refugees.
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Sep 2014 (IPS) – The world’s last remaining forest wilderness is rapidly being lost – and much of this is taking place in Canada, not in Brazil or Indonesia where deforestation has so far made the headlines.
Gary Younge – The Guardian
Americans want him to ‘do something’ about catastrophes abroad while withdrawing from the role of world policeman
In 1964, then-former US secretary of state and foreign policy adviser Dean Acheson elaborated a plan for the partition of Cyprus which proved unpalatable to all concerned parties. During a visit to Washington, the Greek prime minister and president Lyndon Johnson locked horns over the issue.