Is Newly-Renovated U.N. Readying For Balkanisation of World?

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.

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Obama’s Surrender to War

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.

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A Very British Divorce?

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.

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The Long Shadows of History

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.

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‘Breaking Silence’ on the Slave Trade

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.

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The Cold War lives on

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.

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How the Koch Brothers and Other Family Capitalists Are Ruining America*

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.”

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Despite a Cease-fire, Peace in Eastern Ukraine Remains out of Reach

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.

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Global conversation on humanitarian action kicks off

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.

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Ukraine Joining Nato Would Provoke Nuclear War

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.

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Obama’s dilemma is America’s appetite for power but aversion to political risk

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.

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