By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BARCELONA (IDN) The German political comedian Karl Valentin once coined a wonderful phrase to parody the cowardice of people who betray their own will: “Mögen hätt’ ich schon wollen,” Valentin mocked them, “aber dürfen habe ich mich nicht getraut.” Loosely translated: “I actually would have loved to want, but I did not dare to can.”
Valentin’s grim humour is a perfect match for the present predicament of European governments vis-à-vis the U.S. and British global surveillance of telecommunications, revealed by the brave Edward Snowden. All heads of governments, from Angela Merkel in Germany to Mariano Rajoy in Spain, passing through François Hollande of France, have expressed their alleged outrage towards the U.S. spying of their official and private telephone and Internet communications. All of them have used the same expression: What the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been doing all these years is “unacceptable.”
By Athena Ballesteros of World Resources Institute
The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued on October 29, 2013 a policy document ending Washington’s support for multilateral development bank (MDB) funding for new overseas coal projects except in narrowly defined circumstances. Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard explained: "By encouraging the use of clean energy in multilateral development bank projects, we are furthering U.S. efforts to address the urgent challenges of climate change." World Resources Institute’s Project Manager of International Financial Flows and Environment Project, Athena Ballesteros, analyses the significance of the initiative in a blog.
By Julio Godoy | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BARCELONA (IDN) - During the early 1980s, distinguished U.S. international affairs journalist Jonathan Kwitny started a journey throughout the world, to analyse his country’s foreign policy since the late 1940s. Kwitny, who had reported among other media for the Wall Street Journal, came to a disparaging conclusion: The U.S., which had emerged as the champion of the “free” world for its decisive intervention against Nazi Germany and Fascist Japan, and as such stood against the Soviet Union, did not care for democracy and human rights, but only for what its governments considered as “national interests”.
By Shim Jae Hoon* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
SEOUL (IDN | Yale Global) - The front-page picture in Korean newspapers told the story of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. South Korea’s President Park Geun Hye, looking frosty and gazing in the opposite direction, ignored Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe standing next to her at the October 7 APEC in Bali. The two leaders barely exchanged greetings, according to a Japanese news dispatch, and kept their contact to a minimum, “only for a few seconds”.
By Nasser Saghafi-Ameri* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) - After nearly 35 years of estrangement between Iran and the United States, a short phone call between President Rouhani and President Obama on September 27, 2013 culminated into a marathon diplomacy which started few days earlier at the United Nations and following the blessing of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in what he qualified as 'Heroic Flexibility'.
By Luisa Parraguez, Francisco Garcia Gonzalez, Joskua Tadeo*
MEXICO CITY (IDN | Yale Global) - The Latin American blogosphere held its breath when Bolivian president Evo Morales’s plane was forced to land in Vienna in July. As European authorities searched for former U.S. National Security Agency contract worker Edward Snowden on board, Twitter accounts of South American presidents exploded with resentment.
The continent denounced the United States for extending its hemispheric supremacy to Europe, sputtered words like “colonialism” and “imperialism,” and claimed that the incident violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner called the incident “not only humiliating to a sister nation, but also for the whole South American continent.”
By Harold Hongju Koh* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay
OXFORD (IDN | Yale Global) - From both the left and the right, three common misperceptions have emerged about US foreign policy: First, that the Global War on Terror has become a perpetual state of affairs; second, that no strategy is available to end this conflict in the near future; and third, that “the Obama approach to that conflict is just like the Bush approach.” I disagree with all three propositions.
First and most important, the overriding goal should be to end this Forever War, not engage in a perpetual “global war on terror,” without geographic or temporal limits.
By Ernest Corea* | IDN-InDepth NewAnalysis
WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – “We don’t do dynasties,” a Canadian friend said quite huffily, when asked about the likelihood of Justin Trudeau, the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and Margaret Trudeau, being voted into office as the country’s next prime minister.
By Jen Alic of Oilprice.com* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON DC (IDN) - The US intelligence community is in a state of disarray – most recently illustrated by the Boston Marathon Bombings – and the idea of a more structured cooperation with Russian intelligence as a direct result of this incident is a paper tiger.
The mainstream US media has latched on to the idea of a new era of US-Russian intelligence cooperation as a result of the Chechen connection to the Boston bombing because this is an attractive post-Cold War idea that makes for good headlines.
By Ernest Corea* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – The party has ended, and the hubbub of nice sounding words and phrases has receded into personal and institutional memory. There are other issues calling for urgent attention, including the dangerous war talk from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, better known as North Korea.)
For all that, President Barack Obama’s March 2013 visit to the Middle East was, say those who were on the spot, nice while it lasted. Even the rockets fired by Hamas operatives from beleaguered Gaza into Israel and carefully directed not to create excessive damage during Obama’s visit failed to spoil the mood.
By Nimal Fernando* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
MINNESOTA (IDN) - Rebranding is a daunting prospect in any commercial setting. When the process involves not a product or service, but a political party, daunting does not even begin to make a dent in expressing the exacting task at hand.
Republican Party faithfuls must be painfully aware of this as they take stock and move towards cementing a strategy to rebrand and revitalise the Grand Old Party (GOP) of the United States.
A cartoonist might depict the status quo in the form of a smallish tent sheltering two separate groups, one larger than the other. The smaller group will also be identified as a kind of party within the party, going by the name of Tea Party, but offering neither tea nor sympathy to any but its own.