By Ashok Bardhan* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERKELEY (IDN | Yale Global) - The US economy seems to suffer from a bout of schizophrenia, as it cannot decide whether it’s doing well or not. There has been stable, albeit not spectacular, growth in the post-crisis phase, but analysts point to many headwinds. The bubble word is back, this time in the stock markets, and above all else increasing employment seems stubbornly resilient to macro-management.
By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - Describing the disorientation and anarchy in the aftermath of First World War in 1919, the Irish poet W. B. Yeats wrote in his renowned poem The Second Coming: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, / The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned; / The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” At a time when, despite the absence of a global war, things appear to be falling apart again, the Buddhist philosopher and educator Daisaku Ikeda does not despair and, in fact, shows the way to “value creation for global change”.
To celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) – a Tokyo-based lay Buddhist movement linking more than 12 million people around the world – he has offered “thoughts on how we can redirect the currents of the twenty-first century toward greater hope, solidarity and peace in order to construct a sustainable global society, one in which the dignity of each individual shines with its inherent brilliance”.
By Said Khaloozadeh* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN) - Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, paid a two-day official visit to Iran on March 9-10, 2014. During her stay, she met with the Iranian President Dr. Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani, President of Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research Ali Akbar Velayati, and Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. Her visit to Iran was a very important development, which can be analyzed from various angles.
By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - As tension mounts in relations between the U.S. and Russia on Ukraine amid apprehensions of a nuclear fallout, three international conferences scheduled for April 2014 have acquired added significance in promoting efforts towards nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
The first in the series is a meeting of foreign ministers on April 11-12 in Hiroshima, nearly two months after the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Mexico. It will be followed by an inter-faith conference organised by the Tokyo-based Soka Gakkai International (SGI) on April 24 in Washington. From April 28 to May 9 the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will hold its third session at the United Nations in New York.
By Stephen S. Roach* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NEW HAVEN (IDN | YaleGlobal) - Once again, all eyes are on China. Emerging markets are being battered in early 2014, as perceptions of resilience have given way to fears of vulnerability. And handwringing over China is one of the major reasons.
Of course, Federal Reserve tapering – reductions of the US central bank’s unprecedented liquidity injections – has also been a trigger. That makes it much tougher for emerging economies overly dependent on global capital flows – namely, India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey – to finance economic growth. But the China factor looms equally large. Longstanding concerns about the dreaded hard landing in the Chinese economy have once again intensified. If China falls, goes the argument, reverberations to other emerging markets and the rest of the global economy will be quick to follow.
By Bernard Schell | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
CAIRO (IDN) - The sigh of relief some two months ago that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran had reached an agreement on the three disputed islands near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, was rather short-lived. Only six days later, the report was denied by Iran. Now on March 10, the 22-nation Arab League has slammed Iran for refusal to accept the UAE’s sovereignty over the three islands in the strait between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, through which about 20% of the world's petroleum, and about 35% of the petroleum traded by sea passes.
By Chintamani Mahapatra* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
NEW DELHI (IDN) - As territorial and maritime disputes in Asia have sparked regional cold wars, the United States appears to have adopted a non-aligned strategy to navigate in troubled political space of the continent.
Non-alignment as a diplomatic instrument of state craft has been known to American Administrations for centuries. Although the term “non-alignment” was not used, the need of such a strategy was first articulated by first President of the United States – George Washington. In his farewell address, Washington warned against the folly of getting involved in the European entanglements.
By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - The U.S. government is unofficially accusing Russia of violating the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, by flight testing two-stage ground-based cruise missile RS-26.
Although the U.S. government has not officially commented on the alleged Russian violation of the INF, which prohibits both countries to producing, testing and deploying ballistic and cruise missiles, and land-based missiles of medium (1,000 to 5,500 kilometres) and short (500 to 1,000 kilometres) range, high ranking members of the government in Washington have been leaking information to U.S. media, in a moment of particular tense relations with Moscow.
By Eric Walberg* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN) - In the latest ‘color revolution’, it was not an army but a rump parliament that pulled the plug on the elected president on a wave of protest, pushing out Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovich on February 22. He apologized from exile in the Russian city of Rostov-on-the-Don for his weakness during the uprising, but his fate was sealed when he was disowned by his own Party of the Regions, the largest party in the fractious parliament. The rump parliament unsurprisingly ordered the release of Yanukovich’s arch rival, ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from prison, a condition for Ukraine’s signing a European Union Association Agreement.
By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
SINGAPORE (IDN) - “As a result of the financial crisis, the ability of individuals to exercise their human rights and that of States to fulfill their obligations to protect human rights has diminished,” noted Bat-Erdene Ayuush, Head of the Right to Development Section at the UN Human Rights Office speaking at a UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) panel discussion at last year.
But, at its 25th session from March 3 to 28 in Geneva, only two out of about 100 reports tabled, address the economic and development aspects of human rights. Almost all other reports address individual rights specific to countries, rather than collective rights of people.
By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
SINGAPORE (IDN) - UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) head Navi Pillay’s current campaign against Sri Lanka over alleged human rights violations – along with similar campaigns against Libya and Syria earlier – could jeopardize the cause of human rights around the world, analysts say.
Pillay released a report in February calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes when the Sri Lankan armed forces crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a final battle in May 2009.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Envoy in Geneva conveying the Sri Lankan Government’s response to Pillay’s report stated that the UN High Commissioner’s recommendations, “reflect the preconceived, politicised and prejudicial agenda which she has relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka”, and in a 18-page document pinpointed her double standards accusing her of giving “scant or no regard to the domestic processes ongoing in Sri Lanka”.