23
Sep

Near the beginning of President Barack Obama’s final speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday morning, he pointed out something really important about the world today: We are living through the best time in human history, but it feels to a lot of us like anything but.

“This is the paradox that defines our world today: A quarter century after the end of the Cold War, the world is by many measures less violent and more prosperous than ever before. And yet our societies are filled with uncertainty and unease and strife,” Obama said.

This isn’t just a one-off observation on his part. It actually speaks to something very fundamental, and underappreciated, about the nature of the world we live in. We have set up a series of institutions that order the world — ranging from NATO to the global free trade regime to the UN itself — and have helped make the world better for most people.

But not everyone. Some people have suffered tremendously from the way the world is ordered — and it’s helped create a broader sense of social and global crisis.

 Obama’s speech, then, is an implicit recognition that how this paradox gets resolved — if the real suffering of the few can be alleviated without sacrificing the gains of the many — will play a major role in shaping his how tenure in office is perceived. Read more…
 
20
Sep
 Image result for united nation organisation images

 

This week’s annual United Nations gathering of global leaders will bid farewell to the age of U.S. President Barack Obama, an era that began with high hopes for multilateralism but is ending in frustration over the world’s inability to solve some of the most intractable problems from Syria’s civil war to the most acute refugee crisis since World War II.In a poignant sign of the limits of international cooperation, U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday will jump-start the session with a summit to tackle a refugee and migration crisis that has displaced more than 65 million people — and to coax countries around the world into accepting more of them. The initial idea was modeled on the landmark Indochina refugee conferences of 1979 and 1989, which resulted in the resettlement of several hundred thousand Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Laotian refugees. The same, some U.N. officials hoped, could be achieved for refugees in the Middle East and North Africa.

But governments have been unwilling to agree on any bold commitments for the Monday summit’s final document, the so-called New York Declaration. Early last month, a U.N. proposal to have governments pledge to annually resettle just 10 percent of the world’s 21 million refugees was dropped. Instead, the 25-page document’s high-minded, if somewhat vague, invocations to aid those most in need fall short of concrete targets and solutions, and governments will be asked to go back to the drawing board for another two years.

“My God, can’t we do anything more of significance as the international community?” said Joel Charny, founding director of the U.S. branch of the Norwegian Refugee Council. “We were promised something groundbreaking. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it amounts to very much.” Read more…

By Colum LynchColum Lynch is Foreign Policy’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy’s Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media., John HudsonJohn Hudson is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy covering diplomacy and national security.

  • September 18, 2016; foreignpolicy.com

By Colum Lynch. Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy’s Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media., John Hudson. John Hudson is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy covering diplomacy and national security.

 

16
Sep

Russia Re-Emerges as a Great Power in the Middle East

Written on September 16, 2016 by Waya Quiviger in Foreign Policy, Middle East

For the leader of an ex-global power whose economy is in disarray, Vladimir Putin is having a pretty good 2016. His ships sail the South China Sea, supporting China’s defiance of international law. The Japanese Prime Minister brushes Washington’s protests aside to meet with him. Putin’s Russia digs itself more thoroughly into Crimea each week, a Permanent Member of the Security Council in open and glaring violation of the UN Charter and its own pledged word. He’s watching the European Union grow weaker and less cohesive each day. And in Syria he forced the Obama administration to grovel for a ceasefire deal that leaves him, Putin, more in control than ever, and tacitly accepts his long term presence as a major player in the Middle East. Watching the State Department pursue its Syria negotiation with Russia was surreal: as if Robert E. Lee had to chase Ulysses Grant around Northern Virginia, waving a surrender document in his hands and begging Grant to sign it.

Putin may not have an economy, and his power projection capability may be held together with chicken wire and spit, but the delusions of his opponents have always been his chief tools. European and American leadership since the end of the Cold War has been operating on the false belief that geopolitics had come to an end; they have doubled down on that delusion as geopolitics came roaring back in the Obama years. In the past, Europe was able to take “holidays from history” because the United States was keeping an eye on the big picture. But that hasn’t been true in the Obama administration, and the juddering shocks of a destabilizing world order are the consequence of a foreign policy that isn’t grounded in the hard facts of power. Read more…

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD, Published on: September 12, 2016

 

 

12
Sep

We are pelased to announce that Sofia Rondán, MIR Alum 2015/2016 has won the IE Foundation Prize in Humanities, in the Spanish Poetry Category. Please find below the winning entry:

 

NADIE

 

Íbamos cada tarde a pasear la playa

para ver cómo el Sol languidecía.

Como nosotros cientos de individuos,

miles de individuos…

Una masa de humanos trashumante

sesteaba feliz y complacida,

contemplando el magenta del cielo

daliniano.

Y llegó aquella barca, sin nadie,

sin Caronte siquiera.

Las monedas se las quedaron otros.

Pero nosotros continuamos mirando

aquel atardecer del cielo

daliniano.

Así, tarde tras tarde,

llegaba la barcaza.

Y nadie preguntaba dónde estaba el barquero.

Perdidos los muchachos

entre las piernas largas

de las mujeres viejas.

Soberbias las muchachas

buscando un falso cáliz

de juventud eterna.

Una masa de humanos,

tecnológicamente post-humanos,

caminamos la arena,

en el atardecer del cielo daliniano.

Un día, entre las olas, no vino la barcaza,

pero llegaron cuarenta y cuatro cuerpos.

Cuarenta y cuatro negros cuerpos.

Y nosotros tampoco preguntamos

dónde estaba el barquero.

Otro día cuatrocientos cuarenta y cuatro cuerpos,

y otro, cuatro mil cuatrocientos cuarenta y cuatro cuerpos.

Para cuando supimos, que en las profundidades

había un cementerio, no quisimos saber

quiénes eran los muertos.

Ni de dónde venían.

Ni para qué vinieron.

Caronte se sienta entre nosotros,

mirando complacido

la belleza magenta del cielo daliniano,

las piernas largas de las mujeres viejas.

Y ofrece un cáliz,

a las muchachas que están mirando al cielo.

Recoge las monedas,

porque las barcas partirán ahora

al mar del otro lado.

 

– Sofía Rondán

8
Sep

US’ Unfinished Business in Asia

Written on September 8, 2016 by Waya Quiviger in Americas, Asia, Foreign Policy, Global Economy

Laos provided fitting closure to President Obama’s 11th official trip to Asia, which ends Thursday. The stop, the first by an American president, acknowledged the devastation caused by American bombing during the Vietnam War and the millions of unexploded bombs that remained in Laos after the war. That visit and the Asian tour was the last of Mr. Obama’s broad efforts to strengthen engagements with countries in the region.

There is significant unfinished business in Mr. Obama’s Asia policy, including the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that appears gridlocked in Washington and an expanding North Korean nuclear weaponsprogram that he and other world leaders have failed to halt.

But Mr. Obama has made headway in reassuring Asian nations that the United States intends to remain a stabilizing presence in the region, as it has been for decades, and to serve as a counterweight to China’s growing power and increasing assertiveness, especially in the South China Sea.

In addition to opening a new chapter with Laos, Mr. Obama established relations with Myanmar when the former military dictatorship of that country agreed to move toward a democratic system. Ties were expanded and an arms embargo against Vietnam was dropped. New agreements on military bases for American forces were negotiated with the Philippines and Australia. Read more…

Editorial Board nytimes.com, Sept. 8th, 2016

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