3
Apr

International Relations Club

Walkathon for Syria

Time/Location: 11:00 in front of the Cafeteria (IE University, C/ Cardenal Zúñiga, 12. Segovia)

The ongoing conflict in Syria has upset the lives of milliones of innocent civilians, who have lost their homes, their way of life, and often their loved ones. As part of a global community, the IR club feels that we have a responsibility to help those affected by humanitarian crises. As such, we are organizing a walkathon to support Syrian refugees this Saturday at 11am. All proceeds will be donated to the NGO ACNUR to help refugees from the Syrian crisis.

- See more at: http://news.university.ie.edu/2014/04/walkathon-for-syria-el-club-de-relaciones-internacionales-de-ie-university-organiza-el-sabado-una-marcha-en-favor-de-los-refugiados-sirios.html#sthash.MfcduOiv.dpuf

cartel

2
Apr

Is le tea party brewing in France?

Written on April 2, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in Europe, Op Ed, Political Economy

Steeped in conservative rage and tasting of grass roots, a political backlash has traditional politicians and the news media asking the once-unthinkable: Is le tea party brewing in France?

If it were, it would be populated by the likes of Catherine Mas-Mezeran, a Parisian mother of three who wrinkles her nose at the mention of President François Hollande. She calls him “the Socialist,” which, technically, he is. But if President Obama had the birthers, Hollande now has the baptismists.

 

French President Francois Hollande has made Interior Minister Manuel Valls his new prime minister, replacing Jean-Marc Ayrault, who, with other ministers, took the blame for the Socialists' defeat in local elections.

French President Francois Hollande has made Interior Minister Manuel Valls his new prime minister, replacing Jean-Marc Ayrault, who, with other ministers, took the blame for the Socialists’ defeat in local elections.

Like others in a growing movement here, she firmly believes an unsubstantiated rumor emanating from conservative circles that Hollande may have secretly renounced his Christianity. “He has rejected his baptism,” she said. “This is really shocking.”

An Elysee Palace spokesman responded, “This rumor is as ridiculous as it is unfounded.”

The movement’s strength in numbers, however, cannot be ignored. Initially a reaction to a same-sex marriage law passed last year, the movement has morphed into the most sustained mobilization of social conservatives here in more than a generation.

A reinvigorated right delivered a devastating blow to Hollande in Sunday’s local elections across the country, prompting a humbled Hollande to reshuffle the French government on Monday. He replaced Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault with Interior Minister Manuel Valls, a politician considered more palatable by some on the right.

Results of the runoff vote showed the far-right National Front scoring its biggest victory ever, taking 11 towns and a major district in Marseille in part by appealing to outraged residents. The left ceded more than 150 other cities to the center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

Losses by the Socialists also reflected economic doubts and disenchantment with Hollande. But across Europe — a continent often viewed on the other side of the Atlantic as a bastion of liberal thought — several nations are in the throes of their own full-blown culture wars, and perhaps nowhere are they raging quite as fiercely as in France.

Tens of thousands of people are taking to the streets in repeated protests, many for the first time in their lives. They are organizing assemblies and social-media campaigns even as some angry newcomers run against incumbents on the right whom they consider not socially conservative enough.

A show of strength on French streets in February led Hollande to backtrack on a measure that opponents feared could have helped same-sex couples have children through in vitro fertilization and surrogacy.

Scores of social conservatives took their children out of public schools for one day in January to protest new lessons being tested in some French schools aimed at dispelling gender stereotypes. The social conservatives said the lessons could lead to boys wearing dresses and girls playing mechanic, or even masturbation classes for children.

“We are witnessing the rise of a tea party of the French,” Valls warned in the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

A continent already hit by economic upheaval is confronting a wave of bitter societal polarization over a host of issues such as euthanasia, abortion and same-sex marriage.

In Spain, the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is seeking to push through legislation that would greatly limit abortion rights, unleashing a bitter confrontation with the left and reversing the steady march of liberal social policies there since the death of Gen. Francisco Franco. In Poland, a measure that would grant same-sex civil partnerships failed last year because of major opposition, prompting Prime Minister Donald Tusk to say he saw no chances of such unions passing within the next 10 to 15 years.

During Germany’s national election campaign last year, center-right Chancellor Angela Merkel sparked outrage among progressives after expressing doubts about full adoption rights for same-sex couples. “To be completely honest with you, I’m having difficulty with full equality,” she told public TV. Read more…

 

Published on March 31st in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com

1
Apr

Taking Climate Change Seriously

Written on April 1, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in Energy & Environment, Op Ed

The publication today of the latest IPCC report on the projected impacts of a warming world is the latest in a long line of wake-up calls. Last November’s report on the physical science of climate change made clear that we are currently following the scenario with the highest risk – and we need to make a break with business as usual if we are to avoid the worst impacts. So what would it look like if we took climate change seriously and acted to keep global warming below 2C?

Professor Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre – the UK’s leading climate policy research unit involving the collaboration of eight different universities – says that if we followed the science through and honoured the commitments we’ve made internationally, the EU would need to double its projected emissions cuts by 2030 – from 40 per cent to 80 per cent. This would mean revising the targets in the UK’s Climate Change Act and starting to make at least 10 per cent annual cuts in our greenhouse gas emissions immediately.

“The window for action is extremely tight. We need to radically reduce our energy consumption from now out to 2025 and at the same time very rapidly roll out a Marshall Plan for a low carbon energy supply. Those two things have to go hand in hand.” Instead of tinkering around with policies that make small changes, we would need bold action in key areas such as buildings and transport, requiring courage on the part of politicians and changes to how we live our lives.

“We’re on the cusp of having to take note of what is evidently happening around us but we’re still very reluctant to leave a political mindset that says we can deliver the changes using a bit of a carbon price, a few adverts trying to incentivise people to do things, and some carbon labelling. We still expect those types of piecemeal, ad-hoc mechanisms to deliver the sort of changes that are necessary and yet we know now in 2014 that they simply won’t work.”

So what do we need to do to make such radical cuts? Last December the Tyndall Centre organised a conference at the Royal Society looking at precisely this question and researchers at the Centre for Alternative Technology have been refining a plan for a “Zero Carbon Britain” by 2030 for some years. It takes time to put low carbon energy infrastructure in place. If we need to start making substantial cuts straightaway we have to cut energy consumption. Two of our biggest sources of emissions are the energy we use at home and the transport we use. Read more…

By Phil England; Published on 31 March in the Independent http://www.independent.co.uk

 

31
Mar

Granted, the crisis in Ukraine is worrisome, Vladimir Putin’s behavior is unpredictable, and the 30,000 Russian troops amassed on the Ukrainian border arouse a sense of dread and danger unfelt since the Cold War. That said, the alarmism is getting out of hand. Legitimate concerns are spiraling into war chants and trembling, a weird mix of paranoia and nostalgia, needlessly inflating tensions and severely distorting the true picture.

A bizarre example of this is a March 26New York Times story headlined “Military Cuts Render NATO Less Formidable as Deterrent to Russia.” The normally seasoned reporters, Helene Cooper and Steven Erlanger, note that the United States “has drastically cut back its European forces from a decade ago.” For instance, during “the height of the Cold War” (which was actually three decades ago, but let that pass), we had about 400,000 combat-ready forces defending Western Europe—whereas now we have about 67,000. In terms of manpower, weapons, and other military equipment, they write, “the American military presence” in Europe is “85 percent smaller than it was in 1989.”

Yet the article contains not one word about the decline of Russia’s “military presence” in Europe since that time. It only takes one word to sum up that topic: disappeared. The once-mighty Warsaw Pact—the Russian-led alliance that faced NATO troops along the East-West German border—is no more. And its erstwhile frontline nations—East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Poland—have been absorbed into the West, indeed into NATO. This is hardly an esoteric fact, yet its omission makes the Times’ trend lines seem much scarier than they really are.

Nor, even with its own borders, is the Russian army the formidable force it once. According to data gathered by GlobalSecurity.org, Russian troop levels have declined since 1990 from 1.5 million to 321,000. Over the same period, tank divisions have been slashed from 46 to five, artillery divisions from 19 to five, motorized rifle divisions from 142 to 19, and so it goes across the ranks. Read more…

By Fred Kaplan, author of The Insurgents and the Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Published on March 28th, 2014 in Slate http://www.slate.com/

26
Mar

eu

From March 17th to 21st , the 2013/2014 IE Master in International Relations cohort traveled to Brussels for institutional visits to the main European institutions and NATO. The European Union as a successful model of regional integration is a core element in the MIR curriculum and the trip to Brussels represents a unique opportunity for the students to interact with key decision makers from the organizations they study in class.

The students began with a visit to the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. They were greeted by Klaus Hullmann, Administrator at the Directorate for Communication of the CoR. His informal, honest and often humorous account of the role of the Committee of the Regions within the EU made a positive impression on the class. At the Commission, several representatives from the European External Action Service, the Directorate General for Climate Action, the Directorate General for Enlargement and the Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection explained the inner workings of their departments’ day to day operations. At the Parliament, the class had the opportunity to sit in a meeting of the sub-committee for defense and security (SEDE) in which the recent establishment of the European Air Transport Command for pooling and sharing of military assets in Europe was discussed. This came a day before Spain formally joined the EATC.

On Thursday, MIR students spent the day at the NATO headquarters and were addressed by officials from different units including José Maria López-Navarro, Information Officer for Spain & Portugal, Eric Povel, Programme Officer, Engagements Section, Public Diplomacy Division,   H.E. Amb. Miguel Aguirre de Cárcer, the Permanent Representative of Spain and Andrew Budd, Defence Capabilities Section, Defence Policy and Planning Division. Mr. Budd, a career military man with over 37 years in the British army, was especially open when asked about NATO potential involvement in the Ukraine crisis. Without divulging any confidential information, he acknowledged that NATO was following unfolding events extremely closely and would have to act should Russia set its sights on the Baltic countries where an important Russian minority resides.

Following the NATO visit, students met with Dr. Salomé Cisnal de Ugarte, Counsel at Mayor Brown International LLP, to discuss international trade and the EU. On Friday, the class visited the Brussels offices of the International Organization for Migration and was given a fascinating presentation on migration in the world. Unlike popular belief, most migration is not South to North but South to South.  Countries in the South do not have policies adapted to this type of migration. Improving such policies could have a beneficial impact on global development.