Archive for the ‘Geopolitics’ Category
“Of all the governing styles in the world, does one country stand out as more successful than the others?
The debate over the best form of government has been raging ever since the days of Plato and Aristotle. Nevertheless, empirical studies about how government actions affect citizens have only been conducted in the last few decades. Probably the most ambitious attempt to evaluate the world’s governments comprehensively is being carried out by the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Germany.”
AN : what a superb question ! This comes from a four part series of articles in the well known German publication Der Spiegel….which, incidently , means “The Mirror “. The question is something to reflect upon :-)
via Good Governance Series: Which Goverment Is Best – SPIEGEL ONLINE.
Nietzsche once said that modern man eats knowledge without hunger. What he meant by that is that modern man learns without passion and without necessity. I didn’t go to Indonesia without either. What interests me most about Indonesia is not its economy or its people — although that might change as I learn more. What interests me now is Indonesia’s strategic position in the world at this point in time.”
via World – Indonesia’s Global Significance | Indonesia.
The United States maintains a navy presence in the Gulf in large part to ensure oil traffic there is unhindered. Its Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain.
Iran, which is already subject to several rounds of sanctions over its nuclear programme, has repeatedly said it could target the Strait of Hormuz if attacked or its economy is strangled.
Such a move could cause havoc on world oil markets, disrupting the fragile global economy, although analysts say the Islamic republic is unlikely to take such drastic steps as it relies on the route for its own oil exports.
via Strait of Hormuz showdown: Iran-U.S. brinkmanship nears its breaking point | News | National Post.
“The Palestinian Arab bid for Unilateral Declaration of Independence this week appears to be strongly influenced by the same principles of hate and destruction.
A Wall Street Journal editorial earlier this week questioned the logic of the UN efforts, even from a Palestinian Arab perspective asking, “A vote at the U.N. won’t create a Palestinian state and will likely retard the creation of one, perhaps for years. It won’t remove any Israeli settlements from the West Bank and might well give Jerusalem reason to accelerate the pace of construction. It could also lead Israel to take various punitive measures against the Palestinians, including freezing tax transfers worth about $100 million a month. The U.S. Congress might follow by cutting off the $600 million in annual aid to the Palestinians.”
This week Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged what he stood to destroy in the wake of these efforts, saying, “the Palestinian people and their leadership will pass through very difficult times after the Palestinian approach to the United Nations.” Saying further, “We decided to take this step and all hell has broken out against us.”
In seeking to understand the move, The Journal referenced an opinion piece that Abbas wrote in the New York Times in May, which said that “Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only as a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Criminal Court.”"
As the Wall Street Journal concluded, “In other words, what Palestinians seek out of a U.N. vote isn’t an affirmation of their right to a state, but rather another tool in their perpetual campaign to harass, delegitimize and ultimately destroy Israel.”
Understand this: ‘peace’ is no goal of the Palestinians, only to hurt, maim, isolate and ultimately destroy the sovereign Jewish presence in the Mediterranean.”
via Suicide Diplomacy – Op-Eds – Israel National News.
“Finding a way to limit carbon emissions will be a major issue for Canada-U.S. relations, and the two countries can’t be too far apart in their policies, says U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson.
Putting a price on carbon is one way to slow down greenhouse gas emissions but the price set by either country could influence where investment decisions are made, Jacobson told The Journal’s editorial board Wednesday.
It’s important that national policies do not give one country a competitive advantage, he said, “so people won’t make economic decisions based on the differences.”
“You don’t want to have a race to the bottom.”
While the issue of greenhouse gas emissions is “the single hardest issue” for the two countries to work through, Jacobson said he’s confident in the end the national policies will work in “sync.” President Barack Obama’s administration will not bring proposals forward this term, he said.”
via Canada, U.S. must have similar policies on carbon, U.S. ambassador says.
“RFE/RL: What kind of Turkey do you see in five years?
Yakis: Internally, domestically, I believe that this trend of being the fastest developing country in the world — competing with China only, that has 9 to 10 percent growth even in the crisis period for the world economy — shows that Turkey’s growth rate will continue and Turkey will become a more prosperous country. The more you become prosperous, the more the country becomes stable, because poverty creates instability. I mean, social classes revolt against the [unequal] distribution of wealth, etc. So when their income increases, they are better off and they don’t complain.
This trend will continue and this trend will also allow Turkey to use its soft power in getting involved in the problems of the region. Soft power is more welcome in the world than hard power. In Afghanistan, Turkey is there with military power, but the Turkish military in Afghanistan acts more with soft power — in the construction of mosques, schools, construction of roads, and that type of things.
So we are more efficient with less money in Afghanistan than other countries who are present there with their hard power.“
via Interview: Understanding Turkey’s Foreign Policy.
Geopolitics in the Middle East.
“A nuclear Iran, it is now recognized, is not Israel’s problem alone. It possesses missiles that bring the Gulf states, Egypt, Turkey, Europe and Russia all within reach. A nuclear Iran would be transformative, a country not easily gone to war against, and one that will have considerably more power on the regional stage. And if Iran goes nuclear, it is almost certain that Turkey and Egypt will accelerate their own programs and Saudi Arabia would buy an off-the-shelf bomb from Pakistan. Libya agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in December 2003. The international crisis that broke out with Colonel Gaddafi’s regime in March 2011 would have looked very different had Gaddafi had the bomb.
A nuclear Middle East is in no one’s interest; therefore, opposition to the prospect is wide. The United States, China and Russia have imposed sanctions on Iran in the hope of impeding the bomb. Israel and Saudi Arabia find themselves on the same side of the fence.
But Iran is Israel’s problem most of all. No other country is existentially threatened by Iran, in a position to suffer irreparable damage if attacked with nuclear weapons. Those imposing sanctions and locked in diplomacy to try to resolve the problem are involved in global power play, not a life-and-death situation. Iran is not calling for the destruction of Turkey or Saudi Arabia, and if America, China or Russia loses the game, as they indeed might, it is not their heads that will be on the chopping block.
For Israel, there is no margin for error.”
via Hirsh Goodman: Israel has no margin for error when it comes to Iran | Full Comment | National Post.
A significant question. Does an individual make a difference ? How and what can be done outside of the role of governments and World Organizations?
“How might outsiders help fight dictators? As protesters fight dictators across the Middle East, people outside are asking what they can do to help.
Traditionally, we tend to look to our own governments to act. As Gaddafi’s repression of pro-democracy rebels mounted in Libya, campaigners demanded sanctions and, as the attacks intensified, military intervention. But both forms of government pressure have serious drawbacks and, too often, come very late in reaction to gross repression. In Darfur, for example, sanctions on Khartoum were not imposed until many thousands had died.
Thanks to the threat of a Russian and Chinese veto, the UN security council has yet to respond to the murder of the Syrian people by their government, although both the US and EU have imposed their own, limited, sanctions. And no amount of signatures on online petitions is likely to budge it.
Revolutionaries in Egypt and Tunisia shared advice (translated by the Atlantic) on nonviolent techniques to confront the authorities. This manual drew on Gene Sharp’s brilliantly concise yet comprehensive list of nonviolent actions to defeat tyranny (available as a downloadable pdf). And for an excellent scholarly review of civil resistance, Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash have assembled a collection of fascinating essays analysing nonviolent action in many different countries, including Gandhi’s campaign against imperial rule in India and the overthrow of Milosevic in Serbia. But these examples are about resistance inside the country concerned, not about what outsiders can do.
Are there other tools to assist those fighting for democracy? When the Libya crisis broke, I suggested ten nonviolent ways to stop Gaddafi. Former diplomat that I am, these suggestions, too, tended to ask for government action. That episode, however, and the feeling of horrible impotence watching Bashar al-Assad slaughter his own people in Syria, has set me wondering what else can be done beyond merely asking our governments to act.”
via What we can do to bring down dictators | Carne Ross | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.
“As the Western elite gathered in picturesque St Moritz to grapple with pressing world crises, the outsiders met in the bleak steppes of Central Asia.
Last week’s 10th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in the Kazakh capital Astana highlighted how the major rivals to empire, led by Russia and China — themselves rivals, are trying to fashion an alternative to US hegemony.”
via SCO vs Bilderberg: Where are the real decisions being made? | Asia |Axisoflogic.com.
Thought provoking article on some key International relations in trade and power.
The increasing role and importance of China within the Brazil Russia India CHina South Africa (BRICS) trading group .
“South Africa’s entry into BRICS represents a diplomatic coup for China. By roping South Africa into the group, China is trying to undercut the relevance of the IBSA Dialogue Forum (with India, Brazil and South Africa as members) that aims to promote South-South cooperation among democracies. South Africa knows that despite having more in common with India, China may ultimately hold more economic and political clout. Trade between China and South Africa was $25.6 billion in 2010, making China South Africa’s largest trading partner, and South Africa China’s second largest partner in Africa. In contrast, in 2009-2010, India-South Africa trade was just $7.73 billion. Chinese investments in South Africa also provide far more jobs than Indian ones, and China’s backing can further South African interests in forums like the UNSC.”
via BRICS: The New Great Game.