Tag: Foreign Policy


  • EUROPEANS STRUGGLE WITH RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN TAKEOVER

    Mark Mardell’s Euroblog about the EU’s response to Russia at the Avignon retreat, and the string of comments in response, represent a good window into how Europeans are struggling with the question of Russian intervention in Georgia and its consequences. Here is an excerpt:

    In EU jargon this meeting is a “Gymnich”, named after the German castle where the first one took place. It’s an informal meeting, which means it can’t issue conclusions. But in reality it’s likely they will decide whether to go along with the plan of the German foreign minister to launch an investigation into the beginning of the war.

    Mr Miliband was not against this “It is important to make sure false stories about the origions of the crisis do not become holy writ ..but equally that serious allegations are followed through.”

    They will also look at the plan to send EU monitors to report on

  • EXCELLENT SUPPORT OF ISRAELI/SYRIAN PEACE FROM EX-AMBASSADORS

    Note this extremely well-argued realist piece from Robert Pelletreau and Ed Walker in the Boston Globe. All of my experience in Syria suggests to me that most of their points are accurate and should be appealing to the more rational side of the Bush team in its last months. It can only help the reputation of the Republicans to aggressively pursue a new approach to Syria right now. It could be the foreign policy success that has eluded them for eight years. Here is an excerpt:

    Dr. Sami Taki, a close associate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said in late July that Syria might change its alliance with Iran if Syria achieves peace with Israel.

    The United States stands to gain a great deal from an Israeli-Syrian agreement. Having served as US ambassadors to five Middle East countries, we are convinced that a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace is essential to

  • ENGAGING RUSSIA–AGAIN

    I have a friend, Bryan Hamlin, who has been an amazing citizen diplomat all his life, who helps entities in conflict understand each other, especially at critical hours. What I mean by ‘citizen diplomat’ is a person who takes it upon himself to build relationships between enemy groups, or between his own culture and a culture with which he or his country is in conflict. My next book, To Make the Earth Whole, will deal at great length with citizen diplomats because I believe they are the hope of the future, inching the globe toward greater integration, cooperation, and community.

    The image “http://www.rhodora.org/Images/Hamlin.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

    Bryan had two great pre-occupations of his career as a citizen diplomat, the Palestinian/Jewish relationship, and the Russian/Western relationship. He chose wisely, for these remain the deepest challenges to the future of humanity. What we have seen in Georgia proves this.

    One of the most exhilarating moments …

  • OLD WINE, NEW FLASKS, AND THE PUZZLES OF CONTEMPORARY PEACE

    An article by Dev Raj Dahal on Peace Movements in Nepal is much more than an analysis of conflict issues in Nepal. It addresses the relationship between global civilizations, between secular knowledge and religious knowledge, and the history of Eastern and Western approaches to human social organization. Dehal explores how these relationships impact human coexistence, and the search for peace in a world of division. We are divided by culture, class, and power, he argues.

    There is a extensive exploration of Hinduism and Buddhism as they relate to Nepalese values and institutions. Rarely have I seen such a courageous and sympathetic integration of Eastern and Western thinking in solving the fundamental challenges of peaceful human existence. I do not agree with every characterization of or generalization about the many religions addressed in this important essay. In general the author, who has an ingrained sense of intellectual pluralism, tends to be

  • NON-POLARITY THERAPY: AMERICAN DOMINATION AND ITS CONCLUDING PERFORMACE

    Years ago I was experimenting with all sorts of alternative therapies to deal with some back problems, and one was called Polarity Therapy. Well, Richard Haass in the May/June 2008 edition of Foreign Affairs has come up with an interesting paper, “The Age of Nonpolarity: What Will Follow U.S. Dominance”. His prognosis for the world and for the United States, however, is one of worry and concern, predicting a world that will be bad for America. While his insights on globalization and its effects are spot on, I do not agree that a non-polar world, one in which America is no longer a unipolar power, will be bad for America in the long run. On the contrary, as soon as American policy makers internalize the reality of “non-polarity”, a world in which there are no simple poles of superior state power, the more quickly will American resilience step to

  • A Humanitarian Award For Syria, a Censure for America?

    James Denselow writes of the horrible conditions of refugees inside and outside Iraq, 4 million of them, including minorities inside Iraq with no militia to protect. This includes Palestinians, of course, who, already living in horrifying camps, have been beaten and tortured by Iraqi police.

    As the violence against Palestinians in Iraq continues, the number of refugees in al-Waleed camp has increased to more than 1,700 today. They live in conditions totally unsuited to extended human habitation. Hazards include an extremely harsh physical environment, extreme temperatures (+50 C to sub-zero) outbreaks of fire amongst the tents, accidents caused by passing trucks and infestation of snakes and rats. Residents of this camp are assisted by UNHCR’s Iraqi Operation Unit in Amman and aid agencies such as Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Unlike the Palestinians in the al-Tanf no-man’s land camp they suffer of a severe lack of protection as they are

  • Human Intelligence is the key to Middle East War Prevention

    David Ignatius, always well informed, outlines the ‘surprise’ in the West about the renewal of Israeli-Syrian negotiations, and presents the interesting puzzles that still surround the process. He writes:

    What’s going on between Syria and Israel? Are the indirect peace negotiations through Turkish mediators that were announced last month for real? I’ve been talking with sources on all sides, and they present an upbeat view of a peace process that has taken many people (including top Bush administration officials) by surprise.

    But of course it was a surprise, due to the foolishness of American isolationism and neoconservative ideology of the past eight years that we will pay heavily for well into the future. I have been on the ground inside Syria working on peace since 2005. I can say without a doubt that anyone with intelligence would have discovered how consistent the drumbeat was from Syrians at the highest …

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