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  (International Relations)

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Current Topic: International Relations

BBC News - Ahmed Rashid: Pakistan conspiracy theories stifle debate
Topic: International Relations 5:41 am EST, Nov 24, 2009

Guest columnist Ahmed Rashid reports on how the real problems facing Pakistan are being sidelined by a surge of conspiracy theories.

Switch on any of the dozens of satellite news channels now available in Pakistan.

You will be bombarded with talk show hosts who are mostly obsessed with demonising the elected government, trying to convince viewers of global conspiracies against Pakistan led by India and the United States or insisting that the recent campaign of suicide bomb blasts around the country is being orchestrated by foreigners rather than local militants.

BBC News - Ahmed Rashid: Pakistan conspiracy theories stifle debate

Before the Gunfire, Cyberattacks -
Topic: International Relations 8:23 am EDT, Aug 13, 2008

Weeks before bombs started falling on Georgia, a security researcher in suburban Massachusetts was watching an attack against the country in cyberspace.

Before the Gunfire, Cyberattacks -

Good News: Karlo Will Live - New York Times
Topic: International Relations 8:00 am EST, Mar  6, 2008

The number of children who die worldwide each year before the age of five has dropped below 10 million for the first time in recorded history — compared with 20 million annually in 1960 — Unicef noted in a report last month, “Child Survival.” Now the goal is to cut the death toll to four million by 2015.

Think about that accomplishment: The lives of 10 million children saved each year, 100 million lives per decade.

To put it another way, the late James P. Grant, a little-known American aid worker who headed Unicef from 1980 to 1995 and launched the child survival revolution with vaccinations and diarrhea treatments, probably saved more lives than were destroyed by Hitler, Mao and Stalin combined.

Good News: Karlo Will Live - New York Times

The wrong question - International Herald Tribune
Topic: International Relations 8:18 am EDT, Sep 28, 2007

On Sunday, Ukrainians will go to the polls to elect a new Parliament. In a snap election called only a year and a half after the last one, voters will be faced with a familiar choice: either President Viktor Yushchenko's bloc, that of his erstwhile political ally Yulia Timoshenko, or Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich's Party of the Regions. Many in the West believe that this contest is merely a rerun of the Orange Revolution, when the Yushchenko-Timoshenko team prevailed against Yanukovich in what was seen as a bloodless coup against the old regime.

But they are wrong. The latest public opinion polls suggest that Yanukovich will be returned to power, inevitably prompting officials in Washington and European capitals to wonder, "Who lost Ukraine?"

The wrong question - International Herald Tribune

Richard Cohen - Iraq's Inevitabilities -
Topic: International Relations 8:03 am EDT, Sep 25, 2007

The creation of modern India and Pakistan entailed the uprooting of more than 12 million people. Bangladesh was itself ripped from Pakistan. The creation of Republika Srpska, an entity you probably have never heard of, was a consequence of the fragmentation of Yugoslavia, which did not exist before the 20th century and did not make it into the 21st. Countries come and countries go. It is time -- isn't it? -- that Iraq went.

i'm not so much recommending this article - just is frankly ordinary - as tracking a meme

Richard Cohen - Iraq's Inevitabilities -

Where Military Rules Don't Apply -
Topic: International Relations 9:15 am EDT, Sep 20, 2007

Blackwater USA, the private security company involved in a Baghdad shootout last weekend, operated under State Department authority that exempted the company from U.S. military regulations governing other security firms, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and industry representatives.
"The Iraqis are trying to establish their own authority. And if they do this, they can show the world that Blackwater is not untouchable. And that the U.S. is not the ultimate authority in their country."

Where Military Rules Don't Apply -

San Jose Mercury News - Bush ally's Kurdish oil deal proves the surge has failed
Topic: International Relations 8:12 am EDT, Sep 18, 2007

Well, the legislation Bush promised never materialized, and on Wednesday attempts to arrive at a compromise oil law collapsed.

What's particularly revealing is the cause of the breakdown. Last month, the provincial government in Kurdistan, defying the central government, passed its own oil law; last week, a Kurdish Web site announced that the provincial government had signed a production-sharing deal with Hunt Oil of Dallas, and that seems to have been the last straw.

Now here's the thing: Ray L. Hunt, the chief executive and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Bush. More than that, Hunt is a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body.

Okay, that's comment one from Paul Krugman. I'd like to combine that with this quote from Executive Order issued July 17, 2007

(i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section include, but are not limited to, (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, and (ii) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Now by my interpretation of this, it seems that Hunt Oil's move to create a separate plan with the Kurdish provincial government clearly undermines the efforts to create a unified Iraqi government. That would appear to be in violation of the executive order. Of course since Ray Hunt is a good buddy of W, and part of his Advisory Board, there's no way in hell that's going to go anywhere.

What I can say with 100% certainty however is whether or not any law was broken, this is a HUGE conflict of interest for Hunt to be involved in both sides of this.

San Jose Mercury News - Bush ally's Kurdish oil deal proves the surge has failed

Bet on America -
Topic: International Relations 6:17 am EDT, Sep  2, 2007

America, the shining city on a hill, swollen over centuries into a reluctant empire, faces a long march into the twilight of its greatness. Our duty now is to supervise our relative decline. Other superpowers shall rise to match us: China, surely, and newly consolidated Europe, and maybe Russia or Japan. From ancient Rome through the Ming Dynasty, from the days of the Spanish Armada to the British Empire, the implacable rule of history is that no one stays on top forever.
All this strikes me as the cue to place a bet on America. Don't despair: double down.

i would bet on the US being THE global power in 50 years

Bet on America -

Bono, Foreign Aid and Skeptics - New York Times
Topic: International Relations 8:19 am EDT, Aug  9, 2007

And a study by two economists formerly of the I.M.F., Raghuram Rajan and Arvind Subramanian, forthcoming in The Review of Economics and Statistics, concludes:

“We find little robust evidence of a positive (or negative) relationship between aid inflows into a country and its economic growth. We also find no evidence that aid works better in better policy or geographical environments, or that certain forms of aid work better than others. Our findings suggest that for aid to be effective in the future, the aid apparatus will have to be rethought.”

So does this mean we should give up on foreign aid?

Bono, Foreign Aid and Skeptics - New York Times

Her Majesty's Man in Tashkent
Topic: International Relations 1:35 pm EDT, Sep  3, 2006

The courtroom provided a telling introduction. I had recently arrived as British ambassador in Uzbekistan's old Silk Road capital of Tashkent, where I was watching the trial of a 22-year-old dissident named Iskander Khuderbegainov. The gaunt young man was accused with five other Muslims of several crimes, including membership in a terrorist organization linked to al-Qaeda. The six sat huddled in a cage guarded by 14 Kalashnikov-wielding soldiers. The judge made a show of not listening to the defense, haranguing the men with anti-Islamic jokes. It looked like a replay of footage I'd seen of Nazi show trials.

The next day, an envelope landed on my desk; inside were photos of the corpse of a man who had been imprisoned in Uzbekistan's gulags. I learned that his name was Muzafar Avazov. His face was bruised, his torso and limbs livid purple. We sent the photos to the University of Glasgow. Two weeks later, a pathology report arrived. It said that the man's fingernails had been pulled out, that he had been beaten and that the line around his torso showed he had been immersed in hot liquid. He had been boiled alive.

That was my welcome to Uzbekistan, a U.S. and British ally in the war on terror. Trying to tell the truth about the country cost me my job. Continuing to tell the truth about it dragged me into the Kafkaesque world of official censorship and gave me a taste of the kind of character assassination of which I once thought only a government like Uzbekistan's was capable.

Her Majesty's Man in Tashkent

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