By Conor Foley, a humanitarian aid worker (THE GUARDIAN, 15/08/07):
One of the problems with discussing humanitarian intervention is that the term itself means different things to different people. For legal scholars it describes military intervention to come to the aid of people facing acute danger, for humanitarian aid workers it is the impartial distribution of emergency relief.During the 1990s the two activities became increasingly intertwined as military convoys were used to open «humanitarian corridors» to civilians trapped in conflict zones. Aid workers also felt increasingly compelled to speak out about the atrocities that they witnessed. «One cannot stop a genocide with medicines,» proclaimed Médecins sans Frontières during the Rwandan crisis of 1994, and a year later others mourned the «well-fed dead» of Srebrenica.… Seguir leyendo »
By Ewan Crawford, private secretary to John Swinney, the former leader of the SNP, from 2001 to 2004 (THE GUARDIAN, 15/08/07):
It was supposed to bring constitutional chaos and the destruction of the United Kingdom as we know it – but as the Scottish National party government nears its 100th day in office, it’s been consensus, not chaos, that has characterised Alex Salmond’s premiership north of the border. Even yesterday’s launch of the SNP’s white paper on independence has provoked at least some measure of agreement between Scotland’s parties – something unthinkable just a few months ago. All now accept that, at the very least, a debate needs to be held on the transfer of more powers from Westminster to Edinburgh – a position that we are told is approved by both Gordon Brown and David Cameron.… Seguir leyendo »
By David Clark, a former Labour government adviser (THE GUARDIAN, 15/08/07):
Now that the government has disowned the idea of a war on terror, there is a chance that western policy can be rescued from the quicksands of Iraq and provided with a strategy capable of defeating jihadism. The attempt to meet this diffuse and stateless threat primarily with weapons and concepts devised for interstate warfare has been a costly error. It has led to a massive diversion of resources from the task of dealing with those responsible for 9/11; it has provided our enemies with additional recruits, new grievances to exploit and an ideal theatre of operations; and it has caused the unnecessary loss of innocent life on a truly staggering scale.… Seguir leyendo »
By Shashi Tharoor, the author of Nehru: The Invention of India, and former under secretary general of the United Nations (THE GUARDIAN, 15/08/07):
When India celebrated the 49th anniversary of its independence from British rule in 1996, its then prime minister, HD Deve Gowda, stood at the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort and delivered the traditional independence day address to the nation. Eight other prime ministers had done exactly the same thing 48 times before him, but what was unusual this time was that Deve Gowda, a southerner from the state of Karnataka, spoke to the country in a language of which he did not know a word.… Seguir leyendo »
By Magnus Linklater (THE TIMES, 15/08/07):
There is a very good reason why Gordon Brown will hesitate, and may finally balk, at calling a snap election. It’s the state of his own backyard.
The divided politics of Britain could not be more dramatically revealed than by the latest opinion poll in Scotland. It suggests that Labour is now 16 points behind the Scottish National Party; the single percentage point that separated them at the election in May has been swamped by a psephological tsunami; it renders almost meaningless the recent UK polls that give Labour a 12-point lead over the Tories, because in Scotland the party is struggling to keep its head above water.… Seguir leyendo »
By Benjamin R. Barber, the author of «Jihad vs. McWorld» and «Consumed,» and a senior fellow at Demos, a New York-based think tank focused on the theory and practice of democracy (THE WASHINGTON POST, 15/08/07):
The Benghazi Six — five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor condemned to death for allegedly spreading HIV among children in a Libyan hospital — were finally released last month. The media, looking for an explanation that grabs credit for the West, have fixed on Cécilia Sarkozy, wife of the new French president and a late presence in the negotiations. After holding the nurses for eight years, Moammar Gaddafi was supposedly unable to resist Sarkozy’s come-hither eyes and allowed her to walk away with his prisoners.… Seguir leyendo »
By Robert J. Samuelson (THE WASHINGTON POST, 15/08/07):
We in the news business often enlist in moral crusades. Global warming is among the latest. Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism. A recent Newsweek cover story on global warming is a sobering reminder. It’s an object lesson on how viewing the world as «good guys vs. bad guys» can lead to a vast oversimplification of a messy story. Global warming has clearly occurred; the hard question is what to do about it.
If you missed Newsweek’s story, here’s the gist. A «well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change.»… Seguir leyendo »
By Simon Tisdall (THE GUARDIAN, 15/08/07):
South African president Thabo Mbeki’s attempt to blame Britain for Zimbabwe’s problems may convince fellow leaders at the Southern African Development Community‘s summit in Lusaka this week. But it is unlikely to bring a peaceful resolution of the country’s crisis any closer – and is certain to deepen misgivings about perceived anti-western tendencies in South Africa’s international outlook.
The SADC asked Mr Mbeki to mediate between Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change after a brutal crackdown on government critics, including the beating of the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, caused international repulsion earlier this year.… Seguir leyendo »
By Ramachandra Guha, the author of “India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy” (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 15/08/07):
In the last months of 1990, a property dispute sparked a series of bloody riots across India. The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party sought to “reclaim” for Hindus the birthplace of the legendary god-king Ram, in the small northern town of Ayodhya. That meant demolishing the mosque that had been built there in the 16th century and replacing it with a spanking new temple.
Starting in September, the militant Bharatiya Janata leader Lal Krishna Advani journeyed for five weeks between Somnath and Ayodhya, making fiery speeches at towns and villages en route, denouncing the Indian government for “appeasing” the Muslims.… Seguir leyendo »
By Mohsin Hamid, the author, most recently, of the novel “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 15/08/07):
Sixty years ago, British India was granted independence and partitioned into Hindu-majority India and my native nation, Muslim-majority Pakistan. It was a birth of exceptional pain.
Handed down to me through the generations is the story of my namesake, my Kashmir-born great-grandfather. He was stabbed by a Muslim as he went for his daily stroll in Lahore’s Lawrence Gardens. Independence was only a few months away, and the communal violence that would accompany the partition was beginning to simmer.
My great-grandfather was attacked because he was mistaken for a Hindu.… Seguir leyendo »
By James Harding, business editor (THE TIMES, 15/08/07):
The chief executive of Wal-Mart, H Lee Scott, yesterday delivered disturbing news from the aisles of America’s biggest retailer: “It is no secret that many customers are running out of money towards the end of the month,” he said. “The pay-cheque cycle is in fact more pronounced now than it ever has been.”
The collapse of sub-prime lending in the US has, so far, spooked corporate lenders, roiled the global equities markets and mortally wounded a handful of hedge funds.
In broader economic terms, though, its impact has so far been limited.… Seguir leyendo »