Abril de 2011 (Continuación)

Casi dos semanas de intensos bombardeos y la puesta en práctica de la zona de exclusión aérea en Libia a cargo de las fuerzas lideradas por la coalición occidental no han quebrantado la determinación del coronel Muamar Gadafi ni han domeñado a sus seguidores. Las últimas semanas han demostrado, por el contrario, que Libia se halla mucho más dividida de lo que el mundo había creído.

El principal desafío a que hace frente la oposición estriba en tender la mano a los seguidores tribales de Gadafi y alos escépticos y no participantes en la lucha a fin de calmar sus temores y recelos.…  Seguir leyendo »

De retour d’un séjour en Egypte et le long de la frontière Libyenne, les déclarations des dirigeants français et d’autres pays européens faisant un lien entre les révolutions arabes et une possible vague d’immigration clandestine submergeant l’Europe sont particulièrement choquantes. Les représentations publiques qu’elles cherchent à véhiculer, tant de la crise qui se déroule, que des personnes fuyant la guerre qui sont présentés comme des «clandestins», ne correspondent pourtant pas à la réalité observée.

D’abord, aujourd’hui, ceux qui fuient la Libye sont des ressortissants étrangers, travailleurs souvent très pauvres et peu qualifiés (comme il y en a dans tous les pays de la région), qui cherchent juste à fuir la guerre en Libye, et les violences ou discriminations dont ils y font l’objet.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israël a fréquemment été présenté comme l’archétype de la nation en armes où toute la société est mobilisée dans l’institution militaire et préparée à la guerre. Ce choix a été clairement affirmé par la loi sur le service militaire de 1949 qui a introduit le principe d’une armée de masse constituée de trois «étages» : un groupe restreint de soldats de carrière, des conscrits (hommes et femmes appelés sous les drapeaux à 18 ans respectivement pour 36 et 21 mois) et des réservistes (pendant longtemps, les hommes devaient effectuer un mois de période de réserve jusqu’à 54 ans, aujourd’hui ils le font généralement jusqu’à 43-45 ans).…  Seguir leyendo »

On April 11th the French Republic will give birth to two new crimes: hiding one’s face in public and encouraging another to hide her face. On March 2nd the prime minister sent a circular to the head of each of France’s regional departments to explain the rationale of the new law. “The French Republic,” he proclaimed, “does not live with a hidden face.”

While the French president has made it clear that Muslim women who hide their faces are not welcome in France, the new law is not limited to Muslims. For the French government now believes that “to hide the face breaches minimal needs of social life.”…  Seguir leyendo »

My foreign friends always tell me when they visit that the comment they hear most often from taxi drivers, shop owners and others is, “In Syria, there is security.”

True, Syria does seem much more stable than its neighbors. And though I often find it difficult to ascertain the opinions of my countrymen, especially in matters concerning politics and the regime, many do believe that it’s a fair bargain: limits on personal and political freedoms in exchange for the stability that is so dear to them. And those limits are quite strict: Syria has been ruled by emergency law since 1963, under a strong-fisted security force; opposing (or even just differing) opinions can lead to arrest, imprisonment or, at the very least, travel restrictions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since the nuclear plant disaster in Fukushima in Japan, the stock of the company that designed the reactors, General Electric, has fluctuated less than $1 a share. Meanwhile, the operator of the facility, Tokyo Electric Power Co., has seen its share price plunge more than 70%. The explanation: Japanese law reportedly limits liability to the operator, not the designer, of a nuclear power plant.

A year ago, we heard similar arguments about the limited exposure of BP in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Reports suggested that BP’s liability for damages might be capped at $75 million because of the 1990 Oil Pollution Act, which imposes limited liability in the event of an environmental disaster at an offshore facility — «removal costs plus $75,000,000.»…  Seguir leyendo »

The Middle East has to make a historic choice: to join the new global age of democratic peace and liberal economy, or to stay clinging to its history of closed societies and autocracy.

A great revolt has been initiated by young people and women, to gain freedom, bread and hope. Israel is watching with great expectation. These events are both unprecedented and unplanned.

The internet, Facebook and Twitter have created mass communications and social spaces that regimes cannot control. These developments allowed young people to compare notes with their contemporaries in other countries, and to see clearly how their own governments wasted wealth and time to enhance their own power while ignoring the needs of their people.…  Seguir leyendo »

As U.S. forces were firing hundreds of missiles to establish a Libyan no flight zone, Pakistani newspaper headlines were consumed by a different missile strike: “Pakistan furious as U.S. drone strike kills civilians,” blared The Express Tribune; “38 killed in drone strike on NWA tribal jirga,” declared the Daily Times.

This week marks the second anniversary of the Obama administration’s “Af-Pak strategy” to confront the “security threats posed by extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” But while the United States scrambles to develop a response to protests in North Africa and the Middle East, its policy toward Pakistan is crumbling — with no clear fix in sight.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Chinese analysts have been debating whether China should take on more international responsibility. Two opposite schools of thought have emerged within China.

On the one hand, a growing chorus of critics question China’s decades-old foreign policy doctrine, first put forth by Deng Xiaoping, that stresses the importance of keeping a low profile on the world stage. These analysts say the nation needs to be more bold and assertive in international affairs in a way that matches China’s newfound status as a major world power.

On the other hand is the Chinese mainstream, which says that the international calls for China to take on more international responsibilities is a conspiracy by Western countries intended to exhaust our economic resources by saddling it with more obligations abroad.…  Seguir leyendo »