Wednesday Headlines

North Korea’s Kim Defends Purge
In his New Year’s speech, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un defended the execution of his uncle by saying it was the “correct decision” and that the purge was targeted at “counterrevolutionary factionalists.”

He went on to say that North Korea “should wage a vigorous struggle to stamp out any sort of alien ideology and decadent lifestyle, which may undermine our system.” He added that the nation would be stronger after ridding the government of “filth.”

“The acknowledgment of potential dissent is noteworthy because Pyongyang for decades has used its propaganda to project a sense of unquestioned loyalty to the Kim family. Some analysts say that the North under Kim has abruptly abandoned that mythmaking, and is instead highlighting the punishment that will come to those who are disloyal,” reports The Washington Post.

Will The Syrian War Last Another Decade
Dr. W. Andrew Terrill of the Army War College asks this question and asserts that given the history of the region, it is very likely that the violence occurring today will last another decade.

“Americans need to understand this may be a long, horrible war, and that the international community may need to plan for years of humanitarian aid for those remaining in Syria and those that have fled the bloodbath. It is also important to give strong and continuing support to countries like Jordan that need to ensure that their government does not buckle under the challenges of caring for large numbers of refugees. The ongoing nature of this struggle is difficult to accept, but it may be the only realistic way in which this problem can be understood. There is no point to deceiving oneself about a virtually unstoppable war. The United States has only very limited ability to shape the outcome of the Syrian civil war, and any actions it takes must be done in the full knowledge that this could be a very long war,” Terrill cautions.

Can The Private Sector Lead On Combating Environmental Change?
Susan Griffiths says the private sector is demonstrating the ability to make an impact on climate change than governmental institutions are not.

For example, Walmart set long-term goals in 2005 for renewable energy, waste reduction and other sustainability measures. The world’s largest retailer also created an index to help its suppliers evaluate the sustainability of their products and performance—with the requirement that those companies either meet the standards or lose Walmart as a customer,” she writes.

Her article is based on the new book by Case Western Reserve University political scientist Jessica Green entitled,  Rethinking Private Authority: Agents and Entrepreneurs in Global Environmental Governance.

“Green’s account provides important historical context for understanding current approaches for solving environmental problems. Although firms and NGOs are becoming increasingly prominent in global environmental politics, they are not acting alone; governments are still very much part of the picture. They decide whether, when and how they will relinquish control.

“However, private authority is another important tool in the arsenal. Environmental problems are complex, Green argues, so are the regulatory solutions required to solve them in a timely manner,” adds Griffiths.

Where Will The World Be In 50 Years?
Ambassador Paul Wolfowitz’s delivered a recent talk, “Our World in the Last 100 Years,” at the University of Oxford’s Oxford Union in which he looked forward to what the next 50 years may bring. Putting his remarks in context, he stated that today the world is more prosperous than it was 50 years ago.

How could it be more prosperous?

“Well, first, recall that just a little more than 50 years ago, on October 22, 1962, President Kennedy announced to the world that the Soviet Union was installing nuclear-armed missiles on the island of Cuba. …. Today, that danger has receded with the end of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. The United States and Russia still have formidable nuclear arsenals that could do terrible damage, but the possibility of an all-out nuclear war has virtually disappeared. Awful things could still happen with North Korea’s nuclear weapons or even with those of Pakistan — particularly if Pakistan’s weapons were to fall into the hands of terrorists — or if Iran gets nuclear weapons. But those threats, as frightening as they are, are still small compared to what we lived with every day during the Cold War,” he said.

He also noted the world is more free than it was decades ago.

“Finally, and perhaps most unexpectedly, the world has become much more free in the last 50 years. In 1962, there were very few democracies outside the advanced industrial countries, with the important exception of India. In 1981, Freedom House, the American nongovernmental organization that tracks the progress of freedom around the world, ranked just 32 percent of all countries in the world as truly free. By last year, the number was 45 percent.”

His full remarks can be viewed here.






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