Thursday Headlines

Neutrality On EU, NATO Membership Has Risks
Raymond Sontag contends in a National Interest article that the West errs by not accepting certain countries into the EU or NATO and effectively condemns their democratic aspirations to Russian predation.

However, he adds, taking the opposite position of pushing for expansion, the West is “only increasing the likelihood of Russia taking action against its neighbors, thereby undermining democratic reform.”

This leaves the West in a difficult position in which taking a neutral stance has its risks either way.

“Going forward, if the United States and Western Europe believe that promoting security and freedom in post-Soviet Eastern Europe are in their interests, they need to find the most effective and efficient policy for realizing this objective. This will likely mean accepting that Ukraine and others will not join exclusive alliances with the West or with Russia—such as the Eurasian Union—but rather, will maintain largely equal relations with both,” he adds.

High-Tech Has Positive And Transformative Impact On Conservation
Bradnee Chambers argues that if employed smartly, high-tools can help protect endangered species and bring needed resources to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the body that administers the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. For example, the data gathered are then used to develop tailored conservation strategies for these different species.

“New technologies are also proving invaluable for combating illegal poaching. In  addition to the use of drones, conservation rangers are now equipped with heat-detecting thermal cameras and military helicopters, and can track elephant and rhino poachers, who reportedly use similar technologies (as well as automatic weapons) in pursuing their prey. Rangers are also using heat-seeking motion detectors and night-vision goggles to take on illegal bird trappers, who ensnare small songbirds using mobile phones that emit electronic bird calls, and 4×4 vehicles to check hundreds of kilometers of netting,” Chambers points out.

Examining The Role Of Jihad In Africa
Jihad in Africa has long complicated foreign relations, and Muslims still struggle to define and control the quest, argues Lamin Sanneh in YaleGlobalOnline.

“The stigma of jihad has become a religious birthmark in the post 9/11 world, and it is hard to imagine that there was a time when Islam was justifiably regarded as a religion of quietism even when under provocation. Did Islam really sanction the kind of jihad now in newspaper headlines?”The question is why jihad movements have become so widespread and what authoritative evidence was offered in their support. Responding to hostile measures against Muslims, jihad was ostensibly promoted as the struggle against unbelief, mostly taken up with issues arising out of Muslim society. The West African situation may be instructive in this regard,” writes the professor of history, world Christianity and international studies at Yale University.

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