Sunday Notes

Ukrainians Quest To European, While Europeans Walk Away From EU Washington Post columnist writes of the struggle by Ukrainians to follow in Poland’s path by joining with the European Union at a time when Western Europeans were casting votes that were more than just protest votes against bad policy, but were against the European values.

“But there may be a deeper explanation as well. Those who don’t have democracy, stability or “European values” want them desperately. And those who have them don’t appreciate them — and perhaps cannot. John Adams once wrote that “there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide,” and we could be closer to watching this happen than we usually think. Some Europeans are already reaching for the arsenic. The question now is whether the rest can prevent them from swallowing a lethal dose,” she posits.

Obama Foreign Policy Fails To Address Latin America
To some foreign policy analysts, President Obama’s foreign policy address at West Point failed because of what he did not say, rather than what he said. Specifically, what region he failed to mention – Latin American.

Alejandro Sanchez notes that his speech mentioned one Latin American country – Brazil – and that was referencing the rise of its middle class, which she believes reflects the lack of attention the region will receive in the second term.

She adds that in listing potential security threats – from terrorism to global warming – Obama ignored the national security implications of drug trafficking.

“Interestingly, President Obama failed to mention drug trafficking and other security challenges facing the Western Hemisphere. The absence of such a discussion suggests that U.S. military aid to the region under the umbrella of Southern Command (the component of the U.S. military that oversees most of Latin America and the Caribbean) will remain scarce for the foreseeable future,” she writes.

On the other hand, since his election Pope Francis has remained actively engaged in Argentinian politics, meeting with leaders and doing what he can to ensure the stability of democratic rule.

“On March 17, the pope gave Fernández de Kirchner 2 1/2  hours of his time at the Vatican. By comparison, President Barack Obama got a 55-minute audience with the pope on March 27, and the Queen of England got only 20 minutes when she visited the Vatican in April,” writes Andres Oppenheimer in The Miami Herald.

Oppenheimer says the pope may not speak publicly about the nation, he is active behind the scenes in promoting his belief in democratic rule. And, he adds, if the pope cannot maintain the peace in his home country, how can he have any legitimacy in negotiating on protracted disputes, such as the Middle East.

Regional Conflict Dispute Could Work With More International Support Sultan Barakat, a senior fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Doha, Qatar, and chairman of the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit at the University of York (England) cites Darfur as an a test case in how regional and local dispute resolution could not only succeed, but flourish, with more international support.

Barakat suggests with international support locally administered agreements could be strengthened, their reach extended and their “monitoring capacity” enhanced.

“Sudanese agencies and global partners can work to develop communications strategies and project-management skills among nomad leaders. Likewise, targeted training in conflict analysis and resolution should be given to those working in the region to improve their understanding of local culture and context. And all groups should work to avoid co-opting tribal networks for political gain or aid distribution, which would undermine their impartial image,” says Barakat.

“The prospect of supporting local actors in Darfur and their peacebuilding networks offers a glimmer of light in an otherwise bleak situation,” he concludes.
Recent Posts
Contact Us

Drop us a note and we will get in touch soon!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search