Tuesday News

Syrian Government May Allow Delivery Of Supplies
The Syrian government has approved the delivery of medical and surgical supplies to three areas of Syria that have been hard for aid workers to access, reports Reuters. This means that deliveries could arrive in Aleppo and the besieged Damascus neighborhood of Mouadamiya as early as next week.

According to the United Nations, 4.7 million Syrians live in areas that are difficult for aid workers to reach, including an estimated 241,000 people in districts besieged by government or opposition forces.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported U.S.-led strikes in Syria over the past three months have killed at least 1,171 people. Most of those killed were Islamic State militants, though the group reported 52 were civilians.

Are We Living In More Peaceful Times?
While newspaper headlines may leave one with the impression that the current global environment is the most tumultuous in history, Steve Pinker and Andrew Mack of Slate suggest that is not the case.

One reason many believe the world is falling apart, they contend, is because daily “news is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen” and there is little analysis and context in daily articles.

“As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look. It’s hard to believe we are in greater danger today than we were during the two world wars, or during other perils such as the periodic nuclear confrontations during the Cold War, the numerous conflicts in Africa and Asia that each claimed millions of lives, or the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that threatened to choke the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and cripple the world’s economy,” they write.

Is The US Shortchanging Democracy?
Thomas Carothers, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he makes the case for increasing funding to the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Noting that funding has fallen nearly 40 percent since 2009, he says it has a real impact because development aid is “the glue that helps cement into place the foundational elements — such as effective legal institutions, representative parliaments, pluralistic political parties, civil society organizations and independent media” that enable democracies to thrive.

“With the Middle East wracked by multiple civil wars, falling back on the old habit of relying on authoritarian friends there to help manage security challenges to the United States may look like an appealing option. But it was precisely the festering sociopolitical and governance decay under stagnant dictatorial Arab governments that produced the conditions underlying today’s civil conflicts and extremism,” argues Carothers.

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