Saturday News

World Humanitarian Summit Failing Before It Even Begins
On May 23 and 24, the United Nations will host the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), a gathering designed to foster discussion about ways to improve the system of providing financial and humanitarian aid.

The goals and purpose of the summit is laid out by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his report — One Humanity: Shared Responsibility — and also renews the UN’s commitment to humanitarian principles, conflict prevention, solutions to the migrant crisis and better approaches to financing.

The first problem with the summit, says Foreign Policy’s John Norris, begins with the report itself. Rather than suggesting ways in which member states and the UN could work to make financing more efficient, the report appears to absolve the international body of any responsibility to reform its own house.

Second, Norris says hosting the summit in Turkey was a mistake because of the dictatorial nature of the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The third major reason that the summit has been so controversial goes to the reason why Doctors Without Borders pulled out of the summit: the widespread targeting of civilians and aid workers in conflicts around the globe and the relative impunity with which these attacks have taken place. In its statement pulling out of the summit, the aid group called the gathering in Istanbul ‘a fig-leaf of good intentions, allowing these systematic violations, by states above all, to be ignored,’” he notes.

Jason Cone of Doctors Without Borders told National Public Radio that they were pulling out of the summit because of the UN’s failure to protect them in the field and the fact none of the solutions or fixes would be binding.

“The humanitarian system is too often failing in its core duty of meeting the needs of victims of conflict, and we are worried that the summit will do little to change that,” Cone told NPR.

European Populism On The Rise
In the last few years, there has been a growing presence in Europe of populism, a once-marginal phenomenon on the continent. Fed by the high debt and unemployment created by stagnant economies and poor fiscal policies, it is no longer an outlier movement. Across Europe, politicians are tapping into the angst and frustration to fuel their campaigns and to garner support for immigration policies which favor closed borders and anti-EU initiatives.

To find the roots of this movement, the Wall Street Journal explored the phenomenon and “what emerged were diverse portraits of voters united by rejection of the postwar creed that the Continent’s integration was a necessary condition of prosperity and peace.”

The voters, the paper reports, spoke in common themes. They expressed a sense of loss of their sovereignty to Washington, Wall Street or Berlin. Many obtain their news from social media, rather than traditional outlets. And they expressed fears that they will be victims of crime as a consequence of the migrant crisis. And they worried about a loss of their culture.

“This populist wave is particularly striking in Central Europe, where the political mainstream had long seen European integration as the way to heal the wounds of Nazism and communism,” writes Anton Troianovski.

America Needs More Immigrants
The Brookings Institution’s Richard Reeves argues that a new wave of immigrants is badly needed to reinvigorate the nation’s economic and social dynamism.

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