Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category

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Saberi released earlier this week

May 13, 2009

This is tremendously good news, but before one gets too ecstatic, Glenn Greenwald pens a sobering reminder of how the US treats journalists who aren’t working for access to the Pentagon. Check it out here.

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Sunday Items

April 19, 2009

On a lighter note, the Berlin Wall (what’s left of it) will be repainted. More here.
A piece on Moldova’s failed “Twitter Revolution” in Foreign Policy.
US missile strikes in Pakistan? From the Telegraph.

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Iranian-American journalist sentenced to 8 years

April 18, 2009

From the NYT:

The sentencing of Ms. Saberi, 31, could complicate political maneuvering between Iranian and American leaders over Iran’s nuclear program, an issue that kept relations icy during much of the Bush administration. President Obama recently made overtures to Tehran about starting a dialogue over the nuclear program, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran responded positively.

Ms. Saberi’s sentencing appears to set the case apart from other recent detentions of people with dual citizenship. Two Iranian-American scholars, Haleh Esfandiariand Kian Tajbakhsh, were arrested in 2007 on accusations that they tried to overthrow the government, but they were released on bail before their trials began. Ms. Esfandiari was allowed to return to the United States, and Mr. Tajbakhsh is allowed to leave Iran when he wants.

More here.

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Obama’s approach to Iran

April 15, 2009

The New York Times has a piece elaborating on the Obama Administration’s decision to allow Iran to continue with its nuclear program as the US enters negotiations. Granted, the story’s two days old at this point, but seeing as how it’s continuing policy, it’s one to be aware of:

The proposals, exchanged in confidential strategy sessions with European allies, would press Tehran to open up its nuclear program gradually to wide-ranging inspection. But the proposals would also allow Iran to continue enriching uranium for some period during the talks. That would be a sharp break from the approach taken by the Bush administration, which had demanded that Iran halt its enrichment activities, at least briefly to initiate negotiations.

The proposals under consideration would go somewhat beyond President Obama’s promise, during the presidential campaign, to open negotiations with Iran “without preconditions.” Officials involved in the discussion said they were being fashioned to draw Iran into nuclear talks that it had so far shunned.

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Sunday Items

April 12, 2009

Bird flu, less virulent, perhaps more contagious. From The Independent.
The intersection of politics and technology in Moldova via Foreign Policy Journal.
Death of an Iranian blogger from Haaretz.

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Somali pirates hijack ship with American crew

April 8, 2009

A few grafs:

Somali pirates are trained fighters who frequently dress in military fatigues and use speedboats equipped with satellite phones and GPS equipment. They are typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rocket launchers and various types of grenades. Far out to sea, their speedboats operate from larger mother ships.

Most hijackings end with million-dollar payouts. Piracy is considered the biggest moneymaker in Somalia, a country that has had no stable government for decades. Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think-tank Chatham House, said pirates took up to $80 million in ransoms last year.

The whole piece.

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Q&A: Dambisa Moyo on aid damaging Africa

April 7, 2009

Two weeks ago, I posted on an article in The Wall Street Journal about the crippling effects of aid to Africa. I came across an interview of the author of that column, Dambisa Moyo, who just released a book on the subject: Dead Aid:Why Aid is not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa.

Here’s Moyo in an exchange on celebrity aid:

Guernica: In your book, you discuss the different eras of aid. The money started flowing in the post-war years to keep African countries friendly to the U.S. You go on to describe the 2000s as the decade of “Glamour Aid,” and you’re critical of Bono and Bob Geldoff, in particular. Do you feel these celebrities who are beating the drum for increased aid—and in doing so, drawing attention to themselves as well as the cause—are acting out of paternalism and perhaps egoism rather than true altruism?

Dambisa Moyo: First of all, I talk very little about the celebrities [in Dead Aid]. To focus on them is to miss the point. There are three things I want to say about celebrities and “Glamour Aid.” First, I don’t think they’re right. I may have been more sympathetic if they were pushing an agenda for more trade or more foreign direct investment, but the fact that they’re pushing for an additional fifty billion dollars [in aid] illustrates to me that they don’t understand economics and perhaps do not add value to the debate. It certainly worries me that they’re getting more airtime than they should. The second point is that in the aid model, you disenfranchise Africans because the governments are not held accountable. The fact that there was a vacuum big enough for these celebrities to step in and speak, ostensibly, on behalf of the African continent is worrying. Africans stand in the hot African sun to elect their leaders, not celebrities.

Here’s the whole interview in Guernica.