Category Archives: International Relations

>Cut aid to the Third World?

>Dambisa Moyo, author of “Dead Aid: Why Aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa” argues that aid encourages corruption and a culture or reliance. She says that if we were to wean aid dependent countries off of aid they would be more incentivised to enact some real reform that might help growth. What do you think? Good idea or bad idea?

>How can we bring peace to Israel and Palestine?

>Many people were worried when right wing Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister. Those worries have been confirmed for many people with his refusal to stop the illegal expansion of Israeli settlements onto Palestinian territory, and now what can only be called persecution of the 15% non Jews within Israel, whereby children born and educated in Israel are being forcefully exported due to their non-Jewish roots, and Palestinian slums bordering on territories claimed by Israel are being demolished. Israel is now being accused of “cultural genocide” after the Israeli government claimed a sacred tomb in the West Bank that is valued by Jews and Muslims alike.

But can we play the blame game in the Middle East? How can we solve the problems? Is it even possible to bring peace?

>China and the US: How far is it going to go?

>Causes of conflict:

  • China’s sudden growth, especially as it isn’t matching expectations in terms of actual improvements for many, has encouraged a sense of ‘aggrieved nationalism’. People feel angry about the lost century where China was weak and exploited by the West. But they also feel confident due to a sense of ‘positive nationalism’.
  • The US is angry about China’s denial of Tibetan freedoms.
  • The US is determined to protect Taiwan as Chinese control would most likely limit US influence in the region.
  • China and the US differ in many ideological respects. For example the US feels it is necessary to take a strong precense in the world, and be tough on rogue states such as North Korea and Iran. China on the other hand divorces economics from politics, with the view that economic sanctions will only harm the people.
  • In 2001 a US spy plane was forced to land in China after colliding with a Chinese fighter.
  • In March 2009 disagreements over access rights in the waters around China came close to causing conflict.
  • China’s navy has been growing more active in its territorial waters.
  • China is upgrading its military and space capability, and Washington has said Beijing should be more open about its defence spending and strategic intentions.
  • Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan anger China.
  • The US complains that China is maintaining a deliberately weak currency to attract trade, and should therefore revalue it.
  • China is the largest foreign holder of US treasuries.
  • After publicly promising to advocate free trade and no protectionism despite the current crisis, the US introduced duties on tyres.
  • U.S. firms investing in China complain about intellectual property theft, murky regulations, corruption and unfair advantages enjoyed by domestic rivals.
  • China complains about investment barriers on the U.S. side, citing resource investments blocked on national security grounds.
  • Google was the victim of several cyber attacks, which sought to find out names and emails addresses of likely reformers (such as those that signed Charter 08; on the Politics page).
  • The spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, makes frequent visits to the United States despite Chinese objections.
  • etc etc I could go on.

Many people in the west are calling out for governments to put pressure on China to reform, particularly in the sphere of human rights and currency issues.

But are these people right that the West should attempt to ‘manage’ China while it still has the chance? Or should we be more cautious? And what do you think will happen? Will tensions escalate?

>Why do Terrorists do what they do?

> This picture (taken from http://www.fullposter.com)shows the 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. It depicts what we often think of when we think terrorism. But this is something that is going on all around the world, not only targeting the West but many centres of authority around the world.

Some people suggest that few people truly believe terrorists will be granted eternal paradise. They say that if this was true then more people would be doing it and that in fact it is only the young who are fooled. Do you believe this is true? If so then why do those few believe?

And more importantly, if you believed killing others would gain you access into eternal paradise would you do it? If you believed your God wanted you to spread misery would you worship that God?

>European Appointments

>1. How do we know “the world had responded negatively to appt. of Rompuy and Ashton”? Rob, what did you mean by the statement in your email that “The US has called {them} “Garden gnomes”?

Someone in the US called them that. I doubt if they had any connection with the US govt. More likely Fox News commentators ; the same people who told repeated lies sbout the NHS. They were appointed by the heads of all the member countries.

2. Either way, the right-wing who deny climate change,don’t want international agreements on the climate,or on the economy, or on Bankers’ Bonuses, or crime or immigration, were always going to “slag off” the people appointed. If a “big hitter” had been appointed, this would have been described as politician with massive ego ( eg Blair or Mandelson) taking decisions away from national governments.

Now they have appointed people who will be careful to represent a consensus but will be effective in co-ordination.This is why they were chosen by the elected heads of state from all member countries. They are unknown,simply because the TV and Press refuse to report most of what goes on in Europe.When they do report , it is distorted.

3.There are 2 main reasons why British media keep silent on Europe:-
1aEurope is VERY hostile to allowing one business ( eg Murdoch) to own several media channels. Owners of “Telegraph”, “Mail”, Murdoch etc want freedom to buy and media outlets as they like. And thereby control as much of what we read/watch as they like. Sadly Berlusconi got around this from v early on, but repeats will not be allowed.
1bThe Tories have rendered themselves politically impotent in making the appointments, or in making other Euro-parliament decisions, by deciding to leave the majority centre-right group in the Euro-parliament.

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