Monday, March 28, 2011

Prep for Tonight's Libya Speech

Perils and Opportunities for Obama in Libya They seem to agree with my post from yesterday. The only twist is a bit more on the perils for this intervention for Obama. The word on the street is that if the intervention is short and successful Obama wins but if it is long or unsucessful then real bad. Sucess is determiend entirely by the democratic bona fides of the Libyan oppostion.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

R2P - The Responsibility to Protect and Its Intentional Misunderstanding in US Media and Politics

The Dilemma of Humanitarian Intervention - Council on Foreign Relations

UN Security Council Resolution 1973 was based on the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect. The genesis of this doctrine was the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Security Council Resolution 1973 is, it appears, a good use of the doctrine and represents a use of military force that is not essentially an act of war. It is this unusual circumstance that has caused confusion, intentional or otherwise, in the US political scene this week.

A few points can be made to clarify the situation:
1. The use of R2P is intended to save civilians from gross human rights violations and violence. Certainly, Ghadafi has proven that he is acting violently against his own people. The world has called his rule illegitimate due to his recent response to protests in Libya. The scope of "protection" of the citizenry through a no fly zone is intended to be very limited. To the military establishment and the media, the military action is depicted as both confusing and in danger of scope creep, but if the Resolution is followed and its use of the R2P approach then much is clarified and the limited scope is protected. My advise is that the administration be clear and uses the threat of a Rwandan type situation as the reason that we are willing use force and also to use very limited force in implementing the no-fly zone. The scope is limited yet we may stay "in the area" so that we are available if the Libyan regime attempts again to slaughter its citizens.
2. We need to beware of supporting protestors who do not appear to have much democracy credentials. Of course, none of us know the make up of the Libyan opposition. Talk is of tribalism more than ideological credibility. It is precisely the backing revolutions and opposition groups who do not have a strong resume with respect to democracy that has resulted in so many long term problems for both American interests and our reputation. This is the reason we cannot give wholesale support of the protestors. Without strong pro-democracy credentials, we have no idea how the end game will play out.
3. We need to explain this approach in the context of the other rebellions in the Middle East. Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, etc. We must balance each situation with respect to the prospects for humanitarian catastrophe and the long run promotion of indigenous democracy in the Middle East.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hugs From Libyans - Libya Policy Politics

Hugs From Libyans

I so wanna be Nichlas Kristof when I grow up. Kristof's article so clarifies the politics and scuttlebutt in Washington. I am of the opinion that all this chest pounding about the Libyan intervention is just that - chest pounding. The options in Libya are very limited and the mission was clearly limited to implementing a no fly zone. These limitations mean that the end game is intentionally unclear. Congress knows this and as always is playing on people's passions and ignorance. The populus does not have the time to think this through. Therefore, to intentionally play with people's passions and gut feelings about war and patriotism is irresponsible. We have played this perfectly, and it only seems responsible to applaud our nations wisdom.

The fact is we are saving the lives of Libyan civilians.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rural Poverty Report - 2011

Global food prices have sky rocketed since the 2008 global financial crisis. As a result 100 million people have been driven into poverty. Read the World Poverty report of 2011 to learn more.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Libya Status - Rebels Lose Key Battle of Ras Lanuf and The Arab League Votes for No Fly Zone

Arab League Backs No-Fly Zone Over Libya
This situation in Libya seems to be going from bad to worse. The rebels are quickly losing strength as they retreat from towns and as the Gadhafi's troops move further east.

Meanwhile, the Arab League voted to impose a no fly zone but will not be taking any military action. This seems to be a move forward but it still seems dire for the rebels. I could not imagine the fear these men are facing having rebelled against a diabolical dictator and now to be looking at defeat. It just shows how brave these men are. Lord have mercy on them and come to their aid. Maybe the UN will act more militarily. We can only hope.

Al Jazeera staffer killed in Libya

Al Jazeera staffer killed in Libya

This is the kind of work that needs to be heard by the public at large. Objective reporting and journalism must be a stable institution in any society that calls itself free and open. Obviously, the Libyan regime does not want openness and truth. The promotion of democracy and freedom demands the support, in any way possible, of those who expose the suffering and civil rights violations of the autocrats of the world.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A Blow to Fundamentalist Paranoia - Free Speech Wins in Snyder vs Phelps et al

As much as I deplore the speech of the Westboro Baptists, I nonetheless defend their right to free speech.
What I like about this decision most is that it puts to rest the paranoia that Christian speech in America is being or moving toward being censored.

The court is as conservative as it has ever been and our free speech is safe as ever.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Democracy and Al-Qaeda

This audio is worth a good listen. This report supports the proposition that the demonstrators in Egypt and elsewhere undermine Al-Qaeda's narrative of the Arab struggle. Al-Qaeda's use of violence and rhetoric that only violence can over throw autocrats has been an utter failure, and, instead, moderate students did what the terrorists could not due. Now, the heros of the middle east are not the radicals but the moderates.

Listen here:

Why Is China Nervous - Is a Good Economy Enough

Room for Debate -

This article begins for me an investigation into the various positions American policy makers have had in recent memory with respect to Democracy Promotion. Here, is a debate about whether China should be nervous. Does a good economy protect an autocratic regime from revolt? If yes, can America promote stability by just promoting economic growth or is democracy the best path to stability? Of course this is an extremely complex discussion and therefore, time to put our thinking caps on as we enter a new era of reflection on democracy promotion and ultimately what America's role and policy should be.