Monday, July 06, 2009

Can Russia and the USA trust each other?

President Obama’s in Moscow with nuclear weapons top of the agenda. He says he’s confident that the discussions could offer “extraordinary progress” on several fronts

Currently, there are many differences between Russia and the USA over different issues, especially NATO expansion.

Russia will remain suspicious of the USA as now it is the single superpower on Earth while Russia is still struggling to be a feared state as it was under Communism and during and the cold War.

While the USA is the most powerful economic and military power, Russia has only pride to keep distant from the USA, not to be swallowed by its culture and corporations.

The US and Russia can get on as long as they keep direct military confrontations aside. However, there relations will remain conflictual as their competition extends to different parts of the world and neither will cede ground to the other. Each will continue to compete to have as many satellite states as possible. That in itself the seeds of growing and lasting tensions between what was once a giant and a current giant struggling not to be minimized in size.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Obma's trip to Africa

President Obama makes his sub-Saharan Africa debut with a visit to Ghana this week and WHYS is doing a TV special to discuss it.

Ros asks what Obama and America should do for Africa. Actually, the question should be what African leaders and ordinary Africans should do for their continent. Obama’s visit to Ghana is going to be less than one day long but Africa’s development still needs years if not decades for a normal lift-off.

Billions of dollars in aid for Africa have been squandered without bringing the desirable positive changes due to corruption and mismanagement on the part of the African leaders nationally and locally. It seems a change in mentality can’t occur over night as Africa needs a new generation equipped with the skill to govern itself without needing to be watched over by the international community like a child being watched over by a parent.

African leaders must ask themselves why the USA managed to produce a black president of African origin who is both popular and powerful while many African leaders hold to power just for their own glory instead of the glory of their countries.

Should Obama address the African leaders and teach them how to translate words into action instead of simply having their organisation the African Union in which they meet just to shake hands and make speeches they forget about once they get back home?

Obama, whether we like it or not, is the incarnation of the American dream. When can Africa have its own dream to get out of its multiple nightmares?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Questions to Irene Khan of Amnesty International reports

Human rights issue is used as weapon with double edge. The West views human records in other countries according to their allegiance to them. There are double standards concerning this. The West is still boycotting the regime in Zimbabwe because of the human situation there affecting dispossessed white farmers and the black majority still repressed by Robert Mugabe’s security and armed force.

Concerning G20, it will always prioritise maintaining its economic lead worldwide. Poor countries are the least object of concern, except for offering them economic aid, which evaporates quickly because of corruption. Africa alone got aid amounting to $700 billion in the past years without showing any economic recovery. It’s always the least developed continent, with the exception of few countries like Botswana.

It’s unlikely that the West will put pressure on Saudi Arabia to respect fundamental human rights, especially those concerning women who are seen far behind, compared with other women even in Muslim countries like Morocco and Lebanon. The economic stability of Saudi Arabia as a big oil supplier to the West far outweighs its shortcoming concerning human records. in other words, the West favour the balance to tilt on the economic side which secures jobs at home rather than on human rights and democracy which can bring fundamentalists and anti-west to power

Here are two questions I put to Irene Khan Amnesty International :

1- What’s the significance of Amnesty International if its authority is limited to publishing human rights abuses without having the power to redress them?

2- There are governments who use the positive things about them in your reports to claim they’re doing well as far as human rights are concerned.


These are her answers to my questions:

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Are some countries deaf to world opinion?

While there are countries that are deaf to world opinion, there are others that turn a blind eye to these countries.

There are many countries that don’t care about world opinion as they consider their policies a matter of sovereignty and the defence of their interests and security. In Africa, there is Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who , despite international sanctions and condemnation, continues to go ahead with his policies. His apparent sharing of power with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is just a strategy to continue his grip on power.

In the Middle East, Israel’s latest attacks on Gaza showed that the international community has only words but lacks firm actions to prevent human catastrophes.

There are regimes as in North Korea and Burma which are callously ready to defy international sanctions and condemnations and to enslave their people for the sake of their ideology.

History has shown that in face of international determination, regimes can be toppled as it was the case with Saddam in Iraq and Slobodan Milosevic in ex-Yugoslavia who were toppled despite their strong armies because they were real danger for the West, respectively to the USA and Europe.

Dictatorial and unruly regimes can survive as long as they have the means to control their people with iron fist and foreign policies to divide world opinion. If one of these pillars crumble, this is the signal of their downfall. Leading countries like the USA have the policies of wait-and-see for apparently benign regimes and swift actions for those which look beyond repair.

Do some countries need dictators?

For some countries benign dictatorship is better than a democratic rule. It’s the mentality of the people in a country that decides the kind of rulers they deserve. As long as there are people who themselves can’t abide by the rules affecting their daily lives, like not throwing rubbish in the street and respecting road code either in the presence or the absence of a policeman, such people still to be under the tutorship of a leader who should keep them under his grip. If they are given more freedom, they’re likely to turn more chaotic.

Democracy means plurality and the right to have different opinions. It means accepting defeat by recognizing and respecting the winning side. In some countries, especially in Africa, elections are marked with fatal violence. To put it mildly such countries are still on the first step of the mile of the democracy they should reach. When things settle, their situation hardly improve in terms of governance and progress. For them a good dictator is better than a fake democracy which is just a means for the self-serving and the powerful to legitimize their grip on the power at the expense of the legitimate rights of the people they’re supposed to serve.
In short, democracy can be successful if both the leaders and the people are all qualified to play by the rules.

In the Arab world there are monarchies and republics. It is acceptable for a monarch to be the head of state for life. What is peculiar for the Arab republics is that leaders never change through the ballot. They can be a new leader just through a coup, or as a result of the death or the assassination of the president. They seem to have presidents for life. There is even tendencies for presidents to be succeeded by their sons as it was the case in Syria. There are rumours that the presidents of Egypt, Yemen and Libya are likely to be succeeded by their respective sons.

Is dictatorship good for Arab countries? Well, for some where killing a women who has had sex outside marriage for the honour of her family is still widely supported, they still deserve a dictator as long as dictatorship is still practiced in homes and where the father still has great authority over everyone in the family.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is Race the cause of the current economic crisis?

Racism of whatever kind is unacceptable. It doesn’t mean that racism which was historically practised by the whites; mainly in the USA and South Africa, should be practised against them. White people shouldn’t be made a scapegoat to deal with a crisis. There should be reforms based on tangible policies without fuelling racism by targeting a particular race.

The statement by Brazil’s President attributing Brazil’s crisis to the irrational behaviour of white people with blue eyes shows that Latin America as a whole is still dominated by white people while the indigenous and black people are still seen as second class citizens. He should have been more diplomatic by attacking a set of ideas rather than a race. After all, isn’t he a white person probably lacking just blue eyes?

As far as I know many outstanding personalities, particularly in UK, had to resign because of their racist remarks. Shouldn’t Lula resign over his apparently racist remark or make a public apology?

Race isn’t the real problem when it comes to a crisis. The current economic crisis is affecting almost every country in the world, mainly the Asians and the Europeans. Should the Japanese blame Europeans for their current economic downturn? What about countries that are mono-racial and yet they are facing many problems?

It’s better to say that there are types of people that are behind a particular crisis than to pinpoint a race. Singling out a race is more likely to cause more crises than solve them.