From 1948 to 1994 the South African government maintained a
system of racial segregation called Apartheid (meaning "the state of being
apart"). Apartheid (strict racial
segregation) was the law in South-West Africa and prevented this territory from
making any progress toward self-government. Under Apartheid rule in South Africa black
people were deprived of citizenship and self-determination.
The discussion about applicability of the apartheid label to
Israel has again re-emerged. According
to the Daily Beast, in a closed-door meeting last week the United States
Secretary of State John Kerry said that Israel might transform into an
"apartheid state" without a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict between
Israel and Palestine.
According to the 1998 Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court, the "crime of apartheid" includes "inhumane
acts... committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic
oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or
groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime."
Kerry said, "A two-state solution will be clearly
underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up
either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens - or it ends up
being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state."
A world leader looking to resolve the conflict
between the Palestinians and the Israelis do you see similarities between South
Africa apartheid and the policies and actions of Israel?
Do you agree with US Senator Barbara Boxer's,
tweet saying, "Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and any
linkage between Israel and apartheid is nonsensical and ridiculous?"
Does public opinion matter in international relations?
In a week of heightened tensions and saber rattling, Russian
military aircraft flew into Ukrainian airspace and pro-Russian separatists in
Ukraine detained a team of international military observers. The United States
has called on Russia "to take immediate steps to de-escalate the
If global leaders take public opinion into consideration
when making foreign policy the Russians may be thinking they need to do a
little public relations work. In a new survey by the Pew Research Global
Attitudes Project opinions about Russia are at best mixed - with those favoring Russia in the minority around our global village.
The Pew survey found only two states in which more than half
those polled gave Russia positive marks: Greece (63% favorable) and South Korea
According to the Pew survey, the views of Russia vary
significantly by age. Young people ages 18-29 often more likely to express
positive views of Russia than people 50 and older.
What might account for the generational
differences in views of Russia?
How might global attitudes about Russia effect
reactions toward the Ukrainian crisis?
About 1.2 billion people in in our global village live below
the extreme poverty line. That's four times the population of the United States
spending less than $1.50 per day on food and drink.
UNICEF challenges you to "Live Below the Line." For five
days, April 28 to May 2, you are invited to spend only $1.50 on food and drink
per day and use the money saved to make donations to poverty-fighting
Could you do it?
Will you to get involved? Why? Why not?
Would your participation help make a difference?
According to a United Nations report (click here) the North
Korean state has and is continuing to commit a wide array of crimes against
humanity against its own people. In a highly detailed report the UN Commission
of Inquiry on human rights has documented "unspeakable atrocities" are arising
from "policies established at the highest level of State."
"The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a
State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world," reports the
"These crimes against
humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment,
rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political,
religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the
enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing
prolonged starvation," the report says, adding that "Crimes against humanity
are ongoing in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea because the policies,
institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place."
The UN Commission send a letter to Kim Jong-un, that stated
that the Commission is referring the situation to the International Criminal
Court "to render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be
responsible for the crimes against humanity referred to in this letter and in
the Commission's report."
With such "unspeakable atrocities" what actions
should be taken by the international community to address the human rights
situation in North Korea?
What impact might the UN Commission's letter
have on the North Korean leadership?
In 1988 the Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, wrote, "In
the West you have been struggling for many years with the problem of evil. For
many years, the United States has been trying to describe the Soviet Union as
the evil side. Some Americans even have the illusion they can survive alone,
without the other half. If we look at America very deeply, we see the Soviet
And if we look deeply at the Soviet Union, we see America.
If we look deeply at the rose, we see the garbage; if we look deeply at the
garbage, we see the rose. In this international situation, each side is
pretending to be the rose, and calling the other side garbage.
Survival means the survival of human kind as a whole, not
just a part of it. You cannot leave the job to the governments or the political
scientists alone. You have to do it yourself.
Do you agree with Thich Nhat Hanh that we are
all connected and need one another?
At what level of analysis is this approach to
understanding relations among nations?
On this Earth Day scientists from all around the world are
warning that our global village is at a turning point. We must make dramatic
changes and substantial investments in our environment and our fight against
carbon emissions and climate change.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama said, "The overwhelming
judgment of science tells us that climate change is altering our planet in ways
that will have profound impacts on all of humankind. Already, longer wildfire
seasons put first responders at greater risk. Farmers must cope with increased
soil erosion following heavy downpours and greater stresses from weeds, plant
diseases, and insect pests. Increasingly severe weather patterns strain
infrastructure and damage our communities, especially low-income communities,
which are disproportionately vulnerable and have few resources to prepare. The
consequences of climate change will only grow more dire in the years to come."
However, budget cuts at the federal United States Environmental
Protection Agency have led to fewer inspections of polluting industries. States
could, of course, pick up the tab, but many of them are grappling with cuts of
How might was promote global action to address
What tax policy would you like to see put into
place to support the EPA and or state efforts to enforce environmental standards?
leaders will be meeting to establish a new international climate agreement in
Paris in December 2015. The Elders are hosting an open discussion tomorrow (Tuesday, 22 April) to listen to you.
could send one message to world leaders ahead of the major climate conference
in Paris, December 2015, what would it be?
What message would you want to share with world
leaders about climate change?
What power do young people have in the global climate
At a meeting of more than seven hours of intense
negotiations in Geneva today, the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the
European Union agreed to a plan aimed at defusing the conflict in Ukraine.
The foreign ministers agreed to put on hold for now at least
additional economic sanctions against Russia.
"All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation
or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all
expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including
antisemitism," the joint statement said.
"All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all
illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally
occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns
must be vacated."
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry said, "if the US and
EU did not see progress, new sanctions would follow."
Does it appear that the Russians are concerned
about the sanctions being imposed by the United States and others?
Why did the Russians agree to take these steps
The Afghani people are facing the challenge of making a democratic
transfer of power. Despite rainy weather and threats of violence by the Taliban,
more than 7 million Afghans, including women and many young people, voted in
polling centers across Afghanistan on April 5.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is an IGO that
seeks to connect countries to knowledge, experience, and resources to help
people build a better life. The UNDP program is seeking to support the transfer
of power by helping the Afghans hold elections that are legitimate.
The April 5th election is a success - in part -
by the UNDP as one of its major goals is a project called ELECT II. ELECT II is
seeking to help Afghans find solutions to global and national development
challenges and to support national electoral institutions and to conduct
ELECT II has a budget of US$ 338,157,793 funded by Australia,
Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of
Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the
For the first time in Afghanistan's history Afghans voters
facilitated the transfer of power from one democratically elected government to
another in solid repudiation of the militant Taliban in the conflict-ridden
What does a successful democracy in Afghanistan
mean for the rest of the world?
Is this collective IGO effort in Afghanistan
worth the millions being spent?
Yesterday in Austin, Texas President Jimmy Carter told an
emotional story about the near failure of his attempt to broker a historic
peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.
Upon taking office in 1977, President Jimmy Carter and many
others considered the Middle East the most likely flashpoint for a superpower
war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Middle East was highly
unstable with Israel at war with its Arab neighbors.
While the Egyptians sought to reclaim the Sinai territory seized
by the Israelis in 1967, the Palestinians fought the Israeli
control of the West Bank and Gaza territories. In a historic ceremony, on September 17, 1978 in Washington
the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President
Jimmy Carter signed the Camp David Accords.
The three leaders agreed that Israel would withdraw from the
Sinai Peninsula in stages and agreed to meet further to work to resolve the
Palestinian question. They would work toward solutions at a table rather than in
President Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize in
part for this achievement in 2002.
Why do you think Israeli Prime Minister Begin
changed his mind about the talks after looking at the photographs?
What roles did Carter's focus on detail
and the work of Ms. Susan Clough play in this historic peace agreement?
There is a story of two dogs. Both at separate times walk
into the same room. One comes out wagging his tail while the other comes out
A woman watching this goes into the room to see what could
possibly make one dog so happy and the other so mad.
To her surprise she finds a room filled with mirrors.
The happy dog found a thousand happy dogs looking back at
him while the angry dog saw only angry dogs growling back at him.
What you see in the world around you is a reflection of who
If we are fearful, we will very soon find many things to
If we are peaceful, we find peace all around us.
If we are warlike, we find war and conflict all around us.
Does this story of personal outlook work in the
world of relations between nations?
Does a warlike nation create its own warlike
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel did a little saber
rattling as he delivered a warning to North Korea and to China on Sunday (April
6, 2014) (click here for more).
Secretary Hagel, in a show of military power, announced that
the United States is sending two additional ballistic missile destroyers to
Japan to counter North Korea's threats in the region and to send a signal to
the Beijing about respecting neighbors.
The American warships are just the latest move by the United
States to step up a military presence in the region.
"We must be very careful and we must be very clear, all
nations of the world, that in the 21st century this will not stand, you cannot
go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity
and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation, whether it's in
small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe."
Is the threat or implied threat of military
force by the United States at odds with seeking to promote North Korea and
China to resolve the disputes peacefully?
Is Hagel correct in comparing China and North
Korea relations within the Asian region with those of Russia and the Ukraine?
The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) issued a 2,600-page report assembled by more than 300 scientists on
Monday (31 March 2014). The events predicted in the report when taken all
together are overwhelming (click here for the full report).
The UN report focuses on the importance of action and the
ways in which climate change will affect our global village in coming years.
As quoted in the Wall Street Journal, "The
key new finding that they're emphasizing is that climate change is being felt
by people and not just by polar bears," said Myles Allen, climate
scientist at the University of Oxford.
According to the UN report, "Throughout the 21st century,
climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty
reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and
create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging
hot spots of hunger."
As the global food supplies dwindles the scientists expect the
poor to be hit the hardest. But that does not mean the rich in the global north
will not be affected. All of these changes will create an unstable world.
Is it likely (or even possible) for world
leaders to do as the report suggest and stave off the worst affects of climate
change by move quickly to cut emissions?
Will you and world leaders take up UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's challenge to "innovate, scale-up, cooperate and
deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap and put us on track for
an ambitious legal agreement?"