Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) or The Making Of A Myth

December 6, 2013

Politicians and people around the globe pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5, 2013. Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from apartheid to multiracial democracy after spending almost three decades in prison.

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, July 4, 1993. Photo: Executive Office of the President of the United States

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, July 4, 1993. Photo: Executive Office of the President of the United States

“Now that he’s dead, and can cause no more trouble, Nelson Mandela is being mourned across the ideological spectrum as a saint. But not long ago, in Washington’s highest circles, he was considered an enemy of the United States. Unless we remember why, we won’t truly honor his legacy,” argues foreign policy analyst Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast.

“In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan placed Mandela’s African National Congress on America’s official list of terrorist groups. In 1985, then-Congressman Dick Cheney voted against a resolution urging that he be released from jail. In 2004, after Mandela criticized the Iraq War, an article in National Review said his ‘vicious anti-Americanism and support for Saddam Hussein should come as no surprise, given his longstanding dedication to communism and praise for terrorists.’ As late as 2008, the ANC remained on America’s terrorism watch list, thus requiring the 89-year-old Mandela to receive a special waiver from the secretary of State to visit the U.S.”

Read full story.

President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon

February 21, 2011

In a documentary airing today at 10:00 PM EST on MSNBC, political commentator Chris Matthews calls President Bill Clinton a one-man Peace Corps.

From his life-changing work with the Clinton Foundation and his disaster relief efforts for the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake, to his humanitarian actions to free two journalists from North Korea and the convening power of the Clinton Global Initiative that brings together businesses, governments, nonprofits, and individuals to implement real solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges – his work today is directly improving hundreds of millions of lives. It is not a stretch to say what he has accomplished with friends and supporters is truly changing the world.

Chris Matthews tags along with the 42nd president of the United States for "President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon," airing today.

Chris Matthews tags along with the 42nd president of the United States for “President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon,” airing today.

This President’s Day, there will be a special documentary: The President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon, February 21, 2011, 10:00 PM EST on MSNBC, about the 10 years since President Bill Clinton left office.

Read full story.

Osama Bin Laden – A New Book by Michael Scheuer

February 14, 2011

In Osama bin Laden, Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit and author of the bestseller Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, provides an objective and authoritative portrait of bin Laden that shows him to be devout, talented, patient, and ruthless. Scheuer delivers a hard-headed, closely reasoned portrait of America’s most implacable enemy.

"No American knows bin Laden better than Scheuer." (Craig Whitlock, National Security Correspondent, The Washington Post)
“No American knows bin Laden better than Scheuer.” (Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post)

To purchase this book, please click here.

Clinton Global Initiative highlights, a night in Brooklyn, and more

October 1, 2010

Last week, heads of state, business leaders, and nonprofit executives gathered in New York City for the sixth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

I started CGI after going to thousands of meetings over my career where people talked about issues but did little to solve them. We ask all CGI members to make a commitment to take action, and this year’s attendees made nearly 300 new commitments valued at $6 billion. You can view highlights of the meeting here, and then take our quiz to see how these commitments, along with your support, are improving lives around the world.

Earlier this month, we hosted our most recent Millennium Network Event – this time in Brooklyn, New York – to engage the next generation of philanthropists. This wonderful evening included performances from Chaka Khan and Talib Kweli.

Sign up today to become a part of this growing network.

Thank you for your support.

Bill Clinton

Searching for Stability in Sudan

September 24, 2010

World leaders meet today at the United Nations to discuss growing fears over the possible collapse of Sudan, which U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently called a “ticking time bomb.

Map of Northeast Africa highlighting the Darfur region of Sudan

Map of Northeast Africa highlighting the Darfur region of Sudan

U.S. legislators sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging his administration to “take additional steps” to define its policy on Sudan and to “publicly articulate” the consequences should the Sudanese government break his word on commitments to the 2005 peace accord.

There is large disagreement about the best policy course for the United States to pursue in Sudan, but analysts concur that any effective policy will have to consider Sudan’s internal politics and the center’s relationship with its periphery.

Read full story.

Geneva Summit for Human Rights, March 8-9, 2010

February 3, 2010

Human rights NGOs from around the globe have joined hands to organize the 2nd Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy.

To take place on March 8-9, 2010 – in parallel and to enhance the main annual session of the UN Human Rights Council – this unique assembly of renowned human rights defenders, dissidents and experts will feature victim testimonies, shine a spotlight on urgent human rights issues and situations, and call on governments to guarantee freedom of the internet for democracy and human rights activists.

INTERNET FREEDOM The Google-China Case, Censorship and Hacking: Entrepreneurs & Dissidents Debate

DEFENDING ETHNIC MINORITIES Rebiya Kadeer, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Uighur human rights hero

ATROCITIES IN SUDAN Jan Pronk, former UN Secretary-General Special Representative in Sudan

EQUALITY FOR WOMEN Massouda Jalal, former Afghan Minister of Women Affairs, first female presidential candidate

THE FUTURE OF DISSENT Yang Jianli, 1989 Tiananmen Square Hero, founder of Foundation for China in the 21st Century

•THE BURMESE JUNTA vs. AUNG SAN SUU KYI  Bo Kyi, Burmese dissident and 2008 winner of Human Rights Watch Award

COMBATING CONTEMPORARY SLAVERY Simon Deng, former Sudanese Slave

OPPRESSION IN TIBET  Phuntsok Nyidron, Buddhist nun, longest-serving Tibetan political prisoner, jailed for recording songs of freedom, winner of 1995 Reebok Human Rights Award

NON-VIOLENT PROTEST Matteo Mecacci, Italian MP, OSCE Rapporteur on human rights and democracy, activist

REPRESSION IN LATIN AMERICA  Tamara Suju, Venezuelan human rights lawyer

PRISONER FROM BIRTH Donghyuk Shin, survivor of North Korean prison camp

•“DEFAMATION OF RELIGION” vs. FREE SPEECH Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary General of Pakistan Press Foundation

Lockerbie Aftermaths

August 24, 2009


Scotland’s parliament has been recalled for an emergency session today amid mounting international outrage over last week’s release of terrorist Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, convicted for the Lockerbie plane bombing.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill will address the meeting to defend his decision to free al-Megrahi on “compassionate” grounds. Al-Megrahi was serving a life sentence for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people, and received a hero’s welcome on return to his home country Libya.

Read full story.

Lockerbie bomber may be freed

August 13, 2009

Several news reports say Britain will release from a Scottish prison Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, a former Libyan secret service agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people. Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill denied the reports that a decision has already been made, but said he is taking into consideration whether al-Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, should be freed on compassionate grounds.


The reports that al-Megrahi would be released aroused ardent debate between family members of the Lockerbie victims. Al-Megrahi is serving a life sentence for the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. Most of the victims were U.S. citizens.

Reuters considers the implications of al-Megrahi’s release for Libya.

The Times of London looks at divisions between U.S. and British relatives of Lockerbie victims over the news that al-Megrahi may be freed, noting that many British family members have long doubted his guilt and are supporting his release.

The BBC has an audio slideshow of the Lockerbie bombing.

The Guardian profiles al-Megrahi.

Send Bill Clinton a birthday card

August 5, 2009
billclintonfoundationClintonPessimism is an excuse for not trying and a guarantee to a personal failure. (William Jefferson Clinton, born 19. August 1946 in Hope, Arkansas)

Press Release

William J. Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock (Arkansas), August 5, 2009

After 40 years of friendship, Bill Clinton still inspires me daily with his intellect, compassion, and energy.

To celebrate President Clinton’s upcoming birthday on August 19, I invite you to send him a personalized birthday e-card, along with a gift to sustain his Foundation’s work.

Your e-card will make his special day even happier. And your gift will let him know that you remain dedicated to creating positive change for people in need.

Thanks to your valuable support and President Clinton’s extraordinary vision:

  • Two million people in developing countries now have access to low-priced HIV/AIDS medicine, and we’ve just negotiated new pricing agreements that will enable better, cheaper treatments for more patients in the developing world.
  • Thousands of schools across the United States have put healthy-eating and exercising programs into practice, so that more children are leading healthier lives.
  • To combat climate change, 40 of the world’s largest cities are making progress in reducing their carbon footprint.

Your donation today will help the Clinton Foundation continue to make a significant impact in the lives of hundreds of millions of people around our world.

I know your birthday e-cards and donations will mean a whole lot to President Clinton.

Thank you for your support,

Bruce Lindsey
Chief Executive Officer
William J. Clinton Foundation

The targeting of Israel and Darfur by the Arab world

August 2, 2009

by Dr. Kenneth Levin

The world’s media have given scant coverage lately to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and – despite extensive reporting on Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict – they have likewise offered little on the continuing campaign of genocidal incitement against Israel by her enemies.

While seeming very separate issues, the two campaigns, and the choice by media and world leaders largely to ignore both, are, in fact, connected.

On one level, of course, the connection is obvious. Israel-hatred is spearheaded by the Arab world; in virtually every Arab nation, demonizing and delegitimizing of Israel, and often of Jews, is a staple of government-controlled media, schools and mosques. This is true even of the Arab states with which Israel is formally at peace. At the same time, the Arab world is the chief support of fellow Arab leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his Sudanese regime’s genocidal assault on the Muslim blacks of Darfur. Illustrative was the Arab League’s unanimous, effusive embrace and defense of al-Bashir at its meeting in Doha, Qatar, in March, shortly after his indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Efforts at mass murder directed at Israel and the genocidal assault on the Muslim but non-Arab people of Darfur flow from the same mindset.

Tunisian human rights activist Mohammed Bechri several years ago argued that to understand Arab support for the genocide in Darfur, one has to recognize the “twin fascisms” – Bechri’s term – that dominate the Arab world: Islamism and Pan-Arabism. The first rejects the legitimacy of any non-Muslim group within what the Arabs perceive as their proper domain; the latter takes the same view towards any non-Arab group. The genocidal rhetoric, and efforts at mass murder, directed at Israel, and the genocidal assault on the Muslim but non-Arab people of Darfur follow from this mindset. (Bechri’s “twin fascisms” also account for the besiegement of Christians across the Arab world and backing for Sudan’s murder of some two million Christian and animist blacks in the south of the country. They help explain as well broad Arab support for the mass murder of Kurds – a Muslim but non-Arab people – in Iraq by Saddam Hussein and for the besiegement of the Kurds of Syria and the Berbers – another non-Arab Muslim group – in Algeria.)

But the connection between animosity towards Israel and coldness towards the victims in Darfur extends beyond the Arab world. It embraces, for example, all those European leaders who bend their consciences to accommodate Arab power – in oil, money and strategic territories – and who may pay lip service to recognizing the murderous incitement and related threats faced by Israel or to deploring the crimes suffered by Darfur but refuse to take serious steps to curb either.

Nor are American leaders entirely free of similar predilections. President Bush (43) was certainly sympathetic to Israel’s predicament. But he sought to assuage Arab opinion by pushing for rapid movement towards a Palestinian state and endorsing Machmoud Abbas as Israel’s “peace” partner, even as Abbas refused to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state, consistently praised anti-Israel terror and stood fast in demanding a “right of return” that would turn Israel into yet another Arab-dominated entity. (On Darfur, the “moderate” Abbas responded to the ICC indictment by declaring, “We must also take a decisive stance of solidarity alongside fraternal Sudan and President Omar al-Bashir.”) Regarding Darfur, President Bush led the way in condemning Sudan’s campaign of mass murder and rape and first calling it a genocide. But — already attacked for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — he was not prepared to act aggressively against a third Muslim nation, even though doing so would have been aimed at saving hundreds of thousands of Muslim lives.

President Obama has adopted winning over Arab and broader Muslim opinion as a foreign policy priority and he has shown little interest in according more than verbal acknowledgment to the threats facing Israel. At the same time, those in the Muslim world whose good opinion he is most seeking to win are not the Muslims of Darfur but rather Darfur’s oppressors and their supporters. Some of President Obama’s ardent backers have expressed dismay, and have been openly critical of him, for what they see as his reneging on campaign pledges to put Darfur at the top of his agenda. (For example, Kirsten Powers, “Bam’s Darfur Sins,” in the New York Post, May 11, 2009). But given his focus on appeasing Muslims hostile to America, his inaction on Darfur should not surprise.

In major Western media as well, deference to Arab opinion vis-a-vis Israel has generally been accompanied by silence on the central role of the Arab world in providing support for Sudan’s actions in Darfur. While the Arab League’s embrace in Doha of Sudanese President al-Bashir was widely reported, few major outlets offered editorial criticism of the Arab stance — The Washington Post being a notable exception. The New York Times, which for decades has used both “news stories” and editorials to argue that Israeli concessions are the key to peace and has refused to cover the genocidal incitement against Israel and Jews endemic in Palestinian and broader Arab media, mosques and schools, offered no editorial opinion on the Doha meeting.

Kristoff generally avoided the Arab role in supporting the genocide.

Several years ago, the Times‘ Nicholas Kristof won a Pulitzer Prize for his op-ed coverage of the slaughter in Darfur. Kristof is a constant critic of Israel and, like his bosses, avoids the issue of rejection of Israel’s legitimacy, and promotion of genocidal hatred towards the Jewish state, by its Arab neighbors. In a similar vein, for all his extensive writing on Darfur, he generally avoided the Arab role in supporting the genocide. In some forty op-eds on Darfur published between March, 2004, and April, 2006, shortly after he won the Pulitzer, Kristof devoted only five sentences to Arab backing of the Sudanese regime, and that in an article focused on China’s shameful complicity in Darfur.

But if all this not is very surprising, there are also more curious aspects to the convergence of animosity, often of murderous dimensions, towards Israel and sympathy for, or at least indulgence of, those who perpetrate the genocide in Darfur.

For example, while Egypt has not overtly broken with the unanimous Arab League support for al-Bashir, Egyptian President Mubarak chose not to attend the Doha conference, and he and some other Arab leaders have been worried about the Islamist Sudanese regime’s close ties to Iran and to Iran’s radical Arab allies, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. Yet a number of Western leaders, who advocate “dialogue” with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, prefer to ignore their genocidal agenda towards Israel and their leading role in aiding Sudan’s genocidal government – in effect, outpacing Egyptian backing of al-Bashir by soft-pedaling the role in Sudan of those most supportive of al-Bashir’s murderous regime.

Iran has long given extensive financial assistance to the Sudanese government, has provided its forces with weapons and training and has underwritten Chinese provision of arms to al-Bashir. Sudan, again with Iran serving as financier and mid-wife, has also been a training ground for Hamas, fostering as well an ongoing cross-fertilization between Hamas and the militias responsible for the Darfur genocide. Hezbollah and Syria have likewise been in the forefront of Sudan’s supporters and enablers.

Following the International Criminal Court’s action against al-Bashir, a delegation of his radical allies quickly arrived in Khartoum in a show of solidarity with their indicted brother. It included the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani, Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk, Syrian parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Abrash and an official of Hezbollah. Hamas also sponsored a large pro-Sudan march in Gaza.

But inevitably, Khartoum’s allies’ contributions to the Darfur genocide, like their promotion of genocide vis-a-vis Israel, are ignored by those eager for diplomatic engagement with them.

Also in early March, around the time of the ICC indictment, the British Foreign Office, led by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, announced its agreement to talks with Hezbollah. More recently, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner have met with Hezbollah representatives. Hezbollah head Nasrallah’s commitment to the murder of all Jews – as in his 2002 statement that “if [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide” (in the past Hezbollah has gone after them as far afield as in Argentina) – was hardly something Miliband and the Foreign Office, or the Quai D’Orsay, or Solana and the European Union, or those British and continental media sympathetic to Hezbollah, were about to note. Nor were they going to note Hezbollah’s support for Sudan’s policies in Darfur.

Similarly, those many European leaders promoting engagement with Hamas typically avoid acknowledging Hamas’s call in its charter for the slaughter of all Jews, its teaching Palestinian children – in its schools and on children’s television – that Jews are eternal enemies of Islam and must be annihilated, and its other purveying of genocidal Jew-hatred. In April, the Dutch Labor party demanded that the European Union sanction Israel if it refuses to accept Hamas as a negotiating partner. Dutch Labor party leaders and like-minded European politicians, in their efforts to push acceptance of Hamas, soft-pedal its aims regarding Israelis and Jews and likewise say little about Hamas’s support of and contributions to Sudan’s genocidal assault on the blacks of Darfur.

European media that are hostile to Israel also virtually ignore Hamas’s genocidal policies and actions regarding both Israel and Darfur. British news outlets such as The Guardian and The Independent, which had barely covered years of Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli communities, or Hamas use of civilians and civilian facilities as shields for its attacks, but excoriated Israel when it responded with its assault on Hamas beginning in December, 2008, are likewise essentially silent regarding Hamas’s promotion of mass murder in Israel and support for mass murder in Darfur. The same is true for myriad news outlets on the Continent.

Most American political leaders have shunned Hamas for its commitment — in words and deeds – to Israel’s destruction and for its genocidal agenda. (There are some notable exceptions such as Jimmy Carter, who has met with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and urged including Hamas in “peace” talks.) But many American media organizations, particularly those, like the New York Times, most committed to portraying Israeli policy as the major obstacle to peace, have followed their European counterparts in saying little of Hamas’s genocidal policies regarding Jews or of its support for Sudan’s genocidal policies in Darfur.

Even people whom one might expect to identify most closely with the victims of the Darfur genocide often do nothing, or limit their actions to words, or actually lend support to the perpetrators, in large part because of pro-Arab sympathies or hostility to Israel. Congress has one Muslim black representative, Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, and Ellison has at times spoken out against the Darfur genocide. In April, for example, he joined a protest at the Sudanese embassy in Washington and was arrested along with other demonstrators. But Ellison has consistently supported pro-Hamas groups in America. He also aggressively embraced the Hamas line in last winter’s Gaza War in terms of alleged civilian casualties and Israeli misdeeds while remaining silent on Hamas use of civilians and civilian facilities as shields for attacks on Israel. Ellison has likewise never publicly addressed Hamas’s alliance with Sudan and its backing of Sudanese policies in Darfur. Alignment with those arrayed against Israel seems to trump criticism of those arrayed against Darfur for the Minnesota congressman.

The major force driving genocidal agendas toward Israel and Darfur is, again, Arab supremacism. It is abetted in the wider world by power politics, as well as by, in many quarters, a twisted ideological allegiance whose credo requires that hostility to the Jewish state and consequent sympathy for, or prettifying of, those dedicated to her destruction trumps sympathy for Darfur and criticism of those participating in its people’s annihilation. The overall result is that powerful links between murderous hatred towards Israel and support for, or at least accommodation of, genocide in Darfur are a fixture of today’s geopolitics and go largely unchallenged.

A longer version of this article originally appeared on

Reprinted with kindly permission of Aish HaTorah International.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s Historic Visit to Africa

July 13, 2009

In a major speech during a visit to Ghana, Africa, on Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama pushed his $63 billion global health initiative and the food security program he announced at the G8 summit last week.

Barack Obama called on African leaders to bolster democratic institutions and fight corruption, calling good governance “the change that can unlock Africa’s potential”.

In the BBC, Michael Zubrow, foreign policy expert at the think tank Center for a New American Security, compares themes of Obama’s four major international speeches.

TIME also details the “five pillars” of Obama’s foreign policy.

Last but not least: Foreign Policy looks at Obama’s choice to visit Ghana, as opposed to countries with more “geopolitical relevance,” such as South Africa or Nigeria.


Accra International Conference Center
Accra, Ghana

July 11, 2009

THE PRESIDENT: (Trumpet plays.) I like this. Thank you. Thank you. I think Congress needs one of those horns. (Laughter.) That sounds pretty good. Sounds like Louis Armstrong back there. (Laughter.) 
Good afternoon, everybody. It is a great honor for me to be in Accra and to speak to the representatives of the people of Ghana. (Applause.) I am deeply grateful for the welcome that I’ve received, as are Michelle and Malia and Sasha Obama. Ghana’s history is rich, the ties between our two countries are strong, and I am proud that this is my first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
I want to thank Madam Speaker and all the members of the House of Representatives for hosting us today. I want to thank President Mills for his outstanding leadership. To the former Presidents — Jerry Rawlings, former President Kufuor — Vice President, Chief Justice — thanks to all of you for your extraordinary hospitality and the wonderful institutions that you’ve built here in Ghana.
I’m speaking to you at the end of a long trip. I began in Russia for a summit between two great powers. I traveled to Italy for a meeting of the world’s leading economies. And I’ve come here to Ghana for a simple reason: The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra, as well. (Applause.)
This is the simple truth of a time when the boundaries between people are overwhelmed by our connections. Your prosperity can expand America’s prosperity. Your health and security can contribute to the world’s health and security. And the strength of your democracy can help advance human rights for people everywhere.
So I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world — (applause) — as partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect. And that is what I want to speak with you about today.
We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans.
I say this knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes haunted this part of the world. After all, I have the blood of Africa within me, and my family’s — (applause) — my family’s own story encompasses both the tragedies and triumphs of the larger African story. 
Some you know my grandfather was a cook for the British in Kenya, and though he was a respected elder in his village, his employers called him “boy” for much of his life. He was on the periphery of Kenya’s liberation struggles, but he was still imprisoned briefly during repressive times. In his life, colonialism wasn’t simply the creation of unnatural borders or unfair terms of trade — it was something experienced personally, day after day, year after year.
My father grew up herding goats in a tiny village, an impossible distance away from the American universities where he would come to get an education. He came of age at a moment of extraordinary promise for Africa. The struggles of his own father’s generation were giving birth to new nations, beginning right here in Ghana. (Applause.) Africans were educating and asserting themselves in new ways, and history was on the move.
But despite the progress that has been made — and there has been considerable progress in many parts of Africa — we also know that much of that promise has yet to be fulfilled. Countries like Kenya had a per capita economy larger than South Korea’s when I was born. They have badly been outpaced. Disease and conflict have ravaged parts of the African continent.
In many places, the hope of my father’s generation gave way to cynicism, even despair. Now, it’s easy to point fingers and to pin the blame of these problems on others. Yes, a colonial map that made little sense helped to breed conflict. The West has often approached Africa as a patron or a source of resources rather than a partner. But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants. In my father’s life, it was partly tribalism and patronage and nepotism in an independent Kenya that for a long stretch derailed his career, and we know that this kind of corruption is still a daily fact of life for far too many.
Now, we know that’s also not the whole story. Here in Ghana, you show us a face of Africa that is too often overlooked by a world that sees only tragedy or a need for charity. The people of Ghana have worked hard to put democracy on a firmer footing, with repeated peaceful transfers of power even in the wake of closely contested elections. (Applause.) And by the way, can I say that for that the minority deserves as much credit as the majority. (Applause.) And with improved governance and an emerging civil society, Ghana’s economy has shown impressive rates of growth. (Applause.)
This progress may lack the drama of 20th century liberation struggles, but make no mistake: It will ultimately be more significant. For just as it is important to emerge from the control of other nations, it is even more important to build one’s own nation.
So I believe that this moment is just as promising for Ghana and for Africa as the moment when my father came of age and new nations were being born. This is a new moment of great promise. Only this time, we’ve learned that it will not be giants like Nkrumah and Kenyatta who will determine Africa’s future. Instead, it will be you — the men and women in Ghana’s parliament — (applause) — the people you represent. It will be the young people brimming with talent and energy and hope who can claim the future that so many in previous generations never realized.
Now, to realize that promise, we must first recognize the fundamental truth that you have given life to in Ghana: Development depends on good governance. (Applause.)  That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long. That’s the change that can unlock Africa’s potential. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.
As for America and the West, our commitment must be measured by more than just the dollars we spend. I’ve pledged substantial increases in our foreign assistance, which is in Africa’s interests and America’s interests. But the true sign of success is not whether we are a source of perpetual aid that helps people scrape by — it’s whether we are partners in building the capacity for transformational change. (Applause.)
This mutual responsibility must be the foundation of our partnership. And today, I’ll focus on four areas that are critical to the future of Africa and the entire developing world: democracy, opportunity, health, and the peaceful resolution of conflict.
First, we must support strong and sustainable democratic governments. (Applause.)
As I said in Cairo, each nation gives life to democracy in its own way, and in line with its own traditions. But history offers a clear verdict: Governments that respect the will of their own people, that govern by consent and not coercion, are more prosperous, they are more stable, and more successful than governments that do not.
This is about more than just holding elections. It’s also about what happens between elections. (Applause.) Repression can take many forms, and too many nations, even those that have elections, are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves — (applause) — or if police — if police can be bought off by drug traffickers. (Applause.) No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top — (applause) — or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. (Applause.) That is not democracy, that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there. And now is the time for that style of governance to end. (Applause.)
In the 21st century, capable, reliable, and transparent institutions are the key to success — strong parliaments; honest police forces; independent judges — (applause); an independent press; a vibrant private sector; a civil society. (Applause.) Those are the things that give life to democracy, because that is what matters in people’s everyday lives.
Now, time and again, Ghanaians have chosen constitutional rule over autocracy, and shown a democratic spirit that allows the energy of your people to break through. (Applause.) We see that in leaders who accept defeat graciously — the fact that President Mills’ opponents were standing beside him last night to greet me when I came off the plane spoke volumes about Ghana — (applause); victors who resist calls to wield power against the opposition in unfair ways. We see that spirit in courageous journalists like Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who risked his life to report the truth. We see it in police like Patience Quaye, who helped prosecute the first human trafficker in Ghana. (Applause.) We see it in the young people who are speaking up against patronage, and participating in the political process.
Across Africa, we’ve seen countless examples of people taking control of their destiny, and making change from the bottom up. We saw it in Kenya, where civil society and business came together to help stop post-election violence. We saw it in South Africa, where over three-quarters of the country voted in the recent election — the fourth since the end of Apartheid. We saw it in Zimbabwe, where the Election Support Network braved brutal repression to stand up for the principle that a person’s vote is their sacred right.
Now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these brave Africans, not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. (Applause.) Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions. (Applause.) 
Now, America will not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation. The essential truth of democracy is that each nation determines its own destiny. But what America will do is increase assistance for responsible individuals and responsible institutions, with a focus on supporting good governance — on parliaments, which check abuses of power and ensure that opposition voices are heard — (applause); on the rule of law, which ensures the equal administration of justice; on civic participation, so that young people get involved; and on concrete solutions to corruption like forensic accounting and automating services — (applause) — strengthening hotlines, protecting whistle-blowers to advance transparency and accountability.
And we provide this support. I have directed my administration to give greater attention to corruption in our human rights reports. People everywhere should have the right to start a business or get an education without paying a bribe. (Applause.) We have a responsibility to support those who act responsibly and to isolate those who don’t, and that is exactly what America will do.
Now, this leads directly to our second area of partnership: supporting development that provides opportunity for more people.
With better governance, I have no doubt that Africa holds the promise of a broader base of prosperity. Witness the extraordinary success of Africans in my country, America. They’re doing very well. So they’ve got the talent, they’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit. The question is, how do we make sure that they’re succeeding here in their home countries? The continent is rich in natural resources. And from cell phone entrepreneurs to small farmers, Africans have shown the capacity and commitment to create their own opportunities. But old habits must also be broken. Dependence on commodities — or a single export — has a tendency to concentrate wealth in the hands of the few, and leaves people too vulnerable to downturns.
So in Ghana, for instance, oil brings great opportunities, and you have been very responsible in preparing for new revenue. But as so many Ghanaians know, oil cannot simply become the new cocoa. From South Korea to Singapore, history shows that countries thrive when they invest in their people and in their infrastructure — (applause); when they promote multiple export industries, develop a skilled workforce, and create space for small and medium-sized businesses that create jobs.
As Africans reach for this promise, America will be more responsible in extending our hand. By cutting costs that go to Western consultants and administration, we want to put more resources in the hands of those who need it, while training people to do more for themselves. (Applause.) That’s why our $3.5 billion food security initiative is focused on new methods and technologies for farmers — not simply sending American producers or goods to Africa. Aid is not an end in itself. The purpose of foreign assistance must be creating the conditions where it’s no longer needed. I want to see Ghanaians not only self-sufficient in food, I want to see you exporting food to other countries and earning money. You can do that. (Applause.)
Now, America can also do more to promote trade and investment. Wealthy nations must open our doors to goods and services from Africa in a meaningful way. That will be a commitment of my administration. And where there is good governance, we can broaden prosperity through public-private partnerships that invest in better roads and electricity; capacity-building that trains people to grow a business; financial services that reach not just the cities but also the poor and rural areas. This is also in our own interests — for if people are lifted out of poverty and wealth is created in Africa, guess what? New markets will open up for our own goods. So it’s good for both.
One area that holds out both undeniable peril and extraordinary promise is energy. Africa gives off less greenhouse gas than any other part of the world, but it is the most threatened by climate change. A warming planet will spread disease, shrink water resources, and deplete crops, creating conditions that produce more famine and more conflict. All of us — particularly the developed world — have a responsibility to slow these trends — through mitigation, and by changing the way that we use energy. But we can also work with Africans to turn this crisis into opportunity.
Together, we can partner on behalf of our planet and prosperity, and help countries increase access to power while skipping — leapfrogging the dirtier phase of development. Think about it: Across Africa, there is bountiful wind and solar power; geothermal energy and biofuels. From the Rift Valley to the North African deserts; from the Western coasts to South Africa’s crops — Africa’s boundless natural gifts can generate its own power, while exporting profitable, clean energy abroad.
These steps are about more than growth numbers on a balance sheet. They’re about whether a young person with an education can get a job that supports a family; a farmer can transfer their goods to market; an entrepreneur with a good idea can start a business. It’s about the dignity of work; it’s about the opportunity that must exist for Africans in the 21st century.
Just as governance is vital to opportunity, it’s also critical to the third area I want to talk about: strengthening public health.
In recent years, enormous progress has been made in parts of Africa. Far more people are living productively with HIV/AIDS, and getting the drugs they need. I just saw a wonderful clinic and hospital that is focused particularly on maternal health. But too many still die from diseases that shouldn’t kill them. When children are being killed because of a mosquito bite, and mothers are dying in childbirth, then we know that more progress must be made.
Yet because of incentives — often provided by donor nations — many African doctors and nurses go overseas, or work for programs that focus on a single disease. And this creates gaps in primary care and basic prevention. Meanwhile, individual Africans also have to make responsible choices that prevent the spread of disease, while promoting public health in their communities and countries.
So across Africa, we see examples of people tackling these problems. In Nigeria, an Interfaith effort of Christians and Muslims has set an example of cooperation to confront malaria. Here in Ghana and across Africa, we see innovative ideas for filling gaps in care — for instance, through E-Health initiatives that allow doctors in big cities to support those in small towns.
America will support these efforts through a comprehensive, global health strategy, because in the 21st century, we are called to act by our conscience but also by our common interest, because when a child dies of a preventable disease in Accra, that diminishes us everywhere. And when disease goes unchecked in any corner of the world, we know that it can spread across oceans and continents.
And that’s why my administration has committed $63 billion to meet these challenges — $63 billion. (Applause.) Building on the strong efforts of President Bush, we will carry forward the fight against HIV/AIDS. We will pursue the goal of ending deaths from malaria and tuberculosis, and we will work to eradicate polio. (Applause.) We will fight — we will fight neglected tropical disease. And we won’t confront illnesses in isolation — we will invest in public health systems that promote wellness and focus on the health of mothers and children. (Applause.)
Now, as we partner on behalf of a healthier future, we must also stop the destruction that comes not from illness, but from human beings — and so the final area that I will address is conflict.
Let me be clear: Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at perpetual war. But if we are honest, for far too many Africans, conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.
These conflicts are a millstone around Africa’s neck. Now, we all have many identities — of tribe and ethnicity; of religion and nationality. But defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe, or who worships a different prophet, has no place in the 21st century. (Applause.) Africa’s diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division. We are all God’s children. We all share common aspirations — to live in peace and security; to access education and opportunity; to love our families and our communities and our faith. That is our common humanity.
That is why we must stand up to inhumanity in our midst. It is never justified — never justifiable to target innocents in the name of ideology. (Applause.) It is the death sentence of a society to force children to kill in wars. It is the ultimate mark of criminality and cowardice to condemn women to relentless and systemic rape. We must bear witness to the value of every child in Darfur and the dignity of every woman in the Congo. No faith or culture should condone the outrages against them. And all of us must strive for the peace and security necessary for progress.
Africans are standing up for this future. Here, too, in Ghana we are seeing you help point the way forward. Ghanaians should take pride in your contributions to peacekeeping from Congo to Liberia to Lebanon — (applause) — and your efforts to resist the scourge of the drug trade. (Applause.) We welcome the steps that are being taken by organizations like the African Union and ECOWAS to better resolve conflicts, to keep the peace, and support those in need. And we encourage the vision of a strong, regional security architecture that can bring effective, transnational forces to bear when needed.
America has a responsibility to work with you as a partner to advance this vision, not just with words, but with support that strengthens African capacity. When there’s a genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia, these are not simply African problems — they are global security challenges, and they demand a global response.
And that’s why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy and technical assistance and logistical support, and we will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable. And let me be clear: Our Africa Command is focused not on establishing a foothold in the continent, but on confronting these common challenges to advance the security of America, Africa, and the world. (Applause.) 
In Moscow, I spoke of the need for an international system where the universal rights of human beings are respected, and violations of those rights are opposed. And that must include a commitment to support those who resolve conflicts peacefully, to sanction and stop those who don’t, and to help those who have suffered. But ultimately, it will be vibrant democracies like Botswana and Ghana which roll back the causes of conflict and advance the frontiers of peace and prosperity.
As I said earlier, Africa’s future is up to Africans.
The people of Africa are ready to claim that future. And in my country, African Americans — including so many recent immigrants — have thrived in every sector of society. We’ve done so despite a difficult past, and we’ve drawn strength from our African heritage. With strong institutions and a strong will, I know that Africans can live their dreams in Nairobi and Lagos, Kigali, Kinshasa, Harare, and right here in Accra. (Applause.) 
You know, 52 years ago, the eyes of the world were on Ghana. And a young preacher named Martin Luther King traveled here, to Accra, to watch the Union Jack come down and the Ghanaian flag go up. This was before the march on Washington or the success of the civil rights movement in my country. Dr. King was asked how he felt while watching the birth of a nation. And he said: “It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice.”
Now that triumph must be won once more, and it must be won by you. (Applause.) And I am particularly speaking to the young people all across Africa and right here in Ghana. In places like Ghana, young people make up over half of the population. 
And here is what you must know: The world will be what you make of it. You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, and end conflicts, and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can — (applause) — because in this moment, history is on the move.
But these things can only be done if all of you take responsibility for your future. And it won’t be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be suffering and setbacks. But I can promise you this: America will be with you every step of the way — as a partner, as a friend. (Applause.) Opportunity won’t come from any other place, though. It must come from the decisions that all of you make, the things that you do, the hope that you hold in your heart.
Ghana, freedom is your inheritance. Now, it is your responsibility to build upon freedom’s foundation. And if you do, we will look back years from now to places like Accra and say this was the time when the promise was realized; this was the moment when prosperity was forged, when pain was overcome, and a new era of progress began. This can be the time when we witness the triumph of justice once more. Yes we can. Thank you very much. God bless you.  Thank you. (Applause.) 

Somalia: Al-Shabab’s Pyrrhic Victory?

May 21, 2009

Somalia’s president today said he would welcome negotiations with the country’s main opposition leader, a hardline Islamist named Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, leading to speculation that a unity government might be a possibility.

IRIN reports Somalia’s main Islamist militant group, al-Shabaab, has recently captured several strategic towns near the capital city of Mogadishu, but that the group does not command popular support.

Read full story.

Fondation Chirac

May 12, 2009


The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World

May 9, 2009

geopolitics of emotion

Dominique Moïsi, a founder of the Institut Français des Relations Internationales, professor at Sciences Po Paris and Harvard University, and one of Europe’s leading geo-strategic thinkers, discusses in his new book how cultures of fear, humiliation, and hope are reshaping global politics.

“Fear, Humiliation, Hope, and the New World Order

Thirteen years ago, Samuel Huntington argued that a “clash of civilizations” was about to dominate world politics, with culture, along with national interests and political ideology, becoming a geopolitical fault line (“The Clash of Civilizations?” Summer 1993). Events since then have proved Huntington’s vision more right than wrong. Yet what has not been recognized sufficiently is that today the world faces what might be called a “clash of emotions” as well. The Western world displays a culture of fear, the Arab and Muslim worlds are trapped in a culture of humiliation, and much of Asia displays a culture of hope.

Instead of being united by their fears, the twin pillars of the West, the United States and Europe, are more often divided by them – or rather, divided by how best to confront or transcend them. The culture of humiliation, in contrast, helps unite the Muslim world around its most radical forces and has led to a culture of hatred. The chief beneficiaries of the deadly encounter between the forces of fear and the forces of humiliation are the bystanders in the culture of hope, who have been able to concentrate on creating a better future for themselves.

These moods, of course, are not universal within each region, and there are some areas, such as Russia and parts of Latin America, that seem to display all of them simultaneously. But their dynamics and interactions will help shape the world for years to come.


The United States and Europe are divided by a common culture of fear. On both sides, one encounters, in varying degrees, a fear of the other, a fear of the future, and a fundamental anxiety about the loss of identity in an increasingly complex world.

In the case of Europe, there are layers of fear. There is the fear of being invaded by the poor, primarily from the South – a fear driven by demography and geography. Images of Africans being killed recently as they tried to scale barbed wire to enter a Spanish enclave in Morocco evoked images of another time not so long ago, when East Germans were shot at as they tried to reach freedom in the West. Back then, Germans were killed because they wanted to escape oppression. Today, Africans are being killed because they want to escape absolute poverty.”

Buy your copy now from Amazon.

Prozessauftakt in Paris um den antisemitischen Mord an Ilan Halimi

April 29, 2009

Fotos: Gottesdienst am 23. Februar 2006 mit Frankreichs Staatspräsident Jacques Chirac, Ehefrau Bernadette Chirac und Premier Ministre Dominique de Villepin in der Pariser Grossen Synagoge de la Victoire zum Andenken an Ilan Halimi (© Fotos von A. Roiné, Pressestelle des Elysee-Palastes)

Ilan Halimi war ein 23-jähriger französischer Jude marokkanischer Herkunft, der am 21. Januar 2006 von einer Gang muslimischer Einwanderer, genannt die “Barbaren”, entführt und anschließend über einen Zeitraum von 24 Tagen zu Tode gefoltert wurde. Hauptmotiv des Verbrechens war Antisemitismus.

Die Tageszeitung Die Welt berichtet über den ersten Verhandlungstag im Pariser Schwurgericht im Prozess um den Mord an Ilan Halimi, der am 9. Februar 2007  in Jerusalem beerdigt wurde.

Zum Artikel.

U.N. Durban Review Conference Final Declaration is biased

April 22, 2009

It is highly disappointing, but not surprising, that more than 100 nations attending the Durban II Racism Conference in Geneva overwhelmingly voted to approve a final declaration that is biased. In a replay of the 2001 original United Nations World Conference against Racism, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Israel is again the only nation singled out.

The conference, which is a follow-up to the 2001 United Nations World Conference against Racism, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, was meant to address those human rights issues and their violators. However, both the Durban Review Conference and its predecessor degenerated into anti-Israel summits. The 2009 declaration reaffirms the conclusions from the original Durban conference. That document asserted that Palestinians are subject to Israeli “racism.”

The expectation that this anti-Israel declaration would again be the outcome prompted Israel, Canada, the United States of America, Italy, Germany, Australia, Holland, New Zealand, Czech Republic, and Poland to withdraw.

Libya helped to seal the negative outcome of the conference. Chosen as the chair of the conference, despite a long history of supporting terrorism and violating human rights, Libya yesterday engineered the swift movement of the declaration from the drafting committee and adoption of the preparatory document of last week.

Any hope for a better outcome document was dashed with an address to the conference by one who calls for the destruction of and supports terrorism against the State of Israel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Many nations walked out in protest on April 20, 2009, in the face of his hateful, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel tirade.

The 23 European Union nations delegates walked out during Ahmadinejad speech, in which he said that the foundation of the State of Israel rendered “an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering” in order “to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine.”


Quotes from Ahmadinejad’s speech in Geneva



“The victorious powers [of the world wars] call themselves the conquerors of the world, while ignoring or down-treading the rights of other nations by the imposition of oppressive laws and international arrangements.”

“Following World War II, they resorted to making an entire nation homeless on the pretext of Jewish suffering. They sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in the occupied Palestine. In compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine.”

“It is all the more regrettable that a number of Western governments and the United States have committed themselves to defending those racist perpetrators of genocide, whilst the awakened consciences and free-minded people of the world condemn aggression, brutality and the bombardment of civilians of Gaza.”

“[Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were] a clear example of egocentrism, racism, discrimination or infringement upon the dignity and independence of nations. Today, the human community is facing a kind of racism which has tarnished the image of humanity. In the beginning of the third millennium, the word Zionism personifies racism. [It] falsely resorts to religion and abuses religious sentiments to hide hatred.”

“Efforts must be made to put an end to the abuse by Zionists and their supporters of political and international means…Governments must be encouraged and supported in the fight aimed at eradicating this barbaric racism and moving towards reforming the current international mechanisms.”

“You are all aware of the conspiracy of some powers and Zionist circles against the goals and objectives of this conference… It should be recognized that boycotting such a session is a true indication of supporting the blatant example of racism.”

Durban II Hatefest

April 17, 2009

A statement by Anne Bayefsky at the Third Substantive Preparatory Meeting of the Durban Review Conference.

April 17, 2009
United Nations, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

The eyes of millions of victims of racism, xenophobia and intolerance are upon YOU, the representatives of states and the United Nations. And instead of hope you have given them despair. Instead of truth you have handed them diplomatic double-talk. Instead of combating anti-Semitism you have handed them a reason for Jews to fear UN-driven hatemongering on a global scale.

The Durban conference – allegedly dedicated to combating racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance – will open April 20th on the anniversary of the birth of Adolf Hitler without agreement on even so much as remembering the Holocaust and the war against the Jews. Your draft words on the Holocaust – the very foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – have been narrowed to the barest mention from previous versions. And if the minor reference survives at all – it will be a testament to your interest in Jews that died 60 years ago, while tolerating and encouraging the murder of Jews in the here and now.

Furthermore, the draft before you demonizes the Jewish state of Israel and then has the audacity to pretend to care about anti-Semitism in a single word buried among 17 pages. Anti-Semitism means discrimination against the Jewish people. Since it is evident that almost none of you have the courage to say it, the face of modern anti-Semitism IS the UN – your – discrimination against Israel, the embodiment of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination.

Over and over again we have heard a massive misinformation campaign about the content of these proceedings and the draft before you. We have heard the tale that this draft does not single out Israel, that the hate has been removed, that the fault of the anti-Semitism at Durban I was that of NGOs while states and the UN were blameless.

Perhaps you think that journalists and victims will not bother to read for themselves the Durban Declaration adopted by some governments. There is only one state mentioned in it – Israel. There is only one state associated with racist practices in it – Israel. And yet the very first thing that this draft before you does is to reaffirm that abomination, abomination for Jews and Arabs living in Israel’s free and democratic society, and for all the victims of racism ignored therein. Lawyers call it incorporation by reference when they hope nobody reads the small print. The propaganda stops here. We have read it. We understand the game. And we decry the ugly effort to repeat the Durban agenda to isolate and defeat Israel politically, as every effort to do so militarily for decades has failed.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chair of this Preparatory Committee also told us this week that the Durban Declaration in all its aspects is a consensus text. Perhaps they are unfamiliar with the Canadian reservations made in Durban in 2001 which state categorically that the Middle East language was outside the conference’s jurisdiction and not agreed. Perhaps they failed to notice that one of the world’s greatest democracies, the United States, voted with its feet and walked out of the Durban I hatefest. The Durban Declaration has never represented a global consensus among free and democratic nations. When the head of the Islamic conference treats Durban as a bible, in their words, it is more accurately a defamation of religions.

This week you decided which states ought to serve in a leadership role at next week’s conference. Among them are some of the world’s leading practitioners of racism, not those interested in ending it. You have also decided to hand a global megaphone to the President of a state which advocates genocide and denies the Holocaust.

So in a state of shock and dismay we address ourselves not to the human rights abusers that glorify the Durban Declaration or its next incarnation, but to democracies – and we ask: Will Germany sit on Hitler’s birthday and listen to the speech of an advocate of genocide against the Jewish people and grant legitimacy to the forum which tolerates his presence? What about the United Kingdom, the birthplace of the Magna Carta? Or France that helped to ship last generation’s Jews to crematoriums?

You could have fought racism. You chose instead to fight Jews. You could have promoted the universal standards against racism already in existence. You chose instead to diminish their importance in the name of alleged cultural preferences. You could have protected freedom of expression. You chose instead to undermine it by twisted concepts of incitement. You could have brought victims of racism together in a common cause. You chose instead to pit victims against each other in an ugly struggle for meager recognition.

For those democracies that remain under these circumstances you are ultimately responsible for what can only be called an appalling disservice to real victims of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance around the world.

About the author: Anne Bayefsky holds a B.A., M.A. and LL.B. from the University of Toronto and an M.Litt. from Oxford University. She is a barrister and solicitor of the Ontario Bar, and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute as well as professor at Columbia University Law School in New York, where her areas of expertise include international human rights law, equality rights, and constitutional human rights law. Visit her website here.

The Myths of U.N. Durban Review Conference

April 10, 2009





The Algerian-chaired United Nations committee is seeking to rewrite international human rights law by definining any criticism of Islamic dogma as a human rights violation, and is endorsed by Article 30 of the current Durban II draft; see UN Watch speech below.

Click also here for New York Times video documenting racist treatment of two million black African migrants by Libyan government of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, chair of Durban II conference planning committee.


Testimony by Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director, before the United Nations Human Rights Council


10th session of the Human Rights Council (Geneva, March 2009)

Thank you, Mr. President.

Racism is evil. How can we truly fight it?

For starters, by clearing up three myths about next month’s conference.

Myth Number One: that the new draft removes all pernicious provisions.

The truth is that many were removed – thanks only to the credible threat of an E.U. walk-out – but red lines continue to be breached:

  • Articles 10, 30 and 132 encourage the Islamic states’ campaign to ban any criticism of religion.
  • Articles 60 to 62 demonize the West, addressing only its sins of slavery, yet saying nothing of the massive Arab trade in African slaves, thereby politicizing that which should never be politicized.
  • Article 1 breaches President Obama’s red line by reaffirming what his government called the quote, “flawed 2001 Durban Declaration”, a text that stigmatized Israel with false accusations.

Myth Number Two: that going to the conference means dialogue.

In truth, we’ve been negotiating non-stop since August 2007. Going to the conference means endorsing a particular text, and risks legitimizing the greatest perpetrators of racism.

Ironically, many who now claim to support dialogue, are Mideast states belonging to the Arab Boycott Office in Damascus, or radical left campaigners who call for equally bigoted boycotts in the West.

Myth Number Three: that Durban 2 will help millions of victims.

But can anyone name a single victim of racism who was helped by the 2001 conference and countless follow-up committees?

Did Durban help a single victim of Sudan’s racist campaign of mass killing, rape and displacement against millions in Darfur?

Did it help the women of Saudi Arabia subjected to systematic discrimination?

Did it help gays executed by Iran, even as President Ahmadinejad says there are no gays in Iran?

Did it help the 2 million black African migrants in Libya, who, as we read in last week’s International Herald Tribune, say they are treated like slaves and animals?

To truly fight racism, we need to hold perpetrators to account. Tragically, Durban 2 does the opposite.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Durban UN-Conference 2009: Show event of bigots and anti-Semites

March 18, 2009

Ronald S. Lauder: Show event of bigots and anti-Semites

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 14, 2009

The United Nations are inviting to a conference which only serves as a platform for those who hate Israel – and all that on Hitler’s birthday.

April 20th this year will be the 120th anniversary of the birth of Hitler, the most notorious mass murderer and racist in the history of mankind. Coincidentally, this year April 20th will also be the opening day of a United Nations conference on racism in Geneva, Switzerland. Its task will be to review the conclusions of the World Conference on Anti-Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001, and their implementation. It would normally be a positive sign to hold an event like this on such a symbolic day. Alas, the history of the Durban process weighs against this.

Many diplomats and human rights activists will remember with horror the events that occurred in Durban in September 2001. It was turned into a grand show of unity of bigots, despots, anti-Semites and declared enemies of Israel. The Jewish state was denounced as racist and its right to exist – once guaranteed by the United Nations – questioned.

The Durban Review Process has shown that may participating states are not there to discuss ways of combating racism and intolerance but to cover up own failings by launching unfair attacks against Israel and the Jews. Repeatedly, resolutions have been tabled which do not address issues of racism but demonize Israel as racist. Israel is the only country to be singled out for criticism – a unique form of cynicism! If Israel really were the main sponsor of racism and intolerance, wouldn’t we all live in a near-perfect world?

The Durban Review Conference in Geneva will be under the motto ‘Dignity and Justice for All’. One could ask ironically if countries such as Iran, Cuba, Libya, or Pakistan have signed up to this motto. However, irony is lost once you come to realize that it is these very countries that play crucial roles in the run-up to the event. Libya chairs the Preparatory Committee, and the rapporteur is from Cuba.

Given the human rights situation in these countries that makes a mockery of the event. In Pakistan, the Taliban were recently granted the right to introduce Islamic Sharia law in the Swat Valley, which they brought under their control. Once again, women there risk their lives when striving for better education or personal freedom.

Iran’s role is a particularly bad one: the event will provide the preachers of hate in Tehran with another international platform. In Iran, ethnic and religious minorities such as the Bahai suffer from discrimination, and human rights abuses are rife. Iran even executes minors because of their homosexuality, and women are regularly stoned to death for allegedly having committed adultery.

The genocide in Rwanda took place only 15 years ago, and yet there are ominous signs that it could again happen elsewhere in Africa. In Darfur, hundreds of thousands of people were killed in ethnic violence because Sudan’s dictatorial president and the neighboring countries simply didn’t give a damn. The Libyan ruler Kaddafi recently blamed the mass killing in Darfur on Israel. Yet the African Union, whose current president Kaddafi is, doing precious little to solve the conflict.

The country reports on human rights recently published by the US State Department make it crystal clear: the very countries which at the United Nations are supposed act as fighters for human rights and against racism have the worst record when it comes to state-sponsored violations of human rights at home.

The bodies of the United Nations – especially the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council – have been become popular forums for those bigots who like to denounce others in order to deflect from their own failings. In the less than three years of its existence the Human Rights Council has already condemned Israel 15 times. Worse conflicts were not dealt with at all, or diplomatically and discretely dealt with.

There is a danger that the UN anti-racism conference will once again be exploited to pursue aims that have nothing to do with the fight against racism and intolerance. Some Muslim countries event want draconian restrictions of freedom of speech pretending a “defamation of religion.”

Lately, even UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay, who acts as the review conference’s organizer, felt obliged to call on the participating states to be objective and focus on the real aims of the conference. This is honorable, but it also speaks volumes about what to expect from the forum.

As things currently stand, the objectives of the Durban Review Conference cannot be achieved. Before more damage is done, Mrs. Pillay should therefore cancel the event. Otherwise, Western governments must stay away. More than a year ago, the Canadian government announced its boycott. Lately, the US administration and Italy joined them. Unfortunately, others – including the German government – are still hesitant.

Last year, the EU presidency defined clear “red lines”, which, once crossed, would trigger the withdrawal of European governments from the Geneva conference. Although the red lines have been crossed the European governments, except the Italian, are still reluctant to take a decision.

Diplomats always seek to make small progress and find a compromise. However, there are moments when we need political leadership in order to avoid one’s agenda being hijacked by disingenuous actors. Diplomacy is not an end in itself, and the ambition to get some form of consensus on a final declaration must not compromise the respect for liberty and human rights.

This is a test for Europe. It is not too late yet to avoid a repeat of the Durban disaster of 2001. One can only hope that Europe’s leaders do not naively walk into the same trap that was already laid out for them by the self-appointed fighters for human rights. German in particular should make a stand and not attend the Geneva conference on April 20th. Such a decision would be a strong signal.

Ronald S. Lauder, 65, is president of the World Jewish Congress

Durban UN-Konferenz 2009: Schaulaufen der Heuchler und Antisemiten

March 18, 2009


Außenansicht – Ronald S. Lauder: Schaulaufen der Heuchler und Antisemiten

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 14.03.2009

Die Vereinten Nationen laden zu einer Konferenz, die nur als Bühne der Israel-Hasser dient – und das am Geburtstag Hitlers.

Am 20. April jährt sich zum 120. Mal die Geburt Hitlers, des schlimmsten Massenmörders und Rassisten der Menschheitsgeschichte. Und ausgerechnet am 20. April beginnt nun in Genf eine Konferenz der Vereinten Nationen, bei der die Ergebnisse der Antirassismuskonferenz aus dem Jahr 2001 im südafrikanischen Durban und ihre Umsetzung überprüft werden sollen. Die Veranstaltung an einem symbolträchtigen Datum wie diesem abzuhalten, wäre eigentlich zu begrüßen, wenn nicht die Vorgeschichte dagegen spräche.

An die erste UN-Konferenz gegen Rassismus in Durban, Südafrika, im September 2001 erinnern sich Diplomaten und Menschenrechtsorganisationen mit Grauen. Denn sie entwickelte sich zu einem Schaulaufen der Heuchler, Despoten, der Antisemiten und der Israel-Feinde. Der jüdische Staat wurde als rassistisch gebrandmarkt und sein – von den Vereinten Nationen verbrieftes – Existenzrecht in Frage gestellt.

Es zeigt sich in der Vorbereitung der Konferenz fast täglich aufs Neue, dass es vielen teilnehmenden Staaten nicht um die Bekämpfung von Rassismus und Intoleranz geht, sondern darum, eigene Verfehlungen durch unfaire Attacken auf Israel und die Juden zu kaschieren. Israel wird als Apartheid-Staat diffamiert, in dem Juden angeblich Andersgläubige unterdrücken. Mehrfach sind Resolutionen und Anträge eingebracht worden, die nicht Rassismus bekämpfen, sondern Israel als rassistisch verleumden. Israel ist das einzige Land, das namentlich kritisiert wird – ein Zynismus sondergleichen, denn wäre Israel in puncto Rassismus und Intoleranz wirklich das Hauptproblem, dann würden wir in einer fast perfekten Welt leben.

Die Konferenz in Genf steht unter dem Motto “Würde und Gerechtigkeit für alle”. Man kann ironisch fragen, ob sich auch Länder wie Iran, Libyen, Kuba oder Pakistan dem verpflichtet fühlen. Die Ironie bleibt einem jedoch im Halse stecken, weil man erkennen muss, dass diese Länder bei der Veranstaltung das Wort führen. Libyen sitzt dem Vorbereitungsausschuss vor, der Berichterstatter des Organisationskomitees kommt aus Kuba, und auch Iran spielt eine tragende Rolle. Angesichts der Zustände in diesen Ländern ist dies eine Verhöhnung der Konferenz. In Pakistan wurde unlängst den Taliban in dem von ihnen beanspruchten Swat-Tal zugestanden, die Scharia einzuführen. Frauen riskieren nun wieder viel, wenn sie nach Bildung oder persönlicher Freiheit streben. Irans Rolle ist besonders schlimm: Mit der Veranstaltung erhalten die Hassprediger in Teheran erneut eine internationale Bühne. In Iran werden Minderheiten wie die Bahai diskriminiert und Menschenrechte aufs schlimmste verletzt. Iran lässt sogar homosexuelle Minderjährige öffentlich hinrichten, und Frauen droht bei Ehebruch die Steinigung.

Der Völkermord in Ruanda ist erst 15 Jahre her, und doch gibt es wieder bedrohliche Anzeichen, dass er sich anderswo in Afrika wiederholen könnte. In der Region Darfur mussten Hunderttausende sterben, weil das dem diktatorischen Präsidenten des Sudan und den Nachbarstaaten schlicht gleichgültig war. Der libysche Staatschef Gaddafi macht Israel für Darfur verantwortlich, und die Afrikanische Union, welcher Gaddafi vorsteht, unternimmt recht wenig gegen den Konflikt.

Der jüngste Menschenrechtsbericht des amerikanischen Außenministeriums spricht eine deutliche Sprache: Gerade jene Länder, die sich bei den Vereinten Nationen als Kämpfer gegen Rassismus aufschwingen, sind die größten Sünder, wenn es um die Missachtung der Menschenrechte im eigenen Land geht. Die Gremien der UN – insbesondere die Vollversammlung und der Menschenrechtsrat – sind zu beliebten Foren jener Heuchler geworden, die Verfehlungen anderer anprangern, um von eigenen abzulenken. In den zweieinhalb Jahren seines Bestehens wurde Israel durch den UN-Menschenrechtsrat bereits 15 Mal verurteilt. Andere, wesentlich schlimmere Konflikte wurden dagegen gar nicht behandelt oder mittels diplomatischer Formeln diskret ad acta gelegt.

Es besteht die Gefahr, dass auch die UN-Antirassismuskonferenz erneut instrumentalisiert wird, um ganz andere Ziele zu verfolgen als die Bekämpfung von Rassismus und Intoleranz. Manche islamische Länder wollen eine drakonische Beschränkung der Meinungsfreiheit unter dem Vorwand der “Beleidigung der Religion”.

Zuletzt sah sich sogar UN-Menschenrechtskommissarin Navanethem Pillay, die Ausrichterin der Rassismuskonferenz, genötigt, die teilnehmenden Staaten zur Objektivität aufzufordern und sich auf die eigentlichen Ziele der Konferenz zu konzentrieren. Das ist ehrenwert, lässt aber nichts Gutes erahnen.

Klar ist: Die Ziele der Veranstaltung können nach derzeitigem Stand nicht erreicht werden. Bevor nun noch mehr Schaden angerichtet wird, sollte Frau Pillay die Konferenz absagen. Andernfalls müssen die westlichen Regierungen ihr fernbleiben. Bereits vor gut einem Jahr erklärte die kanadische Regierung ihren Boykott, dieser Tage schlossen sich die US-Regierung und Italien an. Andere, darunter auch die Bundesregierung, zögern leider noch.

Die EU-Ratspräsidentschaft hat im vergangenen Jahr vier “rote Linien” definiert, deren Überschreitung nach sich ziehen würde, dass die europäischen Regierungen bei der Genfer Konferenz nicht teilnehmen. Obwohl diese Linien eindeutig überschritten wurden, zögern die europäischen Regierungen, ausgenommen eben Italien, leider noch.

Diplomaten streben nach kleinen Fortschritten und Kompromissen. Es gibt aber auch Momente, die nach politischer Führung verlangen. Diplomatie ist kein Selbstzweck, und das Streben nach einem Abschlussdokument, auf das sich die Staaten einigen können, darf nicht dazu führen, dass Freiheit und Menschenrechte relativiert werden.

Europa ist gefordert. Noch ist es nicht zu spät, eine Wiederholung des Desasters von 2001 zu verhindern. Die Europäer sollten nicht noch einmal gutmütig in die Falle tappen, die ihnen selbst ernannte Streiter für Menschenrechte gestellt haben. Gerade Deutschland müsste am 20. April der Konferenz in Genf demonstrativ fernbleiben. Noch ist es für die Bundesregierung nicht zu spät, ein starkes Zeichen zu setzen.

Ronald S. Lauder, 65, ist Präsident des Jüdischen Weltkongresses.

Security Challenges Arising from the Global Financial Crisis

March 11, 2009
Statement of Richard Nathan Haass, former Director of Policy Planning in the U.S. State Department, current President of the Council on Foreign Relations, before the Committee on Armed Services of the U.S. House of Representatives
Washington DC, March 11, 2009

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for this opportunity to testify before the House Committee on Armed Services on security challenges arising from the global financial crisis. Let me first commend you and your colleagues for holding this hearing. Most of the analysis and commentary on the global economic crisis has focused on the economic consequences.

This is understandable, but it is not sufficient. The world does not consist of stovepipes, and what happens in the economic realm affects political and strategic policies and realities alike. It is also important to say at the outset that this crisis, which began in the housing sector in the United States, is now more than a financial crisis. It is a full-fledged economic crisis. It is also more than an American crisis. It is truly global.

I would add, too, that the crisis is unlike any challenge we have seen in the past. It is qualitatively different than the sort of cyclical downturn that capitalism produces periodically. This crisis promises to be one of great depth, duration, and consequence. This crisis was not inevitable. It was the result of flawed policies, poor decisions, and questionable behavior.

It is important that this point be fully understood lest the conclusion be widely drawn that market economies are to be avoided. The problem lies with the practice of capitalism, not the model. Nevertheless, the perception is otherwise, and one consequence of the economic crisis is that market economies have lost much of their luster and the United States has lost much of its credibility in this realm.

It is inconceivable in these circumstances to imagine an American official preaching the virtues of the Washington Consensus. This is unfortunate, as open economies continue to have more to offer the developing world than the alternatives. It also adds to the importance that the U.S. economy get back on track lest a lasting casualty of the crisis be modern capitalism itself.

The impact of the economic crisis will be varied and go far beyond the image of capitalism and the reputation of the United States. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair was all too correct when he testified recently that the primary near-term security concern of the United States is the global economic crisis and its geopolitical implications. The crisis will have impact on conditions within states, on the policies of states, on relations between states, and on the thinking of those who run states. I have already alluded to this last consideration.

Here I would only add that initial reactions around the world to the crisis appear to have evolved, from some initial gloating at America’s expense to resentment of the United States for having spawned this crisis to, increasingly, hopes that the American recovery arrives sooner and proves to be more robust than is predicted. This change of heart is not due to any change of thinking about the United States but rather to increased understanding that the recovery of others will to a significant extent depend on recovery in the United States. In a global world, what happens here affects developments elsewhere and vice versa. Decoupling in either direction is rarely a serious possibility. The crisis is clearly affecting the developed world, mostly as a result of the centrality of banking-related problems and the high degree of integration that exists among the economies of the developed world. Iceland’s government has fallen; others may over time. Many governments (including several in Central and Eastern Europe but outside the Eurozone) will require substantial loans.

The economies of Japan, much of Europe, and the United States are all contracting. World economic growth, which averaged 4 to 5 percent over the past decade, will be anemic this year even if it manages to be positive, which is increasingly unlikely. It is worth noting that the most recent World Bank projection predicts negative growth for 2009. Change of this sort will have consequences. There will likely be fewer resources available for defense and foreign assistance. Reduced availability of resources for defense makes it even more critical that U.S. planners determine priorities. Preparing to fight a large-scale conventional war is arguably not the highest priority given the enormous gap between the relevant military capabilities of the United States and others and the greater likelihood that security-related challenges will come from terrorism and asymmetric warfare. State-capacity building, the sort of activity the United States is doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, will continue to place a heavy burden on U.S. military and civilian assets.

Also remaining highly relevant (and deserving to be a funding priority) will be standoff capabilities designed to destroy targets associated with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Developing states may appear to be better off than wealthier countries at first glance. Their growth on average is down by half from previous years, but still positive. Appearances, however, can be deceptive. This growth is measured from a low base in absolute and relative terms. The reduction in growth in some instances has been dramatic. Developing country exports are down as demand is down in the developed world.

Also reduced are aid flows and most importantly investment flows to the developing world. Commodity prices are much lower, a boon to those who rely on imports but a major problem for the many who are dependent on the income from one or two exports. A few countries merit specific mention. One is China. China’s economic success over the past few decades constitutes one of history’s great examples of poverty eradication. This process, one that has involved the migration of millions of people every year from poor rural areas to cities, will slow considerably. The already large number of domestic political protests in China over such issues as land confiscation, corruption, environmental degradation, and public health, is likely to grow. Absent renewed robust economic growth, the chances are high that the government will react by clamping down even more on the population lest economic frustration lead to meaningful political unrest.

Russia is in a different position, one characteristic of countries dependent on raw material exports for much of their wealth. The Russian economy is contracting after a period of boom. As is the case with China, this suggests the likely assertion of greater political control. But Russia is not as fully integrated as China is with the world economy. There is thus a greater (although impossible to quantify) chance that Russia’s leaders will turn to the time-honored resort of manufacturing an overseas crisis to divert attention than will China’s.

The same holds true for Iran and Venezuela, two countries that are heavily reliant on energy exports and whose foreign policies have been counterproductive (to say the least) from the U.S. perspective. But at the same time, it is possible that one or both will pull in their horns. Venezuela is already showing some signs of this, with its more welcoming stance toward international oil companies. This may well be simply a tactical adjustment to immediate needs.

And at least in principle, Iran’s government might find it more difficult to make the case to its own people for its continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons option if the Iranian people understood that it was costing them dearly with respect to their standard of living. Iraq is another oil producing country whose wealth is closely associated with the price of oil. Here the effects are sure to be unwanted. There is the danger that disorder will increase as unemployment rises, prospects for sharing revenue shrink, and the ability of the central government to dispense cash to build broad national support diminishes. In light of the multiple challenges already facing the United States, the last thing the Obama administration needs is the specter of an unravelling Iraq.

Two other countries are worth highlighting. One is Pakistan. Pakistan’s economic performance is down sharply for many reasons, including a decrease in both foreign investment in the country and exports from Pakistan to other countries. Pakistan has little margin for error; the possibility that it could fail is all too real. The worsened economic situation makes governing all that much more difficult. The consequences of a failed Pakistan for the global struggle against terrorism, for attempts to prevent further nuclear proliferation, for the effort to promote stability in Afghanistan, and for India’s future are difficult to exaggerate. North Korea is a second nuclear-armed state whose stability is worsened by the economic crisis.

At issue is the extent to which South Korea (along with China and Japan) can provide resources to the North to help stave off collapse. Another serious consequence of the global economic crisis, one that affects both developed and developing countries, is the reality that protectionism is on the rise. One realm is trade; some seventeen of the twenty governments set to meet in London early next month have increased barriers to trade since they met late last year. Negotiated free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea continue to languish in the U.S. Congress. The president lacks the Trade Promotion Authority essential for the negotiation of complex, multilateral trade accords. Prospects for a Doha round global trade pact appear remote. The volume of world trade is down for the first time in decades. The economic but also strategic costs of this trend are high. Trade is a major source of political as well as economic integration; one reason China acts as responsibly as it does in the political sphere is because of its need to export its products lest potentially destabilizing unemployment jump sharply. Trade has other virtues as well. More than anything else, trade is a principal engine of global economic growth. The completion of the Doha round might be worth as much as $500 billion to the world in expanded economic activity. One-fourth of this expanded output would occur in the United States. This is the purest form of stimulus.

For the United States, exports are a source of millions of relatively high-paying jobs; imports are anti-inflationary and spur innovation. Alas, the economic crisis will make it difficult if not impossible to conclude new trade pacts and to gain the requisite domestic support for them. Economic nationalism is on the rise, and when this happens, the will and the ability of political leaders to support policies that are perceived to hurt large numbers of their citizens (but which in reality help many more) invariably goes down. What is more, the economic crisis may also make it more difficult to reach agreement on a global climate change pact when representatives of most of the world’s countries gather in Copenhagen late this year. Developed and developing countries alike will resist commitments that appear to or in fact do sacrifice near-term economic growth for long-term environmental benefit. What, then, should be done to limit the adverse strategic effects of an economic crisis that is certain to get worse and persist for some time?

The United States – the Obama administration and the Congress – should resist protectionism. “Buy America” provisions in the stimulus legislation will increase costs to American consumers and all but make certain that other countries will follow suit, thereby reducing the prospects for American firms to sell abroad. More American jobs are likely to be sacrificed than preserved. Increased protectionism will also dilute the strategic benefits that stem from trade and its ability to contribute to international stability by giving governments a stake in stability. Similar arguments hold as to why “lend national” provisions are counterproductive. Bringing countries into the world trading system (best done through WTO accession) makes strategic sense, too, as it gives them a stake in maintaining order at the same time it opens government decision-making to greater degrees of transparency. Recession cannot become this country’s energy policy or a reason not to decrease U.S. consumption of oil, imported or otherwise. Lower prices will dilute any economic incentive to consume less oil. Regulatory policy will be the principal means of discouraging demand and encouraging the development of alternative energy sources and technologies. Reduced demand is essential for strategic reasons (so as not to leave the United States highly dependent on imports and so that countries such as Russia, Venezuela, and Iran do not benefit from dollar inflows), for environmental reasons, and for economic reasons, i.e., not to increase the U.S. balance of payments deficit. The goal should be to use this moment of temporarily-reduced prices to decrease the chances we as a country again find ourselves in a world of high energy prices once the recession recedes.

The United States should work with other developed and reserve-rich countries to increase the capacity of the IMF to assist governments in need of temporary loans. Current capacity falls short of what is and will be needed. It would be helpful if aid budgets were not victims of the economic crisis. Aid is needed on a large scale not just for humanitarian reasons (to fight disease, etc.) but also to build the human capital that is the foundation of economic development. Aid will also be a necessary substitute in the short and medium run for investment. Absent such flows we are likely to see greater misery and an increased number of failing or failed states. The upcoming G-20 summit in London provides an opportunity to adopt or encourage some useful measures in many of these realms. It is essential that others, including Europe and Japan, take steps to stimulate their economies. It is equally important, though, that guidelines be promulgated so that stimulus programs do not become a convenient mechanism for unwarranted subsidies and “buy national” provisions that are simply protectionist measures by another name.

The London meeting is also an opportunity to increase IMF capacity, to generate commitments to provide aid to developing countries, and to agree on at least some regulatory principles for national banking and financial systems. There is not time, however, to try to rebuild the architecture of the international economic system, solve the problems caused by countries that run chronic surpluses, or revamp the system of exchange rates. Let me close with two final thoughts. Much of this hearing and statement is focused on the question of the consequences of the economic crisis for global security. But it is important to keep in mind that the relationship is not only one way. Developments in the political world can and will have an effect on the global economy.

Imagine for a second the economic consequences of, say, a Taiwan crisis or fighting between India and Pakistan or an armed confrontation with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. This last possibility is the most worrying in the near term and underscores the importance of trying to negotiate limits on Iran’s enrichment program lest the United States be confronted with the unsavory option of either living with an Iranian near or actual nuclear weapons capability or mounting a preventive military strike that, whatever it accomplished, would be sure to trigger a wider crisis that could well lead to energy prices several times their current level.

Finally, getting through this economic crisis should not be confused with restoring prolonged calm in the markets or sustainable growth. Enormous stimulus measures here at home coupled with equally unprecedented increases in the current account deficit and national debt make it all but certain that down the road the United States will confront not just renewed inflation but quite possibly a dollar crisis as well. At some point central banks and other holders of dollars will have secnd thoughts about continuing to add to their dollar holdings, currently larger than ever given the desire for a safe harbor. Ongoing U.S. requirements for debt financing, however, will likely mean that interest rates would need to be raised, something that could choke off a recovery. This underscores the importance of limiting stimulus packages to what is truly essential to reviving economic activity and to taking other measures (such as entitlement reform and the already discussed steps to reduce oil use) lest the current crisis give way to another one.

Deutschland soll sich dem Boykott der antisemitischen UN-Propaganda-Konferenz „Durban II“ durch Kanada, die USA und Italien anschließen

March 10, 2009

Gemeinsame Pressemitteilung des Koordinierungsrats deutscher Nicht-Regierungsorganisationen gegen Antisemitismus, der Jüdischen Gemeinde zu Berlin und des Jüdischen Forums für Demokratie und gegen Antisemitismus

Pressemitteilung lesen.

Canada, Italy and U.S. withdraw from Durban II

March 5, 2009

Italy and the United States joined Canada and Israel as the only countries to date to have withdrawn from the upcoming Durban Review Conference, a follow-up to the infamous 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism in South Africa that was marred by anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing.

Italy must be praised for this admirable leadership in becoming the first European Union member state to withdraw, and similarly the Obama administration must be lauded for showing that the U.S. speaks with a consistent moral voice against the singling out of Israel for condemnation in the United Nations.

More in the News:
The Washington Post

Guinea-Bissau president killed

March 2, 2009

João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira, the president of the small west African country Guinea-Bissau, has been shot dead this morning.

The BBC reports Vieira’s assassination apparently came hours after the killing of the country’s army chief, General Batista Tagme Na Waie, in a bomb explosion.

The African Union and the regional bloc Ecowas both condemned the president’s assassination. The BBC says the country’s capital city of Bissau remained calm this morning following the violence, but it remains uncertain what the political fallout from the killings will be.

Guinea-Bissau is a small coastal country that has been racked by poverty, corruption, drug smuggling and political violence since its independence from Portugal in 1974.

The Guardian has a Backgrounder providing a brief history of the country and its political turmoil.

Folgt auf die Finanzkrise ein Bürgerkrieg?

February 26, 2009

Das Volk rebelliert nämlich nie allein deshalb, weil es einen schweren Sack schleppen muss, es lehnt sich nie gegen die Ausbeutung auf, denn es kennt kein Leben ohne Ausbeutung. Das Volk empört sich erst dann, wenn ihm jemand plötzlich und unvermutet einen zweiten Sack aufzubürden versucht. Er rebelliert, weil er spürt, dass du ihm mit diesem zweiten Sack betrügen wolltest, du hast ihn wie ein stumpfes Tier behandelt, den Rest seiner geschändeten Würde in den Schmutz getreten, ihn zum Idioten gemacht. Der Mensch langt nicht nach dem Beil, um seinen Geldbeutel zu verteidigen, sondern seine Würde. (Aus dem Roman König der Könige von Ryszard Kapuściński)

Steht der Zusammenbruch der öffentlichen Ordnung kurz bevor, nachdem die globale Finanzkrise die Ohnmacht der Politik (die mit einer unanständigen Umverteilung von Steuergeldern für die oberen Zehntausend reagiert, anstatt das System grundlegend zu verändern) entlarvt hat? Den genauen Zeitpunkt und die Form des kommenden Bürgerkriegs kann man noch nicht voraussehen. Dass er kommen wird, steht jedenfalls fest. Wann und wie er kommen wird, liegt noch verborgen im Schoße der Zukunft.

Es ist zumindest die ziemlich apokalyptische Prophezeiung der europäischen Denkfabrik European Laboratory of Political Anticipation LEAP/Europe 2020, die in einer Pressemitteilung vom 18. Februar 2009 verkündet wurde.

Ein ähnliches düsteres Szenario prognostiziert ebenfalls Igor Panarin, Dekan der Fakultät Internationale Beziehungen der Diplomatischen Akademie des russischen Außenministeriums: ” Der US-Dollar ist durch nichts mehr gedeckt. Die Außenverschuldung ist lawinenartig gewachsen: 1980 hatte es noch keine gegeben, 1998, als ich meine Prognose aufstellte, lag sie bei zwei Billionen Dollar, heute beträgt sie mehr als elf Billionen Dollar. Das ist eine Pyramide, die unbedingt einstürzen wird. Millionen von Bürgern haben ihre Ersparnisse eingebüßt. Die Preise und die Arbeitslosigkeit werden steigen. General Motors und Ford stehen am Rande des Zusammenbruchs. Das bedeutet, dass ganze Städte arbeitslos werden.”


Pressemitteilung European Laboratory of Political Anticipation LEAP/Europe 2020

Seit Februar 2006 vertrat LEAP/E2020 die Auffassung, dass die umfassende weltweite Krise in vier Grundphasen ablaufen würde, nämlich die Anfangsphase, die Beschleunigungsphase, die Aufprallphase und die Dekantierungsphase. Die Ereignisse der letzten zwei Jahre fügten sich hervorragend in dieses Schema. Jedoch müssen wir uns endlich in die Einsicht finden, dass die Regierenden unfähig sind, die wahre Natur der Krise zu verstehen. Denn seit nunmehr mehr als einem Jahr bekämpft die Politik mit ihren Maßnahmen nur die Symptome der Krise, nicht aber die Ursachen.

Deshalb gehen wir heute davon aus, dass mit dem vierten Quartal 2009 eine fünfte Phase der Krise einsetzen wird, in der die öffentliche Ordnung zerfallen wird.

Nach der Auffassung von LEAP/E2020 werden zwei bedeutende Phänomene diese neue Phase der Krise prägen; die kommenden Ereignisse werden damit in zwei parallelen Entwicklungen ablaufen:

A. Die zwei bedeutenden Phänomene:

1. Das Wegbrechen der globalen Finanzbasis (Dollar + Schulden)
2. Die sich beschleunigende Divergenz der Interessen der großen Staaten und der internationalen Organisationen

B. Die zwei parallelen Entwicklungen:

1. Die rasche Auflösung des gesamten gegenwärtigen internationalen Systems
2. Die Auflösung der Handlungsfähigkeit der mächtigen Staaten und großen internationalen Organisationen

Wir hatten gehofft, dass die Dekantierungsphase den Regierenden dieser Welt ermöglichen würde, die Schlussfolgerungen aus dem Zusammenbruch der Nachkriegsweltordnung zu ziehen. Man kann heute mit größtem Bedauern nur feststellen, dass solcher Optimismus nicht mehr zu rechtfertigen ist.

In den USA wie auch in Europa, in China oder in Japan handeln die Regierenden, als ob die Weltordnung nur von einer vorüber gehenden Krise erfasst wäre und es genügen würde, noch etwas Treibstoff (Liquidität, also weitere Schulden) und weitere Tinkturen (Leitzinssenkungen, staatlicher Aufkauf von wertlosen Forderungen, Konjunkturförderprogramme zu Gunsten insolventer Industriezweige) in das System zu gießen, um den Motor wieder zum Anspringen zu bringen. Sie wollen einfach nicht verstehen, dass, wie der Begriff der umfassenden weltweiten Krise, den LEAP/E2020 im Februar 2006 prägte, zu vermittelt versucht, die Weltordnung nicht mehr funktionsfähig ist. Statt verzweifelt zu versuchen, diese am Boden liegende, unrettbare Weltordnung zu retten, muss endlich die Schaffung einer neuen Weltordnung angegangen werden.

Geschichte wartet nicht, bis die Menschen für sie bereit sind. Da die Schaffung der neuen Weltordnung nicht vorausschauend und planend möglich war, wird der Zerfall der öffentlichen Ordnung während dieser fünften Phase der Krise die Welt in ein solches Chaos stürzen, dass die neue Weltordnung als Zufallsprodukt und Improvisation entstehen wird. Die beiden parallelen Entwicklungen, die wir in dieser 32. Ausgabe des GEAB beschreiben, werden für einige der großen Staaten und internationalen Organisationen tragisch sein.

Nach unserer Auffassung verbleibt nur ein sehr kleines Zeitfenster, während dem das Schlimmste noch vermieden werden kann, nämlich bis zum Sommer 2009. Dann wird die Zahlungsunfähigkeit erst Großbritanniens und dann der Vereinigten Staaten die Grundlagen des bestehenden Systems zusammen stürzen lassen und Chaos ausbrechen.

Wir gehen sehr konkret davon aus, dass der geplante G20-Gipfel April 2009 die letzte Chance für die bestehende Weltordnung ist, die aktuell wirkenden Kräfte so auszurichten, dass der Übergang in die neue Weltordnung sich mit dem geringst möglichen Schaden vollzieht.

Wenn ihnen das nicht gelingt, wird den Mächtigen der aktuellen Weltordnung die Kontrolle über die Ereignisse vollständig entgleiten, und zwar nicht nur auf globaler Ebene, sondern für einige von ihnen auch in ihren eigenen Ländern; die Welt wird in die Phase, in der die öffentliche Ordnung zusammen bricht, gleiten wie ein Schiff, dessen Ruder gebrochen ist. Am Ausgang dieser Phase des Zusammenbruchs der öffentlichen Ordnung wird die Welt mehr dem Europa von 1913 ähneln als der Welt, an deren reale Existenz die meisten noch bis 2007 glaubten.

Die meisten der von der Krise betroffenen Staaten, unter ihnen die mächtigsten dieser Erde, versuchten verzweifelt, das immer weiter anwachsende Gewicht der Krise zu schultern; sie verstanden nicht, dass sie damit die Gefahr herauf beschworen, unter dieser Last zusammen zu brechen. Sie vergaßen, dass Staaten, von Menschen geschaffen, nur solange Bestand haben, wie sich eine Mehrheit dieser Menschen mit ihnen identifiziert. In dieser 32. Ausgabe des GEAB wird LEAP/E2020 seine Analysen über die Auswirkungen dieser Phase des Zusammenbruchs der öffentlichen Ordnung auf die USA und die EU vorlegen.

Es wird für alle, Privatpersonen wie Wirtschaftsführer, dringlich, sich auf eine sehr schwierige Zeit vorzubereiten, in der ganze Bereiche unserer Gesellschaft wegbrechen werden und zumindest zeitweise oder sogar dauerhaft aufhören werden, Bestandteile der Gesellschaft zu bilden.

So wird z.B. der Zerfall des Weltwährungssystems im Sommer 2009 nicht nur den Dollar (und aller Geldanlagen in Dollar) zusammen brechen lassen, sondern das Vertrauen in alle Papierwährungen (also ohne Gold- oder Silberdeckung) massiv unterminieren. Alle Empfehlungen in dieser Ausgabe des GEAB sollen auf diese Situation vorbereiten.

Weiterhin gehen wir davon aus, dass die Staaten, die besonders monolithisch, besonders mächtig, besonders zentralistisch sind, diejenigen sein werden, die von der fünften Phase der umfassenden weltweiten Krise besonders massiv betroffen sein werden. Weitere Staaten, die unter dem Schutz dieser Staaten stehen, werden ihre Schutzmächte verlieren und damit dem Chaos in ihren Regionen ausgeliefert sein.

Fighting intensifies in Somalia

February 25, 2009

Al-Jazeera reports at least forty-eight people have been killed in Somalia since fighting broke out yesterday between militant fighters and African Union troops in the country’s capital, Mogadishu.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab, linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist group, overpowered government forces and seized control of the city of Hudur, near the Ethiopian border, early today.

Read full story.

Press Conference – Boycott Durban II!

February 21, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 11am in Berlin

Location: Presse- und Besucherzentrum, Room 4, Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung, Entrance Reichstagufer 14, 10117 Berlin

In 2001, the “UN World Conference against Racism” took place in Durban, South Africa. This event turned into a platform of hateful agitation against Israel and the jews while the world’s dictatorships attested each other clean records.

The “Durban Review Conference”, announced for April 2009, will do justice to its name. This time we shall not only witness the usual demonization of Israel (“apartheid”) but also more and more attacks on the freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom of expression. Human rights are twisted step by step to work as a means of oppression in the name of religion.

Democratic states are seriously challenged by these dangerous reinterpretations. The foundations of an open society must not be put up for negotiations! In the light of this new push, an unambiguous reaction is more than necessary. The initiators and the subscribers of the petition call Germay and other states of the European Union to boycott the “Durban 2” conference and to push forward a comprehensive reform of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council.

The initiative “Boycott Durban II”

Last year, French novelist and essayist Pascal Bruckner with his call to boycott “Durban II” gave the idea to this initiative. More than 30 journalists, authors, scientists and artists, In Europe, the United States and the Middle East have joined Bruckner’s petition, among them Lars Gustafsson, Jeffrey Herf, Benny Morris, Peter Schneider, Seyran Ates, Necla Kelek, Matthias Küntzel, Sharon Adler, Prof. Arno Lustiger and Ralph Giordano. More than 1,000 people signed the petition which will be handed over to the German Federal Government and to other EU member state governments.

To mark the end of the campaign, a press conference will be held at with Caroline Fourest and other speakers will reaffirm the necessity of a boycott.

Participants of the press conference:
– Caroline Fourest, Author/Publisher, Paris
– Nasrin Amirsedghi; Publisher, Mainz
– Alex Feuerherdt; Journalist, Bonn
– Klaus Faber; Secretary of State (ret.), Potsdam
– Anetta Kahane; Chair of the Amadeu-Antonio-Stiftung, Berlin

Moderation: Thierry Chervel; Chief Editor of the online cultural magazine Perlentaucher, Berlin

Cooperation partners: Koordinierungsrat deutscher Nicht-Regierungsorganisationen gegen Antisemitismus; Group of 25th of November u. Föderation unabh. NGOs, Suleymaniya, Kurdistan/Nordirak; Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin e.V. (MFFB)

Contact: Arvid Vormann – Phone: +49 30 50595388 – E-Mail: