Shutting down the detention camp at Guantanamo should have been, in the lingo of President Barrack Obama's favourite sport, a "slam dunk". President George W. Bush tried to do it. In the presidential campaign, John McCain was as much in favour of it as Obama. It was one of the first announcements made by President Obama after taking office.
From the moment of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 the United Nations was deliberately bypassed by the Americans, dealing a fatal blow to one of the foundations of the international order: multilateralism. Until then, this principle had been considered the only guarantee of the emergence of a collective responsibility to maintain international peace and security.
Shutting down the detention camp at Guantanamo should have been, in the lingo of President Obama’s favourite sport, a “slam dunk.” President Bush tried to do it. In the presidential campaign, John McCain was as much in favour of it as Mr. Obama. It was one of the first announcements made by President Obama after taking office, and received as proof that he meant what he said while on the stump.
IT IS inappropriate to consider the question of national reconciliation in Iraq without first recognizing the unique nature of the challenge. The best path to redemption in Iraq remains dialogue between those in power, those in opposition, the forces of the occupation, international donors and the many different antagonists.
Judged by the capacity to throw up surprise results, India's democracy is in robust health. Even Congress Party strategists exult that the results in the just-concluded elections exceed their wildest expectations. The 261-159 margin for the Congress-led alliance over that of the Bharatiya Janata Party (compared to 179-174 in the outgoing parliament) confounded analysts and exit polls.
During April, South Africans went to the polls to elect a new government, in an election widely described as the most important since the end of Apartheid 15 years ago. As expected, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) led by its populist head, Jacob Zuma, won by a landslide majority, securing 65.9% of the vote, just shy of the two-thirds threshold required to change the constitution. The country’s main opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), led by Helen Zille, former Mayor of Cape Town and newly-elected Premier of the Western Cape, following her party’s election majority in the province, took 16.6% of the vote, while the Congress of the Party (COPE), a breakaway faction of the ANC, came in third with 7.4% of the vote.
The election of Jacob Zuma to the South African presidency has raised concerns about the future of the "Rainbow Nation". "He has four wives!" read some of the headlines of the British tabloids, although we have never seen similar headlines for, say, Arab kings. It so happens that Zulus are polygamous, and that is an accepted practice under South African customary law.
With the U.S. administration marking its 100 days in office, Barack Obama has raised sky-scraping expectations for his term as president, not only at home in the U.S., but also abroad in Africa. The 44th American President is the first with an African lineage and, not surprisingly, his rise to power has triggered a wave of hope amongst Africans as they look towards the West in anticipation of new beginnings in U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic relations.
A five-day visit to Afghanistan left me profoundly pessimistic over the accomplishments to date, measured against the scale of international blood and treasure expended, yet convinced of the importance of not losing Afghanistan to the other side.
Will Jacob Zuma, a man with the bare-bones education, be able to run Africa’s largest economy?
Alberta appears to be in a box - an energy box - that constrains policy options in every direction. The province's wealth is critically tied to exploitation of its vast hydrocarbon resources. But faced with declining reserves of conventional oil and natural gas, it has been forced to turn increasingly to the tar sands, which pack a huge carbon punch. And in a warming world, carbon is seen as a menace. The strategy could severely crimp Alberta's ability to sell energy at home and abroad, even make it a pariah.
It is still at the trial balloon stage, but the administration of President Barack Obama is testing the idea of a significant shift in American policy on Iran. Instead of continuing its single-minded focus on halting Iran's uranium enrichment, an activity that breaks no international law or principle, Washington is wisely proposing to concentrate more on strict transparency and inspections standards.