Monthly Archives: October 2008
That definitely does not sound good.
At least 50 tonnes of cocaine from Andean countries pass through West Africa every year, heading mostly to the streets of France, Spain and the United Kingdom, where they are worth some $2 billion.
“This is probably the tip of the cocaine iceberg,” said the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, at a high-level conference in the Cape Verde capital, Praia.
Cocaine seizures have doubled every year for the past three years, with the 2007 total amounting to 6,458 kilogrammes, and major seizures this year include a 600 kilogramme cocaine bust at the airport in Freetown, Sierra Leone, this summer, according to a report launched by UNODC at the Praia meeting.
This iceberg has already caused more damage than the one that felled the Titanic, and it will take more than global warming to eliminate it. According to Mr. Costa, the cocaine problem is not only endangering West Africa’s youth and stunting its economy, it is also “a threat to public health and security” overall. And unlike an iceberg, this is a fully globalized issue, and countries from the Andes to Africa to Europe all have an interest in curtailing the drug traffic.
Soon the election will happen, and America will have chosen its next President. The constant horse race polling will stop, but the speculation will not. Of course, this speculation will obviously not be about who will be the next President, but rather who will advise, represent, and generally surround that president. Of particular interest to us here at UN Dispatch, is the President’s selection of a new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Of course, we have no idea who it will be, but it is interesting to think a bit about the position, and maybe that could give some insight into who might best fill the role.
What is not widely known about the position of Permanent U.S. Representative to the UN, or Perm Rep, is that it (like a few other major government posts) can be elevated to a cabinet-level position, should the Commander-in-Chief so desire. Indeed, the position has been part of the cabinet under some administrations, beginning with that of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and his Perm Rep, Henry C. Lodge. Other administrations, including Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, have also had UN Ambassadors as part of their cabinets, a group that includes names like Adlai Stevenson, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Bill Richardson, among many others. Some administrations have also included the Perm Rep in the National Security Council, making the Perm Rep a key adviser to the President on matters of security and foreign policy.
So beyond speculation of who the U.S. Ambassador to the UN will be, speculation should also consider what the position will be. Would an Obama administration include the Perm Rep in the cabinet? Would a McCain administration include the position as part of the National Security Council? Do the answers to those questions make a major difference in who should be selected?
What do you think?
Yesterday, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution urging the United States to drop its long-standing embargo against Cuba…for the 17th year in a row. In what an L.A. Times editorial termed one of “New York’s rites of autumn,” the lopsided vote — 185 countries voted in favor, three opposed, and two abstained — demonstrated the international consensus that U.S. policy toward the communist Caribbean island only grows more archaic by the year.
One need not agree with the GA president’s rather silly statement that Cuba is “a champion of the values that the world needs for the survival of the human species” to concur that sustaining an embargo that only harms the Cuban people and does not even let Americans travel to the country makes little to no policy sense. Here‘s the New America Foundation’s Steve Clemons on how easy it would be for the next president to improve the U.S. relationship with Cuba:
If this year’s vote is any indication, the United States is not getting any more support for its outdated embargo as the years go by. One more country than last year voted for the resolution, and the Marshall Islands flipped to the “abstained” column — leaving only Israel, Palau, and the United States sticking with this Cold War relic.
The UN has found a creative and effective way to transport sick patients in the harsh environment of Darfur.
To date, sick people in need of transportation to the nearest clinic have had to endure an uncomfortable ride atop a camel or on the back of an open horse-drawn cart, exposed to the searing heat of the sun.
But the UN refugee agency has stepped in by donating a covered wagon, with padding inside, and a donkey to pull the “ambulance.” It’s not the height of comfort but has been welcomed by the 750 refugees from Chad and the Central African Republic who reside in Mukjar, West Darfur
This is possibly an even better use for a donkey than the famous literacy-promoting “biblioburro.”
The United States should join the international criminal court. The court’s four ongoing investigations in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur and Uganda show that the court can work to prosecute war criminals. If the United States helps the ICC, the court can become even closer to its goal of deterring future war criminals.
David Kaye, Eric Schwartz and Suzanne Nossel respond below the fold.
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.