The Guardian smartly editorializes about the need to fund the World Food Program. Money concluding sentence: “Overseas development aid is about the last thing the developed world should be cutting back on.”
Michael Kleinman summarizes the back-and-forth between Jeff Sachs, Bill Easterly, and Dambisa Moyo on the merits of global development. To only dip a toe in, I’ll agree that the ad hominem attacks — or, of course, the “baby-killer” strategy — should have no place in this debate.
Joe Cirincione says there may be reason to suspect that this round of North Korean bravado may go awry from the usual pattern — but that nonproliferation is in much better shape this time.
And with much talk (including some out of this here typing machine) of China‘s influence on Pyongyang, Fred Weir wonders whether Russia could play a role in halting North Korea’s nuclear program — or whether Moscow is too “perplexed and even scared” of the impoverished and desperate Hermit Kingdom.
Max Bergmann relays the possibility of the United States engaging in “soccer diplomacy” by scheduling a match with Iran in October or November. Improving relations with Iran would be a plus, but my money is on the Americans taking the game.
Was Hezbollah behind the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri? So asks FP’s David Kenner, but he is skeptical of the Der Spiegel report that makes the provocative suggestion — conveniently just two weeks before Lebanese elections.
Erin Weir, writing from “the most remote place” she has ever visited, explores why humanitarian assistance is so hard to deliver — and why it will never be enough.
Juliet Lapidos explains for Slate why, technically, we’re still at war with North Korea. Well, except, technically, we never really were in the first place.
(image from flickr user TauSo under a Creative Commons license)
Forget the “prophet of doom.” Gideon Rachman suggests that a short story about goat prices in Somalia could have been the best predictor of the economic meltdown. And to his question of who could play the goat in the movie — might I suggest Betty, the erstwhile companion of jailed former Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda?
Reuben Brigety and Sabina Dewan of the Center for American Progress have authored a new report proposing a “National Strategy for Global Development” to go along with the customary National Security Strategy. The report urges using the Millennium Development Goals as the basis for the United States’ development strategy — now that’s progress I can believe in.
The Wall Street Journal makes the supremely trenchant point that Cuba — Cuba! — is on the Human Rights Council. Well, sheesh, somebody should have just told the Obama Administration before they joined the Council. There’s no telling how American presence could help improve the body…
(image from flickr user CharlesFred under a Creative Commons license)
Writing in The Argument, former UN Development Program representative in Iran Francesco Bastagli emphasizes that the most important dynamic in U.S. policy toward Iranian nuclear capacity is to understand why, particularly domestically, Iran is pushing for nukes. From reading this Michael Crowley post, I’d recommend taking into account the stances of neighboring Arab nations as well.
To the under-accounted potential global warming-related disasters (I’m thinking along the lines of ruined artwork, not entire island nations being swallowed up by the ocean) add mysteriously dying penguins, sardines, and baby flamingos in Chile. A study of this morbid mystery has not yet confirmed suspicions that global warming is the culprit, but for the sake of beachgoers who do not want to smell millions of dead sardines, precautionary measures can only help.
Stratfor agrees with me that the Tamil Tigers won’t necessarily need a territorial base to re-group and re-terrorize the population, and that Sri Lanka’s solution will ultimately have to be political, not military.
(image from flickr user quiplash! under a Creative Commons license)
A doubling of nuclear states in just a few years? Even if they’re “virtual nuclear states,” this is something we should be working to control.
The growth of slums worldwide evidently makes the risk of “megadisasters” even higher. The least well-off getting hit by the worst, yet again…
And Paul Krugman, not one for compromise on, say, health care, argues that we gotta take the best bill we can get through Congress when it comes to climate change.
Remember that whole swine flu H1N1 virus thing? Well, it’s still around — with a few thousand cases, according to the WHO. Might the ridiculous panic that surrounded the disease actually have been a net positive? Well, it’s good to know the WHO was prepared (even “excessively” prepared), but on balance, no, I don’t think irrational fear-mongering was a beneficial idea either.
Joe Queenan eagerly mocks environmental messaging, but doesn’t seem to make a point beyond the fact that it would be silly to start calling the ozone layer “that awesome thing in the sky.” Not far below his sarcasm is a telling reality — that WSJ readers can laugh contentedly at environmentalists’ rebranding efforts only shows that they too believe that the fight for what to call something is one of the most important in the anti-environmentalist’s crusade.
And a case against Bono and Bob Geldof — or “Bondof,” as one confused taxi driver in Ethiopia offered — as stereotype-perpetuaters and usurpers of African voices. Fair point, and “Do they know it’s Christmas in Africa?” still always makes me cringe.
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.