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Linked Up: Human Rights, Climate Envoy, and Shiftas/Pirates/Terrorists

Neil Hicks of Human Rights First argues quite rationally in The Huffington Post why U.S. participation in the UN Human Rights Council is the only way to positively affect universal human rights norms.

WaPo has a very favorable profile -- might it be a "beat sweetener?" -- of U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern, whose job it will be to help formulate, and then convince Congress to accede to, a new emissions reductions pact.

Need a new name for pirates? How about "shiftas," a kind of north east African version of brutal Robin Hood-esque bandits? I, for one, kind of wish people would stop turning to the 19th century for solutions to a 21st century problem.

WSJ columnist Daniel Henninger, on the other hand, thinks that, instead of considering pirates terrorists, we should consider terrorists as pirates -- and then shoot them.  Hezbollah, North Korea, Hugo Chavez -- Henninger's list of baddies goes predictably on and on...

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Linked Up: Stimuluses, Ignoring Missiles, Dead Aid, and POTATO

A different sort of "don't go it alone" plea from economist Mark Thoma -- let's just say that other countries should be as stimulating as the United States.

B.R. Myers -- who researches "North Korean ideology and propaganda" for a living -- says the best way that the United States can react to a North Korean missile launch would be to not react at all.

Mike Gerson takes serious issue with the contention of Dambisa Moyo, whose book, Dead Aid, has found supporters in Congress, that all aid to Africa should be cut off within five years. Gerson's not the only one skeptical of Moyo's methodology and conclusion.

Former National Security Council staffer Mark Medish proposes that instead of turning NATO into a group of "modern Knights Templar prepared to defend a 'league of democracies,'" what the group needs is a "radical re-branding," starting, naturally with a new name -- POTATO.

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Linked Up: Famous People Edition

Award-winning author Arundhati Roy is horrified at the "brazen, openly racist war" she sees being waged by the Sri Lankan government against Tamil rebels. Perhaps Sri Lanka didn't get the memo about that whole "war on terror" phrase.

Rocker and self-described "aging activist" Bob Geldof explains in the FT how part of the reason that the financial system collapsed is because it ran roughshod over the economic well-being of the world's poor. He doesn't want to "hang the bankers," just put them to work toward "enforced co-operation."

French prez Nicolas Sarkozy, in what Dan Drezner might call another example of France's "unsurpassed superiority in world politics at doing things that make the global press pay attention to France," publishes a HuffPo piece urging "coordination and cooperation" to reform the international financial system.

And Thierry de Montbrial, while he may not be famous, has a cool name. He also has a somewhat rambly, if well-intentioned, op-ed in The New York Times, in which he seems to think arranging around "poles" could be the answer to the question of UN Security Council reform.

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Linked Up: Chukudus, Facebook Pneumonia, and North Pole Park

Anna Husarska of the International Rescue Committee extols the "chukudu," an onomotopoeic wooden scooter that's helping to liberate women, decrease criminality, and reshape the market in war-ravaged eastern Congo. Via Kristof, health activist Lance Laifer wishes that some of the 13,074,412 Facebookers devoted to the top five health-related "causes" would focus some of their energy on pneumonia (just 67 members). Coming November 2, "pneumonia 2.0," the renewed fight against a forgotten disease. Ocean scholars Scott Borgerson and Caitlyn Antrim propose turning the Arctic into an "international park" for scientific research -- and presumably feeding reindeers from frozen benches. Better get moving...the Russians are coming.
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Linked Up: Bashir’s Moods, Czech Climate Change, and Non-Congo

Mike Gerson thinks that "Bashir change" might be a better answer than "regime change" to get aid flowing in Sudan again. Pending a tyrant's change in heart, this seems like a fig leaf. Martin Bursik, the Czech Republic's deputy prime minister, urges the EU -- of which his country is currently president -- not to worry about the infamously climate change-denying pronouncements of the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus. His position on the issue, Bursik points out, brings no clout whatsoever -- which this card-carrying Green party member actually does, as the president of the EU's environment council (even if his country's government just collapsed. In Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills argue the counter-intuitive proposition that "Congo does not exist." Maybe not, but I don't think a bunch of "Congwanda"-type entities will dissuade neighbors from violating its sovereignty and plundering its minerals, either.
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Linked Up: Tourists, “Outside Forces,” and Osama

Western tourists are back in Iraq. And Baghdad's national museum is open for them to visit. The Pope makes another, er, questionable comment about Africa. "Outside forces" are more responsible for the continent's problems than condoms, I'll give him that. Osama bin Laden tries to stick his trouble-making nose into Somalia's already troublesome politics. If he sees the need to try to destabilize the country, maybe that's a good sign that it's beginning to stabilize?
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Linked Up: G-20 Supercountries, Terrorism in Somalia, Women and Girls Policy

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling writes in the WSJ that "international cooperation is the way out of the financial crisis." And that the G-20 is super. The LA Times editorial board warns (again) that we need to work with moderate Islamists in Somalia in order to prevent it from becoming a terrorist haven. (Uh, might that be just what they are doing on their own?) Ruth Levine, at the Center for Global Development blog, praises President Obama's creation of a "White House Council on Women and Girls," but urges him to make sure the focus extends to international relations, too. My take: it's a good sign that the Council is being chaired by Valerie Jarrett, a longtime Obama confidant and senior power broker.
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Linked Up: Big Population, Congressional Blogging, Drugs, and Space Ships

Andy Revkin at Dot Earth marvels at the prospect of nine billion people -- at least -- dotting the Earth by 2050. California Representative Ed Royce, the Republicans' ranking member on the terrorism, nonproliferation, and trade subcommittee, has a blog, called Foreign Intrigue. Domestically intriguing. The Guardian melodramatically laments that the UN's drug strategy has amounted to "ten wasted years." Well, the U.S. has been fighting its war on drugs longer than that, right? And finally, the UN will be hosting a panel discussion with producers and cast members of the sci-fi TV show, "Battlestar Galactica." Whoopi Goldberg is moderating, naturally.
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Linked Up: Bashir hosts, R2P, and Talking with Iran

Who says an indicted war criminal doesn't make a nice guest? Eritrea has pointedly invited Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to Asmara for a little cup of tea (support for opposing rebel groups couldn't possibly be an item on the agenda, could it?). A Sudanese rep has already set a busy schedule for his boss, who he says "will attend all Arab summits and all African summits." Law of War blogger (and self-averred neocon) Ken Anderson offers a contrarian perspective on the "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine, asking what the big fuss about "R2P" is really about, given that the bombing of Kosovo in 1999 pretty much established the ability of NATO to go around the Security Council and intervene in a country. And a few pieces from a couple days ago all make the case for the Obama Administration to engage with Iran: Mohammed Hassan Khani, a professor in Tehran, urges both sides to drop the confrontational vocabulary, be honest about interests, and make genuine efforts; this LA Times editorial counsels communication and confidence, not confrontation and contempt; and Joshua Gross, in The Christian Science Monitor, says the best place to start a "constructive dialogue" is right here at home, with Iranian-Americans.