HUMANITARIAN AID: NEEDS; ISSUES; ORGANIZATIONS; OPERATIONS
from

Global Issues of the Twenty-First Century
and United Nations Challenges
A GUIDE TO FACTS AND VIEWS ON MAJOR OR FUTURE TRENDS

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by Christopher Spencer
Former Senior Advisor International Organizations,
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Updated: 09 AUG 11


ACCESS TO HIV PREVENTION: CLOSING THE GAP, A 40 page Report by Global HIV Prevention Working Group, (distributed after May 03 as Supplement to Foreign Affairs):-brief statement of Working Group's accomplishment states that it is region-by-region analysis of gaps in access to HIV prevention interventions; it examines current spending levels versus projected need; and it recommends funding and programmatic activities to avert 29m of 45m new HIV infections projected between 2002 and 2010.Worldwide comments; then analyses regarding regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia/Pacific, Eastern Europe/Central Asia, Caribbean/Latin America, North Africa/Middle East. Conclusions: HIV Prevention Resource Gap; RECOMMENDATIONS. Latter(each followed by argumentation) are: Global spending on HIV prevention activities from all sources should increase three-fold by 2005 to $5.7b, and to $6.6b by 2007. Because prevention efforts currently fall short of what is needed in every region of developing world, prevention scale-up must be central priority in each region. In immediate future, prevention efforts should aggressively focus on bringing to scale especially cost-effective, high-impact interventions. As both prevention and treatment programs are brought to scale, these initiatives should be carefully integrated to create singlecontinuum of services. In addition to funding prevention interventions themselves, donors should, in collaboration with multilateral agencies, provide extensive additional support to build long-term human capacity and infrastructure. Development assistance and policy reforms should address social and economicconditions that increase vulnerability to, and facilitate rapid spread of HIV/AIDS. Research into newprevention strategies and technologies should be strengthened and accelerated. Substantial and sustained efforts by all donors should focus on improving data collection regarding magnitude and nature of HIV/AIDS spending in low- and middle-income countries.

 

F.H.Abed, "Micro-Credit, Poverty and Development: the Case of Bangladesh" in Behind the HeadlinesVol.57/ No.2-3 (Winter/Spring 00):-micro-credit -small loans made to poor households/individuals to finance small-scale entrepreneurial activities- has expanded rapidly(world target is now $20b), and encouraged hope for major cost-effective global poverty-reduction. "NGOs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are largest providers of micro-credit to those sections of society - rural landless, disadvantagedwomen, marginal farmers, and wage labourers - who depend largely on selling their labour for a living" (12). These target groups reflect the fact that it is often the only way very poor can break cycle of povertyresulting from a lack of collateral and exorbitant local interest charges. It produced high success ratesnot only in poverty-reduction(and repayment:98%)but in social reform, economic development, education/training, and growth of assets for both borrowers/lenders, which is reinvested. Abed, director ofBangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, among world's largest NGO's, offers much globally-relevant information:big issues/questions; scale/approach/result; specialties(income-useful education, social development).

 

Virginia D.Abernethy Population Politics: The Choices that Shape Our Future(New York: Insight Books 93):-an influential source, frequently cited for its study of human incentives. It takes now widely-held view that developing an informed motivation to lower fertility rates(e.g. perception of limited resources)must often precede active use of contraceptives. It also makes radical proposal: total US immigration ban.[In fact, current migration from poor to rich countries barely affects demographic pressures or trends, although short-distance, large-scale movements (such as from Bangladesh to Assam)can have local impact.] G. Pascal Zachary, "An Unconventional Academic Sounds Population Alarm" in Wall Street Journal 31 Jul 98, reports that Abernethy opposed most aid to poor countries since, contrary to "demographic transition" theory(that fertility falls as living standards rise), prosperity increases fertility.[Most experts probably feel that while" transition" is much more complex than once thought, perceiving its complete reversal would:(1)confusesome immediate, with major long-term, effects of rising living standards (low OECD fertility);(2)ignore many other factors, e.g. female education; women's choice; cultural imperatives.]


Masood Ahmed & Cheryl Gray Helping Countries Combat Corruption: The Role of the World Bank(Washington: IBRD 97):-produced by World Bank's Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network(PREM). Bank's World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World(op.cit.)also deals with global corruption issues in government context but mainly descriptively, while PREM reportconcentrates on how Bank can help governments address corruption as serious development constraint. Daniel Kaufmann(op.cit.)lists more articles and books on this issue.


Salman Ahmed"No Size Fits All: Lessons in Making Peace and Rebuilding States"Foreign AffairsVol.84/No.1(Jan/Feb 05):-Review Essay by Senior Political Officer, Office of UN USG for Peacekeeping Operations who served in Cambodia, South Africa, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Iraq. Providesanalysis of the argumentation of three books: Roland Paris At War's End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict(Cambridge: Cambridge Univ.Press 04); Kimberly Zisk Marten Enforcing the Peace: Learning From the Imperial Past(New York: Columbia Univ. Press 04); John Mueller The Remnants of War(Ithaca: Cornell Univ.Press 04). All three draw"attention to important lessons that deserve serious consideration from policymakers and practitioners...Still, these authors make too much of similarities among cases they study and not enough of differences. And by using them to extrapolate bold models for state reconstruction, authors belie inherent complexities of task...Specifics of...conflicts - their scale as well as their historical geopolitical/socioeconomic roots - should inform how peace brokered/maintained. Yet none...pays enough attention to such fundamental considerations."Essay is worth reading - as a survey of all the issues faced by the UN when easing post-crisis problems.


AIDS: THIRD WORLD: COST-PATENT DILEMMA; GLOBAL ASSISTANCE

AIDS: THIRD WORLD: INFECTION RATES AND SOCIAL-ECONOMIC ISSUES

AIDS: THIRD WORLD: MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS AND CHALLENGES

AIDS: THIRD WORLD: POLICY ISSUES AND CONFERENCES

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is viewed increasingly as the most serious challenge facing global society. Almost all material on this subject is found in the media and is included in RECENT DEVELOPMENTS. To reach all media selections relating to AIDS, click on AIDS Third World.


John B.Alexander Future War: Non-Lethal Weapons in Twenty-First Century Warfare(New York: St. Martin's Press 99):-excellent study of immense potential of non-lethal weapons, and impact of global trends on aims of security. Assumed US/NATO must(via UN)be world police force. Emerging threats for armed forces/police are: powerful criminal/terrorist organizations, together with transnational/religious bodies/ groups seeing themselves as politically, economically or socially deprived. Wide range of non-lethal weaponry includes acoustic, biological, chemical, electromagnetic weapons, physical restraints, low-impact projectiles, information warfare. Useful scenarios: peace support(UN)operations; technologicalsanctions; strategic paralysis; hostages or barricades. Issues addressed: practical limitations, strategicimplications, moral opposition, legal considerations, and constraints on "winning" .


Graham AllisonNuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe(New York: Owl Books/Henry Holk & Co 05):-extremely expert/influential report argues in INTRODUCTION that:"Given the number of actors with serious intent, the accessibility of weapons or nuclear materials from which elementary weapons could be constructed, and the almost limitless ways in which terrorists could smuggle a weapon through US borders, [i]n my own considered judgment, on the current path, a nuclear terrorist attack on US inthe decade ahead is more likely than not"(15). First chapter concludes:"What all [major terrorist] groups have in common is a hatred of the US or the West, along with sophisticated organizational structuresand access to technical know-how. [U]ncomfortable fact is that being the world's only superpower isinevitably going to breed resentment of one form or another - and it is impossible to mollify every single group. Challenge to US is to prevent these organizations from acquiring the means to threaten us with nuclear attack"(42).Then describes"unique destructive power of these terrible weapons", how/where they could be obtained, and where/when/how attacks might take place(43-120). Then describes policy changes to reduce chance of attack. List: priority to issue; standard for secure nuclear weapons/material; globalalliance against nuclear terrorism; global clean-out of all dangerous fissile material; stop new national production of fissile material; shut down of nuclear black markets; block emergence of nuclear weaponsstates; full review of global nonproliferation regime; revise nuclear weapons' postures/pronouncements;global prosecuting war on terrorism(205). Emphasis is on US but essential involvement must be global.


Graham Allison"Nuclear Disorder: Surveying Atomic Threats"(74-85) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.1 (Jan/Feb 10):-this is the first of a complementary pair of topical essays on nuclear weapons problems and options. Official summary of Allison's:"The current global nuclear order is extremely fragile, threatened by North Korea's expanding nuclear weapons program, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and Pakistan's increasing instability. US President Barack Obama has put these threats at the top of his national security agenda, but the effort to prevent catastrophe will encounter serious obstacles and stubborn adversaries". Emphasized extracts:"Over the past eight years, the Pakistani government has tripled its arsenal of nuclear weapons". "Obama's mission is to bend the trend lines currently pointing toward catastrophe". Final paragraph: "The international community has crucial choices to make, and the stakes could not be higher. Having failed to heed repeated warning signs of rot in the US-led global financial system, the world dare not wait for a catastrophic collapse of the nonproliferation regime. From the consequences of such an event, there is no feasible bailout". Allison is Douglas Dillon Prof. of Government and Director of Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Univ.'s Kennedy School of Government. For annotated guide to this topic, see "What to Read on Nuclear Proliferation" at www.foreignaffairs.com/readinglists/nuclear-proliferation. Second essay: Charles D.Ferguson "The Long Road to Zero: Overcoming the Obstacles to a Nuclear-Free World"(86-94):-Official summary:"The Obama administration has embraced the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, but many political and economic obstacles stand in its way. If there is any hope of reducing the world's nuclear arsenals, US government will have to assuage the fears of nonnuclear states, diminish the presumed prestige that the ultimate weapon confers on its owners, and address the risk of proliferation posed by civilian nuclear energy programs". From first paragraph:"Over the past three years, a remarkable bipartisan consensus has emerged in WashDC regarding nuclear security. The new US nuclear agenda includes renewing formal arms control agreements with Russia, revitalizing a strategic dialogue with China, pushing for ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, repairing the damaged nuclear nonproliferation regime, and redoubling efforts to reduce and secure fissile material that may be used in weapons... In past year, President Obama has made this goal a priority for his administration..." Ferguson is President of Federation of American Scientists. From 2004-09 he was Senior Fellow for Science and Technology at Council on Foreign Relations, where he served as Project Director for the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on US Nuclear Weapons Policy. For annotated guide to this topic, same source as Allison.

 

Mark Almond, Europe's Backyard War: The War in the Balkans(London: Heinemann 94):-combination of background information on post-Yugoslav conflicts and military/political conduct to publication date. Highly critical of diplomatic actions of virtually all involved, including most Yugoslav groups, UN and European bodies. Gives prescient warning of ominous precedent set by failure in Balkans.


Lawrence K.Altman "Study Finds Drop in H.I.V. Cases in South India"NYT 31 Mar 06:-"Prevalence of new HIV infections has fallen significantly in southern India, region of that country where the disease hasoccurred most often, scientists reported. Many health officials have predicted major increases in HIV in India, which has world's second highest number of infected people, after South Africa. But new infections among young aduts declined by more than a third from 2000 through 2004, according to astatistical study. [Article contains selected statistics from study and varied information about sources.]Authors attributed favorable trend to an increasing use of condoms by men and an insistence by prostitutes that their partners use them. That decline, in turn, reduced transmission of HIV to spouses.Experts cautioned against drawing too firm a conclusion from one study and added that the new findingsdid not mean India's HIV epidemic was over. Still, the study has two key implications, researchers said.One is that strategies that emphasize education about how HIV can be transmitted and the use of condoms offer the best hope for reducing the spread of the virus in India. Second is that routine monitoring of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are powerful and cost-effective ways to control AIDS in India. But experts urged constant vigilance for signs of a reversal of the favorable trend...Reductions were more modest in 14 northern states, where prevalence of HIV infections is about one-fifth that in the four southern states".


Lawrence K.Altman "Chimp Virus Is Linked to H.I.V." New York Times 26 May 06:- "By studying chimpanzee droppings in remote African jungles, scientists reported [25 May] they have found direct evidence of amissing link between a chimpanzee virus and the one that causes human AIDS. Scientists have long suspected that chimpanzees are the source of the human AIDS pandemic because at least one subspecies carries a simian immune deficiency virus closely related to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS... The genetic and immunologic tests were developed in stages over the past seven years to help tracethe evolution of HIV and solve the mysterious origins of AIDS. [S]tudy combined genetics and epidemiology... Team's findings show 'for the first time a clear picture of the origin of HIV-1 and theseeds of the AIDS pandemic'. HIV-1 is the virus that causes the vast majority of AIDS cases in the world... Studies estimate that the human AIDS virus jumped species 50 to 75 years ago. But no one knowswho the first infected person was or how that person acquired HIV. The earliest HIV infection wasdocumented in 1959 in an unidentified man in Kinshasa[, Congo]. Team theorized that HIV was first transmitted locally somewhere in west-central Africa. Because the subspecies of chimpanzees... livesin the wild in Cameroon, Gabon and Congo Republic, the first infection could have been in any of those areas... The communities with a high prevalence of infected chimpanees were located south of theSangha River, which flows into the Congo river and on to Kinshasa. That led... to the theory that someinfected person carried HIV from a remote area to Kinshasa, where it was then passed on. It is not known whether chimpanzees infected with SIVcpz become ill... More collections were needed in other vast areas of Africa to provide a clearer picture of the evolution of AIDS and to determine if there wereother viruses that could cause epidemics like AIDS" .

 

Lawrence K.Altman "Report Shows AIDS Epidemic Slowdown in 2005"New York Times 30 May 06:- "Newsurveys suggest that global AIDS epidemic has begun to slow, with decline in new HIV infections in about 10 countries, leader of UNAID program said. Outside of those countries,.. number of new AIDS infections continues to rise or hover at its current pace. Meanwhile, public health efforts are reaching only a small proportion of people at risk, Dr.Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, said at news conference in UN NYC ...India has 5.7m infected people and South Africa 5.5m, but India's population far greater. Showing no sign of decline, South Africa has a prevalence rate of about 19% of 47m people.In India, rate is less than 1% of its population of 1.1b. Progress against AIDS in some regions represents dividends from a surge in financing since 2001, when UN pledged its commitment to stem epidemic by 2010. Declaration called for countries to report regularly on their responses to AIDS. This week, UNGAwill receive the progress that 126 countries have said they have made. Report(op.cit.), most comprehensive survey ever compiled from country data, pointed to the 2001 UN meeting as a turning point for AIDS financing. In 2005,.. world spent $8.3b on AIDS, compared with $1.6b in 2001. 'We areseeing the impact', Piot said. He cited increased condom use, a rise in postponement of sexual intercourse and a decrease in number of sex partners as factors in slowing of epidemic. Summarizing report's findings, Piot said '2005 was least bad year in the history of the AIDS epidemic'... Despite thepositive trends, Piot reported grim findings from China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Russia andVietnam(op.cit.), with signs of outbreaks in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Ending the pandemic will depend largely on changing social norms like empowering women, reducing stigma of the disease andencouraging a greater reduction in the number of sex partners, report said. Most countries have strong foundations for building an effective response against AIDS, report said, but systems to carry out plansremain inconsistent. Thoroughness of the individual national reports varied, and many countries did not provide data for all categories... Still, replies identified significant weaknesses, he said. Fewer than 50%of young people achieved comprehensive knowledge levels about HIV, far fewer than the 90% goal. Only9% of gay men and fewer than 20% of intravenous drug users received any kind of HIV prevention help in 2005. Services to prevent HIV infections in infants have not scaled up as rapidly as programs to provide antiretroviral therapy. Just 9% of pregnant women were covered... Report shows that epicenterof the epidemic remains in sub-Saharan Africa. There epidemic has reached peak, but incidence remains unacceptably high, Piot said. Across most of Africa, HIV prevalence among pregnant women attendingclinics has remained roughly level for several years. UN disputed contentions by some observers thatthe leveling off showed a turning point in the AIDS epidemic in Africa... Piot said, 'actual number of people infected continues to rise because of population growth'" ; Reuters "25 Years On, Anti-AIDS Drive Still Falling Short" NYT 30 May 06:- "Twenty-five years after AIDS first recognized, world still falling shortin its battle against the disease with severe gaps in prevention and treatment, UN said [30 May].'Response to AIDS epidemic to date has been nowhere near adequate', said UNAIDS... Since...1981,AIDS and HIV virus that causes it have spread relentlessly from a few widely scattered hot spots to virtually every country in the world, infecting 65m and killing 25m, UNAIDS said in 630p report... Anti-AIDS initiatives and their results vary widely from country to country, and many are falling short of benchmarks set in a landmark high-level UNGA session in 2001, UNAIDS said... Dr. Peter Piot of UNAIDS... expected long-term commitments at this week's meeting...and hoped for $20m annually by 2010... Global AIDS incidence rate is believed to have peaked in 1990s. About 1.3m in developing world now on life-extending antiretroviral medicines, which saved about 300,000 lives last year alone. Still, some 4.1m were newly infected and 2.8m died in 2005... Global supply of condoms was less than 50% of what was needed, and antiretroviral drugs, while more widely available, remained costly and hard to get. Ignored in many countries are prostitutes, said... ex-dir of UN Population Fund... However, final statement by governments at conference this week not expected to refer to prostitutes, drug users orhomosexuals, due to objections from Islamic nations, some Catholic countries and US, which fear thatmerely mentioning these groups would endorse their behaviour. Infected individuals still suffer fromostracism and discrimination, while vast majority of world's 40m infected have never been tested for HIVand are unaware of their status, report said. While $8.9b expected available in 2006, $14.9b will be needed, UNAIDS said. By 2008, it predicted $22.1b would be needed, including $11.4b for prevention plans alone. Report called for more and better-targeted education and prevention strategies, more treatment opportunities, and more drug research, particularly on drugs for children, whose needs 'have been largely left out of the research agenda'" ; Lawrence K.Altman "U.N. Urges Tripling of Funds by '08 to Halt AIDS" NYT 01 Jun 06:- "Stopping epidemic of AIDS will require $22b/year by 2008 and possibly more in following years, officials of UNAIDS program said. The $22b is nearly triple the $8.3b spent 05 by all sources, including governments and private sector. Urging that countries spend more, UNSG Kofi Annan said a costlier and more sustained effort needed because AIDS 'has spread further, faster and with more catastrophic long-term effects than any other disease'... Of projected figure, half is needed for prevention and a quarter for treatment and care of infected people. Remainder is for care of orphans,children at risk of becoming infected and program costs. UNSG and Piot of UNAIDS spoke as UNGAbegan meeting aimed at renewing political commitment and setting new goals for expenditures and formeasuring progress... Annan urged delegates to challenge countries trying to avoid goals that mention gay people, prostitutes, intravenous-drug users and others at high risk of becoming infected.'Governments concerned need to be realistic and responsible', UNSG said. He also said that 'if we are here to try to end the epidemic, we will not succeed by putting our head in the sand and pretending thatthese people do not exist or they do not need help'... Report cards showed that most countries missed more goals than they met. More than 20m have become infected since 2001 meeting. Now countriesmust fundamentally change the way they think and deal with epidemic, moving from crisis managementto 'sustained attention and the kind of "anything it takes" resolve that member states apply to preventing global financial meltdowns or wars' , Piot said... Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS released a study showing that private companies have become more likely to provide treatment for employees as cost of antiretroviral drugs has fallen over last six years, to $140-$300/year, from $10,000. In African countries with a high prevalence, more than 70% of companies surveyed are fully subsidizing access to HIV treatment, coalition said. Study...found increasing trend to expand such treatment to employees' dependents. Companies also offering access to voluntary testing/counseling" ; Lawrence K.Altman & Elisabeth Rosenthal "U.N. Strengthens Call for a Global Battle Against AIDS" NYT 02 Jun 06:- "[UNGA]adopted strongly worded declaration [02 Jun] aimed at pressing nations of the world to strengthen theirbattle against AIDS, global pandemic [UNSG] called 'greatest challenge of our generation'. Language of document surprised even anti-AIDS groups, which said that while it did not satisfy all their objectives, they had feared it would be watered down... Nonbinding declaration reaffirms commitments made in 01,when UN defined AIDS as far more than a medical issue, framing it in terms of political/human rights/ economic survival... New document is political blueprint, not plan of action. Calls for strong commitment to bolster the rights of women/girls so they can protect themselves from infection with HIV... Declarationcalls on countries to: use scientifically documented prevention strategies, including condoms;make clean needles accessible to drug users; take steps to provide universal access to prevention programs/ care/antiretroviral drugs. Includes politically charged terms like 'condoms' /'vulnerable groups' , thoughthose groups not specified... Countries expected to measure their progress over next 5 years against targets to be determined by UN... Said world will need to spend up to $23b/year by 2010... Earlier in day,UNSG Annan delivered a gloomy assessment, saying world was losing the battle. 'The epidemic continues to outpace us' , he told packed UNGA. 'There are more new infections than ever before; more deaths than ever before; more women/girls infected than ever before'... [US' s] Mrs.Bush speech steered away from many of the criticisms that have been labled against administration, notably that it promotes sexual abstinence over scientifically proven strategies, particularly condom use. Indeed, she said, 'ABC'model - initials stand for abstain, be faithful and use condoms - had brought sharp declines in infections in Africa. Britain's international development [minister] said in interview: abstinence alone did not work...Dr. Peter Piot [UNAIDS]said: while no docu could make anyone'100% happy', final version was 'major advance'and far stronger than weaker drafts circulating earlier in week".


Roger C.Altman "The Great Crash, 2008: A Geopolitical Setback for the West"(2-14) Foreign Affairs Vol.88/No.1(Jan/Feb 09):-official summary:"The economic collapse of 2008, the worst in over 75 years, is a major geopolitical setback for the West. It has stripped Wshdc and European governments of the resources and credibility they need to maintain their roles in global affairs. These weaknesses will eventually be repaired, but in the meantime they will accelerate trends that are shifting the world's center of gravity away from the US". Emphasized extracts:"The crisis' underlying cause was the combination of very low interest rates and unprecedented levels of liquidity". "US deficit for the fiscal year that began in Oct 08 will approach $1 trillion - or 7.5% of US GDP". Altman is Chair/CEO of Evercore Partners. Was US Deputy Treasury Secretary 93-4.


Kofi A.Annan "Peacekeeping, Military Intervention, and National Sovereignty in Internal Armed Conflict" in Jonathan Moore edit. Hard Choices: Moral Dilemmas in Humanitarian Intervention (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield 98)(for book see Moore op.cit.):-UNSG notes how UN operations forced to change radically since end of Cold War. One change been UN involvement in internal armed conflicts. "Often do not lend themselves to traditional peacekeeping treatment," requiring difficult coordinated political, military, andhumanitarian response. Meanwhile "understanding of sovereignty undergoing significant transformation" : "matter of responsibility, not just power." "[M]ust not be allowed to obstruct effective action to address problems that transcend borders or to secure human dignity." Author then provides illustrations, drawing mainly on UN role in Bosnia.

 

Kofi A. Annan, "Two Concerns of Sovereignty: International Intervention in Humanitarian Crises" The Economist18 Sep 99(49-50):-UNSG gives his views on basic issues. Inaction in Rwanda and interventions in Kosovo(no authority) and East Timor(too little too late)all justify criticism. We need consensus "not only... that massive and systematic violations of human rights must be checked...but also on ways of deciding what action is necessary, and when, and by whom." Critical points: "intervention" should not be understood as referring only to use of force; we need redefinition of sovereignty and broader definition of national interests that "would induce states to find greater unity in pursuit of common goals and values...today,collective interest is national interest" ;if force is necessary, Council must uphold Charter; act "in defence of our common humanity" ;ceasefires do not end commitments.

 

Kofi A. Annan, "Preventing War and Disaster: A Growing Global Challenge" , Annual Report on the Work of the Organization 1999, by the Secretary-General of the United Nations(New York: DPI/2058; Sales No: E.99.1.29-Sep 1999):-after a convincing plea for more cost-saving global efforts to foresee, prevent, or reduce human and natural crises, Annan summarizes all major UN activities over year to Sep 99, and selected plans and problems(in 130pp). Chapters address: peace and security; development; humanitarian issues; globalization; legal order; human rights; administration. Overall impression: hard-won progress implementing UN obligations/reforms/savings are frustrated by Members' selfishness/lack of political will/financial irresponsibility. HUMANITARIAN ISSUES and how they are handled merit a special chapter(64-75). The year under review was described as "fraught with humanitarian disasters" (64)both natural and created, many of which involved deliberate targeting of UN/NGO workers. Inter-organization coordination was improved, and study of prevention expanded, but funding's been short/imbalanced. The refugee situation(72-5) initially improved, but was then hit hard by Kosovo's complex needs.

 

Kofi A. Annan, "UN Committed to Ensuring World Water Security and 'Blue Revolution', Says Secretary-General, in Message to World Water Forum" in UN Press Release SG/SM/7334 21 Mar 00:-urgent global problem is finding huge additional quantities of affordable water to meet increasing needs of population growth/concentration and rising agricultural/industrial demand, and to make up for global pollution andfalling water tables(see Worldwatch Institute: Lester R. Brown, "Water: Emerging Constraint on Growth" (123-5)in State of the World(1999)op.cit.). Hence "world's impending water crisis" was theme of UNSG's text. He reported that "every year, more than 5 million people[over 50% children]die as a result of poor water quality - 10 times the number killed in wars...[W]ithin 25 years two out of every three people on Earth will live in water-stressed conditions. Indeed, the declining state of the world's freshwater resources, in terms of quantity and quality, may well prove to be the dominant issue on the environment and development agenda of the new century" . UN Newservice 21 Mar 00: Klaus Toepfer, UNEP head, at the Forum: "The battle for the conservation of water will be won or lost in the mega-cities of the world" .[Technology can help:]Douglas Jehl, "Tampa Bay Looks to the Sea to Quench Its Thirst" in New York Times12 Mar 00:-US appears to be just reaching the stage when many high-density areas need, or find it economic, to desalinate sea or brackish water. Tampa Bay(2.3m residents)will be the first large urban areato do so, planning the largest(25m gallons/day)desalinization plant outside Saudi Arabia(whose economics are totally different). As of writing, five states(cheaply)desalinate brackish water, while two cities which built sea-water plants decades ago, now use them for backup due to cost. But Tampa cost estimates have fallen from $4-6 per 1,000 gallons to $2.08. With several cities planning desalinization, and many more facing the need, economics/technology may now produce a global cost breakthrough. [World FDI and ODA may soon include large expenditures on desalination.]

 

Kofi A. Annan, "Common Destiny, New Resolve" , Annual Report on the Work of the Organization 2000, by the Secretary-General of the United Nations(New York: DPI/2153;Sales No.E.00.1.22-Sep 99):-UNSG begins by noting report to Millennium Summit, "We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century" (op.cit.), includes his assessment of humanity's progress and challenges at turn of millennium,and suggests ways in which international community can work together to" better lives of people still left behind" .Introduction, summarizing 130-page report on major UN activities over year to Sep 00, highlights: (1)Demands on UN humanitarian agencies far exceeded worst-case predictions; (2)Living standards in sub-Saharan Africa still declining; (3)AIDS pandemic spreads with frightening rapidity; needs stronger commitment to action; (4)Three new peace missions were created, straining UNHQ resources. (5)Reviewsanalysed UN failures in Srebrenica and Rwanda; offered recommendations. (6) controversial economicbenefits of globalization must be more inclusive/equitably shared. (7)Must be cooperative management ofglobal economic affairs through more effective governance. (8)Informal global policy networks involving governments, international institutions, civil society and private sector have great potential. Chapters: Peace/Security; Humanitarian Commitments; Development; International Legal Order/Human Rights; UNManagement.

 

Kofi A. Annan "Courage To Fulfil Our Responsibilities" The Economist 04 Dec 04(23-5):-UNSG offers global action-urging essay built on his immediate reaction to report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. Following his urgent introduction is a brief summary of Annan's alreadyconcentrated and rearranged version of the panel report's many concerns/proposals. Its value is less to summarize the panel's views than to identify subjects they and/or he discuss. "We face a world of extraordinary challenges - and of extraordinary interconnectedness. We are all vulnerable to new security threats, and to old threats that are evolving in complex and unpredictable ways. Either we allow this array of threats, and our responses to them, to divide us, or we come together to take effective action to meet all of them on basis of a shared commitment to collective security. I asked the 16 members of [panel]- eminent people representing many nations and points of view - to analyse the threats to peaceand security our world faces; to evaluate how well our existing policies and institutions are meeting them; and to recommend changes to those policies and institutions, so as to ensure an effective collective response to those threats. Their report...makes 101 far-sighted but realistic recommendations. If acted on, they would address the security concerns of all states, ensure that UN works better, strengtheninternational rule of law and make all people safer" . First: threats. Event/process leading to deaths on large scale/lessening life chances or undermines states, should be viewed as threat to innatl peace/security.Clusters: economic/social, including poverty/disease; inter-state conflict/rivalry; internal violence: civil war/state collapse/genocide; nuclear/radiological/chemical/ biological weapons; terrorism; innatl crime.Threats interconnected to unprecedented degree; no state alone can defeat. Highly enriched uranium at size of 6 milk cartons could level medium-sized city as nuclear device. Such attack in US/Europe isstaggering cost for world economy. Security of developed states only as strong as ability of poor statesto respond to/contain new deadly infectious disease. Incubation period for most is longer than most air flights, so any one of 700m who travel airlines in year could unwittingly carry lethal virus to unsuspecting state. Today, virus similar to 1918 influenza could kill tens of millions in fraction of a year. In today's worldany threat to one is truly threat to all; applies to all categories of threats. Since real limits on self-protection,all states need collective-security system, committing all to act cooperatively against dangers. Givengravity/interconnectedness of threats, world needs more active prevention. Prevention can be highly effective(Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty);WHO helped halt SARS. Best prevention agents: capable states, acting/cooperating with others. Best preventive strategy: is development support. Millennium Development Goals to halve poverty/hunger by 2015 states' best security investment. It will save lives/reduce violentconflict and radicalism/bolster state ability against threats before real harm. HIV/AIDS shows danger ofinadequate prevention. Slow/ineffective global response allowed 20m killed/20 years; spread continues andworst to come. Ultimate cost will include shattered societies. Still not taking all needed steps to bring under control. Also need public-health facilities built in poor world. Not only poorer states benefit diseasetreatment/local prevention; whole world has better defence against bio-terrorism/large-scale naturalepidemics. UNSC should work with WHO to strengthen biological security via prompt, effective responses.Equal: greater environmental collective action, including beyond Kyoto protocol to better resources management in states at risk. Prevention also vital to protect against terrorism. New isrange/scale/intensity of threat(al-Qaeda can kill around world/has struck in 10+ UN members).Could acquire instruments of massive destruction: unprecedented danger. UN must better use assets in fight against terrorists: articulate a strategy respectful of laws/human rights. Definition of terrorism offered: any action intended to kill/seriously harm civilians/non-combatants, with purpose of intimidatingpopulation/compelling action by government/innatl organization. States should use to build consensus andstrengthen UN response to deadly scourge. Also urgent recommendations on non-proliferation/disarmament/curbing supply of materials to reduce risk of nuclear/chemical/biological attacks by states/terrorist groups. States encouraged to end development of domestic uranium enrichmentand urged to voluntary time-limited moratorium on reprocessing plant construction. IAEA ability to monitorcompliance with Non-Proliferation Treaty strengthened by standards in protocol for safeguards inspections. Since Cold War, UN far more engaged in preventing/ending civil wars; ended more through negotiationsince 90 than in previous 200 years; developed expertise/learned hard lessons. As demand for UN blue helmets grows, need to boost peacekeeper supply/avoid 90s worst failures. Rich states should hastenefforts transforming existing forces for UN peace operations. UN must invest in mediation/support peace agreement implementation. Demobilize combatants/reintegrate into civil life; otherwise civil wars not successfully ended/other goals(democracy/justice/ development)remain unmet. Often innatl community lost focus if crisis high point past/peacekeepers left. Propose UNSC create Peacekeeping Commission; to givestrategic focus for work in states under stress/emerging from conflict. If prevention/peaceful resolution fails, UN must be able to rely on force. Whatever reason: all states/UNSC should bear in mind basic guidelines/questions: (1)Seriousness of threat: does it justify force?(2)Proper purpose: does proposed force halt/avert threat?(3)Last resort: all non-military options explored/exhausted? (4) Proportional means: force proposed minimum necessary?(5)Balance of consequences: clear action not worse than inaction? No need to amend Art.51 of UN Charter: any state's right of self-defence against armed attack/pre-emptive action against imminent threat. However if states fear threats, neither imminent nor proximate, but which could culminate in horrific violence if left to fester, UNSC already powered to act/must be prepared to take action earlier than past, when asked/reliable evidence. Protection of civilians inside states long fraught with controversy. Yet recognized more widely that question better framed, not as intervene-right but protection-responsibility - borne first/foremost by states. Panel agreed principle of non-intervention in internal affairs cannot protect committing genocide/large-scale ethnic cleansing/othercomparable atrocities. I hope UN members agree/UNSC will act. UN(now nearly 60)born in very different time/world, so has under-appreciated record of adapting to new dangers, e.g. peacekeeping in world's civil wars/response to attack of Sep 01. Clearly needs far-reaching reform to prevent/respond to all current threats. Some propose via-UN collective response too difficult/not necessary. But all anti-threat actions impact beyond immediate context/all states benefit from shared global framework. Not mean UN needs to do everything. It must learn of share burdens/welcome help from others/work with them. Already does so; report recommends strengthened UN partnerships with regional organs/individual states. Great attention: UNSC reform. Objectives: make UNSC more effective/authoritative. Permanent membership devised(1945)to ensure active engagement of big powers to maintain peace/security. New permanent members matter of controversy/debate. Two suggestions, both expanding membership to 24; aim at: add those who contribute most to UN financially/militarily/diplomatically; ensure UNSC represents UN as whole;not expand veto, which would render decisions more difficult. Proposals offer chance breakthrough in year ahead. If acted on, UNSC more representative/better equipped for decisive action. Need strengthened UN secretariat that can support Peacebuilding Commission; implement UNSC/ committee decisions better on peacekeeping/mediating civil wars. Report envisages more concerted-action secretariat, with UNSGmore responsible for management/accountability. Equally important: ECOSOC overhaul to strengthen role in social development/improving knowledge on economic-social dimensions of security threats. Also, recommends Human Rights Commission better defender of rights of all. After 60 years, once again findworld mired in disillusionment and all too imperfect. Easy to stand at sidelines and criticise/talk endlessly about UN reform, but world no longer has that luxury. Time to adapt collective security system so it works efficiently/effectively/ equitably. Next year UN states reviewing progress on Millennium Declaration; world leaders' summit in Sep. Appropriate moment to act on some of most important recommendations in report.I will indicate which call for decisions at that level. Fervently hope world leaders will rise to challenge. Have all lived through period of deep division and sombre reflection. Must make 05 year of bold decision; all share responsibility for each other's security. Let's summon courage to fulfil responsibility." Complete text of "A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility" Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, plus initial comments by requester/addressee, UNSG Kofi Annan, can be read and even copied(99pp Acrobat Reader)from Secretary General's part of UN file (www.un.org). Executive Summary(8pp Acrobat)also available at same address. Capturing the 21st Century Security: Prospects for Collective Responses(Oct 04)collects reports from six Stanley Foundation conferences in 04 that dealt with UNSG panel. Report at http://reports.stanleyfoundation.org. Council on Foreign Relations "Q&A: Reforming the United Nations" 01 Dec 04:-originally available either by NYT>CFR>International>[title] or via CFR directly. This is expert interview with Lee Feinstein who" has spearheaded Council work on the United Nations" and studied the important UN report and its UNGA prospects.

 

Clair Apodaca, Michael Stohl, George Lopez, "Moving Norms to Political Reality: Institutionalizing Human Rights Standards through the United Nations System" (185-220)in The Future of the United Nations System: Potential for the Twenty-First Century(New York: UN Univ. 98):-extremely useful study of UN human rights structures, treaties and activities, employing a new sense that state legitimacy derives from internal order and regard for standards. Four main UN purposes include promotion of human rights, set down in Universal Declaration(48)and amplified in two International Covenants(76).All three now binding on all states. Many more specific UN System treaties, with recent emphasis on Humanitarian Law.Growing human rights roles of NGOs, High Commissioner and complex UN structures are explained.Reform proposals involve structure, NGO protection and regional action.


Reza Aslan No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam(New York: Random House 05):-The widely-read author defines his aim in the Prologue: "This book is not just critical reexamination of the origins and evolution of Islam, nor is it merely an account of the current struggle among Muslims to define the future of this magnificent yet misunderstood faith. This book is, above all else, an argument for reform"(xx). William Grimes, in his New York Times 04 May 05 review, quotes the book:"What is taking place now in the Muslim world is an internal conflict between Muslims, not an external battle between Islam and the West"(248). Grimes himself argues: "[Islam's] history, grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined, takes up nearly all of 'No god but God'. Aslan... has written a literate, accessible introduction to Islam.,. carefully placing its message/rituals in historical context. Complete with glossary/annotated bibliography, it could easily serve as a college textbook". The 310-page book includes 21st century arguments: "[T]he attacks of 11 Sep 01 were not a defensive strike against a specific act of aggression against Islam. They were never sanctioned by a qualified mujtahid. They made no differentiation between combatant/noncombatant.,. indiscriminately killed women, children, and approximately 200 Muslims. In other words, they fell far short of the regulations imposed by Muhammad for a legitimate jihadi response, which is why, despite common perception in the West, they were so roundly condemned by the vast majority of the world's Muslims"(87). "Tragic events of 11 Sep... initiated a vibrant discourse among Muslims about meaning/message of Islam in 21st century... It may be too early to know who will write the next chapter of Islam's story, but it is not too early to recognize who will ultimately win the war between reform/counterreform... But the cleansing inevitable, and tide of reform cannot be stopped. Islamic Reformation is already here"(266).


Associated Press," Researchers Produce a Healthier Rice" in New York Times 14 Jan 00: -item reports that " scientists have genetically engineered a type of rice that could end vitamin A deficiency in the developing world" . About 14m children worldwide are deficient; so besides reducing widespread blindness, raising vitamin A levels could prevent 1-2m deaths a year. Swiss researchers successfully spliced three genes into rice to make it rich in beta carotene, a source of vitamin A. While tests are ensuring the original nutritional value is maintained, the famous International Rice Research Institute(IRRI) is working tobreed the trait into popular rice varieties. New developments are reported in David Barboza, "AstraZeneca to Sell a Genetically Engineered Strain of Rice" NYT 16 May(Note to Anthony DePalma," Super Seeds Sweeping Major Markets..." ).

 

Associated Press, "Number of Refugees Grows Worldwide" New York Times 13 Jun 00:-World Refugee Survey 2000, issued by prestigious US Committee for Refugees, claims that at end of 20th Century there were35m people worldwide "uprooted and in need of protection." Conflict contributed 7m to this in 99 alone, and despite UN success in ending some long-term disputes following end of Cold War, this estimated total had risen from 29m in 90. Moreover, of these, 13.7m are found in Africa(4.4m in Sudan alone).Another trend has been continually growing number of refugees that for various reasons remain in their own countries:Internally Displaced Persons. Identified IDPs now number at least 4m, and clearly demand higher priority from UN-UNHCR since they are not afforded same legal protections and care as" international" refugeesunder Geneva Conventions. On other hand, there is hope that some sources of refugees and IDPs may bein sight of permanent solution. Elizabeth Rosenthal, "Famine in North Korea Creates Steady Human Flow into China" NYT 10 Jun:-report on motives and stratagems of North Korean refugees within/outside their country. Any moves towards Korean reconciliation could have major and rapid effect on this crisis. For evenlonger-term look at issue of unwilling migration, AP reports "Conference Addresses Migration" NYT 10 Jun:-experts Paris meeting organized by Universal Academy of Cultures concluded "globalization demands greater moral responsibility and intervening in sovereign nations is plausible response to misery that drives populations beyond their borders." Those seeking political asylum increased from 250,000 in 87 to 900,000 in 92, but then declined to 388,000 in 98,perhaps reflecting growing influence of such perceptionin UN. Meanwhile, if Europe's population falls 100m by 50, migration waves may become beneficial.

 

Associated Press, "Activists Seek Cluster Bomb Ban" New York Times 08 Aug 00:-British arm of International Campaign to Ban Land Mines has called for global moratorium on use, manufacture and sale of cluster bombs, pending in-depth review of their legality and impact. While designed to scatter immediately-exploding "bomblets" over large area, significant numbers of bomblets fail to explode on first impact; so effectively become land mines. By causing civilian casualties for years after hostilities end, charged their use is "indiscriminate and in clear breach of international humanitarian law." Group calls for laws requiring clearance after combat, compensation of civilian casualties and deployment records.Reuters, "UK Anti-Land Mine Group Seeks Ban on Cluster Bombs" NYT 8 Aug :- gives similar facts, but adds bomblets can blight farmland, impede economic recovery, grow in lethality over time.

 

Associated Press "Nations Vow to Fight Urban Blight" New York Times 09 Jun 01:-results of five-year-review of progress in meeting UN Habitat Agenda, agreed upon at 96 global summit on urban issues in Istanbul. New York review conference produced UN Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium which reaffirmed commitment to Agenda principles regarding "adequate housing for all and sustainable development of world's cities" -no easy task since many countries" openly admit they have made little progress since Istanbul meeting. More than 1b...still lack adequate housing[out of 3b(50%)global urban population, and since f]ast-growing slums are common on outskirts of Asian, Africa and Latin American cities" .Textual crises overcome involved Palestinian proposal to criticize Israel, and US refusal to reaffirm adequate housing as "human right" .

 

Associated Press"Ugandans Report Mixed Messages on AIDS Plan"New York Times 18 Mar 06:-"Question of why Ugandans didn't use a condom is at the heart of a dispute between some health activists and US government. Activists, as well as some Ugandan officials, accuse US of blunting the condom message in favor of abstinence, while the Americans say they are victims of misinformation and have actually increased nearly tenfold the number of condoms they supply to this African nation of 26 million...Billboards urging condom use have disappeared from the capital, Kampala. In their place are posters, some funded by US government, urging youth to delay sex until marriage... HIV prevalence crept up to 7.1% in 2004-5, after stagnating at around 6% preceding three years, according to government figures";

 

Associated Press"AIDS Said Orphaned 1.5M Asia - Pacific Kids"New York Times 22 Mar 06:-"AIDS hasorphaned an estimated 1.5m children in Asia-Pacific region, but they are often overlooked in the mix of other issues surrounding a disease that has historically focused on adults, officials told a regional conference... About 121,000 children in the region have been infected by the disease, according to UNAIDS figures from 2004. Another 35,000 also need anti-retroviral drug treatment to survive. Three-day meeting has drawn some 250 delegates from UN agencies, governments and NGOs to Hanoi to discusswhat can be done to limit spread of the disease among youth and how to help children already infected or orphaned by it... UNICEF regional director... said there needs to be increased prevention efforts targeting youth, more focus on prevention of mother to child transmission, provision of drugs to children suffering from the disease, and creation of support groups for kids infected with the virus or orphaned by it... A Save the Children survey... found that many children cannot go to school becausesomeone in their family is sick with the disease, they are commonly ridiculed and ostracized by society and are sometimes forced to work as slaves or sex workers after becoming orphans"; AP"Group Warns of More Child AIDS Deaths"NYT 24 Mar 06:-"Number of children orphaned by AIDS in East Asia-Pacificregion could grow from 450,000 to 1.7m in less than a decade if resources aren't increased for prevention and treatment, UNICEF official said... Also said number of child deaths could reach nearly 20,000 a year during that time if more isn't done... It would take up to $5.5b annually until 2015 to lessen effects of HIV/AIDS on children in the region, in increasing to an estimated $6b a year after that, he said... [UNICEF epidemiologist also said] there are an estimated 450,000 children in the region who have lost one or both parents to the disease, and that could grow to 1.7m by 2015 without more funding... A documentreleased at end of conference called for reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV,boosting steps to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and enhansing care and protection for children. Other provisions included more pediatric HIV testing and greater access to anti-retroviral drugs for children.HIV/AIDS epidemic is growing faster in East Asia than anywhere else in the world. In many countriesepidemic still largely concentrated in high-risk groups.

 

 Associated Press"AIDS Conference Ends With Appeals"New York Times 26 Apr 06:-"International AIDS conference [in Cape Town, of 1,000 scientists/researchers,] ended [26 Apr] with impassioned appeals to political/pharmaceutical industry leaders to fund development of a virus-killing [vaginal] gel to protect women from the disease and so save millions of lives. Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS,.. said safe/effective microbicides could be ready in 5-7 years, with only minimal additional funding, and thus turn the dream of saving millions of lives into reality... In the hard hit African countries, women account for nearly 60% of infections. Most are infected through heterosexual intercourse... UNAIDS/WHO have long promotedmicrobicides as a potentially valuable weapon in fight against the epidemic, not least because it allows women to protect themselves without having to rely on partners who refuse to wear a condom or befaithful. Yet despite this, research has proceeded slowly. [Piot] said investment in microbicide development should be doubled - and even then would still only reach about US$150m per year...Microbicides can take the form of a gel, cream, sponge or ring that releases an ingredient that can kill or deactivate HIV during intercourse. There are currently five different products being tested[, mainly in Africa on thousand of women]. Dozens of agents that could interrupt HIV transmission have so far beenidentified. There are also hopes that the microbicides could be used to prevent other sexually transmitteddiseases and unwanted pregnancies. One of the products, cellulose sulphate, has the potential to bea contraceptive and shield against HIV... Another microbicide, Carragard, coats vaginal cells and preventsthe virus from entering...Much of funding for research comes from Gates Foundation and US government... Trying to dismiss fears that microbicides would mainly be used in developing countries and therefore offer only low profit margins, [WHO] cited their potential for use in contraception in wealthy countries".

 

Associated Press "Annan Paints Grim Picture to Assembly"New York Times 19 Sep 06:-"Addressing world leaders for last time as UNSG, Kofi Annan painted a grim picture of an unjust world economy, global disorder, widespread contempt for human rights, and appealed for nations/peoples to truly unite. As theannual UN General Assembly [UNGA] ministerial meeting got under way, 192 UN member states facedambitious agenda including trying to promote Mideast peace, curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, get UN peacekeepers into conflict-wracked Darfur, promote democracy... Annan, whose second five-year term ends 31 Dec 06, said the past decade has seen progress in development, security, rule of law - the threegreat challenges he said humanity faced in first address to UNGA in 97. But UNSG said too many still exposed to brutal conflict, and fear of terrorism has increased clash of civilizations/religions. Terrorismbeing used as pretext to limit or abolish human rights, and globalization risks driving richer and poorer apart, he said. 'Events of last 10 years have not resolved, but sharpened, three great challenges - unjust world economy, world disorder, and widespread contempt for human rights and rule of law', Annan said.'As result, we face world whose divisions threaten very notion of an international community, upon which this institution stands. I remain convinced that only answer to this divided world must be a truly United Nations' , he said. In annual report, UNSG touched on some of most difficult issues confronting leaders... [Arab-Israeli conflict; Iraq; Afghanistan; Sudan/Darfur]. 'Together we have pushed some big rocks to top of the mountain, even if others have slipped from our grasp and rolled back. But this mountain... is best place on earth to be',UNSG said.'I yield my place to others with an obstinate feeling of hope for our common future', Annan said. [UNGA] loud applause/rose in sustained standing ovation".

 

Enrico Augelli & Craig Murphy"Lessons of Somalia for Future Multilateral Humanitarian Assistance Operations"Global Governance Vol.1/No.3 (Sep-Dec 95):-detailed account of what went wrong in Somalia, and why. For another analysis of this important case, see Sapir and Deconinck in Weiss (1995) op. cit.


Séverine Autesserre"The Trouble With Congo: How Local Disputes Fuel Regional Conflict"(94-110)Foreign Affairs Vol.87/No.3(May/Jun 08):-official summary:"Although the war in Congo officially ended in 2003, 2m people have died since. One of the reasons is that the international community's peacekeeping efforts there have not focused on the local grievances in eastern Congo, especially those over land, that are fueling much of the broader tensions. Until they do, the nation's security and that of wider Great Lakes region will remain uncertain". Emphasized extracts:"Congo is now the stage for the largest humanitarian disaster in the world - far larger than the crisis in Sudan. [I]nternational actors must tackle situation in Congo from the ground up". Autesserre is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia Univ.


Deborah Avant "THINK AGAIN: Mercenaries" Foreign Policy No.143(Jul/Aug 04):-a correction of ten public (mis)concepts about the current activities and value of (mainly US-employed) PRIVATE SECURITY FIRMS vs (traditional) MERCENARIES. (See also Sarah V.Percy op.cit.) Avant first offers widely-believed view about such firms ("Quoted/Under-lined Phrases"); then states a FIRM ONE/TWO-WORD REACTION; then says at length her views of the actual truth. "Private Security Companies Are Mercenaries" -NO. "'Mercenary'describes wide variety of military activities, many of which bear little resemblance to those of today's... corporate endeavours that perform logistics support, training, security, intelligence work, risk analysis, and much more". "The Bush Administration Has Dramatically Expanded Use of Military Contractors" -WRONG. "US ramped up military outsourcing during 1990s, after end of Cold War brought reductions in force size and numerous ethnic and regional conflicts emerged requiring intervention" ."Contractors Don't Engage in Combat or Other Essential Military Tasks" -FALSE. "Although... Rumsfeld said Pentagon would outsource all but core military tasks, these tasks are changing, and military contractors perform many of them. Contractors have technical expertise to support increasingly complex weapons systems [and intelligence services for war on terrorism]". "Military Contractors Are Cheaper than Regular Soldiers" -PROVE IT. "Two conditions must be present for private sector to deliver services more efficiently than government: competitive market and contractor flexibility in fulfilling their obligations. [G]overnments frequently curtail competition to preserve reliability and continuity [and] impose conditions that reduce contractors' flexibility" . "Contractors Are Accountable to No One" -AN EXAGGERATION. "Many governments regulate security contractors to greater or lesser degrees ... Contractors are accountable to range of employers and respond most effectively to market incentives... Use of contractors to avoid governmental accountability is more worrisome. "Contractors Value Profits More than Peace" -NOT ALWAYS. "Although many critics argue that military contractors have economic interest in prolonging conflict rather than reducing it, employees of private military companies rarely have been accused of aggravating conflict intentionally to keep profits flowing". "Contractors Operate Outside the Law" -FREQUENTLY "Legal status of contractors varies considerably. Sometimes they are subject to laws of territory in which they operate and other times to those of their home territory, but too often distinction is unclear... Status of contractors is even more contentious under international law. Most... activity falls outside purview of 1989 UN Convention on Mercenaries" . "Only Governments Hire Private Security Companies" -WRONG. "Security contractors work for governments, transnational corporations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Oil, diamond, and other extractive industries hire contractors to guard their facilities, and UN and NGOs employ convoy guards. In Iraq, nearly every foreign entity... requires private security". "UN Should Outsource Peacekeeping to Private Contractors" -NO. "Those who advocate that UN hire private contractors are not looking to replace UN peacekeeping forces. Rather, they hope to make them more flexible and easier to use... Outsourced peacekeeping is... unlikely. UNSC and UNGA have been reluctant to consider it because of weak governments' concern that private security forces could be used against them". "Private Military Contractors Undermine State Power" -NOT ALWAYS. "Contractors undermine states' collective monopoly on violence. Fact that US, Britain, Australia and UN hire private security makes it hard for nations that oppose military contracting to restrict security firms based in their country" . For another excellent (different) description of current use of mercenaries, see The Economist 04 Nov 06"Mercenaries: Blood and Treasure" (70-1) :-Highlight is: "In recent decades, mercenaries... pushed to the wilder edges of global conflict: the 'dogs of war' who fight nasty little campaigns in Africa. But for a new kind of soldier of fortune, the fighting in Iraq has proved to be a pot of gold". Item's own summary:"After the windfall of Iraq, where is the next fortune to be found?".


Lloyd Axworthy and Sarah Taylor, "A Ban for All Seasons: The Landmines Convention and Its Implications for Canadian Diplomacy" International Journal Vol.LIII/No.2(Spring 98):-almost entirely on techniques used to persuade 122 governments to sign Convention(Dec 97)to eliminate the manufacture/use/export of anti-personnel landmines. Thrust: "Ottawa process" required governments and civil society to work together as team. This "soft power" approach is more appropriate because of changed international issues/relations/outcomes that also call for more focus on human(vs state)security and humanitarian law.(See Hampson-Oliver op.cit.)The Economist 04 Dec 04 "Lifting Landmines: Easy To Lay, Hard To Dig Up" (46):-describes how one of world's worst minefields being cleared, and reports on techniques/global issues, at the time of an international landmine conference in Nairobi. "Rats, sniffer dogs and armour-plated bulldozers can help, but most mine-clearing still done by hand, usually by man with pointed stickand plastic mask." Those in Angola use no metal detectors since ground scattered with bullet casings as well. De-miners are rarely killed. "In five years since global ban agreed in Ottawa, nearly 40m landmines ...destroyed. Most were in stockpiles, but some 4m were painstakingly found and dug up. Nonetheless,devices still kill or maim 40 people/day...Some armies, such as Sudan's, continue to plant them.Guerrillas and rebels respect no treaties. Only complete destruction of existing stocks and end to manufacture would cut off supply. But that would require all countries to sign up to Ottawa treaty. So far144 countries have, but China, Russia, Pakistan, India, US still refuse. China...considering signing, butUS will not, mostly because minefields help keep North Koreans out of South Korea...US plans to switch to using mines that self-destruct after a few weeks(though not always reliably)will be used as excuse never to sign treaty. Men...will be prodding gingerly for long time yet."

 

Robert Baer"THE FP MEMO:- Wanted: Spies Unlike Us"Foreign Policy No.147(Mar/Apr 05):-former CIA case officer 1976-97, and author -See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism(New York: Crown Publishers 02), drafts a MEMORANDUM from himself to Porter Goss, U.S. Director of Central Intelligence, entitled"Getting the CIA Back in the Game". He writes"CIA is clearly broken, and you have a chance to fix it... Reform is needed across the board, but the Directorate of Operations(DO) should be your first target. Its mission - recruiting and running foreign spies - should be the agency's core function.Give DO the tools it needs, and intelligence analysis will take care of itself...Here are my suggestions(forming remainder of the MEMO under following headings): Reform the Promotion System; Know Your Sources;Recruit on College Campuses; Lower the Retirement Age; Stop Relying on Foreign Governments;Change the Security Clearance System; Recruit on the Dark Side. [I would myself disagree with the proposed total lack of cooperation with the world's 200 or so "Foreign Governments". Even the US could not gain unilaterally all the global information it is going to need. The global danger of all types/sources of terrorism in the world can only be constrained if all governments ideally/ostensibly work together.Genuine intelligence activity abroad could/would lie on top of that.]


Sydney D. Bailey and Sam Daws, The Procedure of the U N Security Council (Third Edition)(New York: Oxford Univ. Press 98):-clearly most complete, authoritative and readable reference book on how UNSC works(or doesn't). With Council often in news and Canada member, knowing better what going on, and why, of practical value. There are 400 pages, but all can be read through quite painlessly as sprinkled with amusing anecdotes. For reference, chapters address distinct topics: The Constitutional Framework(how and why extraordinary Charter role);The Council Meets(ever more secret huddles; what about; how methodschange);The People(S-Gs; Presidents; dreaded P5; from polite quips to slugfests);Diplomacy and Debate(how debates are won -or stalled while your side wins war);Voting (various species of votes;skullduggery with veto);Relations with Other Organs(phantom Military Staff; UNGA hordes; TrusteeshipCouncil immortality; eternal votes over ICJ judges; more skullduggery over S-Gs);Subsidiary Organs(planting acorns or pulling weeds);New Charter, New Members, New Rules, New Working Practices, or New National Policies?(UNSC reform deadlock and how to ignore it).Plus 200 pages of Appendices, on everything. To complete picture, Election of Nonpermanent Members described by Malone(op.cit.).


Carter F.Bales & Richard D.Duke "Containing Climate Change: An Opportunity for U.S. Leadership"(78-89) Foreign Affairs Vol.87/No.5(Sep/Oct 08):-official summary:"Greenhouse gas emissions are harming the environment and the global economy. After cleaning up its own act, US must enlist developing countries in a new climate-control regime that promises to dramatically reduce emissions and encourage energy efficiency and the development of clean-energy technology". Emphasized extracts:"A cap-and-invest strategy would allow US to develop a clean economy at little or no net cost". "Time has come for US to lead the fight against global warming at home and abroad". Bales: Managing Partner Emeritus of Wicks Group of Companies. Duke: Director of Natural Resources Defense Council's Center for Market Innovation.


Ben Barber"Feeding Refugees, or War? The Dilemma of Humanitarian Aid"Foreign Affairs Vol.76/No.4 (Jul/Aug 1997). - describes the standard techniques used increasingly by combatants to exploit refugees for cover and to obtain aid supplies. Recommends: disarming camps; careful siting of refugees; aid distribution by selected agency and recipient; barring aid from interested parties; full information.


Scott Barrett Why Cooperate? The Incentive to Supply Global Public Goods (New York: Oxford Univ Press 07):-surprisingly well written -considering the complexity of issues- in: (1) describing the existing global challenges (e.g. climate change, nuclear proliferation, worldwide pandemics) and those that threaten the entire planet (e.g. terrorism, physical/chemical/biological instabilities, asteroids); and (2) reporting on how such problems have been successfully or badly handled in the past, the rationales involved, and the various cooperations that would/might work best in future. Barrett's "threat" approach differs from my item "EARTH MUST COOPERATE...", mainly in stressing "Global Public Goods" actions of the recent past (e.g.often successful United Nations; wonderful "Montreal Protocol" ozone treaty), whereas my gloomy and concentrated "page" is designed almost solely to identify: (1) the exploding scale/variety of global threats; (2) the human tendencies that have created/will create them; and (3) why we must change a number of very old human views/feelings. Both press broader global diplomacy as essential tool. Most chapters focus on distinct types of issue/solution. [Even a study of brief bit(s) of 275p would be valuable.] Titles: Incentives to Supply Global Public Goods [GPG]; (1) Single Best Efforts: GPG that Can Be Supplied Unilaterally or Minilaterally; (2) Weakest Links: GPG that Depend on States that Contribute the Least; (3) Aggregate Efforts: GPG that Depend on Combined Efforts of All States; (4) Financing and Burden Sharing: Paying for GPG; (5) Mutual Restraint: Agreeing What States Ought Not to Do; (6) Coordination and Global Standards: Agreeing What States Ought to Do; (7) Development: Do GPG Help Poor States?; Conclusion: Institutions for Supply of GPG.


Felicity Barringer "Nations Ranked as Protectors of the Environment"New York Times 24 Jan 05:-2005 has produced"index of environmental sustainability, which ranks nations on their success at such tasks asmaintaining/improving air and water quality, maximizing biodiversity and cooperating with other countries on environmental problems...Report is based on 75 measures, including rate at which children die from respiratory diseases, fertility rates[of what?], water quality, overfishing, emission of heat-trapping gases, and export of sodium dioxide, crucial component of acid rain. Report also cited statisticallysignificant correlation between high-ranking countries and[those]with open political systems/effective governments."Top ten out of 146 countries studied were(in their order):Finland, Norway, Uruguay, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Switzerland, Guyana, Argentina, Austria. US ranked 45th, behind such countries as Japan, Botswana, Bhutan, most of Western Europe. Lowest-ranking country was North Korea; others near bottom were Haiti, Taiwan, Iraq, Kuwait. Index is second produced in collaboration with World Economic Forum(Davos, Switzerland).

 

Warren Bass "The Triage of Dayton" Foreign Affairs Vol.77/No.5(Sep/Oct 98):-highly critical account of US/UN actions and inactions relating to 95 Dayton Accords on Bosnia.(Full account of negotiations: Holbrooke op.cit.)Seems to take it as given that" Serbs"and they alone committed both aggression and ethnic cleansing, and hence required punishment, not mediation. Argued that early "lift and strike" policy by US against Serbs(regardless of UN ground forces' vulnerability as decided by UNSC)could have let US(sic) "stay true to its avowed ideals of multiethnic tolerance, liberal democracy and reversing aggression."

 

Jean-Francois Bayart, Stephen Ellis and Beatrice Hibou The Criminalization of the State in Africa(Oxford:James Currey 99):-inevitably researched unscientifically, seeks to explain multiple political-economic crises of Africa(i.e.south of Sahara)as whole. "African specialists" after lamentingdemography/stagnation-acerbated poverty/hyper-urbanization, highlight certain developments: facade of democratic transition/structural adjustment/other reforms; armed conflicts' continuation or spread; above all, elites' massive involvement in corrupt/criminal activities(drugs/other smuggling; political-financial/other fraud; coercion/violence).While driven by change, these African reactions show historicalinfluence of approving accumulation of power and wealth through devious personal initiative. Thusnationalism, government and law are simply used; their criminalization culturally-rooted.

 

Barbara Beck "The Economics of Ageing: The Luxury of Longer Life" The Economist 27 Jan 96(Survey 1-16):-longer average lifespans worldwide are raising global, and not simply national, problems in fields like economics and finance, travel and migration, medicine and health care, social and cultural change, and even moral standards.

 

Elizabeth Becker "Number of Hungry Rising, U.N. Says" New York Times 08 Dec 04:-UN agency Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO)makes ominous report: for first time in almost decade, estimated number in the world going hungry has increased. Despite overall increase in global wealth, FAO states, after slow/steady decrease, chronically hungry rose to nearly 852m(18m increase since 00); 5m children are dying of hunger annually. FAO senior claimed world now producing more than enough food, so problem is access to jobs/resources/land/money to buy food. UN's International Labor Organization (ILO)reported that record 1.4b(half world's workers)earn less than $2 daily. Oxfam reported that global aid budgets now total half of level in 60. Yet UN's Millennium Development Goals, pledged by all the world's governments, set targets to halve extreme poverty/hunger by 15." At least 80% of world's chronically hungry live in rural areas and over half...subsistence farmers. Competition from world's wealthiest farmers, heavilysubsidized by rich governments,...blamed in part for the inequity. Trade ministers have promised to continue working to reduce agricultural subsidies/supports at global trade talks next year [WTO].In measuring hunger [FAO] considers calorie intake/amount of food available/inequities in access to food supplies. Thirty countries [Asia/ Africa/Latin America] cut percentage of hungry people at least 25% over last decade by reducing conflict/focusing... programs on rural areas/small farmers.[This is fundamentally critical, since]children under three most vulnerable to disease/death. Without proper nutrition, it is difficult for these children to ever recover/lead productive lives."


Samuel R. Berger "Foreign Policy for a Democratic President" Foreign Affairs Vol.83/No.3(May/Jun 04):-aimed at those concerned about weaknesses in US foreign policy of Bush regime, andneeds/opportunities in modified policies of any Nov 04-elected Democratic(or amended)regime. Most issues discussed of global relevance, and many stress US relations with foreign entities, particularlyNATO/UN/international law. This mentions those of global importance discussed in some detail. US administration's "high-handed style and its gratuitous unilateralism" about its military, economic and cultural aims, embittered even those abroad most likely to embrace US values. New US regime "no moreurgent task than to restore...global moral and political authority, so when we decide to act we canpersuade others to join us. Achieving reversal will require forging new strategic bargain with closest allies...Democratic approach to resolving disputes with Europe over treaties should be pragmatic, focused on improving flawed agreements rather than ripping them up" .US policy towards Israel-Palestine conflictmust return with energy/urgency. Regarding Afghanistan/Pakistan and Iraq," Bush administration'sunilateralist approach has let allies off hook: given them excuse to shirk these and other global responsibilities. Democratic administration would not be so dismissive of allies on issues that matter to them" since exercises truly international rather than exclusively US. Similar approaches are relevant to spread of weapons of mass destruction(WMD)." Democratic administration should use every tool at disposal to prevent WMD threats from arising before force becomes only option" . Listed issues include Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program with Russia, and "global effort to secure nuclear materials at all such sites" .Others sites described are North Korea and Iran. Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT)might add "new bargain" helping non-nuclear countries develop nuclear energy. Many more issues are brief.


Sheri Berman"From the Sun King to Karzai: Lessons for State Building in Afghanistan"(2-9) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.2 (Mar/Apr10):-official summary:"The US's mission in Afghanistan will not be accomplished until a central government exists there that can control the country's territory. History shows that such state building is possible but is not a job for the squeamish, the impatient, or the easily frustrated. Policymakers should look to Louis XIV and the development of France's ancien régime for guidance". Berman: Associate Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia Univ. For an annotated guide to this topic, see "What to Read on State Building" at www.foreignaffairs.com/readinglists/state-building.


Richard K.Betts"The New Politics of Intelligence: Will Reforms Work This Time?" Foreign AffairsVol.83/No.3(May/ Jun 04):- while relates to optimal improvements to US top-level intelligence use, much of discussion/advice relevant to relationship between policy-makers and intelligence-commanders in any country. "Danger stems from gap between urge to do something and uncertainty about just what something could be...At end of day, strongest defense against intelligence mistakes will come less from any structural or procedural tweak than from good sense, good character, and good mental habits of senior officials" .Not mentioned in FA, but relevant to both intelligence and diplomatic/defense/securitystaff effectiveness is ability to speak relevant foreign languages. The Economist 15 May 04 "ARABIC: Speak Up" (56):-how British and other governments need to ensure sufficient national facilities to train civil servants/university students that need special language ability. Economist 17 Jul 04 "Sincere Deceivers" (Edit.11-2)and "Intelligence Failures: The Weapons That Weren't" (23-5):-both US and British governments analysed positions of intelligence forces in giving President Bush and PM Blair respectivelyreports that made their bosses announce need to attack Iraq because it constituted regime both able to use/pass to terrorists weapons of mass destruction(WMD)and, in case of Bush, willing to support attacks by al-Qaeda. Both governments' reports criticize their intelligence forces as hinting more positive threats than should have been derived from their information, influenced by views/desires of heads of government. But US system considerably worse in this respect. Gives full information about two analyses and comments on politically inclined intelligence, and mentions future effects. Efraim Halevy "In Defence of the Intelligence Services" Economist 31 Jul 04(By Invite 21-3):-author was head 98-02 of Mossad, Israel's intelligence service. Essence of well-written thesis: "Committees of inquiry into US and British intelligence failures may have left West less secure." Basic critique is that of professional intelligence officer, and views are of expertise/relevance. However, one does get background implied of support for attack on Iraq, even if intelligence is ambiguous - an Israeli need? Economist 07 Aug 04 "New Non-Fiction: The al-Qaeda Code" (69):-favourable review of famous government document published as book 567pp long: The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Norton).Something to be emulated by all future government reports. Economist 14 Aug 04 "The CIA: The Right Man?" (26):-short item regarding politically hot issue in US. Criticism of intelligence produced recently by CIA resulted in: (1) criticism of CIA director who also had acted as coordinating national head of all US intelligence groups; (2)resignation of CIA director in reaction to criticism. President Bush has nominatedCongressman Porter Goss as friend and experienced eight-term Republican, once CIA agent and recently chairman of House Intelligence Committee. Already controversy over Goss' appropriateness, although Bush agreed coordination of all US intelligence services will in future be carried out by another, new, separate position. Economist 28 Aug "The CIA: For the Scrap-Heap?" (28):-another short item reports on proposal of Pat Roberts, Republican chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee. He recommended new National Intelligence Service "run by hugely powerful director, backed by four assistant directors, each responsible for different phase of intelligence process. CIA would be dismantled, and its departments assigned to relevant assistant director. Control over other intelligence agencies would be wrested from Defence Department and FBI." Many experts claim proposals are wrong; some prefer more: diverse recruits, work with foreign agencies, and human intelligence-gathering.

 

Jagdish Bhagwati "Free Trade Today"(Princeton: Princeton Univ Press 02):-while only 140pp long (including Preface and Index), and presented in the form of three Lectures (with multiple footnotes - mainly identifying sources), this famous book is often described as the greatest defense for global free trade ever written. Dustcover claims:"Forcefully, elegantly, and clearly written for the public by one of the foremost economic thinkers of our day [Professor at Columbia Univ. and a special adviser to UN and particularly GATT/WTO], this volume is not merely accessible but essential reading for anyone interested in economic policy orin the world economy". Titles: LECTURE 1: "Confronting Conventional Threats to Free Trade: The Postwar Revolution in the Theory of Commercial Policy"; LECTURE 2: "'Fair Trade', Income Distribution, and Social Agendas: Using Trade Theory to Meet New Challenges"; LECTURE 3: "Getting to Free Trade: Alternative Approaches and Their Theoretical Rationale". While 1 is difficult for those without economic training, 2 and 3 can be easily handled by any who regularly read international affairs. Editor's own summary: "Bhagwati applies critical insights from revolutionary developments in commercial policy theory... to show how the pursuit of social and environmental agendas can be creatively reconciled withthe pursuit of free trade. Indeed, he argues that free trade, by raising living standards, can serve these agendas far better than can a descent into trade sanctions and restrictions. [H]e argues in support of multilateralism and advances a withering critique of recent bilateral and regional free trade agreements". Bhagwati's also famous"In Defense of Globalization"(Oxford Univ 04), offers a 300+pp broader approach.


Jagdish Bhagwati"Banned Aid: Why International Assistance Does Not Alleviate Poverty"(120-125) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.1 (Jan/Feb 10):-Review Essay of Dambisa Moyo: Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (Farrar, Straus & Giraux 09, 208pp. $24.00). Official summary:"The idea that foreign aid can be used to promote development seems reasonable. But as the Zambian economist Moyo argues, it is flawed - not just because corrupt dictators divert aid for nefarious or selfish purposes but also because even in reasonably democratic countries, aid creates perverse incentives and unintended consequences". [In other words, while the deeply experienced and global-level economist Bhagwati ultimately rejects Moyo's proposal to terminate all aid within five years, he shares many of her criticisms of its errant policies by identifying several unfortunate motives that drove the donations. He also feels that she does not assign sufficient blame to the terrible faults of many of the African leaders involved.] Bhagwati is Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations and University Professor of Economics and Law at Columbia University. He served on the UN secretary-general's Advisory Panel on International Support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development 2005-06. For an annotated guide to this topic, see "What to Read on Foreign Aid" at www.foreignaffairs.com/readinglists/foreign-aid.


Stephen Biddle, Fotini Christia & J Alexander Thier“Defining Success in Afghanistan: What Can the United States [and NATO] Accept?”(48-60) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.4 (Jul/Aug 10):-official summary:“Since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, the West has tried to build a strong centralized government in Afghanistan. But such an approach fits poorly with Afghanistan’s history and political culture. A range of alternative models are possible, of which the two most realistic and acceptable in terms of US security interests are decentralized democracy and a system of internal mixed sovereignty”. Emphasized extracts:“The US will have to push for a more inclusive, flexible, and decentralized political arrangement”. “Centralized governance matches neither the real internal distribution of power in Afghanistan nor local notions of legitimacy”. Final sentence: “The perfect is probably not achievable in Afghanistan - but the acceptable can still be salvaged”. Biddle is Roger Hertog Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Christia is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thier is Director of Afghanistan and Pakistan at the US Institute of Peace. For a selection of articles on Afghanistan from the Foreign Affairs archives, see the collection at www.foreignaffairs.com/collections/afghanistan.


Matthew Bishop"Social Insurance: Privatising Peace of Mind"Economist 24 Oct 98(Survey 1-22):-matter of growing concern for OECD states, the NICs and - in desperate terms - the LDCs, is how best to ensure basic social needs. The areas of greatest concern are health (and related social aid), pensions, help for the unemployed, and ensuring minimum living standards. Ever-growing dilemmas vary from finding thebasic funds and facilities in the LDCs to selecting the best ways, in terms of efficiency and financing, to organize the large-scale programs in the rich welfare states. Two major issues mainly in the latter relate to the growing demographic ratio of recipients to contributors, and the relative advantages of state and private schemes. The Survey studies all these carefully.

 

Tony Blair "A Year of Huge Challenges" The Economist 01 Jan 05(By Invitation 44-6):-British PM presents two major global initiatives, to urge G8 to organize and substantially pay(Britain: 05 president).Essay makes strong cases in favor since, "with threat from international terrorism and spread of weapons of mass destruction.,. they are most serious problems facing world today [and] problems beyond power of any single country...Solution requires co-ordinated international action, and above all leadershipwhich G8 is uniquely placed to give. The two initiatives relate to solving African issues and attacking climate change. Here the only material summarized is on Sorting Out Africa. "[P]lagued with problems - debt, disease, conflict, corruption, weak governance - so embedded/widespread that no continent, no matter how prosperous, could tackle on its own.[Details of problems provided.]Should this matter to rest of world?For democratic governments, it should, because it matters to our citizens.[I]t can't be morally right, in world growing more prosperous/healthier,..that one in six African children still die before fifth birthday. Worldwide campaign to make poverty history rightly challenges us to act...We must now all accept utter futility of trying to shut our borders to problems abroad.[Famine/conflict]create conditions for terrorism/fanaticismto take root and spread[to globe.]Prosperous Africa, where people have chance to fulfil their talents, is in all our interests[while] sheer scale of Africa's problems can induce understandable sense ofhopelessness. Governance been improving faster...than in many other areas[,and]Africa Union playingincreasing role in settling conflicts.[B]est way to reduce poverty is through economic growth.[This]can be increased by aid[that involves greater donation/effectiveness.] But to help Africa continue progresswe need...coordinated global effort[,including]concerted action to improve opportunities/growth, reduce debt, tackle HIV/malaria/TB, fight corruption, promote peace/security. We also need to tackle trade barriers...I hope G8 will agree not only to plan of action but also to its implementation, a process of monitoring and review. We all need to be accountable for carrying out commitments we have made." Changing Climate is on "twin" item, to keep their lengths reasonable. Starts are similar, but theirmain texts/distributions differ.

 

Tony Blair "A Year of Huge Challenges" The Economist 01 Jan 05(By Invitation 44-6):-British PM presents two major global initiatives, to urge G8 to organize and substantially pay(Britain: 05 president).Essay makes strong cases in favor since, "with threat from international terrorism and spread of weapons of mass destruction.,. they are most serious problems facing world today [and] problems beyond power of any single country...Solution requires co-ordinated international action, and above all leadershipwhich G8 is uniquely placed to give. The two initiatives relate to attacking climate change and solving African issues. Here the only material summarized is on Changing Climate. "[N]o country will escape its impact. And there can be no doubt...world getting warmer. Temperatures already risen by 0.7C over past century, and ten hottest years on record all occurred since 91[;] fastest rise in temperatures in northern hemisphere for thousand years. This...has meant rise in sea level that, if continues as predicted, will meanhundreds of millions...increasingly at risk from flooding[, plus]other extreme/increasingly unpredictable weather events such as rainstorms/droughts will also have heavy human/economic cost... Overwhelming view of experts is that climate change, to greater or lesser extent, is man-made and, without action, will get worse...But just as technological progress/human activity have helped cause problem, also within our power to lessen impact/ adapt to change.[N]eed to act now. Delay will only increase seriousness of problems...and economic disruption required to move to more renewable energy and sustainablemanufacturing in future. G8 needs to lead. Kyoto protocol[coming into force]is good news,but...change/ambition required will be far more[and, with US refusal to sign,]makes measures we could secure through G8 even more vital." US/Britain have national/state legislation and leading investment/research under way, and firms' lower-emission status gaining commercial advantage." We are at stage where role of government/global policy must encourage development/commercial viability of new technologies that have potential to mitigate effects of climate change...G8 can take global lead both inmaking world aware of scale of problem and proposing ways to tackle. G8[also]opportunity to agree onwhat most up-to-date investigations of climate change are telling about the threat[, and]engage actively withother countries' growing energy needs...to ensure they meet needs sustainably and adapt to adverse effects of climate change, which seem inevitable. Sorting Out Africa is on a "twin" item to keep their lengths reasonable. Starts similar but main texts/distributions differ.

 

Sandra Blakeslee "A Decade of Discovery Yields a Shock About the Brain" New York Times 04 Jan 00:-US Congress declared 90s "Decade of the Brain" to support research. Most startling/scientifically-upsetting discovery was that long-held assumption human brain cells are fixed at birth and cannot even be renewed, apparently false. "In fact, from birth through late adolescence, brain appears to add billions of new cells...In adulthood, process...slows down but does not stop...Mature circuits appear to be maintained by new cell growth well into old age." News demands "total revision of how scientists think human minds organized,..shed new light on mechanisms of learning, memory and aging" and creates major opportunities in neurosurgery and treatment of brain injuries and disorders. Events/trends in neuroscience surveyed; see Goode(op.cit.)for those in brain medications. Blakeslee reports another revolutionary discovery about brain in "'Rewired'Ferrets Overturn Theories of Brain Growth" NYT 25 Apr 00:-MIT scientific team appears to have reopened question of relative contributions of genes and experience in building brain structure. It "rewired" newborn ferret brains so animals' eyes hooked up to brain regions where hearing normally develops, and found ferrets develop fully functioning visual pathways in auditory portions of brains,contradicting assumption that brains have specialized regions for different functions set at birth. It appearsbrains develop specialized functions based on information flowing into them and wire themselvesaccordingly: "experience shapes the brain." Also explains long-perceived "adjustments" to new brain needs/constraints/damage.


Davis B.Bobrow & Mark A.Boyer"International System Stability and American Decline" International Journal Vol.LVIII/No.2 (Spring 98):-concludes relative decline of US power "has not led to prolonged across-the-board decrease in international efforts to maintain stability of international system" . "Muted optimism" from recent trends in foreign aid, debt relief, peace-keeping. Reveals crucial roles of states like Canada and institutionalized co-operative arrangements, to success of international initiatives. Meanwhile US policy tending toward an evolving, more specialized and narrowly focused activism in world. All developments direct relevance to UN aims/activities.


Christopher S.Bond & Lewis M.Simons "The Forgotten Front:Winning Hearts and Minds in Southeast Asia"(52-63)Foreign Affairs Vol.88/No.6(Nov/Dec 09):-official summary:"US [Western?] policymakers can no longer afford to ignore Southeast Asia. Islamic militants pose a threat to stability in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. But rather than relying on miltary power alone to do the job, US should use trade, aid, and education to alleviate poverty in the region and win the hearts and minds of Southeast Asian Muslims". Bond is a Republican Senator from Missouri. Simons s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. They are the co-authors of The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace With Islam.


Elise Boulding and Jan Oberg "United Nations Peace-Keeping and NGO Peace-Building: Towards Partnership" in Chadwick F. Alger edit., The Future of the United Nations System: Potential for the Twenty-First Century(New York: U N Univ. Press 98):-argues NGOs worldwide can contribute to UN peace-keepingeffectiveness by developing networks of "civilian peace teams that co-function with military/civilian peace-keepers." Also detailed proposals about integrating such teams into Department of Peace-Keeping Operations complete with appropriate organization charts.[Rather unrealistic, given political objections to NGO inclusion in UN decision-making; NGOs' proud autonomy. Urgent need for all NGOs to cooperatemore, with both others and UN/government bodies in complex emergencies. More expert "practitioners inmediation/negotiation/conflict resolution" also welcome, but case for NGO teams weak.]

 

Newton R. Bowles, United Nations: Less is More? A Report on the Fifty-Third General Assembly: September-December 1998(Report to Group of 78/United Nations Association in Canada)(New York:www.unac.org 99):-author is inter alia UNICEF Senior Advisor on Children/War/closely involved in UNGA/other UN meetings. Excellent report covers not only highlights of 98 UNGA but variety of related UN issues over year e.g. Security Council developments. Topics covered selectively but analytically:Overview; General Debate(tone/highlights);Globalization (dialogue/ business-liaison);ODA/FDI Resources;Human Rights/development/UN casualties; Humanitarian Intervention; Security Council(evolution);Conflict Prevention(education); Peacekeeping; Disarmament(new trends);Africa(war/ poverty); Crime (ICC/Tribunals/terrorism/ drugs);NGOs/Civil Society; UN Management/Funding.


Newton R.Bowles, United Nations: Hedge or Taels? A Report on the Fifty-Fourth General Assembly: September-December 1999(Report to Group of 78/United Nations Association in Canada)(New York:www.unac.org 00):-valuable impressions of tone/highlights of UNGA Regular Session/related developments, particularly in Security Council. Subject titles(and main points): World in 99(better prospects than 98; praise for UNSG/UNGA President; radical UNSG speech: humanitarian law before sovereignty(text: Annex 1);no UNSC reform but more open; progress on UN human rights and development role); General Debate(main value: networking/ stage-setting; main theme: massive human rights violence, armed conflict within states; major points of notable speeches);Human Security Issues(follow-up to "Agenda for Peace" particularly prevention; key: broad "international approach to poverty, human rights and social/economic development" (UNGA President Statement: Annex 2);UNSC renewed activism but no progress on membership or veto; special problems of Africa); HIV/AIDS(stress on Africa where death toll 10 times that of wars; Statement by UNAIDS Executive-Director: Annex 3); Conflict Prevention(improved early-warning/prevention strategies; seek social/economic root causes); Peacekeeping(major forcesin Kosovo, Sierra Leone, East Timor, DR Congo total well over 30,000 in 00(Operations in Annex 4);International Justice(international criminal law fairly controversial compared with civil law; Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals started from scratch but improving; International Criminal Court: 30 Jun deadline will be met; current: new convention on terrorism financing, working on conventions re nuclear terrorism and comprehensive anti-terrorism; planning international conference and transnational crime convention;Disarmament(gloomy: START II stuck in Duma; CTBT refused by Congress; ABM may be weakened or ignored; Conference on Disarmament is paralysed; Special Assembly Session on Disarmament unlikely;NPT review conference also unlikely; Resolution on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space passed, but US resumed anti-missile tests; practical progress on implementing/completing agreements on Chemical and Biological weapons, Landmines, Heavy Weapons register, Small Arms Trade; Development(of LDC needs-investment, markets, debt relief, only ODA is responsibility of UN proper(and aid is declining),but UN-Bank/Fund relations closer; North-South dialogue also less confrontational; "Agenda for Development" stresses good governance/ accountability/participation/social security; UNSG WTO speech(Annex 5)highlights LDCs' need to share globalization; 01 all-issue conference on financing development will bring in all stakeholders); UN Aid(of $50b annual ODA, $5b through UN and $5b World Bank; UN stresses social concerns/human development; UNDP major effort to coordinate multilateral aid better); Business and Labour(UNSG challenged big business at Davos to "Global Compact" tocooperate with UN on human rights/labour standards/environment; positive response from ICC; ICFTUalso undertook to support);Humanitarian Activities(natural disasters cost $500b in 90s; armed conflicts cost $200b in external aid, so probably over $1 trillion overall; UN priority to avoid or mitigate natural disasters or conflicts);Human Rights(most humanitarian law written since WWII; much being added; all aspects of human (mis)behaviour come together at UN under human rights; UNSC adopted strong/comprehensive policy on protecting civilians(Annex 6); in Kosovo/East Timor, UN creating entirecriminal justice and human rights systems; UNHCHR investigating standards in 21 fields worldwide);Women's Advancement(Special UNGA Session on Women(Jun 00)will examine implementation of BeijingConference decisions; UNGA studied new report on role of women in development);Children(Tenth Anniversary of Convention on Rights of Child; UNSC resolution "strongly condemns targeting of children in situations of armed conflict" );Finance and Management(main focus again US budget arrears followed by highly-conditional part-payment; 00-01 biennium budget $2,535m, up a symbolic $3m; staff managementstill slow/cumbersome; excellent final report of 5-year "Internal Oversight" (quoted));Civil Societies(getsmore into basic issues of development-globalization; UNSG for tripartite "Global Compact" :UN-business-civil society);(Annex 7:Current Membership of UN Organs).


Charles G. Boyd "Making Bosnia Work" Foreign Affairs Vol.77/No.1(Jan/Feb 98):-international community's greatest problem, years after Dayton Accord: how to achieve aim of creating unified Bosnia. After intense local investigation, concludes this impossible for foreseeable future, and only solution is de facto partition, with security and economic aid provided to all groups, continuing foreign presence, and long healing period.Letters Vol.77/No.3(May/Jun 98):offer some counter-arguments.[My own inclination is to agree, and give up trying to create traditional sovereign state where one has never existed before and at time when feelings are so intense. Emphasis should be on down-grading significance of any borders in area and increasing economic modernization/integration of Balkans so ethnicity becomes "private" matter (again) while all benefit from working together.]


Duane Bratt "Peace Over Justice: Developing a Framework for UN Peacekeeping Operations in Internal Conflicts" Global Governance Vol.5/No.1(Jan-Mar 99):-while UN's "purpose" is to "maintain international peace/security" ,many Charter references to human rights make clear second objective to improve political/economic/social justice. Priority and resource dilemmas arise when aims equally demanding or mutually exclusive, mainly in facing internal conflicts. Argues that, besides Charter ranking, obvious precedence of saving lives and doing most urgent first, means peace must have priority. Moreover, thisreduces perception of UN "imperialism" and alien priorities as well as criticism UN forces "helping" one sideby(aiding in)delivering humanitarian assistance or seizing war criminals. Still, agonizing global "triage" may be only solution to choosing among "peace" options.


Joel Brinkley"Cambodia's Curse: Struggling to Shed the Khmer Rouge's Legacy" (111-122) Foreign Affairs Vol.88/No.2 (Mar/Apr 09):- official summary: "Thirty years after the fall of Khmer Rouge, much of Cambodia remains mired in memories of the country's sorrowful past. Meanwhile, the rest of the world, whose perception is also skewed, barely seems to notice that the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen is destroying the nation". Emphasized extracts:"Much of Cambodia, and the world, is still mired in the bloody legacy of the Khmer Rouge". "Hun Sen's government has been looting natural resources, jailing political opponents, evicting thousands from their homes, and fostering corruption". Brinkley, former FA Corespondent for New York Times, is Professor of Journalism at Stanford Univ. Research carried out in Cambodia Aug 08.


Harry G.Broadman"China and India Go to Africa: New Deals in the Developing World"(95-109) Foreign Affairs Vol.87/No.2(Mar/Apr 08):-official summary: "Economic activity between Africa and Asia, especially China and India, is booming like never before. If the problems and imbalances this sometimes creates are managed well, this expanding engagement could be an unprecedented opportunity for Africa's growth and for its integration into the global economy". Broadman is Economic Adviser for the Africa Region at the World Bank, and author of Africa's Silk Road: China and India's New Economic Frontier(World Bank 07). Views in FA are his own.


Stephen G.Brooks & William C.Wohlforth"Reshaping the World Order: How Washington Should Reform International Institutions"(49-63)Foreign Affairs Vol.88/No.2(Mar/Apr09):-official summary :"The current architecture of international institutions is so out of sync with the modern world that it must be updated. But skeptics question whether US is up to the task. They need not worry: US still possesses enough power and legitimacy to spearhead reform". Emphasized quote: "In a 2007 address to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, [Barack Obama, now US president,] stressed that 'it was America that largely built a system of international institutions that carried us through the Cold War... Instead of constraining our power, these institutions magnified it'. 'Today it's become fashionable to disparage the United Nations, the World Bank, and other international organizations', he continued. 'In fact, reform of these bodies is urgently needed if they are to keep pace with the fast-moving threats we face'"(50). Brooks is Associate Professor of Government, and Wohlforth is Daniel Webster Professor of Government and Chair of Department of Government, both Dartmouth College. Article adapted from their: World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy(Princeton Univ 08).


George Brown, "Debt and Development: Time to Act, Again" The Economist 21 Feb 98(77-8):-on behalf of British government, author makes number of proposals to deal urgently with LDC debt. Proposed: G7recommit themselves to accelerated debt relief; donor countries support IMF-IBRD initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries(HIPCs); areas stressed: macro-economic stability, IMF-IBRD transparency, fullprivate sector contribution, more investment in education and health, provision of productive export creditsonly; and elimination of gaps and overlaps in IMF-IBRD activities. The Economist 20 Mar 99(19, 51):-updates situation by reporting US President Clinton has supported an acceleration of HIPC initiative since only 8 of 40 HIPCs have so far "qualified" and only two have received debt relief. Yet their debts have now reached$170 billion and on average exceed their annual export earnings more than fourfold. In total, Clinton proposedmeasures to forgive a further $70 billion HIPC debt.


Lester R.Brown"Feeding Nine Billion"(115-32)in State of the World(1999)(New York: W.W.Norton, 99):-main points: World grain harvests grew from 400m tons in 1900 to nearly 1.9b in 1998, aided by massiveirrigation (40% of food), chemical fertilizers, huge plant-breeding advances, short-stem wheat/rice, hybridcorn - such cropland assets being globally available. Yet 840m people are hungry/malnourished(19,000 children die daily from effects of malnutrition). Other two basic food-supply systems - oceanic fisheries andrangelands - appear to have reached global carrying capacity, and per capita grain production hasdecreased 7% since 1984. Meanwhile the current 6b world population is expected to grow to 9b about 2050, during which period net global harvested area is expected to be almost unchanged, and to continuedropping per capita to 0.07 hectares(1950=0.23). Mounting water scarcity has reduced irrigated area per capita by 6% since 1978, simultaneously lowering fertilizing capacity - and levelling off for lack of further benefit. Remaining route to increased food productivity - plant breeding - could raise drought-, disease-, insect-resistance and salt-tolerance, but now little gain is physiologically possible for wheat, corn and ricein terms of further raising crop yields. It all means that eradication of hunger and malnutrition now may depend heavily on demand-side initiatives: slowing population growth and using grain and water more efficiently.


Lester R.Brown Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization(New York: Earth Policy Institute 08):-brilliant accounts of: (I)climate change crises; (II)needs/means to take counter-actions; (III)urgent worldwide programs. Any of 400pp could be consulted individually. Here are Chapters(plus sub-headings): 1. Entering a New World (A Massive Market Failure; Environment and Civilization; China: Why Existing Economic Model Will Fail; Mounting Stresses, Failing States; Civilizational Tipping Point; Plan B - Plan of Hope); (I) 2. Deteriorating Oil and Food Security (Coming Decline of Oil; Oil Intensity of Food; Changing Food Prospect; Cars/People Compete for Crops; World Beyond Peak Oil; Food Insecurity and Failing States); 3. Rising Temperatures and Rising Seas (Rising Temperature - Its Effects; Crop Yield Effect; Reservoirs in Sky; Melting Rice and Rising Seas; More-Destructive Storms; Cutting Carbon 80% by 2020); 4. Emerging Water Shortages (Water Tables Falling; Rivers Running Dry; Lakes Disappearing; Farmers Losing to Cities; Scarcity Crossing National Borders; Water Scarcity Yields Political Stresses); 5. Natural Systems Under Stress (Shrinking Forests -Many Costs; Losing Soil; From Grassland to Desert; Advancing Deserts; Collapsing Fisheries; Disappearing Plants and Animals); 6. Early Signs of Decline (Our Socially Divided World; Health Challenge Growing; Throwaway Economy in Trouble; Population and Resource Conflicts; Environmental Refugees on Rise; Mounting Stresses, Failing States); (II) 7. Eradicating Poverty, Stabilizing Population Universal Basic Education; Stabilizing Population; Better Health for All; Curbing HIV Epidemic; Reducing Farm Subsidies/Debt; Poverty Eradication Barrier); 8. Restoring the Earth (Protecting and Restoring Forests; Conserving and Rebuilding Soils; Regenerating Fisheries; Protecting Plant/Animal Diversity; Planting Trees to Sequester Carbon; Earth Restoration Budget); 9. Feeding Eight Billion Well (Rethinking Land Productivity; Raising Water Productivity; Producing Proteir More Efficiently; Moving Down Food Chain; Action on Many Fronts); 10. Designing Cities for People (Ecology of Cities; Redesigning Urban Transport; Reducing Urban Water Use; Farming in the City; Upgrading Squatter Settlements; Cities for People); 11. Raising Energy Efficiency (Banning the Bulb; Energy-Efficient Appliances; More-Efficient Buildings; Restructuring Transport System; New Materials Economy; Energy Savings Potential); 12. Turning to Renewable Energy (Harnessing Wind; Wind-Powered Plug-in Hybrid Cars; Solar Cells and Collectors; Energy from the Earth; Plant-Based Sources of Energy; River/Tidal/Wave Power; World Energy Economy: 2020); (III) 13.The Great Mobilization (Shifting Taxes and Subsidies; Summing Up Climate Stabilization Measures; Response to Failing States; Wartime Mobilization; Mobilizing to Save Civilization; What You and I Can Do).


Bill Bryson A Short History of Nearly Everything(New York: Broadway Books 03):-pre-bestseller author of many/widely-varied books, undertook "informative journey into world of science,.. his greatest challenge yet: to understand - and, if possible, answer - oldest, biggest questions... about the universe and ourselves... Result is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear/entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge"(publisher). Even new "lavishly illustrated" Nov 05 hardcover edition of 624pp available from Barnes & Noble to all @US$28.00. Favourable Ed Regis NYT review(18 May 03)states:"Bryson achieved exactly what he'd set out to do, and, moreover, [did] it in stylish, efficient, colloquial and stunningly accurate prose... The basic facts of physics, chemistry, biology, botany, climatology, geology - all these and many more are presented with exceptional clarity and skill". My own reaction is that this easily available/readable reference on all not-personally-specialised scientific subjects should ideally be read - or at least be used for topic-reference - by all in this very unstable world.


Zbigniew Brzezinski "Hegemonic Quicksand" The National Interest Winter 03/04(5-16):-long article on future instability excerpted from The Choice, Global Domination or Global Leadership. Claims unstable but new "Global Balkans" (developing similar to past "European Balkans" )is region between Europe and Far East. "For next several decades, most volatile and dangerous region of world - with explosive potential to plunge world into chaos - will be crucial swathe[from approximately Suez Canal to Xinjiang, and fromRusso-Kazakh border to southern Afghanistan]...Here that America could slide into collision with world of Islam while American-European policy differences could even cause Atlantic Alliance to come unhinged. Two eventualities together could then put prevailing American global hegemony at risk.[C]hallengeAmerica now confronts, dwarfs what it faced half-century ago in Western Europe [since]to promote global security will be pacification and then cooperative organization of region that contains world's greatest concentration of political injustice, social deprivation, demographic congestion and potential for high-intensity violence. But region also contains most of world's oil and natural gas...In 2020 area projected to produce roughly 42m barrels of oil per day - 39% of global production total...No self-evident answers to such basic questions as how and with whom America should be engaged in helping to stabilize area, pacifyit and eventually cooperatively organize it." Then notes that some states in area could be US potential key partners: Turkey, Israel, India, and Russia. All four are then examined in detail but ruled out for various reasons. "Ultimately US can look to only one genuine partner...:Europe. Although it will need help of leading East Asian states like Japan and China...neither likely at this stage to become heavily engaged. Only Europe...potential capacity in political, military and economic realms to pursue jointly with US task of engaging various Eurasian peoples...US and Europe together represent array of physical and experientialassets with capacity to make decisive difference in shaping political future of Global Balkans...European engagement will not occur, however, if expected to consist of simply following US lead" .Latter portionof paper discusses whether and how US and Europe can work together in improving issues of area. Specific attention made to problems: Arab-Israeli peace, Iraq, Iran, Gulf states, Caucasus and Central Asia, Caspian Basin. Final comments relate to" need to contain both proliferation of WMD and terrorist epidemic." Paper ends:" One should not forget that struggling alone makes quicksand only more dangerous."


Zbigniew Brzezinski"An Agenda for NATO: Toward a Global Security Web"(2-20) Foreign Affairs Vol.88/No.5 (Sep/Oct 09):-official summary:"In the course of its 60 years, NATO has ended the 'civil war' within the West for transoceanic and European supremacy, institutionalized the United States' commitment to the defense of Europe, and secured the peaceful termination of the Cold War. What next? To live up to its potential, the alliance should become the hub of a global-spanning web of regional cooperative-security undertakings". Emphasized extracts:"In the vulnerable decades after World War II, conflict was avoided largely because NATO remained united". "WshDC's arrogant unilateralism in Iraq and its demagogic Islamophobic sloganeering weakened the unity of NATO". "NATO has the means to become the center of a globe-spanning web of cooperative-security undertakings". Brzezinski was US National Security Adviser 1977-1981. His most recent book: Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower.


Zbigniew Brzezinski"From Hope to Audacity: Appraising Obama's Foreign Policy"(16-30) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.1 (Jan/Feb 10):-while this leading/positive essay is about US policy, the subjects are all of global importance. Official summary:"In his first year in office, President Barack Obama has reconceptualized US foreign policy and demonstrated a genuine sense of strategic direction. But so far, Obama's foreign policy has generated more expectations than strategic breakthroughs. Three urgent issues - Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and Afghan-Pakistani challenge - are posing an immediate test of his ability to significantly change US policy". Emphasized extracts:"Obama has shown a genuine sense of strategic direction and a solid grasp of what today's world is all about". "US is already losing the renewed confidence of the Arab world that Obama won with his speech in Cairo". "Sanctions against Iran must punish those in power - not the middle class, as an embargo on gasoline would do". "So far, Obama's foreign policy has generated more expectations than strategic breakthroughs". Brzezinski was US National Security Adviser 1977-1981. His most recent book: Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower.


Robert Buckman, Can We Be Good Without God? An Exploration of Behaviour, Belonging and the Need to Believe (Toronto: Penguin 01):-while author both medical doctor/atheist, not designed to criticize religionor to scientifically support atheism. One major concern: religions generate specific/competinginterpretations of "goodness" , developing critical link between "good and god." Also offers perspective "onconnection between behaviour and belief - connection between ethics and religion." Such diversified convictions held by each faithful group have produced unrealistic and unjust frictions. "The world will be better place if we all believe whatever we wish, but behave as if there is no deity to sort out humankind's problems." Global issues described may indeed become worse or easier.

 

Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics(Second Edition) (Houndmills: Macmillan Press 95):-new edition of seminal work on state system surprisingly retains original 77 text. ItsUN-relevant aim was to determine whether system would/should survive -and alternatives. Concluded very little change was possible or needed. Interest today derives from how much of original argumentundercut by extraordinary changes of past 20 years, particularly constraints on state sovereignty by:globalization of information/manufacture/ finance; new global imperatives/power centers/vacuums; novel capacities/threats. For firm support see Hoffmann(op.cit.).

 

Barry A.Burciul"UN Sanctions: Policy Options for Canada"Canadian Foreign Policy Vol.6/No.1 (Fall 98):-thorough, global effort to improve sanctions, in response to tough facts:(1)sanctions rarely achieve ends, and often cause unnecessary pain;(2)serve as relatively cheap and risk-free ways to meet pressurefor "action" ;(3)targeted sanctions often work better than comprehensive. Priorities: discourage sanctionsif more constructive, humane alternatives exist; ensure strong/ targeted; always consider innocentcivilians. Ideas: wider range of threats, but sanctions high-cost, so need broad multilateral coalition plus regional/NGO support; humane sanctions more effectively gain essential support; target states/personsmust be fully understood, to avoid counterproductive action and find optimum means (travel, sports, culture ban, arms embargo, even violence); better as deterrent/preventive/threat than as coercion; "sanctions forum" studies options/support/strategic planning using pooled intelligence to judge hot spots/time limits/temporary tariffs/lessons learned/finance levers; "humanitarian limits" must protect NGOs, determine and police exemptions; enforcement must be rapid/specific/coordinated/ committed/informed, and include border surveys.

 

Richard Butler "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered: Repairing the Security Council" Foreign AffairsVol.78/No.5 (Sep/Oct 99):-former UNSCOM Executive Chairman(Iraq disarmament supervision)on most urgent problems facing UN Security Council. Sees as particularly dismaying last 12 months, "during which council was bypassed, defied, and abused" by misuse/threat of veto. This was granted to permanent members(P5)solely" to allow them to prevent council decision authorizing use of force against them[yet they]weighted their narrow national interests over collective responsibility." Council must address two key areas:(1)new informal rules should reduce matters subject to veto(US initiative critical);(2)P5 should not judge Council's ultimate role in enforcing arms control treaties on subjective political basis. Must also keep their NPT promises.

 

Barry Buzan and Gerald Segal, Anticipating the Future: Twenty Millennia of Human Progress(London: Simon & Schuster 1998):-this book is both stimulating and misleading -points made in Reviews in both The Economist 14 Feb 98(12)and Foreign Affairs Vol.77/No.2(Mar/Apr 1998)(134-9). In spite of its title, almost entire book deals with broad sweep of human past and present, in order to put 1998 and our possible futures into focus. It does it clearly/usefully if in fairly orthodox terms. "Future" section anticipates UN system stymied, mainly by US, requiring replacement. My criticism is that it underestimates depth and acceleration of current global change(INTRODUCTION or Bull-op.cit.).

 

David Callahan Unwinnable Wars: American Power and Ethnic Conflict(New York: Hill & Wang 97):-while addressed to US leaders, fine analysis/recommendations apply to UN and its active members. Thesis: recent trend for intra-state ethnic violence will continue - if decrease. All states have interest in ending - ideally, preventing - such wars. UN must be empowered to play more effective role, and greater capacity for using standing forces, in managing internal conflicts. Regional bodies, UN financing, arms-trade control, cooperation with NGOs, and aid to failed states, must all be strengthened. Diplomacy/intelligence(mainly analysis)must be updated - and cooperate with UN.

 

Ted Galen Carpenter edit. Delusions of Grandeur: The United Nations and Global Intervention (Washington: Cato Institute 97):-Cato aims to further "traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, and peace." Libertarian view inclines it to oppose multilateralism(it inter alia limits US global freedom of action)and all constraints on free enterprise. Topics: UN in Perspective; Peacemaker-Peacekeeper; Bureaucracy-Funding- Corruption; Social and Environmental Agenda; Economic Development Role. 18 essays clearly stress Cato views. Only five sympathetic to UN aims/activities; 10 or so reasonable, even if bit selective or broad, in criticism. Last deliberately distort, and in their narrow-minded, selfish jingoism, exhibit true "delusions of grandeur": John Bolton: " [Clinton] forgot that UN was instrument to be used to advance America's foreign policy interests, not to engage in international social work..." (51; his emphasis)! Provides rationales of many US anti-UN views.

 

Geoffrey Carr, "The Alchemists: A Survey of the Pharmaceutical Industry" in The Economist 21 Feb 98(1-18):-Survey claims scientific/technological revolution is sweeping this industry. It describes new technologies being developed and used, examines huge present/probable future changes in industry'sstructure, and asks what this could mean for future health care. Anticipates:(1)increase in range of diseases treatable with drugs; (2)increase in drug precision and effectiveness;(3)increase in ability to anticipate disease. Each trend is accelerated by new genetic insights and will have major global impact. But terriblerich-poor economic issue of drug patents/costs: unprobed.

 

Peter, Lord Carrington et al. Words to Deeds: Strengthening the U.N.'s Enforcement Capabilities - Final Report of the International Task Force on the Enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolutions(New York: UNA-USA 97):- ten world figures reached constructive and expert consensus with genuine prospects of implementation. Among 29 conclusions: give priority to preventive diplomacy and strengthened enforcement machinery; UNSC primacy for enforcement to be respected and reinforced; Chapter VIIresolutions to be clear, specific, consistent, unambiguous, realistic and well-supervised, to includeoperational plans, regular consultations with states involved and world-class experts, and securely use and share all sources of relevant information; resolutions on non-military sanctions to be specific, fully costedfor all affected, monitored, given a timeframe, focused if possible, and to draw on expert advice; military operations to have very clear mandate, strategic oversight, post-conflict follow-up and be decisive; overhaul Military Staff Committee to give UNSC best advice, and to consult with others involved; since for now ad hoc coalitions more likely than standing UN or stand-by forces, develop capability inventory, a roster of earmarked units, a common doctrine, rules of engagement and training, and tighter UNSC oversight; support regional bodies with preventive measures, financial, material, and logistic help, and better inter-group coordination.

 

Ashton Carter, John Deutch & Philip Zelikow "Catastrophic Terrorism: Tackling the New Danger" Foreign Affairs Vol.77/No.6(Nov/Dec 98):-distillation of Universities Study Group on Catastrophic Terrorism reportpublished by Stanford University. Version will also appear as chapter in forthcoming Preventive Defense: An American Security Strategy for the 21st Century by Ashton Carter and William Perry. All(distinguished) members of Study Group are listed in footnote. Conclusions are: terrorism using weapons of mass destruction has moved "from far-fetched horror to a contingency that could happen next month" ; particularly with biological weapons, "technology is more accessible, and society is more vulnerable" ; elaborate "networks have developed among organized criminals, drug traffickers, arms dealers, money launderers, [thus]creating infrastructure for[such]terrorism around the world" . While recommendations directed mainly at urgent US action, all fall into universal categories: intelligence/warning; prevention/deterrence;management of crises and consequences. All needs international/global cooperation.

 

Ashton B. Carter "How To Counter WMD" Foreign Affairs Vol.83/No.5(Sep/Oct 04):-ex-US Assistant Secretary of Defense (under Clinton)and currently Co-director, Harvard Preventive Defense Project, writes just when:most are concerned that US attacked Iraq by mis-claiming WMD threat; US presidential election imminent. Concerned that since 11 Sep crisis, US "counterproliferation policies have not been overhauled" ,and" it has made no new efforts to prevent nonstate actors such as terrorists from getting their hands on WMD." He truly decrees much reliable advice on countering the serious terrorist/WMD dangers to the entire global audience, and not to Washington only. His basic view:" WMD generally applies to nuclear, biological, chemical weapons; ballistic missiles; more recently'dirty bombs,'ordinary explosives containing some radioactive material. But this definition is too broad. Chemical weapons are not much more lethal than conventional explosives/hardly...WMD label. Similarly, long-range ballistic missiles especially destructive only if they have nuclear or biological warhead, and so should not be considered separate category. Dirty bombs cause local contamination and costly priority. Primary focus of counterproliferation policy, therefore, should be nuclear and biological weapons...True overhaul of counterproliferation policy would recognize that, like defense against terrorism, defense against WMD must be multilayered and comprehensive. Such reforms would aim to eliminate threat of nuclear terrorism entirely by denying fissilematerials to nonstate actors and...prepare to contain scale of most likely forms of bioterrorism to minor outbreaks. It would revamp outdated arms control agreements, expand counterproliferation programs,...improve way intelligence on WMD is collected and analysed.[W]ould favor countering WMD with non-nuclear rather than nuclear measures. And it would at last develop coherent strategies for heading off...most pressing nuclear proliferation threats." Substantial article then amplifies all these points.

 

Thomas Carters, "Democracy Without Illusions" in Foreign Affairs Vol.76/No.1(Jan/Feb 97):-notes that recent hopes for almost universal establishment of democratic governments have been disappointed by revival in many states of authoritarian regimes or practices. Yet some retrenchment does not eliminate underlying trend of progress.


Nayan Chanda Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization(New Haven: Yale Univ Press 07):-this fascinating survey of the development of globalization since 6000BCE is valuable as a unique reminder - to specialists in history, politics, economics, religion, movement, technology, science, etc - of how their own knowledge relates to other specialized information, and to the present/future of the intense/expanding relations across this planet. (This aim corresponds exactly with my purpose in this information source.) Style is amusing, and novel in all areas but one's expertise, so it is delicious/constructive in all unstudied fields and hence globally constructive. Final para offers view that fits closely with that in Christopher Spencer Oct 06(op.cit.):"We benefit from all that the world has to offer, but we think only in narrow terms of protecting the land and people within our national borders - the borders that have been established only in the modern era. [All that separates us] from the rest of the world... cannot change the fact that we are bound together through the invisible filament of history. [W]e know how we have reached where we are and where we may be headed. We are in a position to know that the sum of human desires, aspirations, and fears that have woven our fates together can neither be disentangled nor reeled back. But neither are we capable of accurately gauging how this elemental mix will shape our planet's future. Still, compared to the past... we are better equipped to look over the horizon at both the dangers and the opportunities ...There is no alternative to rising above our tribal interests: over the centuries to come, our destinies will remain inextricably bound together. [W]e can attempt to nudge our rapidly integrating world toward a more harmonious course - because we are all connected".


Erskine Childers edit., Challenges to the United Nations: Building a Safer World (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995). - a useful but uneven collection of essays on the various elements of the UN's responsibilities. Although most of the authors included tend to blame the selfish, rich world for all the UN's failures and imperfections, those dealing with human rights and humanitarian challenges are both informative and balanced.


Jarat Chopra edit."Special Issue on Peace-Maintenance Operations"Global Governance Vol.4/ No.1 (Jan/Mar 98):- since Cold War end, UN has undertaken many peace-related operations of new complexity and scale(often called second-generation). Several(Bosnia/Rwanda/Somalia) deficient for multiple reasons(mandate/management/resources). Papers analyse peace- maintenance system where UN exercises(some)political authority to harmonize diplomatic/ humanitarian/military/other civil aspects of operations if local systems fail.Authority-Knight; Administration-Morphet; Humanitarianism-Donini; Law-Plunkett; Military-Cousens; Accepting Authority-Adibe.

 

Jarat Chopra, "United Nations Peace-Maintenance" (312-40)in Martin Ira Glassner edit. The United Nations at Work (Westport: Praeger 98):-more uniform/all-embracing case for idea of flexible UN multi-functional governance role than made in Global Governance(Jan/Mar 98)(Ibid.).Hedges "failed states" / "trusteeships" as politically sensitive terms, although many analysts suspect these may be toughest UN "peace/order/good government" challenges for 21st century, particularly in Africa. Surveys history of all UN "peace" operations, and concludes its greatest current problems weak orchestration of complex emergencies, and inclination to act as mediator when creation of order is first priority, followed by nurturing of stable democratic society. Kosovo(which post-dates writing)would seem more what Chopra has in mind, though with full UN political authority.

 

Jarat Chopra and Tanja Hohe "Participatory Intervention" Global Governance Vol.10/No.3(Jul-Sep 04):-both authors served in UN Transitional Administration in East Timor(UNTAET)and offer thoughtful ideas abouthow UN should optimally build/modify political systems in troubled/new states - a responsibility that isgrowing in UN numbers and importance globally. Experience with administration intervention in Cambodia, East Timor, Kosovo, Namibia, and Somalia has been imperfect, but educational as to how future responsibilities could be improved by more carefully considering what actually constitute the "front lines" - "the level of local administration. Here, Western-style paradigm of state building, which ispreoccupied with forming a national executive, legislature, and judiciary, confronts resilient traditional structures, socially legitimate powerholders, abusive warlords out to win, or coping mechanisms communities rely on under conflict conditions. Options for establishment or reconstruction of governing institutions seem stark: either reinforce status quo and build on it, further empowering the already strong;or replace altogether what exists with new administrative order. But there may be middle road." Essay analyses latter.

 

Amy Chua WORLD ON FIRE: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability(New York: Doubleday 03):-this easy-to-read 350page survey of special political/economic/social problems in many parts of the world has generated good reviews and more influence. Its strong warning is not against either globalization trade or pure democracy in developing countries, but against pressing these ideas too quickly when rich but unpopular minorities dominate their economies - widely common situation that is carefully described. She concludes by first naming three goals: "[1] the best economic hope for developing and post-socialist countries lies in some form of market-generated growth; [2] thebest political hope for these countries lies in some form of democracy, with constitutional constraints,tailored to local realities; [3] avoiding ethnic oppression and bloodshed must be a constant priority. But if these goals are to be achieved - if global free market democracy is to be peaceably sustainable - thenthe problem of market-dominant minorities, however unsettling, must be confronted head-on. [Finally, four specific "tonics" are addressed:] (1) the possibility of 'leveling the playing field'between market-dominant minorities and the impoverished 'indigenous' majorities around them; (2) ways of getting thepoor, frustrated majorities of the world a greater stake in global markets; (3) ways of promoting liberalrather than illiberal democracies; and (4) approaches that market-dominant minorities themselves might take to forestall majority-based, often murderous ethnonationalist backlashes". Chapter sub-titles showwhere and how these major challenges exist and must be addressed: (1)Chinese Minority Dominance in Southeast Asia; (2)'White'Wealth in Latin America; (3)The Jewish Billionaires of Post-Communist Russia; (4)Market-Dominant Minorities in Africa; (5)Ethnically Targeted Seizures and Nationalizations; (6)Crony Capitalism and Minority Rule; (7)Expulsions and Genocide; (8)Assimilation, Globalization, and the Case of Thailand;(9)From Jim Crow to the Holocaust;(10)Israeli Jews as a Regional Market-Dominant Minority; (11)US as a Global Market-Dominant Minority; (12)The Future of Free Market Democracy.

 

Walter Clarke & Jeffrey Herbst "Somalia and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention" Foreign AffairsVol.75/No.2(Mar/ Apr 96):-fine account of errors/lessons of UN operation in Somalia. Concludes that, in failed states, UN operations cannot be either short or neutral, and may require installation of full UN administration.

 

Bruce Clark, "A Survey of NATO: Knights in Shining Armour?" (1-18)The Economist 24 Apr 99:-extremely useful in several respects. Provides history of NATO's gradually - now rapidly - changing role(s),(un)popularity,(dis)unity. Describes how "most successful military alliance in history" suddenly lost its raison d'etre; then altered from new trans-European-US security entity, swamped with new applicants and proud of its Bosnian role, to frustrated military giant in Kosovo, seen by many as having acted illegally and unnecessarily, with future dependent on solving complex puzzle of own making. Also outlines functional dilemmas facing military allies equipped/trained decades apart technologically. Finally, survey coversNATO's split over whether it plays global role in(UN-sponsored) multilateral combat interventions which it alone has weapons, training, cohesion to handle.

 

Walter J. Clemens, Jr, Dynamics of International Relations: Conflict and Mutual Gain in an Era of Global Interdependence(Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield 98):-well-organized introductory text on IR, helpful to students or those first looking at global issue(s). Chapters:(1)Is IR "Winner-Take-All?" Can It Be Mutual Gain?(2)How to Win at Peace: Creating New World Orders;(3)Foreign Policy Decision Making: Do Individuals Count?(4)Why Wage War? Does It Pay to Fight?(5)Power and Influence:What Wins?(6)Why Arm?Can Swords Become Plowshares? (7)Negotiating Conflict:How Can Foes Become Partners?(8)Nationalism and World Order: Peoples at Risk? (9)Intervention and Mediation: How Can Outsiders Help?(10)Democracy and Authoritarianism: What Impact on International Peace and Prosperity?(11)Wealth of Nations: West Meets East(12)Challenges of Development: South MeetsNorth(13) Transitions: Can Second World Join First?(14)Ecopolitics: Health of Nations(15)Organizing for Mutual Gain:UN, Europe and Nonstate Actors(16)International Protection of Human Rights:Sham orRevolution? (17)Alternative Futures.

 

Harlan Cleveland, Birth of a New World: An Open Moment for International Leadership(San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers 93):-post-Cold War book by a top US diplomat/administrator who does not advocate a Pax Americana. Offers succinct description of many changes in, and dynamic characteristics of, post-industrial world.

 

Roger A.Coate edit.U.S. Policy and the Future of the United Nations(New York: Twentieth Century Fund 94):-fine essays on UN political/organizational problems and realistic proposals retain global value sinceissues remain relevant and/or reforms underway. Spiers proposes administrative/structural/peacemaking/ financial reforms. Coate urges inter-agency/ intra- government coordination of UN system. Blechman looks at new intra-state conflict/ preventive action challenges. Graham surveys IAEA proliferation/enforcement needs. Abram urges enforcement of human rights/humanitarian law. Loescher examines new scale/originsof refugees/displaced persons. Gordenker discusses WHO role/problems. Sessions/Steever explore challenges/constraints on Commission on Sustainable Development. Leonard picks UN priorities: security/economy/ environment/humanitarian action/human rights.


Richard Cockett"Chasing the Rainbow: A Survey of South Africa"The Economist 08 Apr 06(1-12):-official summary of Survey: "Since end of apartheid, South Africa has moved closer to becoming the 'rainbow nation'of Nelson Mandela's vision. But not nearly close enough yet". Highlights of broad introductory essay: "South Africa has plotted its own course to relative stability, democracy and prosperity[, and is even] beginning to lead continent in entirely new way. [P]ost-apartheid government [African National Congress(ANC) now under President Thabo Mbeki] has managed to build 1.9m new homes, connect 4.5m households to electricity, provide 11m homes with running water. Targets for raising living standards aremost ambitious on the continent. However, South Africa still deeply scarred by legacy of apartheid[- with that] geography very much intact... Now sense of impatience over pace of change[:] for many...'rainbow nation'has slowed to a crawl[,so] government well aware of this, and now intervening in more areas of national life to try to speed up change. [Yet] from education to foreign policy to crime-fighting, people have found creative solutions to many of their problems. That creativity is South Africa's most impressive asset, and increasingly comes from poorest and historically most disadvantagedof communities - nowbuilding their own ladders out of poverty. [F]or all the good economic news, government is lookingpolitically more vulnerable than at any time since 1994 [defeat of apartheid] for simple reason: little [GDP]growth has benefited [ANC's] core supporters - poor and black. [U]nemployment [formally up to] about 27% [as new jobs] not enough to keep pace with number of new entrants into labour market. [O]ther big problem is rising inequality[:] number of people living on poverty line may be rising. [ANC economic]prudence paid off, bringing economic stability and launching consumer boom. But [it] did not create enough jobs[/investment]. So now ANC looking... at disgruntled activists who feel let down. [It plans]more money for program of social grants[mainly child support/pensions to about 10m out of 47m, plus]370b rand over next 3 years on public works, mainly infrastructure/tourism, to boost jobs and create more [leveling] demand. Longer-term aims: growth rate to 6% by 2010; halve unemployment/poverty by 2014. [Dangers] twin bottlenecks.:. severe skills shortage and failure to deliver services at local level".Final points, also in Editorial"Term Limits in Africa: When Enough Is Enough"(18):"With many leading politicians discredited, continent needs a strong South Africa. Also needs South Africa prepared to go beyond its strickly African agenda, and to deliver on its commitments to good governance, human rightsand democracy enshrined in new vision of African Union and Nepad [New Partnership for Africa's Development]. These are very much South Africa's creations. It is time for Africa's leading democracy to cast off its humility and diffidence - and perhaps even to throw its weight around for these causes".


Richard Cockett "Chasing the Rainbow: A Survey of South Africa"Economist 08 Apr 06(5-6):-Summary of major section on government's HIV/AIDS policy only: "[G]reatest weakness of [ruling African National Congress] ANC's top-down system is that party is inclined to dismiss ideas from outside its own bureaucracy. Most obvious example has been [President Thabo] Mbeki's well-documented response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. For a long time [op.cit.] Mbeki stood out against the combined weight of world medical opinion on the causes/treatment of AIDS, and particularly on use of anti-retroviral drugs. Main group campaigning for their use, Treatment Action Campaign, was made up almost entirely of ANC members, and Mbeki seems to have resisted their arguments as much because he felt they werebreaking party ranks as for their prescriptions on AIDS (with which he disagreed). In 2003, government eventually caved in to domestic/ international pressure and gracelessly introduced a comprehensivemanagement regime involving anti-retroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS. May have signalled change of policy by government, but not, it seems, much of a change of mind. In a country with 5.2m HIV-positivepeople on record, the largest number in the world, there is almost no public acknowledgement of theproblem or public education about it. [M]inisters (with a few honourable exceptions) still seem loth to talk about the illness, which kills about 900 people a day and undermines much else the country is trying to achieve. It handicaps the army, with an infection rate said to be up to 40%, breaks up families and killsmuch-needed teachers. Chillingly, Actuarial Society of South Africa estimates that it will be another ten years before the pandemic peaks. Tardiness with which government responded to HIV/AIDS crisis,together with Mbeki's own strange take on underlying science, has tarnished own reputation, as well as that of ANC. Critics argue government remains ambivalent about its commitment to fighting pandemic with anti-retroviral drugs. Government's plan to combat HIV/AIDS may be model of its kind in intent, but it is already falling behind. By end of 2006 about 225,000 patients will be receiving anti-retroviral drugs, well short of the plan's target of 380,000 by 2005-06. Mbeki's unorthodox views on causes/cures of HIV/AIDS undoubtedly have something to do with his agenda of finding African solutions (rather than expensive Western ones) to Africa's problems... But AIDS saga, together withANC's unresponsiveness to its own supporters and its failure to deliver on its promises, has diminished aura of moral authority it has earned";


Roberta Cohen & Francis M.Deng Masses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal Displacement(Washington: Brookings 98):- thorough, containing many sound proposals. Written by Deng as UNSG representative on internally displaced persons(IDP).Numbers are big and growing(20-25m IDPs vs 20m refugees)affecting multiple UN roles (humanitarian/human rights/development/peace/sovereignty)and bodies(DMTS/ ECHA/ ERC/ IOM/ OCHA/ ODIHR(UNHQ)/ UNDP/ UNHCR/ UNICEF/ UNIFEM/ UNRWA/ WFP/ WHO).Sections : Global View; Legal issues; Institutional issues; NGOs (Red Cross/Voluntary Agencies Council/etc.); Regional Groups; some Strategies/Proposals; IDP Guiding Principles. For excellent summary of book by authors see "Exodus Within Borders" Foreign Affairs Vol.77/No.4(Jul/Aug 98).


Roberta Cohen "The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement: An Innovation in International Standard Setting" Global Governance Vol.10/No.4(Oct.-Dec. 04):-includes how and why global concern about internally displaced persons(IDP) has developed, particularly since Cohen/Deng source of 98(op.cit.). "It was not until 90s that absence of international system for IDPs began to be noticed and more traditional notions of sovereignty questioned. One of vivid examples of change in attitude was new set of international standards to protect persons forcibly uprooted in their own countries - Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Introduced into UN Commission on Human Rights 98, they set forth rights of IDPs and obligations of governments/international community toward these populations...GPs recast sovereignty as form of national responsibility toward one's vulnerable populations with role provided forinternational community when governments did not have capacity/willingness to protect their uprootedpopulations. Although not legally binding instrument like treaty, GPs quickly gained substantial internationalacceptance/authority.[Article analyses] origin/development of GPs, reasons for growing international usage,validity of reservations about them, and question whether process that developed them truly constitutes turning point in standard setting reflecting greater role for NGO community in developing internationalnorms of conduct for states."


Isobel Coleman "The Payoff From Women's Rights" Foreign Affairs Vol.83/No.3(May/Jun 04):-three points strongly: women's full rights critically important not just for women alone but for entire societies; most negative women's areas of world are both curbed by old-style religion/culture and blocked economically;US can and must do more to improve this. First point:" Over past decade, significant research has demonstrated what many have known for long time: women critical to economic development, active civil society, good governance -especially in developing countries. Focus on women often best way reduce birth rates/child mortality; improve health/nutrition/education; stem spread of HIV/AIDS; build robust/self- sustaining community organizations; encourage grassroots democracy... Women's status advanced in many countries: gender gaps in infant mortality rates/calorie consumption/school enrollment/literacy levels/ access to health care/political participation narrowed steadily. These... benefited society at large/improvingliving standards/increasing social entrepreneurship/ attracting foreign direct investment." Second point: "[S]ignificant gender disparities continues to exist, and in some cases to grow, in three regions: southern Asia, Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa. [C]onstraints on women living in areas [are] conservative/ patriarchal practices, often reinforced by religious values." Third point: "[Deep tensions] between religious extremists and those with more moderate/progressive views... evident in Saudi Arabia/Iraq/Afghanistan...to lesser extent Nigeria/ Pakistan/ Indonesia. Resolution critical to progress..., for those that suppress women likely to stagnate economically/fail to develop democratic institutions/become more prone to extremism." Sourges US to intensify women's rights much more.


Isobel Coleman"The Better Half: Helping Women Help the World"(126-130) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.1 (Jan/Feb 10):-Review Essay of Nicholas D.Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn: Half the Sky:Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Knopf 09). Official summary:"Efforts to provide the world's women with economic and political power are more than just a worthy moral crusade: they represent perhaps the best strategy for pursuing development and stability across the globe. [The $27.95 HC 320pp. book] is an insightful and inspiring call to action". [The review is very persuasive.] Coleman: Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy and Director of Women and Foreign Policy Program at Council on Foreign Relations. Her book Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East to be published by Random House this spring. For annotated guide to this topic, see "What to Read on Gender and Foreign Policy" at www.foreignaffairs.com/readinglists/gender.


Isobel Coleman"The Global Glass Ceiling: Why Empowering Women Is Good for Business"(13-20) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.3 (May/Jun 10):-official summary:"It is now accepted wisdom that empowering women in the developing world is a catalyst for achieving a range of international development goals. It is time for multinational corporations to get on board: funding education for girls and incorporating women-owned firms into their supply chains are good for business". Coleman: Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy and Director of Women and Foreign Policy Program at Council on Foreign Relations. She is author of Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East (Random House:HC$26.00). For annotated guide to this topic, see "What to Read on Gender and Foreign Policy" at www.foreignaffairs.com/readinglists/gender.


Paul Collier The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It(New York: Oxford Univ Press 07):-reviews praise this brilliant description of the world's poorest states and how they need unprecedented forms of aid to escape their chronic dilemmas. Essence of argument by author in Preface (xi):"The problems these countries have are very different from those we have addressed for the past four decades in what we have called 'developing countries' - that is, virtually all countries besides the most developed, which account for only one-sixth of the earth's people. For all this time we have defined developing countries so as to encompass five billion of the six billion people in the world. But not all developing countries are the same. Those where development has failed face intractable problems not found in the countries that are succeeding. We have, in fact, done the easier part of global development; finishing the job now gets more difficult. Finish it we must, because an impoverished ghetto of one billion people will be increasingly impossible for a comfortable world to tolerate... But to do so we will need to draw upon tools - such as military interventions, international standard-setting, and trade policy - that to date have been used for other purposes.. To build a unity of purpose, thinking needs to change, not just within the development agencies but among the wider electorates whose views shape what is possible". Text (200pp) is essential.


Paul Collier "The Politics of Hunger: How Illusion and Greed Fan the Food Crisis"(67-79) Foreign Affairs Vol.87/No.6(Nov/Dec 08):-official summary:"The food crisis could have dire effects on the poor. Politicians have it in their power to bring food prices down. But doing so will require ending the bias against big commercial farms and genetically modified crops and doing away with damaging subsidies - the giants of romantic populism, bolstered by both illusion and greed". [Criticism is particularly aimed at US and Europe.] Collier is Professor of Economics and Director of Center for Study of African Economics at Oxford Univ. and author of Bottom Billion.


Cindy Collins & Thomas G.Weiss An Overview and Assessment of 1989-1996 Peace Operations Publications: Occasional Paper #28(Providence: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown Univ. 97):-any book ordering/ summarizing 2000-publications about globally critical issue is invaluable. Although prepared as research aid, concise text worth reading by itself for wealth of information/views it conveys on many big problems/decisions facing UN. Subjects: Root Causes of Armed Conflicts and Appropriate Responses; Decisions to Intervene(ethics, and UNSC/state processes); Planning and Implementing Intervention(UN, state, and NGO processes/relations).

 

Commitment to Development Index(CDI), "Ranking the Rich: 2004"in Foreign Policy(Co-Edited with Center for Global Development(CGD))No.142(May/Jun 04)(46-56):-CDI in 2003 was a ranking of rich nationsaccording to how their policies help or hinder social and economic development in poor countries. In2004, CGD/FP unveils...CDI that brings into sharper focus which governments lead the global community in the challenge of development. "Why should rich countries care about development in poor ones? For reasons both pragmatic and principled. In a globalizing world, rich countries cannot insulate themselves from insecurity. Poverty and weak institutions are breeding grounds for public-health crises, violence, and economic volatility. Fairness is another reason to care. No human being should be denied the chance to live free of poverty and oppression, or to enjoy a basic standard of education and health. Yet richnations' current trade policies, for example, place disproportionate burdens on poor countries, discriminatingagainst their agricultural goods in particular. Finally, the countries ranked in the CDI are all democracies that preach concern for human dignity and economic opportunity within their own borders. The index measureswhether their policies promote these same values in the rest of the world" .

 

Carl Conetta and Charles Knight, Vital Force: A Proposal for the Overhaul of the UN Peace Operations System and for the Creation of a UN Legion(Cambridge: Commonwealth Institute 95):-detailed and fairly technical proposal, employing in-depth knowledge of modern military organization and capabilities. Like Government of Canada's simultaneous proposal(op.cit.)this was prepared in response to suggestion by UNSG(Boutros-Ghali)that UN-controlled rapid response capability needed. After identifying six problems affecting "authorization, planning, and execution of peace operations" , it proposes creation of four organizations: Military Advisory and Cooperation Council; multilateral Field Communication and Liaison Corps; strengthened Secretariat staff structure; four-brigade permanent standing force(UN Legion)plus field support structure(44,000 personnel).

 

Gordon Conway, The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the 21st Century(London: Penguin Books 97):-expert survey of food problems and potential in developing countries. Specific advice on eradicating hunger/rapidly reducing 750m undernourished(as pledged at World Food Summit)through complex but realistic second Green Revolution. Topics: global hunger/poverty; 2020 prospects; specific needs; Green Revolution's successes; where missed poor; pollution from pesticides/fertilizer; production trends/priorities; biotechnology; sustainable agriculture; farmers' input; pest control; nutrients; soil/water management; other resources; food security.

 

James Cooper"Child Labour: Legal Regimes, Market Pressures and the Search for Meaningful Solutions"and John English"'Imitating the Cries of Little Children': Exploitative Child Labour and the Growth of Children's Rights"International Journal Vol.LII/ No.3(Summer 97):-paired articles, while advocating different approaches to this complex problem - and one that can be locally very controversial, agree it must be met globally and positively, including through UNGA, ILO, WTO, UNICEF. For a specific example of where pressure to end child labour locally (making soccer balls in Pakistan)was successful, but created a number of economic side effects, see The Economist 08 Apr 00"After the Children Went to School"(72-3).

 

Robert Cottrell"Meet the Neighbours: A Survey of the EU's Eastern Borders"The Economist 25 Jun 05(1-16):-a cautiously optimistic -and particularly economic - look at European Union's future, particularly as regards keen but poor countries to its east. The very useful Introduction is summarized:"EU has been expanding by leaps and bounds. [Author]asks what happens if it stops". The seven mostly-geographicchapters are carefully identified. "Transformed: EU membership has worked magic in central Europe". "Climate Change: What post-communist countries need to flourish". "Taming the Balkans: Could EU accession do the trick?" "A Bearish Outlook: EU's relations with Russia are bad and may get worse". "Too Big To Handle?: Turkey's application to join EU is causing anxiety on both sides". "The 4% Solution: Getting closer to Europe is good for economic growth". "The Shape of Things to Come: EU should go its different ways". Final section includes: "This survey has argued for best-case result in which EU goes on using the power of membership to change the countries around it for the better. But Europe is much less likely to find the energy/generosity for that strategy, now that it has lost its sense of purpose/confidence in itself."

 

Timothy Wallace Crawford "Why Minimum Force Won't Work: Doctrine and Deterrence in Bosnia and Beyond" Global Governance Vol.4/No.2(Apr/Jun 98):-since many diagnoses for failures of UN role in Bosnia, analyses problem for future through critique of doctrine(s)UN attempted, particularly "minimum force." Argument: Military deterrence coercion, which entails dropping peacekeeping rules like participants' consent/minimum force. UN forces' credibility ability/will to take effective military action key to deterring local parties from attacking each other/UN.Threat includes offensive.[Approach quite distinct from humanitarian operations; two should not be confused/result in "mission creep" .]

 

Tim Creery edit. "Human Rights:How Can Canada Make a Difference?" Report of Conference on Canada's Foreign Policy by the Group of 78, Cantley, Quebec: 25-7 Sep 98:-contains keynote speech by Warren Allmand, President, International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development(particular emphasis on decision to establish International Criminal Court); discussions on Canada's Roles in Protection of Civil and Political Rights(through UN and OAS)and of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights(through trade and development assistance); summaries of Discussion Groups on Constructive Engagement or Confrontation towards Burma, China, Cuba, Nigeria, and former Yugoslavia; and summaries of statements on Rights of Indigenous Peoples and official views on Progress and Challenges in Human Rights. Report also contains: Introduction, Summary, Conclusions and Proposals.

 

Barbara Crossette "A U.N. Watchdog Exits to Applause" New York Times 15 Nov 99:-reports very successfulcompletion 5-year term by first head UN Office of Internal Oversight Services. Karl Theodor Paschke, former personnel/ management chief, German Foreign Ministry, appointed USG level as watchdog to fight corruption/mismanagement. Expanded auditing throughout UN/sent inspectors around world/uncovered dollars millions in fraud/abuse. UN now dismisses employees quickly/losses recovered/criminal cases to trial/Annan's management reforms working. Predictably, Paschke praised by US Congress but criticized by some developing nations for coming from rich country, and some major reports blocked. Concluded: UN'sfaults similar to those in other big bureaucracies, even though faces unique challenges(e.g. inpeacekeeping/emergency relief operations/global procurement, where corruption worst).

 

Barbara Crossette "Kofi Annan Unsettles Important People, as He Believes the U. N. Should Do" New York Times 31 Dec 99:-built around frank interview with UNSG, also contributes background, especially on UN-US relations. Annan, "soft-spoken aristocrat from Ghana[and]quiet insider with gentle sense of humor welcomed as healer" at time of bad US-UN relations. Three years after election, "turning out to be one of most provocative leaders[UN]ever known" . Speeches/reports castigate both UN and major powers "for doing nothing in face of predictable catastrophes" (Rwanda, Srebenica)and hit fellow Africans for shortcomings. Annan defends practical need for honest assessments and fault-finding, but has antagonized both Third World and influential Americans. 99 UNGA speech arguing right to intervene in state affairs if leaders abusetheir people drew fear from small nations and claims from senior US conservatives he was exceeding powers. Personal diplomatic initiatives(Iraq, Libya)criticized, but he stressed he was only doing his job. Much of Annan's independence derives from his selection of strong and expert advisors.

 

Barbara Crossette "U.N. Studies How Refugees Qualify to Get Assistance" New York Times 14 Jan 00:-UNSC debate on what Roberta Cohen(Masses in Flight op.cit.)called "absurdity" ;Brookings: "one of most pressing humanitarian, human rights and political issues now facing global community" . Most of 20m+ internally displaced persons(IDPs) ineligible to receive UN assistance simply because not(yet)crossed border out of own country. Many forced from homes(often by own governments who prefer world excluded);most in more danger/distress than those able to reach border; some interspersed with/indistinguishable from "recognized" refugees; often far outnumber latter(Angola: 1-2m to 370,000).UNHCR Ogata stressed how inherent IDP geographic/political/security problems made worse byWWII-vintage definitions. UNSC supportive of new rules/arrangements for new conditions, with UNHCR in charge.

 

Barbara Crossette "Advocates for Children Joining U.N. Peacekeeping Missions" New York Times 18 Feb 00:-for first time, UN will assign full-time children's advocates to top operational staff abroad of all peacekeeping missions. Announced by Olara A.Otunnu, Special Representative of SG for Children and Armed Conflict. First advocate assigned for Sierra Leone where atrocities against(and by)children have been particularly serious, and two will be assigned to UN force in Congo, so far all from UNICEF. Otunnu explained:" For protection and welfare of children to be taken seriously, and not be marginalized, we must have[advocates]within central political structure" .Will advise Mission heads, coordinate all child assistance groups, determine necessary programs for children and(since civil war combatants may ignore Conventions)also mobilize public opinion.

 

Barbara Crossette "The U.N.'s Unhappy Lot: Perilous Police Duties Multiplying" New York Times 22 Feb 00:-describes challenge facing UN in finding/managing very large number of police officers demanded by new peacekeeping duties and dangers.(For history of UN police activities, see Oakley op.cit.)UNPeacekeeping Operations' total staff of 400 must find/deploy nearly 9,000 specially qualified officersimmediately(almost 5,000 for Kosovo, 2000+for Bosnia, 1,640 for East Timor).For first time, UN police in Kosovo/East Timor have direct executive law enforcement powers and in Kosovo will be armed. Less than half Kosovo force has arrived(and some returned as unqualified).Thus in assuming responsibility for law and order, UN police activities not only grown but become more varied/complex/delicate/ hazardous. Many are worried that current assignments will exceed UN capacity.

 

Barbara Crossette "U.S. Ready for Much Larger Security Council" New York Times 04 Apr 00:-update on long attempt at UNSC membership reform. In spite of major power shifts and huge membership growthsince 45, five permanent (veto-wielding)members remain unchanged, while 183 states now share 10 rotating seats. Yet powerful Council must be decisive, and was never intended to be representative. Fassbender(op.cit.)explains basic dilemma: Council can become more equal, representative, or effective - but never all three. Article reports some small progress: US no longer demands limit of 20-1 seats, so 28are now proposed. This may ease deadlock on(permanent)regional seats. Since France and UK refuseto pass permanent status to EU, Germany and(?)may be added. Japan plus 2-3 Asian seats become feasible.Africa and Latin America could also have more flexibility for aspirants.

 

Barbara Crossette "U.S. Report Says the U.N. Has Improved With Changes" New York Times 29 May 00:-summarizes "surprisingly positive report on...UN" written by US General Accounting Office for Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Criticisms of UN by committee have been "frequent and shrill" and it playedmajor role in US' ignoring its legally-binding UN debts, and unilaterally demanding SG/Secretariat implement wide range of political reforms (Helms, Speech op.cit.).Yet GAO concludes SG Annan made "considerable strides in improving[UN]management" , and clearly "differentiates between reform goals[SG/Secretariat]can meet alone and those that are dependent on decisions of 188 member nations" .Moreover, GAO notes, "where there are serious failures or lags in putting changes into practice...shortcomings often related to fuzzy instructions from[UNGA,]...20% in each year[being]too open-ended or vague to determine what objectives[SG]expected to accomplish" -often reflecting political compromises. SG is credited with improving coordination and appointing chief operating officer, who in turn established standard code of conduct. While UN peace operations now reflect unified policy and integrated planning, overall UN capacity "to manage, logistically support and respond to rapid changes in...demand" have not been addressed because "organization, under severe financial handicaps and with demands on it multiplying, does not have capability to manage scope and scale of activity." Full text of report can be obtained via GAO home page: www.gao.gov.

 

Barbara Crossette "U.S. Report Says the U.N. Has Improved With Changes" New York Times 29 May 00:-summarizes "surprisingly positive report on...UN" written by US General Accounting Office for Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Criticisms of UN by committee have been "frequent and shrill" and it playedmajor role in US' ignoring its legally-binding UN debts, and unilaterally demanding SG/Secretariat implement wide range of political reforms (Helms, Speech op.cit.).Yet GAO concludes SG Annan made "considerable strides in improving[UN]management" , and clearly "differentiates between reform goals[SG/Secretariat]can meet alone and those that are dependent on decisions of 188 member nations" .Moreover, GAO notes, "where there are serious failures or lags in putting changes into practice...shortcomings often related to fuzzy instructions from[UNGA,]...20% in each year[being]too open-ended or vague to determine what objectives[SG]expected to accomplish" -often reflecting political compromises. SG is credited with improving coordination and appointing chief operating officer, who in turn established standard code of conduct. While UN peace operations now reflect unified policy and integrated planning, overall UN capacity "to manage, logistically support and respond to rapid changes in...demand" have not been addressed because "organization, under severe financial handicaps and with demands on it multiplying, does not have capability to manage scope and scale of activity." Full text of report can be obtained via GAO home page: www.gao.gov.

 

Ivo H. Daalder and Michael E. O'Hanlon, "Unlearning the Lessons of Kosovo" Foreign Policy No.116(Fall 99):-test of assumptions to see if Kosovo sets precedent for humanitarian interventions. NATO Won: air campaign was clearly NATO success in gaining more than originally asked, but only after Serbs had uprooted 1.3m Kosovars. Airpower Alone Worked: while" probably most successful use of strategic bombardmentin history of warfare" , vulnerable Serb infrastructure, 40,000 KLA troops, credible NATO invasion, were also key. Powell Doctrine is Dead: NATO power was not "decisive" initially, but grew until it was so. UN Is Nice, But Not Necessary: UN still cannot run military operations itself, but new UNSC unity helped Serbs concede, and UN political mandate unprecedented. In Military Terms, Europe Is a Dwarf: US ran war, butEurope now running peace/reordering its armed forces. Lessons: such operations not cheap/easy; US must still lead and be willing to commit troops.

 

Suzanne Daley," Rising Rate of Mad Cow Disease Alarms Europe" in the New York Times 07 May 00:-showshow hard it is to stop the spread of fatal diseases even with drastic control measures in an interdependent world. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy has just turned up in south-eastern France, having also been detected in native-born cows in 10 other European countries. While the number of continental cases identified is small compared with the 178,000 reported in Britain, those discovered in France have gone from six in 1997 to one weekly in 2000. Moreover the true total of cows (and humans) infected may be much larger as transmission modes and incubation periods remain mysterious. Nevertheless, considerable progress is being made in other respects: Sandra Blakeslee, " Clues to Mad Cow Disease Emerge in Study of Mutant Proteins" in NYT 23 May 00:-reports on the information exchanged at an international meeting on the disease. While scientists still do not know how the disease spreads to humans, how many more will die from it, and if a similar epidemic could start in the US spread by infected deer and elk, clues are now being discovered on an almost weekly basis. These are based on an infectious agent called the prion, normal proteins found throughout the body tissues of humans and other animals. For unknown reasons thesesometimes transform themselves into tiny particles almost impossible to destroy, and accumulate in the brains of infected animals/people, destroying cells and leaving spongy holes in the tissue. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the human version and could eventually kill tens of thousands, -or die out. So far the death toll is 56 in Britain, 2 in France, 1 from Ireland.

 

Donald C.F.Daniel, Bradd C.Hayes and Chantal deJonge Oudraat, Coercive Inducement and the Containment of International Crises(Washington:US Institute of Peace Press 99):-novel look at various multilateral peace operations since 88. Effort is valuable as new diversity/complexity/cost brought confused or bad mandates/structures/ resources/motives/aims/hopes. Worse, many overwhelmed(soundermined)UN system both unprepared and unable to handle them. Address many operations between traditional peacekeeping(firm ceasefire/both sides' consent/fully impartial/minimum self-defense)and military enforcement. Middle option termed Coercive Inducement(CI): "judicious resort to coercive diplomacy or forceful persuasion by international community in order to implement community norms or mandates vis-a-vis all parties to particular crisis." UN operations in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti analysed to show effects of abiding by or contravening principles of CI:(1)Inducement Contingents(ICs)function under aegis of leading state or coalition in operations endorsed by UN.(2)CI personnel represent both moral authority andcredible force.(3)While aspiring for as much universality as possible, ICs primarily reflect capabilities that make for immediately effective crisis responses.(4)IC personnel assume no more than provisional consent, so act to impose community will on recalcitrant parties.(5)While not intending to harm anyone's interests, IC must implement mandates even when doing so prejudices interests of one or more party.(6)Force may be used for other than self-defense, but should not exceed minimum to cause desired behaviour.(7)IC mustplan to minimize casualties while preparing for worst. End offers operational guidelines when following CI principles, and circumstances that make it essential.

 

Tobias Debiel, "Strengthening the UN as an Effective World Authority: Cooperative Security Versus Hegemonic Crisis Management" Global Governance Vol.6/No.1(Jan/Mar 00):-neither as academic or utopian as title might suggest, looks at very practical/pertinent issue of what UN can and should do to be more effective in peacekeeping and crisis prevention roles. Such roles increase in importance as consensus develops: national sovereignty may be curtailed in exceptional humanitarian circumstances. Argued: world, unready for legally-bound multilateralism, and widely opposed to superpower-driven coercion,must turn to cooperative security - willing collaboration of all types of bodies: interest groups/relevantstates/regional organizations. Core element UN must create "standby capacities for early warning/conflict management/peacekeeping; reform of non-military sanctions instrument; and speedy institution ofinternational criminal court" (39).

 

Louis A.Delvoie "The Kosovo War: A Long Catalogue of Losers" Behind the Headlines Vol.57/No.2,3 (Winter/Spring 00):-NATO's 99 air campaign against rump "Yugoslavia" has had many supporters andcritics. Former mainly argue that it succeeded in noble humanitarian aim of relieving Kosovars from Serbian oppression; latter argue force was itself wrong and/or stress absence of UN imprimatur. Author seeks those involved that were net losers in conflict. NATO: hurt its image/reputation/future effectivenessby launching war of aggression, ending its credibility as purely defensive alliance; United Nations:sidelined/marginalized, lost any post-Gulf hope it might play its Charter peace/ security role; OSCE:reputation/credibility suffered when its 1,300 Observers had to withdraw hastily when many of OSCEmembers attacked state where they were to keep peace; Kosovars: NATO's "beneficiaries" sufferedhundreds dead and thousands displaced before bombing, but thousands dead, hundreds of thousandsdisplaced once two deterrents(OSCE plus threat to bomb)ceased to restrain; Serbs: suffered "collateral" casualties, food/water shortages as infrastructure hit, and vast long-term economic loss from bombing/ sanctions; Balkan Stability: lost in refugee floods, revived ethnic tension; "New European Security Architecture" : Russia reacted with anger/ condemnation, needing much time/effort to defuse; US: lost instature/credibility e.g. through sudden change in KLA image, public policy it would not risk ground troops, ominous intelligence error on Chinese Embassy; Western Governments: caught with double standards over Serbia/Chechnya. Many lessons to be learned.

 

Francis M. Deng et al. Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa(Washington: Brookings 96):- conclusion of 7-volume project to help governments/international community deal with conflicts in least stable continent(Reader op.cit.).Probes African states' responsibility: balance sovereignty sanctity against transborder political/economic/moral relevance of human rights violations/internal violence. Project concludes UN has unique role to play in Africa as both mediator and healer.

 

Anthony DePalma "The'Slippery Slope'of Patenting Farmers' Crops" New York Times 24 May 00:-as noted elsewhere, much of controversy over genetically modified organisms(GMO)derives from their high costs in R&D and consequent concern of biotechnology companies to ensure "adequate returns" through patents(or intellectual property rights(IPRs); see Paarlberg)relating to their products. Most infamous patent defenses were "terminator genes" in cereal seeds that could not reproduce, and thus prevented re-seeding(Economist 9 Oct 99).This ensured annual seed purchases -and prohibitive costs in Third World. DePalma reports CIMMYT, Green Revolution's famous non-profit International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, though founded to make high-yield products available free to Third World, has had to start patenting its work as defensive tactic to block attempts by others to patent its discoveries and thus keep small farmers from using them. Before companies/countries contribute to CIMMYT's research, theyalso require patents in own self-defense. Consolation: reproductive genes will be included in seeds distributed in Third World. Another GMO patent-related development reported in DePalma/Simon Romero "Super Seeds Sweeping Major Markets, and Brazil May Be Next" NYT 16 May. US, Brazil, Argentinatogether grow 80% of world's 157m tonnes of soybeans annually, but have different rules for GMvarieties. In US several conditions must be met: for Monsanto, farmers pay fee for each bag of seed, agree not to save seed for following year ( "terminator" seeds were dropped after outcry)and accept inspections if claim to have stopped using seed. In Argentina, where perhaps 90% of soybean crop genetically altered, but its patents not recognized, effectively no rules. In Brazil, use of altered varieties not(yet)legal, but clearly smuggled in; to 30% of soybeans may already be uncontrolled GMO. "Global regulatory mechanism" obviously needed. Meanwhile, US regulations tightened further. Associated Press reported 03 May "F.D.A. Announces New Steps for Regulation of Biotech Food" according to which US Food and Drug Administrationwill require biotech companies to notify it at least four months before releasing "new genetically engineered ingredients for food and animal feed" and to provide their research data. FDA will also set" truthful and informative" standards for food processors wanting to label products made with/without such ingredients. Also, mainly response to new consumer concerns, North American retail food industry/exporters facing novel problems in separating out GM products, because of explosive increase in use/saving. Some major food companies stopped sales of selected GM-based products, according to David Barboza in "Modified Foods Put Companies in a Quandary" NYT 03 Jun. However none has found it feasible to abandon biotech ingredients entirely, since about 70% of US grocery-store food may have been made with genetically altered crops. Related dilemma arisen in Europe. Donald G. McNeil Jr. "Anxiety on Genetically Altered Seed Spreads in Europe" NYT 20 May, reports on divergent reactions of British, French, Swedish governments on discovering tiny amount in one seed variety in order of long-planted Canadian canola had inadvertently carried genetically-modified trait.

 

J. Raymond DePaulo and Leslie Alan Horvitz, Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It(New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002):-UN's World Health Organization has stressed that mental illness is an overwhelming global crisis against multiple humans' active lives and even survival. WHO's "study estimates that in the coming decade depression will rank as the number two leading cause of death in the world; most of those deaths will be primarily in the form of suicide and secondly from coronary artery disease" (133). The book, by one of the world's foremost authorities on depression, and coming from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, concentrates on the technically improving but widely undeveloped situation in that country. However, the clearly written and up-to-date text is among the most advanced and ideally relevant anywhere on earth. It includes a thorough, accessible guide to depression's nature, causes, effects, and treatments, and also provides essential advice tothose responsible for handling those suffering. Aid must do more globally to help.


Daniel Deudney & G.John Ikenberry"The Myth of the Autocratic Revival: Why Liberal Democracy Will Prevail"(77-93) Foreign Affairs Vol.88/No.1(Jan/Feb 09):-official summary:"After years of liberal triumphalism, recently fears have grown that autocracies have found new ways to prosper. In fact, the imperatives of liberal democracy are as strong as ever. The key to defanging autocracies is bringing them into the liberal order, not excluding them from it". Emphasized extracts:"There remain deep contradictions between authoritarian political systems and capitalist economic systems". "War as a path to conflict resolution and great-power expansion has become largely obsolete". "Emerging global problems will create common interests across states regardless of regime type". Deudney: Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University and author of Bounding Power: Republican Security From the Polis to the Global Village. Ikenberry: Albert G.Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, a Global Eminence Scholar at Kyung Hee University, and author of After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order After Major Wars.


Larry Diamond Promoting Democracy: Actors and Instruments, Issues and Imperatives (Washington: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict 95):-report to Commission describes organizations(including UN), activities, techniques and limitations, all of which help to promote democracy's worldwide spread and support.


Larry Diamond"The Democratic Rollback: The Resurgence of the Predatory State"(36-48) Foreign Affairs Vol.87/No.2(Mar/Apr 08):-official summary: "After decades of historic gains, the world has slipped into a democratic recession. Predatory states are on the rise, threatening both nascent and established democracies throughout the world. But this trend can be reversed with the development of good governance and strict accountability, and the help of conditional aid from the West". Author is Senior Fellow at Hoover Institution and Co-Editor of Journal of Democracy. Essay is adapted from his new book, The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World (Times Books 08).


Philippe Douste-Blazy & Daniel Altman"A Few Dollars at a Time: How to Tap Consumers for Development"(2-7) Foreign Affairs Vol.89/No.1 (Jan/Feb 10):-official summary:"This year, consumers purchasing airline tickets will have a chance to at the same time contribute to the global fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. This initiative is part of a new movement called innovative financing, which seeks to share a tiny fraction of globalization's enormous gains with sick people in poor countries". Final sentence of impressive text:"The backers of innovative financing mechanisms, such as UNITAID, have two main responsibilities: to help fight diseases through novel ways of raising money and also to ensure that their success does not undermine the existing efforts [-government aid budgets-] they set out to strengthen". Douste-Blazy, who served as France's Foreign Minister 2005-07, is currently the United Nation's Special Advisor for Innovative Financing for Development and Chair of UNITAID. Altman is President of North Yard Economics, a not-for-profit consulting firm serving developing countries. Article is adapted from their book on innovative financing, which will be published in Jan 10 by PublicAffairs.


Daniel W.Drezner All Politics Is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes(Princeton & Oxford: Princeton Univ Press 07):-as The Economist 18 Mar 07 admits in specially favourable review "International Relations: An Interconnected World": book is "too nuanced and academic for easy reading", but concludes significantly "Drezner... finds that the challenges of the future will be increasingly transnational. As globalisation intensifies, the rewards for coordination will increase as well. To achieve success, essential not to eliminate international institutions but rather to understand their utility... Key to their success lies in convincing leading governments of the gains from acting in cooperation, rather than isolation, in volatile but interconnected world -message that surely applies well beyond esoteric world of trade". [Another support for my own - tough but essential - global urgency: op.cit. Christopher Spencer]. Suggest you read short Chapter One which summarizes Drezner's book in simplest explanation. "Regulation of global economy is intrinsically important. Markets rely on rules, customs, and institutions to function properly. Global markets need global rules and institutions to work efficiently. The presence or absence of these rules and institutions and their content and enforcement, is the subject of this book. In a globalizing economy, what are the rules? Who makes them? How are they made?"(6). Issue areas analysed by chapters to study relative roles of (top) governments/institutions/NGOs: Internet, International Finance, Genetically Modified Organisms, TRIPS and Public Health.


Celia W.Dugger"U.N. Panel Urges Doubling of Aid to Cut Poverty"New York Times 17 Jan 05:-announces that an"international team[has]proposed a detailed ambitious plan...that it says could halve extreme poverty and save the lives of millions of children and hundreds of thousands of mothers each year by 2015. Report[claims that]drastically reducing poverty in its many guises - hunger, illiteracy, disease - is 'utterly affordable', [but that]to fulfill this goal industrial nations would need to double aid to poor countries, to 0.5% of national incomes from 0.25%".'Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals[MDG]'also urges the easing of trade and"sweeping investments in health, education,rural development, road building, housing and scientific research".Jeffery D.Sachs(op.cit.),appointed head of this UN Millennium Project by UNSG Annan to revive the 2000-agreed 'MDG'promises, is"known ascrusader for the idea that within a generation, rich and poor countries together can end extreme poverty afflicting more than a billion".Other elements are described: the serious diversity of essential program-related policies among both the rich and poor nations, and the surprisingly varied analysis of the plan's realism that is found among aid experts -and British PM Tony Blair(op.cit.). Reuters"U.N. Report Offers Plan to Halve Extreme Poverty by 2015"in NYT 17 Jan 05:-covers same major proposals, although with natural variations in emphasis. Again, divergences among both aid donors and seekers are stressed. It also reports that in Jul 05 G8, and in Sep 05 UNGA will, spotlighting global poverty, set a development agenda.The Environment 22 Jan 05"Development: Recasting the Case for Aid"(69-70):-even longer than the NYT and Reuters analyses of the Sachs-led UN report, but again offering an objective analysis of its critically-important aims and prospects. Initial description of report includes:"Document in full runs to ten supporting volumes and more than 3,000 pages...Overview paper is packed with high-octane analysis andrecommendations, no waffle, not a sentence wasted. Aim is no less than to dispel prevailing pessimism on aid - a deeply entrenched attitude, based on years of disappointment - and to mobilise hundreds of billions of dollars in new help for developing world. In this, it might succeed. Whether it deserves to is another question." Later:"Question now - and it is the right question - is what policy inputs will be required to hit the targets[i.e.MDG final goals]...Given what is at stake, Sach's passion and ambition are entirely warranted - but does approach he advocates make sense?...Looking only at development aid, report argues, you find that aid works: it spurs growth...Good-government precondition is crucial, however, and causes team some difficulty...Poorest countries, including basket-cases of sub-Saharan Africa, aremost deserving by test of need, but tend to be worst governed".Report challenges problem by plugging poorer recipients that nevertheless have good government and by claiming aid itself can improve bad governments, but quick success appears unrealistic in Africa. Warren Hoge"African Crises Take Back Seat to Tsunami, U.N. Relief Chief Says"NYT 28 Jan 05:-Jan Egeland, UN emergency relief coordinator, complained to UNSC that impressive aid being given to those countries suffering from earthquake-produced Indian Ocean tsunami was in fact no more seriously needed than the unmet African needs. Alan Cowell"Pressure Grows for Rich Nations to Redouble Efforts to Aid Africa"NYT 28 Jan 05:-report fromWorld Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, records many more pro-African aid demands than usual.


Celia W.Dugger"U.N. vs Poverty: Seeking a Focus, Quarreling Over the Vision"NYT 14 Sep 05:-this itemleads a discouraging collection of inter-related historical articles, most inevitably summarized by a bit more than their strong titles/introductory sentences. All relate to a globally critical summit of some 170 heads of state/government. They marked seriously the 60th anniversary of the United Nations 14-16 Sep 05 when, vital reforms and international poverty commitments having been discussed, some are adopted- in full or vague status - but many more are both left required and postponed. Dugger:"The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) meeting today was to have been a rare moment when quest to relieve crushing poverty of a billion people took center stage. But so far that goal has been overshadowed by [current disasters] and squabbling over reform of UN itself. Even debate about world's common agenda on global poverty began on an unexpectedly sour note, centred around goals for healing world's deepest poverty that were to be in meeting's final document. US ambassador, John R. Bolton, initially proposed expunging any reference to specific goals for reducing poverty, hunger and child mortality andcombating pandemic of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Known as Millennium Development Goals[MDGs], they emerged from UN conference five years ago. He favored instead citing broad declaration from which goals were drawn. US subsequently relented, but not before US administration's opening in negotiations left some African leaders dismayed... Negotiations at UN got absorbed by issues around UN reform... It is not clear that much new will emerge at UN. World leaders are likely to affirm commitment to push forward with MDGs to halve extreme poverty and hunger, cut child mortality by two-thirds and ensure basic education of each child by 23015, among other things.Those are same broad goals agreed to five years ago"; Warren Hoge"U.N. Adopts Modest Goals on Reforms and Poverty"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"UNGA unanimously approved scaled-down statement of goals [13 Sep] that Secretary General [UNSG] Kofi Annan said would still give world leaders gathering [14 Sep] basis for recommendation to reform organization and combat poverty. Loud cheers from delegates, however, could not disguise widespread disappointment at weakening of 35-page document"; David E.Sanger & Warren Hoge"Bush Thanks World Leaders and Takes Conciliatory Tone"NYT 15 Sep 05:-President Bush, facing array of world leaders who are deeply divided on how to define terrorism or act against nuclear proliferation/poverty, struck conciliatory tone at UN [14 Sep], describing himself as grateful leader of superpower in recent days... Speech...came hours after UNGA greatly watered down what had once been ambitious plans for institutional change and for commitments to fight terrorism/nuclear arms... He balanced his discussion of need to chase down terrorists with his endorsement of set of antipoverty objectives... 'No nation canremain isolated/indifferent to struggles of others' ... He pressed for UNSC resolution commiting countriesto prosecute - and extradite - anyone seeking fissile materials or technology for nuclear devices... But Bush did not repeat his previous calls to bar any new country from producing enriched uranium orplutonium. In references to goals for poverty reduction, he cited not only MDGs but also another initiative that grew out of summit meeting in Monterrey, Mexico. There, poor nations agreed to fight corruption and improve governance, and rich nations commited to 'make concrete efforts' toward giving 0.7% national income in aid. Bush did not address aid issue, but advocates said they hoped endorsement of Monterray would make harder for US to continue to oppose such aid targets"; Reuters"World Leaders Seek to Invigorate UN at Age 60"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"Leaders explore ways to revitalize UN at summit, buttheir bluepoint falls short of UNSG vision of freedom from want, persecution and war... [S]ession marking60th anniversary of world body suffering from corruption scandals and sharp divisions among memberson how to tackle international crises... UNSG in 85p paper in Mar entitled 'In Larger Freedom', addressed challenges for 21st century that required collective action: alleviating extreme poverty, reversing AIDS pandemic, global security, terrorism and human rights. But after bitter negotiations over last few weeks,nearly every bold initiative suffered cutbacks in final 38p document approved by UNGA for endorsementat summit... Still, somewhat emasculated document saved summit from failure. UN officials highlighted initiatives, including new human rights body, Peacebuilding Commission to help nations emerging from war and perhaps most significantly, obligation to intervene when civilians face genocide/war crimes... Butnegotiators failed to agree on how to tackle nuclear proliferation or on definition of terrorism sought by Western nations, and fell short of commitments to greater aid and tearing down trade barriers developing nations wanted"; AP"Annan Appeals to World Leaders at Summit"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"UNSG Kofi Annanappealed [14 Sep] to world leaders...to help restore confidence in world body and act together to meet challenges of new century... Annan said document they will adopt at end of 3-day summit was 'good start'but not 'sweeping and fundamental reform'he proposed. He called for urgent action on tough, unresolved issues. 'Because one thing has emerged clearly from this process on which we embarked two years ago: whatever our differences, in our interdependent world, we stand or fall together', UNSG said.'Whether our challenge is peacemaking, nation-building, democratization or responding to natural or man-made disasters, we have seen that even the strongest among us cannot succeed alone'... In what he call 'a high-risk gamble', UNSG and incoming/outgoing presidents of UNGA decided to drop issues where there was no agreement, choose language for which they thought they could win consent, andpresent clean text to member states. It worked"; AP"Bush Focuses on Terror in Speech to U.N."NYT 14 Sep 05:-"Before skeptical world leaders, President Bush [14 Sep] urged compassion for the needy and pressed global community to 'put the terrorists on notice'by cracking down on any activities that could incite deadly attacks. Bush... was seeking to sell his blueprints for spreading democracy in Iraq and elsewhere, overhauling UN and expanding trade"; AP"Chiefs of U.N. Agencies Appeal to Donors"NYT14 Sep 05:-"UN refugee and food agencies' chiefs said [14 Sep] that international donors are not doing enough to help alleviate shortages of survival rations in refugee camps across Africa. Because of lack of funds, World Food Program has been forced to cut rations for hundreds of thousands of refugees, particularly in West Africa and Great Lakes region in east of continent"; AP"Mexico's Fox OK With U.N. Reform Document"NYT 14 Sep:-"Mexican President Vicente Fox said [14 Sep] that he and the rest of theGroup of 15 developing nations think UN reform document approved this week is a step in the right direction, but stressed it is only first step... The 35-page document is supposed to launch a major reform of UN itself and galvanize efforts to ease global poverty. But to reach consensus, most of text's details gutted in favor of abstract language. UNSG had hoped that in addition to addressing UN overhaul, document would outline specific actions for improving the lot of the poor and tackling genocide, terrorism and human rights. But nations couldn't bridge their difference during negotiations. Group of 15developing nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America was set up to foster cooperation in dealing withinternational groups such as World Trade Organization and the Group of Seven rich industrialized nations"; AP"Annan Seeks to Restore U.N. Credibility"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"After a year of mounting criticism,UNSG Annan defended UN [14 Sep] and urged global leaders to restore organization's credibility by adopting broad reforms needed for world to act together to tackle poverty, terrorism and conflict...Instead of a celebration of UN achievements since its founding in ashes of WWII, summit was much more a somber reappraisal of its shortcomings and a debate about how to meet the daunting challenges ofa world becoming moreand more interlinked"; Reuters"World Leaders United on Terrorism"NYT 14 Sep 05:-"World leaders united [14 Sep] on need to ban incitement of terrorism but fell short of ambitions forfundamental reform of UN...Negotiations on the summit document world leaders are to endorse dropped disarmament proposals from Norway and South Africa, backed by about 80 nations. US objected to calls for nuclear disarmament but stressed danger of terrorists and rogue states obtaining unconventional weapons... In veiled criticism of US, world's richest nation, Dutch PM... said Europeans had agreed to boost development aid spending but 'we need to see more equal burden-sharing'"; AP"Annan Seeks to Restore U.N.'s Credibility"NYT 15 Sep 05:-"Bitter differences among UN member states have blocked many crucial UN reforms, and nations must act boldly to restore the world body's credibility, UNSG told summit of world leaders... Coming into the summit, diplomats had to dilute a document on goals for tackling rights abuses, terrorism and UN reform because they couldn't settle their disputes"; Financial Times"Shifting Positions at the UN World Summit"NYT 15 Sep 05:-"Fact that US and China have both become simultaneous aid donors and recipients says much about changing global society. World ismuch more diffuse in power than traditional stereotypes allowed... US is rich, and its military power iscommanding, but US ability to impose its will on world is limited... China, as well as India, Brazil and some other developing countries, is gaining economic power, especially through rapid absorption ofadvanced technologies and emergence of home-grown scientific prowess... [E]verything points to vastinternational diffusion of scientific expertise in coming decades... US will likely become more rather than less engaged as donor country in Africa and elsewhere... [I]dea of a US empire astride the world in 21st century will go... [C]ertainly the most important issue, hardly noted at [UN] world summit, is that rise of China, India, and other regional powers will intensify growing and multiple pressures on global environment and resource base... As a crowded world of 6.5 billion on its way to 9 billion people by mid-century, and with rising risks/complexities all around us, we are all both donors and recipients now. We are all in this together, and we had better get used to that reality"; The Economist 15 Sep 05"United Nations Reform: Better Than Nothing"(p.33 in 17 Sep NA issue):- "Annan sought to explain why a draftdeclaration on UN reform and tackling world poverty, to be endorsed by some 150 heads of state/government... has turned into such a pale shadow of proposals he himself put forward. 'With 191 member states' , he sighed, 'its not easy to get agreement'. Most countries put the blame on US, in the form of its abrasive new ambassador, John Bolton, for insisting at end of Aug on hundreds of last-minute amendments and line-by-line renegotiation of a text most others had thought was almost settled. Buta group of middle-income developing nations... also came up with plenty of last-minute changes of their own. Risk of having no document at all... was averted only by marathon talks... The 35-page final document not wholly devoid of substance. It calls for creation of a Peacebuilding Commission to supervise reconstruction of countries after wars; replacement of discreditied Commission on Human Rights by supposedly tougher Human Rights Council; recognition of a new 'responsibility to protect'peoples from genocide and other atrocities when national authorities fail to take action, if necessary by force; and 'early'reform of UNSC. Although much pared down, all these proposals have at least survived.Others have not. Either...so contentious they were omitted altogether, such as sections on disarmament/non-proliferation/ICC, or they were watered down to little more than empty platitudes: no longer evenmentions vexed issue of pre-eminent strikes. [M]eanwhile, section on terrorism condemns it 'in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes' , but fails to provide clear definition US wanted... Now up to UNGA to flesh out document's skeleton proposals and propose new ones. But its chances of success appear slim"; Steven R.Weisman"A Frustrating Week at the U.N. for the White House Team"NYT 16 Sep 05:-"[R]ebellion by countries outside the ambit of Europe and US appears to have thwarted some of the changes sought at UN. Bush officials insist that they arepleased with some of the changes adopted by UNGA, notably a broad definition of terrorism. They saytried to address wishes of developing world by agreeing at last minute to endorse specific goals to increase foreign aid. But when it came time to adopt stringent budgetary changes at UN,cementing fiscaland personnel authority with Secretariat under Kofi Annan and taking some of it away from UNGA, thevotes were not there. Neither were there enough votes to scrap UN Human Rights Commission and replace it with a council that would not be led by countries like Sudan or Cuba, which US and its allies consider bad actors in human rights sphere. The scandals of last couple of years in oil-for-food problem in Iraq, with favoritism and corruption in awarding of contracts, might have been avoided if UNSG's office had exercised greater control over the budget and personnel, now in hands of a committee made up of all members of UNGA. 'The way UN is run, the vast number of less developed countries sitting in UNGA hold the power of the purse', a diplomat at UN said. 'A lot of developing countries see giving moreauthority to UNSG as ploy by US and Europeans to take more control of UN'"; AP"Rice Urges 'Revolution of Reform'at U.N."NYT 17 Sep 05:-"UN must make itself more relevant to tackle 21st century problems... Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said [17 Sep]. 'In this new world, we must again embrace challenge of building for the future'. World leaders...adopted watered-down version of proposed reforms...'Time to reform UN is now', she said. 'And we must seize this opportunity together'... 'No cause, no movement, and no grievance can justify intentional killing of innocent civilians and noncombatants. This isunacceptable by any moral standard'. UNSG [had] said condemnation of terrorism must be unqualifiedand that... should 'forge a global counterterrorism strategy that weakens terrorists and strengthens international community'... Rice called on rich countries to help poor ones with development assistance... She said new [human rights] council... should have more credibility. [That] means should 'never, never empower brutal dictatorships to sit in judgement of responsible democracies' ... Rice has locked arms with Annan on reform, declaring him an effective manager, with whom she can work closely. 'I havenever had a better relationship with anyone than Kofi Annan', Rice said, thereby separating US concerns about management flaws and corruption from world body's top diplomat"; Warren Hoge"Bolton and U.N. Are Still Standing After His First Test"NYT 17 Sep 05:-"Fellow ambassadors say they are impressed with[John] Bolton's work ethic, his knowledge of his brief, clarity in declaring it and his toughness as anegotiator... Some delegates, however,faulted him for emphasizing what US would never accept, saying it ended up encouraging more active opposition to US positions. They complained he devoted too much time to talking about US 'red lines' and about the red pen he had in his pocket at the ready. Those who feared Bolton came with devil's horns thought they saw them spring forth 3 weeks ago when he submitted more than 400 substantive amendments and deletions, and ordered up a line-by-line renegotiation of summit document. One of recommendations was to eliminate all mention of a series of antipoverty measures called MDGs. Surprise attack on cherished standard sent shock waves across UN where officials had grown hopeful that Bush administration's hostility to UN had significantly lessened,particularly after supportive comments from [Rice] and State Department opposition to calls for US to withhold its UN dues. A week later, phase was restored at Rice's direction, and Bush declared in his speech to UNGA, 'We are committed to MDGs' . So a question arose about whether Bolton had beencarrying out traditional mission of executing State Department policy or originating his own more assertive view... John G.Ruggie,...Harvard... said he thought Bolton's approach had emboldened opponents of US priorities, like reforming UN management structure to give more power and flexibilityto UNSG. 'After Bolton's bombshell, they were able to make case that this is why we have to stand firm, because if we give great discretionary authority to UNSG, danger US will roll over him, and behind him always stands Congress willing to withhold funding', he said. Bolton said purpose in calling for line-by-line renegotiation was to avoid having text by 'nameless, faceless textwriters' , a reference to writing staff of UNGA president Jean Ping of Gabon. But in the end such a text proved to be only way to get consensus. Three weeks of wrestling with language had left document on [13 Sep a.m.] with 27 unsolved issues and 149 phrases in brackets, meaning they were still in dispute. Decision was made to presentambassadors with final version refined by Ping, and it was that text UNGA endorsed [13 Sep p.m.], just hours before arrival of world leaders. Much of positive reaction to Bolton has come from how he did not live up to his negative reviews"; AP"Chavez Criticizes U.N. Reforms in Speech"NYT 17 Sep 05:-"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez criticized UN reforms [17 Sep] saying they [section of Peacebuilding Commission] would permit powerful countries [to] invade developing ones whose leaders are considered a threat"; Reuters"Annan Defends Summit"NYT 17 Sep 05:-"UNSG put brave face on [17 Sep]on modest reforms to the work of UN, but [Rice] said world body needed nothing short of revolution to become real force... Annan sought to highlight the positive... 'Scale of this achievement seems to have been missed by some...So let's make sure we live up to our promises to the world's poor'. Among gainswere unprecedented agreement on international responsibility to intervene to protect civilians from genocide, establishment of peace-building commission to help nations recover from war and areaffirmation of goals set in 2000 to halve poverty by 2015. But the document fudged definition of what constitutes terrorism, reached no agreement on how to deal with spread of weapons of mass destructionand did little on far-reaching reforms to UN's bureaucracy or its decision-making. 'UN must launch lasting revolution of reform', [Rice] said. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who chairs 53-memberAfrican Union, said terrorism could not be 'justified under any circumstances' . But he said a dangerous correlation existed between grinding poverty and political instability"; Reuters"Like Fixing the Weather, Council Reform Eludes UN"NYT 18 Sep 05:-"Closest UN came to expanding 15-member UN Security Council(UNSC) was considered a plan by Germany, Japan, India and Brazil last spring. But moment came and went without a vote. National rivalries across and within each regional group run high, although...pledged to do something by end of year... Leaders from four candidates, known as Group of Four(G-4)... decided to put their resolution back on table. But participants at the session said there was no strategy of how or when to do this... UNSG, after decade of debate, urged UN members in Mar to come to decision world leaders could endorse, arguing that UNSC, which decides on war and peace, sanctions and peacekeeping, still reflected balance of power at end of WWII. But 35-page document world leadersendorsed on UN reforms had only one sentence on need for 15-member UNSC to become 'more broadly representative, more efficient and transparent'. On this, compromise nearly impossible as UNSC seats meant winners and losers, with each candidate having drawn enough opposition to prevent resolution from gaining two-thirds vote in 191-member UNGA. UNSC currently has 10 nonpermanent seats, rotating for two-year terms, and five permanent members with veto power - US, Russia, Britain, China, and France, considered WWII victors. To begin UNSC expansion, 191-member UNGA must approve a framework,without names of candidates, by two-thirds vote, with each member casting one vote. Last step in process is UN Charter change, which must be approved by national legislatures, and here current five permanentmembers have veto power... Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, whose plan also called for two permanent seats from Africa [Egypt? South Africa?], had hoped for deal with 53-member African Union, which has a similar proposal. But Africans insisted new permanent members have veto power, which the four aspirants dropped because of opposition from current five UNSC powers"; AP"Leaders at U.N. Seek Anti - Terror Treaty"NYT 19 Sep 05:-"Leaders at UNGA urged quick adoption of comprehensive global treatythat would put words into action. But one issue in particular is causing trouble - how to define terrorism amid concern independence struggles would be targeted. [R]esolution accepted unanimously by UNSC on sidelines of UN summit last week also called upon all states to prohibit and prevent terrorism and deny a safe haven to anyone considered guilty of such conduct. But delegates stressed need for abroader convention that would serve as a framework for governments to work together to curtailinternational terrorism"; AP"U.N. Assembly Focuses on World's Poor"NYT 19 Sep 05:-"Leaders fromdeveloping nations took speaker's platform on second day of annual UNGA debate to criticize rich countriesfor not doing enough to ease plight of world's poorest people. Speakers from Africa, Asia and Latin America said [18 Sep] they were encouraged by document adopted at three-day summit renewing commitments to alleviate poverty, but said they would withhold final judgment until rich nations make good on their vows... Leaders of poor nations made clear that they were not impressed with progress made so far. A week ago, UN report said about 40% of world's people still struggle to survive on less than $2/day. Jamaica's PM, speaking on behalf of Group of 77 developing countries, repeated what has been largely acknowledged by many UN and outside officials: world nowhere close to meeting the development goals"; Reuters"UN Refugee Boss Says World Tackling Past Failures"NYT 27 Sep 05:-"International community has woken up to tragedy of the millions who are refugees in their own country and begun to act, head of UN refugee agency[UN High Commissioner for Refugees] said. Internal refugees - known as internally displaced people (IDPs) - number 20-25million, more than double the nine million refugees who are recognized as such because they have crossed a border, and their plight is often just as bad, said UNHCR... UN was finalizing a more vigorous approach to a problem which is particularlyacute in sub-Saharan Africa... Crux of the new policy was that for first time UN agencies, and otherhumanitarian organizations, given specific roles and responsibilities - for which they could be held to account - in handling any IDP crisis. In case of UNHCR, which already handles some IDP situations on an ad hoc basis, it would manage camps, provide shelter and tackle issues of protection for those considered to be in danger of persecution. Move should also be seen in context of changing international attitudes to sovereignty, with recent UNGA resolutions stressing obligations governments had to protect their citizens - indicating a more assertive stance on the part of global body"; AP"U.N. Envoy Says Reforms Have Started"NYT 28 Sep 05:-"President Bush's hard-charging ambassador to UN, [John R.Bolton,] told skeptical members of Congress [28 Sep] US 'didn't get everything we wanted'in agreement to reform UN bureaucracy, but it is a start... Bolton cast US vote for watered-down reform document with obvious disappointment after weeks of wrangling. Document backed off bureaucratic and other changes... Bolton is expected to follow up with new resolutions, but it is not clear how muchappetite UN diplomats will have for subject now. The House has passed measure... that establishes a timetable for reform and ties progress to payment of US dues. Senate has not passed measure. Bushadministration does not want to use dues as leverage"; AP"Japan Rethinking Plan for Security Council"NYT 30 Sep 05:-"Japan has warned Congress that US legislation seeking to withhold UN dues could lead Japanese lawmakers to take similar action, possibly resulting in loss of millions of dollars to world body...Japan pays 19.5% of annual UN budget of about $2billion, second only to US, which pays about 22%".


Celia W.Dugger"Overfarming African Land Is Worsening Hunger Crisis"New York Times 31 Mar 06:-"Thedegradation of farmland across sub-Saharan Africa has accelerated at an ominous rate over past decade, deepening hunger crisis that already afflicts more than 240m Africans, according to a study released [30 Mar]. Three quarters of Africa's farmland severely depleted of basic nutrients needed to grow crops, compared with 40% just a decade ago, study found. African farmers can afford only fraction of fertilizers needed to replenish their increasingly barren fields. Traditionally, farmers cleared land, grew crops for a few harvests, then let fields lie fallow for 10 or 15 years to rejuvenate as they moved on to clear more land... But as they try to feed rapidly growing population, farmers instead grow crop after crop, sapping soil's fertility. 'Topsoil is blown away by wind and washed away by rains' , said president International Fertilizer Development Center, nonprofit agricultural aid organization which produced study. If this process continues unabated, crop yields in Africa will fall as much as 30% in next 15 years, even as region's population continues to grow rapidly... Africa... likely to face more frequent famines and become ever more dependent on food aid/imports. Farmers... increasingly clearing forests as well as savannas...Already, farmland in Africa yields less than a third amount of grain of that in Asia and Latin America... 'Wemust feed our soils' , said Nigeria's president... Jun meeting on Africa's fertilizer needs expected to drawleading experts... as well as donors. Foreign aid aimed at improving agricultural productivity in Africadeclined sharply in 1990's and has begun to recover only in recent years. About two-thirds of Africa's750m people depend on agriculture for income/employment. Fertilizer... far too expensive for Africa's small and often impoverished farmers - costs two to six times world average. African farmers use less than 10% as much as Asian farmers do. Lowering price no simple task... Roads make transportation difficult/costly... Green revolution to Africa would require: functioning road network/credit for farmers/ extension agents to teach new methods/ better irrigation/ retailers to sell fertilizers/ improved seed varieties... Would also mean combating corruption". Wealthiest countries have pledged to increase aid to Africa.

 

Celia W.Dugger"U.S. Focus on Abstinence Weakens AIDS Fight, Agency Finds"New York Times 05 Apr 06:-"Insistence by Republican Congressional leaders that US money to fight the spread of AIDS globally be used to emphasize abstinence and fidelity is undercutting comprehensive and widely accepted aid models,[US] Government Accountability Office said in a report released [04 Apr 06]... It found that theprovision had limited the reach of broader strategies to fight AIDS that include the use of condoms... 'It is hampering their ability to implement key elements of widely accepted model of HIV/AIDS prevention - the ABC approach', said main author of the report. ABC stands for abstain, be faithful, or use condoms.Report based on interviews with US officials carrying out US-financed AIDS programs in 15 countries".

 

Celia W.Dugger"Letter From Kenya: Where AIDS Galloped, Lessons in Applying the Reins"New York Times 18 May 06:-major article describes/discusses US influence on Kenya policy, but summary mainly on current pandemic conditions. "Kenya rarity in Africa: nation where experts say AIDS shows signs of easing. So... attracting policy makers/researchers looking for keys to slowing relentless spread of AIDS on continent. Trends heartening. Medical experts estimate new HIV infections... plummeted over last decade from peak of more than 200,000/year to fewer than 90,000. And changes in sexual habits seemcontributing to decline. Men say having sex with fewer partners, and women report losing virginity later.Many teenagers, once sexually active, say they are abstaining entirely. Such shifts... suggest abstinenceprograms... have some chance of success...Kenyan health officials frankly acknowledge evidence lacking on effectiveness of programs that promote condoms or abstinence. According to UN AIDS agency, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe: the sub-Saharan with documented declines in HIV prevalence. Researchers agreefall partly because AIDS deaths have reduced population of HIV-positive people. But also say likely behaviour change has helped. In Uganda, increased use of condoms important. Health officials [in Kenya]say spread of knowledge about how to prevent infection and rising tide of death been catalytic... Asdonors racheted up financing of anti-AIDS programs, landscape for prevention changed. Since...2003,US dominant donor in Kenya: $208m this year to combat AIDS... More than half that financing feverish drive for diagnosis of AIDS and treatment of infected... AIDS patients receiving drug treatment rocketedto 70,000 from fewer than 10,000 in 2003. Paradoxically, explosive growth in testing/treatment may be US' s most important contribution to preventing spread of disease. Once people know AIDS not a death sentence, more willing to be tested, and once know their HIV status they can protect themselves/sexualpartners... Experts' judgement[:] more than half new infections in Kenya are with couples in which onepartner HIV-positive. US also paying programs aimed at changing behaviour. This year,.. $15.7m on programs that promote abstinence/faithfulness, and $7.8m to prevent sexual transmission of HIV,including... condoms to high-risk groups. [D]ebate that rages in WashDC over AIDS/sex sometimesseems [here] more reflection US culture wars than African realities... Under guidelines, US funds can be used to educate children 14/younger about abstinence/faithfulness, with condom education added for15/older... Scholars say much work remains to figure out which of so-called ABC programs - abstain, befaithful, use condoms - effective...But efforts to prevent spread of AIDS will not wait for definitiveevidence. [If] sex can lead to death, many people on both sides of ideological divide agree abstinence for the young should be embraced. Also clear many young people will have sex despite the dangers, and that abstinence programs alone will not protect them".

 

Celia W.Dugger "Clinton Makes Up for Lost Time in Battling AIDS" New York Times 29 Aug 06:-full six-page article contains substantial information on US aid/political history, particularly Bill Clinton's roles as past president and post-president donor in regard to Rwanda, medicine patents, and AIDS-related funds. "Few public figures in US have spawned as much speculation about what motivates them as Clinton.Abroad, even fewer inspire the affectionate reception Clinton received as he raced across seven African countries in eight days in [Jul 06]... It was clear the efforts by his foundation had personal meaning. [O]n this trip, Clinton...reveled in his role as a private citizen championing people with AIDS... Clinton wasadamant that he had done all he could about global AIDS with a Congress hostile to foreign aid, thoughhe conceded that his administration fought too long to protect the patent rights of pharmaceutical companies against countries trying to make or import cheaper AIDS medicines... Clinton and his foundation have undertaken projects with two dozen developing countries, raising money to postnurses in rural clinics,.. mustering experts to train hospital managers... and buying drugs for thousands of sick children, among other things. His foundation also has negotiated steep cuts in the price of AIDS medicines through deals with drug companies that cover more than 400,000 patients in dozens of countries, helping propel momentum for treatment of the destitute. [A MSF doctor] credited Clinton and his foundation for showing independence from the politically powerful drug industry and helping toaccelerate the decline in prices for generic AIDS medicines in developing countries... Clintonfoundation's budget last year was $30m, raised from private donors. Clinton, who oversees its operations full time, has plunged into many causes, from childhood obesity to tsunami relief to global warming, but he has made his most substantive contribution on AIDS [and] Rwanda was one of the firstcountries he chose to work in... Like most international leaders and US advocates for people with AIDSin 1990's, critics say, Clinton's efforts on global AIDS did not match the epic scale of the human tragedy as it unfolded across Africa and millions died and were orphaned. In recent years, the fight against AIDShas leapt onto the world stage, claimed by Clinton and his successor, George W.Bush... On his recenttour of Africa - his fifth since 2001 - Clinton showed a remarkable ability to establish a human connection with people he met... Bill and Melina Gates, the billionaire philanthropists, watched Clinton[closely]. The two Bills, as they have been dubbed, have taken to doing high-profile AIDS advocacyevents together, with Clinton bringing star power and Gates his deep pockets... The price of antiretroviral drugs fell after Clinton left office, helping change the view that it was too costly anddifficult to treat people in poor countries... The debate over whether Clinton missed a politicalopportunity to lead the charge on global AIDS years before Bush seized it is far from over... After he leftoffice, Clinton considered his future with a keen eye on history... From the start, Clinton had a host of issues on his agenda, but quickly found himself drawn into AIDS... Opportunities proliferated, and Clinton's enthusiasm grew... Through cost cutting, spurred by breakthrough talks with companies that supplied ingredients to the drug makers, [his] team got deals. Cipla, for example, halved the price of themost common AIDS triple-drug therapy, already declining due to competition, to $140 a person per year... [President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa] soon invited Clinton's foundation to help country writecomprehensive treatment plan. South Africa now has more than 130,000 people on antiretroviral drugs,still far short of what critics say is needed. Since 2004, Clinton has campaigned to raise the profile of children with AIDS. [M]ore than 500,000 a year were dying. Clinton foundation has raised $4.4m to buy drugs for 13,000 children, train health workers, renovate pediatric wings and pay for lab tests... Clintonambitions seem to grow daily, and foundation now branching out in Africa from AIDS into poverty" .

 

The Economist 25 Jul 98 "A Challenge to Impunity" (Edit.21-2):-cautiously optimistic on decision in Rome to establish International Criminal Court, despite US attempts to weaken and finally block it. Vote 120-7 in favour left US "humiliated and glum"but, as with landmine treaty, it showed willingness of other states to move ahead without superpower to create rule of law. Text outlines questions of contention and weakness but argues court is long overdue(planned to follow Nuremberg/Tokyo trials); however, large body of international law covering genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity has developed since. Court can show both independence and moral force.

 

The Economist 28 Nov 98: "A Deluge of Information" (86): - fortuitously, a detailed digital atlas of Honduraswas completed just before Hurricane Mitch flooded the country. Compiled by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, it contains 90 layers of information: soil types, crop distribution, climate, population, topography and all infrastructure. Since the flood it has been continuously updated and can play a key role in restoring the country's agricultural capacity. This type of technology is likely to play an increasingly important role in disaster relief globally, and an international disaster information network is proposed.

 

The Economist 02 Jan 99 "The 21st-Century Army: A New But Risky Sort of War" (28-9):-some of latest training/ weaponry being tested by US Marine Corps. Training is designed for "low-intensity conflicts" i.e. peace-making/ peace-enforcement operations where lower-rank leaders make major decisions. Planners anticipate "three-block wars" in which troops "would simultaneously be distributing food and medicine to frantic civilians in one part of city, quelling rioters/maintaining order in another; fighting guerrillas in third" - typical UN-type challenges(Haiti/Somalia/Bosnia).New weapons include "non-lethal munitions" such as bean-bagprojectiles, pepper spray, blinding flashlights, adhesive foam, plus double-option guns able to fire lethally or non-lethally. Hope US, allies, presumably UN can keep ahead.

 

The Economist 13 Feb 99 "Female Genital Mutilation: Is It Crime or Culture?" (45-6):-serious human rights, health, legal and ethnic problem. Chart shows those countries with highest prevalence - from Djibouti/Somalia/Egypt with over 95% to Burkina Faso 70% estimated; 137m women in at least 28 African countries have been mutilated. Attempts to stop it clearly causing less controversy in UN than in countries involved; while number of African states officially criminalized practice to avoid losing ODA, they do not dare enforce law. Apparently more effective to avoid cultural or moral judgment, and to concentrate onhealth risks, which WHO sees as serious, and education.

 

The Economist 20 Feb 99 "Europe's Smuggled Masses" (45-6):-illegal "economic" migration has been UN concern for many years. Increasing divergence between standards of living in "rich" and "poor" countries andwider awareness of this fact has been expected to increase problem. Article describes what may be world's largest and potentially most vexing flow; estimates: at least 400,000 now smuggled into EU each year. Several routes are used by professional smugglers: by sea from Morocco to Spain, or from Albania or Tunisia to Italy; by land from Sarajevo via Slovenia to Italy or Austria, from Istanbul via Ukraine and Poland, or via Rumania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic to Germany; alternatively from Greece into Macedonia and on, or from Russia into Finland. "Many" smuggled are Albanians, Kurds, Afghans, Bangladeshis, Iraqis, Iranians. Organized "trade" often ends in asylum demands.

 

The Economist 27 Feb 99 "Japan's Constitution: The Call to Arms" (23-5):-very controversial element of UN reform relates to expanding membership of Security Council(UNSC). Single most eager/naturaladditional permanent member Japan, second-largest economy in world/second biggest contributor to UN budget. But UNSC responsibility to maintain international peace and security, so members expected to play major role in UN peacemaking. But Article 9 of Japan's Constitution renounces "threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes." While Japan maintains modern Self-Defence Force, many oppose it being used abroad, even in UN peacekeeping activities. Essay discusses current debate in Japan over use of its armed forces.

 

The Economist 17 Apr 99 "Refugees: Exporting Misery" (23-7):-origins, political/military uses, ultimate destinies, of many past refugee issues, designed to help determine Serb aims and NATO options in Kosovo. While global number/exploitation/impact of refugees seem to have escalated recently, tragedy so chronic that historical lessons can be drawn. Nature of triggering conflict(ideological/ethnic/economic)and how it ends are critical. Ethnic conflicts most difficult to end, while reconciliation aids resettlement. Of four types of basic refugee assistance(safe havens in homeland; camps nearby; more distant resettlement; permanent repatriation), experience and circumstances favour repatriation in spite of difficulty/high cost. Additional lessons: separate refugees from combatants; give them some choice of location if movement necessary; or of timing if repatriation possible.

 

The Economist 24 Apr 99 "Lawyer Sam's War" (30):-US State Department citing international law much more in its foreign policy argumentation. Significant since US recently isolated in opposing International Criminal Court and Anti-Personnel Landmine decisions, and has refused to recognize international lawsperceived threatening to US interests. Newly-created US Ambassador for War Crimes, with considerable influence, claims war over Kosovo may be "watershed not only for NATO but for international law." Argued in past for such "humanitarian interventions" , even if they infringe national sovereignty, but they should be authorized by Security Council.

 

The Economist 24 Jul 99 "How Angola's War Protects Polio" (43):-sobering evidence of both human security's interdependence and multiple afflictions of violence. Probably WHO's greatest achievement was global eradication of smallpox in 79. For 10 years UN bodies/governments been fighting to eradicate polio, which at peak killed or paralysed 500,000 people annually. Effective vaccine now immunizes by few drops in baby's mouth. Hence by 98 reported cases reduced to 5,000, limited to pockets mainly in Africa/South Asia, thus creating hope to eliminate polio by 00. But these last bastions hardest, mainly because of civil wars, e.g. Sierra Leone/Congo/Sudan/Somalia. In Angola, UNITA has both blocked aid workers and driven so many refugees into such huge camps these actually created major polio outbreak. "For polio virus, war is last safe haven" .

 

The Economist 14 Aug 99:" Balms for the Poor" (63-5):-amplification of the key point made in this issue in both an essay by Jeffrey Sachs and an editorial(op.cit.). It is that the rate of (and death-rate from)infectious diseases in poor countries is tragically high because they offer a tiny effective drug market, and no incentive for drug companies to do costly specialized research on diseases now almost unknown(malaria) or presenting different problems(HIV) in rich countries. US and Europe spend $220b a year on prescription drugs alone; hence WHO estimates that while $56b a year is spent on health research, less than 10% is directed toward diseases that afflict 90% of the world's population. Between 1975 and 1997, 1,223 new compounds were launched on the market (at $300m/10 years research each on average), of which only 11 were designed for tropical diseases. The article describes a number of plans to redirect research and lower prices.

 

The Economist 21 Aug 99: Water Supply: "Pass the Salt" (Desalinization)(23); "Cloudbusting" (Rain-Making)(69-70); "An Ice Idea" (Storage)(70): - all articles relate to scientific-technological developments withmajor implications for expected world-wide fresh water shortages. The first describes a "reverse-osmosis" desalinization plant being built in conjunction with a power station, "which will provide the cheapest drinking water ever extracted from the sea" : 25m gallons a day at a wholesale cost of $2.08 per 1000 gallons for 30 years, i.e. competitive with other sources. The second article reports on a new method of cloud-seeding. Now completing thorough (double-blind), encouraging tests, "hygroscopic-flare" seeding uses salts asstrongly water-affinitive nuclei to form raindrops. The last foresees artificial ice mountains, created cheaplyby modified "snow machines" at below-freezing, water-abundant times/places, and tapped/shipped as/where needed.

 

The Economist 16 Oct 99 "Let Death Be My Dominion: Suicide and Euthanasia" " (89-92):-wide-ranging, well-written essay on great variety of moral, religious, medical, etc. issues raised by(assisted)suicide through history and many new problems raised by rapidly evolving life-support capacity and moral standards. "These developments have sparked complex and emotive debates about how to handle final stages of life...Idea that people have'right to die'is ...gaining support[in context of terminal illness but, if so,]does not everyone...have right to choose timing and manner of their own death?" .Yet there is strong taboo against suicide in most societies: it must reflect mental or emotional instability, despite its high global incidence. But increased euthanasia will likely force debate on suicide. Is it still sinful, irresponsible, unnatural, selfish, cruel, destructive, irrational? Each has counter-arguments.

 

The Economist 27 Nov 99:" Microfinance in Cyberspace" (79):- "lending small amounts of money, without collateral, to help poor people to become entrepreneurs - is one of the trendiest areas of international development" . There are about 10,000 microfinance institutions (MFIs) globally, and the World Bank estimates $400-600m in donor funds are earmarked annually for them. The most famous is the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The article reports that Jacques Attali (ex-EBRD) has founded PlaNet Finance to promote microfinance by using the Internet to deliver online: information, training, systems support, rating and capital. The most controversial element is a scheme to launch PlaNet Bank to raise money in the capital markets in order to offer loans, guarantees and equity capital to MFIs. But funds are not scarce; most needed is institutional capacity. Here the Internet might indeed help - together with more and better Third World links.

 

The Economist 11 Dec 99 "The Non-Governmental Order: Citizens' Groups" (20-1):-how and why "citizens' groups" (NGOs) are increasingly powerful at corporate, national, international level, and whether representmove towards "international civil society" or "dangerous shift of power to unelected and unaccountablespecial-interest groups" . Their growth was enabled by: communism's fall; democracy's spread; technological change; economic integration. Reflects concern over: environment; labour-human-consumer rights; poverty; jobs; etc. Rapid, mass news dispensing or joint action are promoted by: democratisation; technology.Number: international NGOs: 26,000; national NGOs: US - 2m; India - 1m; East Europe - 0.1m. Membershipin one NGO can exceed .5m. Roles: deliver services(NGOs dispense more aid than UN system); others stressadvocacy. "Technical groups" specialize providing expert analysis/ information and assist planners, decision-makers, negotiators, advocates at all levels. Governments can be helped, manipulated or blocked; some international organizations/corporations can co-opt such NGOs(World Bank); others may fail(controversial IOs and MNCs).

 

The Economist 8 Jan 00:" Measuring Up for Aid" (44)and" Development Finance: Old Battle; New Strategy" (74-5):- the first article deals with the global volume of development assistance in 1998. After years of decline, rich governments spent 9% more on ODA than in 1997 with OECD members giving $51b ($63 per capita), and private aid reaching $100b. As a proportion of national income this was an increase from 0.22 to 0.23%, against the agreed UN target of 0.7%. Meanwhile private capital investment in LDCs also increased - by 700% between 1990 and 1997. But(1) with 25% of ODA tied to the donor country's products, much of it paying expatriates' salaries, and all of it effectively conditional and/or channelled through the local elite;(2)with NGOs specializing in crises rather than long-term development; and (3)with FDI naturally focused on the richer, well-organized LDCs, how much of this transfer actually alleviates the grinding poverty of the 1.2b who live on less than $1 a day? The other article describes action taken by the World Bank/IMF to address this very problem. Henceforth Bank/Fund policies must be "owned" by national governments. They must prepare(and so be committed to)Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers" through a 'participatory'process of consultation with all groups of society, especially the poorest" . PRSPs will set a few broad outcomes only like reducing infant mortality or improving school enrolment. Emphasis will be on the poorest countries' top priorities. Bank/Fund policies already show changes such as more complementary cooperation, while broadly-based home-grown pledges should encourage a stronger sense of responsibility in LDCs. Maybe even donors will catch on.

 

The Economist 29 Jan 00 "NGOs: Sins of the Secular Missionaries" (25-7):-fairly critical view of roles/motives of some NGOs, neither as essentially descriptive as Weiss-Gordenker or Economist 11 Dec 99, nor as strongly negative as Maren(all op.cit.).Aim essentially to warn all concerned that handling verylarge funds, competition in situ with often huge numbers of rival NGOs, and/or getting heavily dependenton regular government, corporate or media support, can deform even best intentions. For instance" [s]omeprimarily helpers, distributing relief where needed; some mainly campaigners, existing to promote issuesdeemed important by their members,[but in practice not always everywhere]altruistic, idealistic and independent." Varied activities - both constructive and questionable - described, as is their new Code of Conduct. Chief failing may be lack of accountability.

 

The Economist 11 Mar 00 "Floods and Their Damage: After the Deluge" (52):-describes global flood disaster threat, and warns of worse to come. Approximately 100,000 people 1999 were killed in natural disasters, highest toll since 1991. Normally half are victims of floods. Moreover in 1998 300m people were affectedby floods, and annually about 3m lose their homes. In future, as population increases, more people live in vulnerable areas, so global flood damage is expected to increase. Already 50% world lives on/near coast -10m(mostly very poor)at constant sea risk. Millions in hillside slums subject to mud-slides; others inovercrowded flood-prone river valleys. Settlement itself increases flood danger through erosion, deforestation, water diversion, damming. Global warming will make half LDCs' population vulnerable to floods/storms. Better safety-measures/aid must be long-lasting.

 

The Economist 25 Mar 00 "Water: A Soluble Problem" (20); "Nor Any Drop to Drink" (69-70):-both editorial and major essay argue that growing global shortage of fresh water reflects massive and unnecessary waste-which can be eliminated if it is simply priced realistically. Some facts(see also Annan): more thanbillion people have no access to safe water and 3b lack adequate sanitation. This threatens all withdisease and drought. Meanwhile, water tables overused, with many falling by meter or more/year. "[W]orlddemand for fresh water will grow sharply, by 70%(for household use)by 2025. Shortages seem inevitable-and even war" (20). Yet much is wasted: most domestic water use not metered, while subsidies worth billions positively encourage waste in farming/industry. Instead, price water(just)above cost of provision and disposal, aiding only poorest. Private investment($180b a year)will come.

 

The Economist 08 Apr 00 "All Wrong in Iraq" (20-2); "Iraq and the West: When Sanctions Don't Work" (23-5):-UN sanctions against Iraq -most comprehensive ever imposed- clearly not working. Severely hurt innocent; failed to disarm in key areas, let alone unseat, target: Saddam Hussein; damaged UN's reputation. Yet ending them would damage UN, and global stability, even more. Essay offers account ofwhy and how sanctions were set up, modified, and are failing(original terms/aims/successes; disastrous cost for ordinary Iraqis, and resulting flawed reform; how Hussein insulates himself).Editorial examinesUN's options(1)Make easier for Iraq to import innocuous, necessary goods, monitoring dual-use items. Already tried/manipulated/proved imperfect.(2)Oil exports freed but arms-making/related imports banned. Monitoring constrained/laborious; military funds unlimited.(3)As for(2), plus as much internal/import monitoring as possible(Iraq pays)and warning of "prodigious" air retribution for cheating or threatening activity.

 

The Economist 13 May 00 "Hopeless Africa" (Edit.17); "The Heart of the Matter" (22-4):-analyses of Africa's multiple and multiplying problems similar to those of Bayart, Ellis and Hibou(op.cit.).Editorial deals mainly with Sierra Leone, and difficulty, but long-term necessity, of robust UN interventions. Item tries to explainwhy so much gone so wrong, so consistently. Like Reader(op.cit.)it relates emphasis onfamily/friends/local loyalties to geography, climate, disease, isolation. Yet it blames political/economicfailures, and tendencies toward self-serving, corrupt, exploitative autocracy(even if hidden by veneer of democracy)as much on outside influences - disruptive colonial experience/donor paternalism - as on continental culture of survival. Way out does not yet lie through facade of democracy, but first bysomehow creating self-confidence/mutual trust. John Stremlau "Ending Africa's Wars" Foreign AffairsVol.79/No.4(Jul/Aug 00):-agrees about serious problem of African(mostly internal)conflicts, but sees true democracy as key to solution. Argues democracy would help prevent wars before start, since most result from bad governance. "Weak, authoritarian African governments lack institutional capacity to manage factional struggles" ; they exclude ethnic groups, and allow poverty and gross income inequality - thus producing conflict. International intervention should respond - between Somalian-Rwandan extremes, but it needs reliable regional partners. South Africa fills this need politically/economically, and should be supported, including in UN.

 

The Economist 13 May 00 "Hopeless Africa" (Editorial 17); "The Heart of the Matter" (Essay 22-4):-analyses of Africa's multiple and multiplying problems similar to those of Bayart, Ellis and Hibou(op.cit.). Editorial deals mainly with Sierra Leone, and the difficulty, but long-term necessity, of robust UN interventions. Essay tries to explain why so much has gone so wrong, so consistently. Like Reader(op.cit.)it relates theemphasis on family/friends and local loyalties to geography, climate, disease, isolation. Yet it blamespolitical/economic failures, and tendencies toward self-serving, corrupt, exploitative autocracy(even if hidden by a veneer of democracy)as much on outside influences - disruptive colonial experience and donor paternalism - as on a continental culture of survival. The way out does not yet lie through a facade of democracy, but first by somehow creating self-confidence and mutual trust. John Stremlau "Ending Africa's Wars" in Foreign Affairs Vol.79/No.4(Jul/Aug 00):-agrees about the serious problem of African(mostly internal)conflicts, but sees true democracy as key to the solution. He argues that democracy would help prevent wars before they start, since most result from bad governance. "Weak, authoritarianAfrican governments lack the institutional capacity to manage factional struggles" ; They exclude ethnic groups, and allow poverty and gross income inequality - thus producing conflict. International intervention should respond - between the Somalian-Rwandan extremes, but it needs reliable regional partners. South Africa fills this need politically and economically, and should be supported, including in the UN.

 

The Economist 01 Jul 00 "The Poor Who Are Always With Us" (46):-UN/World Bank/IMF/OECDissued "situation report" on commitments made at World Summit for Social Development. "A Better World for All: Progress Towards the International Development Goals" , four's first joint report, fromwww.paris21.org/betterworld/ or free in booklet form from OECD BookShop. Economist's summary contains bad news. In 1998 there were 1.2b people in dire poverty, same absolute number as in 1990, and make upnearly 1/2 population of sub-Saharan Africa and more than 550m in South Asia. World school enrolment has risen slightly, but girls' attendance remains almost as low as 1990. Infant mortality shows only tiny improvement(AIDS). Since 1990, global ODA has dropped from $60b+ to $55b a year while private capital flow to LDCs, though increased to $100b+ in 1998, includes much short-term spending and rarely goes to neediest. Trade lost to LDCs through restrictions and subsidies equals $700b annually. Report also criticizescorrupt or incompetent government/military spending for most of needy countries' problems, and urges reduced inflation and public spending.

 

The Economist 5 Aug 00 "Engage and Prosper" (Edit.22-3); "Peacekeeping: The UN's Missions Impossible" (Essay:24-6); "Road-Mending in Lebanon" (Note:25); "Kouchnerism in Kosovo" (Note:26):-editorial, essayand notes have one subject in common: role of United Nations. Leader makes point US took lead in 1945,creating UN System and its rules; later helped build UN-centred global network of legal economic and security rules. Yet" pre-eminent victor of Cold War has failed to provide leadership needed to build kind of international system unruly post-Cold-War world demands" .Instead it chooses rules it obeys, or those it ignores - setting politically/morally dangerous precedent of unilateral exemptions from rule of law, and of selective involvement even when its own paramount beliefs are flouted. Essay offers expert history - warts and all - of evolving UN peacekeeping that now makes humanitarian intervention in cases of gross violation of human rights almost compulsory. Yet UN is refused men, money and structure necessary to undertake increasingly complex and dangerous missions, including effectively in East Timor and Kosovosimultaneous administration/creation of civil regimes, reconstruction of badly damaged economies, and maintenance of peace in societies split by hatred. Priority recommendations: UN needs good intelligence analysis, and UNSG willing to refuse clearly impossible missions. Notes describe:(1)lengthy(22 years),dangerous(82 dead), and frustrating(finally completed)experience of UN force(UNIFIL)in south Lebanon sent to supervise Israeli withdrawal;(2)Bernard Kouchner unique responsibility:" begin buildingpeace/democracy/stability and self-government" in Kosovo. Common thread might be: world badly needs US-UN to work together to create new rules and structures to help ensure unprecedented/rapidly-evolving21st Century challenges can be handled.

 

The Economist 19 Aug 00 "The Caucasus: Where Worlds Collide" (17-9):-tackles perhaps most ethnically explosive/ politically unruly/economically depressed region in world. It offers non-experts concise picture of "states" in area, whether recognized(Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia),self-proclaimed(Abkazia, Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia),aspiring(Ajaria?, Dagestan?, Ingushetia?, Javakheti?, Nakhichevan?, North Ossetia?)or neighbouring(Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey)in terms of their recent clashes/multiple secession/inter-ethnic problems; appalling political/economic conditions, and interests/roles of almost all in others' affairs. Wonderful chart on this. Among major points made: there might be 100b barrels of oil and gas around Caspian; 3000km of international borders in Caucasus of which 9km(sic)truly friendly; "same cocktail of bad government, spite-thy-neighbour and poverty poisons life in[whole]of Caucasus" ; "political and military stalemate disguises economic/social catastrophe" ; since independence2m(50%of population)emigrated from Armenia, 1m(20%)from Georgia, 1.5m(20%)from Azerbaijan; for one of many "solutions" :www.ceps.be.

 

The Economist 02 Sep 00 "The Price of Paying Ransoms" (Edit. 17):-recalling large number of highly publicized hostage-takings recently(Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, Fiji, former Soviet Union, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Yemen)confirms global trend upwards. Those taken in 1999 increased by 6% over 1998, number has been growing at that rate for several years - producing total increase of 70% over eight years. Ransom by Libya of Jolo Island hostages at $1m each taught kidnappers:" holding few hostages keeps army away; grabbing more keeps money rolling in" ,as well as someglobal politics(for Libyan motives/source of funds: "Qaddafi, Floating Like a Butterfly" (41)). Whilekidnapping has many causes( "inequalities of wealth, availability of guns, rebel armies looking for funds, underpaid police" )main reason is rewards. Hence universal lesson: hostage-taking must be seen not to pay. Short of capturing/punishing kidnappers[absence of any safe haven may be critical], it may also meanmaking it illegal to pay ransom.[Editor might add: such rules work best if applied/enforced globally.]

 

The Economist 02 Sep 00 "South Africa's Role in the World" (Edit:17-8); "South Africa's Migrant Workers: A Ticket to Prosperity" (21-4):-stresses economic/political importance of Africa's "mini-superpower" to continent. South Africa "already region's motor; if it could grow faster, would pull its neighbours along.[Further,]obvious country ...to help out with Africa's peacekeeping" .Health, role, future therefore have global influence, so essay takes positive view of massive labour migration(temporary/permanent)into South Africa from all continent. Arguments: (1) migrants' economic/social conditions, though generally bad, and worse than locals' , are better than home, or migration would not continue;(2)indispensable to all southern African economies. Estimates of total illegal migrants in South Africa range 2-8m. Even if closer to 2m, this is major part of work force in country of 46m(almost none bring family). Employers gain lowerwages, harder work and often better education (skilled South Africans of all colours also keen emigrants.)Mines employ 120,000(Mozambique/Lesotho)as more skilled, less militant than locals; farm pay is unattractive to locals. Migrants find more/cheaper goods - many brought home; others come to trade - often exchanging home/local products; others create businesses. Migrants have high HIV rates; take virus home; but also take what seem like fortunes. On balance, African migrants help themselves, hosts, and homes.

 

The Economist 23 Sep 00 "The Case For Globalization" (Edit.19-20); "Anti-Capitalist Protests: Angry and Effective" (85-7):-diverse aims, successful techniques, malign impact of recent "anti-globalization" demonstrators at Seattle stalemate, Bank/Fund meetings etc. In "muddled" attacks on international economic integration, protesters are right about only 2 facts: "most pressing moral, political and economic issue of our time is Third World poverty" and "tide of globalization...can be turned back" -and by demonstrators' chosen targets: governments, IOs, business - making protesters "terribly dangerous" .Many people share specific, often justified, concerns of protest groups (even if they ignore practical means to implement them);but little/no effort is made to refute only common viewpoint: "loathing of established economic order" as source of many global imperfections. Few supporters explainenormous benefit globalization brings Third World through integration into technological/information revolutions, gaining "productive employment and higher incomes" . For poor, all is at stake.

 

The Economist 7 Oct 00:" Morocco: Children in the Boiler-Room" (55):-reports on perhaps an extreme example of child labour, but well illustrates its causes/effects/excuses. UNICEF "child-free" certificates oncarpets were never used in Morocco because" the handicraft sector, the second-largest employer, would have been crippled" . Children do a wide variety of jobs, including up to 1m child-maids. This is not slave labor only in that $14($10 for 10-hour days at carpet-weaving)is paid per month, usually to parents. "Abuseis rampant, murder occasional. But the government resists regulation for fear of revealing the extent of itschild workforce to the [ILO]" . Poor parents keep having children - for income; if there is no work, they are sent to beg; if peasants cannot feed them, they are(preferably) sent to work in the cities. Morocco has thehighest proportion of homeless children in the Arab world, many addicted to glue-sniffing. The US estimates that, inter alia to finance this habit, there are more than 10,000 child prostitutes in Casablancaalone. While education is compulsory (since 1963)at least 2.5m children are out of school, and half of Morocco is illiterate. Government advisors claim child labor is better than the streets:" What is the point of an education [if] the current system produces 100,000 jobless graduates a year" . City unemployment is25%. The new king, Mohammed, recognizes" that his uneducated workforce is one of the biggest obstaclesto growth" ; he is turning mosques into schools, fines parents if their children miss class(enforcement is weak), and declared a jihad to educate his subjects.

 

The Economist 28 Oct 00 "United Nations and Refugees: Ruud Surprise" (43-4):-Ruud Lubbers, former Dutch PM (82-94),unexpected choice to succeed Mrs. Sadako Ogata as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "Refugee agency, which has annual budget of more than $1b, is most politically active of UN's agencies. [Having played critical, life-saving role in all-too-many wars and humanitariancrises, its] importance will continue, and perhaps expand. Displacement of civilians, once semi-accident of war, has now become one of main goals of warring parties. Worldwide now 14m refugees...and 21m internally displaced people[under UNHCR care]" . Global total unknown but much larger. Priority of refugee over IDP may end, since latter often need more urgent help. Controversial distinction is between( "threatened" )refugees and(up to billions of)economic migrants. Barbara Crossette "Dutch Figure Seen as Choice for U.N. Post With Refugees" NYT 25 Oct 00:-picked up appointment in advance and addedother details. Term is five years(Ogata held for nearly ten),job is viewed as one of most important in UN system, being responsible for staff of about 5,000 working in more than 120 countries. Lubbers, like WHODirector-General, Gro Harlem Brundtland(former PM of Norway)and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson(former president of Ireland), is another high-level political leader added to UNSGAnnan's team of administrators. Reuters "Ogata Says UN Council Is Too Slow And Inflexible" NYT 10 Nov 00:-Sadako Ogata, in farewell speech as UNHCR to Security Council, gave piece of her mind to only body in world on which every government has conferred "primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security" (Charter Art.24).Among her criticisms: Nature of war has changed, sincemuch is now civil strife conducted by undisciplined guerrilla armies. "In spite of discussions on wider approaches, peace operations continue to be country-based, and reflect neither internal nor regional nature of many of today's wars." Moreover, Council dispatched peacekeepers far too late to protectuprooted citizens or even UN staff in field[UNHCR has suffered more fatal casualties than any other UN agency]. "We at UNHCR have become used to being called to confront refugee emergencies, literally at few hours' notice. We have no choice: delays in our work inevitably means that lives are lost." Council alsoinflexible in expanding operations across borders to aid trapped refugees(terrible examples of Rwanda-Zaire and East-West Timor).Currently Guinea has requested security aid to help half-a-million trapped refugees in its areas bordering Liberia and Sierra Leone; yet only presence of international community ishumanitarian." Ogata contended that governments are receptive to "ladder of options" to improve local security in refugee-inhabited areas. She also argued gap between short-term aid and development programs too large once emergencies ended.(UNSC going to discuss peacekeeping reforms next day..)Economist 27 Jan 01 "A New Deal For Refugees: Changed Course" (48):-negative report on UNHCR Lubbers' commitments and plans. It notes many maintaining/benefiting from UNHCR operations found his selection process "murky and undemocratic" , suspecting he gained post "along with" orders from major donors to cut organization back. In any event, he announced 24 Jan that budget would drop well below its recent $1b annual level, in hope that funding levels would at least become reliable. He proposes thatmuch UNHCR relief work(giving refugees food, shelter, other services)be assumed by NGOs, WFP,businesses. Lubbers also wants to reverse Ogata's special interest in 25m IDPs, arguing they areresponsibility of "their own governments" (if any).Regarding asylum-seekers, he takes tougher line, however: Europeans(sic) "must take seriously responsibility of giving asylum" .

 

The Economist 18 Nov 00:" Can Debt Relief Make a Difference?" (85-6):-reports US has given "big(and belated) boost" to international efforts to help the world's poorest debtor countries. US will provide $435m in debt relief to HIPCs(Heavily Indebted Poor Countries), support IMF plan to use the proceeds of its gold reserves for further debt relief, and encourage similar action by other creditors who were waiting for US to move. Bank and Fund have promised to get 20 HIPCs" to their`decision points' ,at which the level of debt forgiveness is determined and [they] begin to receive immediate cashflow relief on their debt-service payments" by end of 2000. Debt relief worth $30b will then have been committed. To qualify, HIPCs must prepare a "Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper" (PRSP)" to lay out how a country will fight poverty, and how savings from debt relief will help" . Many believe debt relief is not fast enough, generous enough, or going in the right direction. Many NGOs claim relief is actually less than claimed, and sometimes a net cost for HIPC; but broadly, there is real progress. Three concerns: Will there be net long-term increase in ODA?Will good anti-poverty policies be sacrificed in interest of speed? Will careful consultation, soundeconomic policies be lost in the rush?

 

The Economist 02 Dec 00 "How Not To Abolish Leprosy" (79-80):-leprosy persists, despite decade-long WHO program to "eliminate" but not to "eradicate" it(as for smallpox).(Elimination aims reducing cases below one/10,000 people.) Eradication(implying no cases)was not deemed feasible given limited knowledge of disease. Doctors cannot diagnose it before patients show symptoms, or know how likelytreated patient is to relapse. Also remain unsure how disease is transmitted, how it infects human body, and at what point carriers may infect others. Still, WHO has reduced numbers with disease from 5m to less than 1m and eliminated it from 98 countries. But several SE Asian and African states plus Brazil still report 4-6 cases/10,000, new-infections-rate(650,000/year) shows little sign of falling, and elimination target date has been postponed to 2005. However, Mycobacterium leprae genome now unravelled, so researchfrom now on may be more productive - if promised funds($50m)made available.

 

The Economist 09 Dec 00 "Blind Ambition: Eliminating Trachoma" (89):-blinding trachoma infects 150m, largely in three dozen of world's poorest countries also sentenced to bad sanitation and personal hygiene. Now pilot eradication project just completed by International Trachoma Initiative(ITI)in Moroccosuggests disease can be wiped out. "Trachoma caused by Chlamydia, nasty bacterium that breeds under eyelids eventually causing so much inflammation and scarring that patient's eyelashes are turned inwards, where scratch cornea and destroy victim's vision" .Particularly strikes women and children. WHO hopes to conquer trachoma's strongholds by 2020 with strategy( "SAFE" )of surgery(eyelids), antibiotics, regularface-washing(sic)and environmental sanitation. ITI(WHO, NGOs, Pfizer drugs)monitored Moroccan SAFE program, but found courses of(cheap)tetracycline ointment too complex. So Pfizer donated 1m+ doses of its azithromycin(usually $14 each)to Morocco as it can kill Chlamydia with one oral dose - and single round cut trachoma cases by 75%. Next: Tanzania, Mali, Vietnam - all harder.

 

The Economist 06 Jan 01 "Rights and Refugees" (Edit.17-8); "The Palestinian Right of Return" (41-2):-why refugee-return issue is probably most difficult Israeli-Palestinian issue. Some 3.6m, 50%+of all Palestinians, are refugees registered by UNRWA. They were originally those who were either expelled or fled in 1948 from their homes in what UN recognized as Israel. Most(plus their descendants)still live -many in refugee camps- in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza. None has been compensated; they depend on UNGA resolutions for restitution: Res.194/948 states: "refugees wishing to return to their homes...should be permitted to do so" .Israel does not acknowledge this "right of return" but recognizesneed for substantial compensation(by somebody)and expects refugees to be settled elsewhere(at most .5mmight gradually be absorbed in poor/tiny new Palestinian state).Israel's essential problem is demographic:addition of millions of Palestinians to Israeli population would end any Jewish state. Editor suggests(contradictory)solution lies in mutual acknowledgement of both refugees' right of return to Israel and Israel's right to determine when, and who must be refused on grounds of national security.

 

The Economist 13 Jan 01"Need For Microcredit: Africa's Women Go To Work" (43-4):-further to reports onmicro-lending in LDCs in Economist 27 Nov 99"Microfinance..." and F. H. Abed "Micro-credit..." , this adds new success stories and the firm conclusion that" lending small sums to poor people to set up or expand small businesses...is an effective way to alleviate poverty" . The essence: ignore lack of collateral, whichnormally rules out commercial loans and forces dependence on loan-sharks' crippling interest rates. Organizations such as the Grameen Bank(Bangladesh)and Accion International(Latin America) instead have poor borrowers form groups to cross-guarantee each others' loans. A variation is to make a loan only when another group member completes repayment of theirs. Peer pressure ensures defaults are minimal. In some African and Latin American shanty towns lacking group solidarity, borrowers must also contribute, but the amount loaned increases with each prompt repayment. About 14m -mostly women- now use micro-finance, up 80% in two years-supporting up to 70m people. Unlike grant aid, 7-10,000 micro-lenders fosterenterprise not dependency and are mostly self-supporting. To reach target of 100m borrowers by 2005much more capital is needed. As the worst repayment constraint is disease, often education, even medical insurance, go with the loan.

 

The Economist 20 Jan 01 "Natural Disasters: Lessons from El Salvador's Earthquake" (31):-lessons and proposals from preparations before/response to tragedy of 13 Jan. Aimed mainly at Central America butapply to any small, poor countries liable to natural disasters. After Hurricane Mitch(1998)did terrible damage to Honduras/Nicaragua and some to all Central American states, UN reported none had disaster-management plans and" when catastrophe struck, civil-defence bodies were sidelined by politicians. As result, once emergency teams, called in for particular incident, had been disbanded, nobody to apply lessons-learned next time.[Hence, UN said, each country needed] 'permanent state institution, staffed bytrained disaster-management professionals' and armed with mandate for preventive work" .El Salvador's civil-defence agency responded ASAP, but has little say in preventive planning, which " involvesstrengthening laws and enforcing them - hard in states cursed by corruption" . Also, donors shouldsupport permanent disaster-response team for region, and further improved regional coordination.Economist 03 Feb "Catastrophe in Gujarat" (Edit. 22-4); "Earthquakes in India: Worse to Come?" (83):-pitifully soon after above, reaction to even worse tragedy. Again stressed actions(well-enforced building codes; well-studied risk zones; nearby rapid-response teams; planned international aid)that could greatly reduce costs(even in very poor countries)of major shocks in growing urban areas. Unfortunately science warns greatest collisions of tectonic plates on earth, run along mountainous borders of sub-continentso constant seismic stress has created recurring catastrophes.


The Economist 27 Jan 01"A New Environmental Index: Sustainable Growth - Green and Growing" (74-5):-serious global controversies(e.g. Kyoto Protocol)reflect widespread (mis)perception that environmental and economic improvements are incompatible, and present zero-sum alternatives. While in many cases these aims are in fact mutually reinforcing (non-polluting processes often improve efficiency)there has beenno organized attempt to clarify/ quantify overall relationship perhaps because many key terms involved are "woolly" [e.g. "sustainable", "environmental" ," growth" vs" development" ];most environmental data are "poor quality". 2001 Davos World Economic Forum was presented first attempt to meet this need: Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI)created by expert team working carefully with available data. It had first made "detailed assessment of dozens of variables that influence environmental health" of 122 national economies(from pollutants to corruption). These then used to select 22 "core indicators" grouped in five broad areas: (1)Environmental Systems: air quality; water quantity & quality; biodiversity [threats]; terrestrial systems [e.g.soil degradation]; (2)Reducing Stresses: reducing air pollution; reducing water & ecosystem stresses; reducing waste and consumption & population pressures; (3)Reducing Human Vulnerability: basic human sustenance; environmental[ly-related] health; (4)Social and Institutional Capacity: science and technology [strength]; capacity for debate; [eco-]regulation and management; private sector [eco-]responsiveness; environmental information; eco-[i.e.energy] efficiency; reducing public choice distortions [gasoline prices, usage subsidies, corruption]; (5)Global Stewardship: international commitment [eco-participation & compliance]; protecting international commons[ e.g. CO2, SO2, CFC]; global-scale [eco-]funding & participation. Indicators were quantified for each individual country, making it feasible to rank them in terms of "sustainability" (ES). Among results: Finland(1); Norway(2); Canada(3); Australia(7); US(11); France(13); Germany(15); Britain(16); Japan(22); Brazil(28); Russia(33); Italy(37); South Africa(45); Mexico(73); India(93); China(108); Nigeria(117); Haiti(122). Team's key findings were: (a)ES can be measured; "Index proved to be surprisingly powerful, useful and robust" .(b)ESI created comparative benchmarks of national environmental conditions and possibility of making decisions on more fact-based foundations. (c)Economic conditions affect, but do not determine, environmental conditions; ESI suggests that decisions on how vigorously to pursue ES and economic growth are in fact two separate choices. (d)Serious data gaps limit ability to measure ES. Much of above derived directly from ESI Main Report downloaded (using Adobe Acrobat Reader since it is in PDF format) at: http://www.ciesin. colombia. edu/indicators/ESI.


The Economist 03 Mar 01 "Displaced People: When Is a Refugee Not a Refugee?" (23-6):-good overview of growing problem of internally displaced persons(IDPs). "People who are trapped by war or persecution within their own countries need help as much as, or more than, official refugees. But world has been slow to appreciate their plight" (23). Essay covers, at least briefly, all major aspects of global issue: numbers, locations, motives, needs and handling of IDPs. Above all, however, it probes implications of their legal problem: they do not fit UN definition of refugee, i.e. "any person who[for specific reasons]is outside country of nationality" and so does not receive refugee's legal protection, nor are IDPs officially responsibility ofshort-funded UNHCR. While IDPs form largest group of displaced persons no effort has even been made before to count them. Dennis McNamara, UN's co-ordinator on internal displacement will, however, besubmitting full report to UNSG demanding that more be done.

 

The Economist 31 Mar 01 "Poverty and Property Rights: No Title" (20-2):-most works on global poverty and development emphasize the importance of land redistribution from the few to the many, but examples of resulting national prosperity are rare: the aim is justice. This essay, drawing mainly on the situation in Malawi, deals with a closely-related problem that does have major economic potential. In many LDCs poorfarmers know precisely the borders of their own plots of land. Their families may have passed the land down through many generations, and be recognized as owners by the local elders and the whole community. But in a(mostly)illiterate and "customary" society, they have no legal proof of ownership. Theeconomic significance is that, however firm their assets of land and what is on it, they cannot use it as collateral to obtain a loan(except from local loan sharks)-and in a near-subsistence" informal" society, there is often no other way to raise cash. Yet a recent book(Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else(Basic Books))claims" the total value of the fixed property held but not legally owned by the poor of the third world and former communist countries is at least $9.3 trillion" . Property rights offer many advantages: the assets become fungible, kept whole or divided in parts, for any chosen purpose; inter(national)property systems offer knowledge e.g. who owns what; what anything is/was sold for; addresses/assets/credit of relevant strangers; ownership ofunseen(or uncreated)goods; employ specialists. Effectively, no poor country has secure property rights. The challenge for their governments is to fashion a "clear and enforceable set of laws. The alternative is to stay poor" .

 

The Economist 14 Apr 01 "Perfect?" (Edit.15-6) "The Politics of Genes: America's Next Ethical War" (21-4):-problem already raising issues in US and bound to rapidly become global: vast implications of genetic science, through which humans can be created "to order" - and rapidly cease to be humans as we know them. Deals with how question has arisen in US, various views and problems faced, and how will probably be handled - series of specific Supreme Court decisions. But this bibliography deals only with global issues -well addressed in Edit. It first notes genetic science does not pose just "normal" questions of how to regulate new technology; also presents ethical and political challenges both extraordinary/imminent. In positive terms biotechnology allows medicine tailored to individuals, some diseases to be prevented before they occur; childless to be given children. Yet governments need expert, regular, independent advice: ifproposed major genetic innovations are "necessary and desirable" . For safety should also be moratorium on reproductive human cloning, at least until odds of success much higher than now. Meanwhile those whooppose cloning can try to prove case for banning. Good arguments both ways: in favour, say, form ofbenign(even life-saving)and individual eugenics, or against, lifetime loss of dignity or autonomy for reasons reflecting no more than cosmetics or parental hubris. Be open-minded but cautious.

 

The Economist 26 May 01 "The World Health Organization: A Triumph of Experience Over Hope" (79-80):- offers impressions of the 2001 session of the 191-member WHO governing body, the World Health Assembly, with particular emphasis on its Director-General, Gro Harlem Brundtland. Three years ago, shesucceeded Hiroshi Nakajima, reputedly a" disaster" , combining "weak central control and financial incompetence" . Having been three times PM of Norway, Dr. Brundtland is accused of running WHO like a prime minister: "muzzling internal dissent" and imposing policies on members. Yet" things had clearly got out of control... and discipline needed to be imposed" e.g. by reining in the HQ's barons, if not yet theregional offices. Her initiatives have been many and controversial: high-profile campaigns against malaria and tuberculosis, and a framework convention on tobacco control. Donor countries are impressed:special funding has increased 40% since 1999. NGOs worry about WHO's new ties with industry, but these have also delivered financially. Though not all ideas work(ranking health-care systems), Brundtland'sactivism and advocacy are paying off.

 

The Economist 18 Aug 01 "The Politics of Human Rights" (Edit.9) "HUMAN RIGHTS: Righting Wrongs" (Special Report 18-20):-problem arose in early UN: whether human rights relate only to political and civil rights (freedom from torture, of speech, to vote), broadly proclaimed in 48 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, OR whether two types of human rights: more specifically defined 66 in legally-binding treaties: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. First mainly amplified Declaration. Latter reflected strong(or only)suit of Communist members/priorities of LDCs and dealt with vital human benefits likefood/health/housing/jobs/literacy. Past stress of NGOs like Amnesty International(AI)and Human Rights Watch(HRW)was to shame states into ensuring political and civil rights; however new interest of NGOs/UN bodies in furthering economic/social rights too. Over-riding need of many poor countries to raise economic/health standards is cited as creating moral/legal obligations. Examine implications of thus broadening human rights. Since both kinds of rights are susceptible to legal codification, only issue iswhether expanding concept of human rights "makes sense" .Cost differences may seem more clear-cut:most "negative liberties" (freedom of/from..)are cheap to provide, while "positive liberties" (minimum health/education)can be extremely costly; yet providing elections /justice is also expensive. "[M]ost telling arguments against adoption of universal economic and social rights...are practical. New rights have to be defined in vaguest, most general, terms if they are to be plausibly universal in scope.[They]will either mean nothing.,.or if intention is to move from stating rights to enforcing laws, they will be constitutionally dangerous. Vague laws would...require courts rather than governments to settle arguments about social justice ...subordinating popular will to rule, not of law, but of judges" .Finally, defence of basic freedomsis so widely supported, NGOs like AI, dedicated to this end, carry moral authority; but socio-economicpolicies so highly political, advocating them risks "tainting" human rights-concerned NGOs doing so aspartisan. Reuters "Amnesty Extends Fight to Economic, Social Rights" NYT 25 Aug:-reports AI's annual conference overcame any such concerns; decided to push economic/social as well as political rights. Comments by AI's new SG Irene Khan may acknowledge dangers/constraints, however. Stressed: "What isdifferent is that, from now on, we will[campaign] against all forms of discrimination[political or economic].[Anti-discrimination approach would largely avoid "standards" dilemma, though still creating financial challenges.]She also said AI's" big step" was to campaign "for right to things such as education and health" ,thus highlighting two relatively non-partisan benefits. Time will tell if such focused tactics areplanned,and successful. In-depth look at AI's past tactics/successes reviewed in Foreign AffairsVol.80/No.5(Sep/Oct 01)Ann Marie Clark Diplomacy of Conscience: Amnesty International and Changing Human Rights Norms(Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press 01). Claims AI's effectiveness had several sources:" reliance on internationally endorsed principles, its political independence and expert-based impartiality, and its credible fact-finding" .Can these continue? Economist 08 Sep 01 LETTERS "Human Rights and Wrongs" (16):-contains six excellent replies to above arguments. First, by Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is, not surprisingly, most persuasive. She inter alia points out" growing body of jurisprudence is helping to flesh out [economic/social/cultural] rights. Far from being'undefinable and undeliverable', they can be measured and indeed already are" .Panel monitors compliance with Covenanton basis 145 country reports. Clincher is that "impossible to enjoy human dignity, freedom and equality without food, health or shelter" .Four of other five correspondents also support economic/social rights, main arguments being: political rights actually cost more than basic health/education; relevant legislation can be as detailed/enforceable as legislator wishes, thus constraining litigation and "rule by judges" ; moral basis of viewing food/health/education etc. as basic human rights is obvious to many, but for some they are matters of life and death; basic health care/education for world's poorest, costs much less than arms; "tainting" of HR organizations with concern for economic/social rights is much less than produced by ignoring them. "Anti" argument builds on concern that economic/social rights really legalize demands by poor on rich, and hide" attempt to put teeth into hoary socialist dream of global wealth redistribution" .

 

The Economist 20 Nov 03 "The International Criminal Court: For Us Or Against Us?" :-possibly the most critical editorial of Economist against disgusting US foreign policy in history. "Some 70 countries, representing 40% of world's population, have now signed bilateral agreements with US exempting US citizens - and often their own - from prosecution by ICC. According to John Bolton, US under-secretary for international security, US' s ultimate goal is to conclude such pacts with every country in the world. Court, he complains, runs 'contrary to...basic constitutional principles of popular sovereignty/checks/balancesand national independence.'ICC first permanent international body able to try individuals for war crimes/genocide/crimes against humanity. Set up under 98 Statute of Rome, it has jurisdiction over citizens of countries which have both signed/ratified Rome statute - known as 'state parties' - as well as overthose suspected of committing atrocities on territory of a state party. Court is backed by nearly half world's nations, including all members of European Union and all but one(Turkey)of US' s NATO allies. YetUS arm-twisting of many...closest allies has at times been ferocious. Under US Servicemembers' Protection Act, passed last year, administration threatened to cut all military aid to those countries which had ratified Rome statute, but unwilling to sign bilateral impunity agreements with US. NATO members and certain other allies were exempted. But some NATO candidates were warned that failure to enter into such pacts would put their candidacy at risk. Many third-world countries, heavily dependent on US largesse,scrambled to comply. But others dug in their heels... Bush administration announced suspension of $millions military aid to 35 of ICC's supporters who refused bilaterals. Included Colombia, third-largest recipient of US military aid and one of US' s key partners in its war on drugs, as well as several countriesthat provided troops for war against Iraq. Four, including Colombia, have since had their aid restored after signing...But 31 others face losing further $89m in military aid in fiscal year. [Summary of less 50%.]

 

The Economist 17 Apr 04 "AIDS in India: When Silence is Not Golden" (10); "AIDS in India: Abating, or Exploding" (21-3):-clear-worded Editorial and well-researched Special Report offer masses of facts on a expanding epidemic and a still imperfect official Indian policy. According to" the most conservative of estimates,600,000 Indians already have the disease and 4.58m are infected with HIV[- totals]second only to South Africa.[O]ne UN agency thinks the number of Indian infections will rise to 12m by 2015. Thegovernment itself...has said that even if it achieves its own objectives 9m Indians will be infected by 2010...CIA predicts 20m-25m by that date." Although the country gets substantial funds and experiencefrom abroad and domestic sources," India's campaign needs more money, and... stronger political commitment." Moreover, India's globally famous companies producing HIV/AIDS drugs see their cheap domestic role still constrained. On balance" forecasts of millions more infections seem horribly possible" ..

 

The Economist 08 May 04 "Vietnam's Economy: The Good Pupil" (39-40):-article reports a poor country'samazing rate of prosperous change in spite of political constraints; the latter seem partly overwhelmed. "[T]he nominally communist rulers of Vietnam have made their peace with capitalism. The country raked in foreign debt investment worth more than 8% of GDP last year [and] boasts Asia's best-performing economy. It has grown by an average of 7.4% a year over the past decade and is likely to achieve a similar figure this year. Better yet, the boom has lifted many Vietnamese out of poverty...By 2002[the populationpoor -58% in 1993-]had fallen to 29%" . However, it is also admitted that the economic success has beenrestrained by: varied government mis-investment; area diseases: human -SARS, and chickens -avian flu; export limitations on goods that expand enormously to the US: catfish; shrimp; garments. The last issue can be eased by two developments: WTO membership and exports to many states.

 

The Economist 08 May 04 "ECONOMICS FOCUS: Feeding the Hungry" (74):-Copenhagen Consensus createdstudy of the relative effectiveness of ways to correct hunger and malnutrition. "Around a billion people(say authors)are malnourished, and around a sixth of these are children. That is not only adeplorable human tragedy in its own right. It also leads to measurable economic losses - further poverty.Lives are shortened, causing lost output and income. Those who survive...malnutrition may be less productive, perhaps throughout their lives. Hunger also often leaves people more susceptible to disease, so...more output has to be devoted to health care" . "Benefits" are then analysed. Better-fed people are likely to contribute longer to GDP. Malnutrition at early age influences labour productivity since it affects size and strength. Children can perform better in school if improved nutrition, while the malnourished may getless education since weaker investment. Hunger is not caused only by lack of food. Children's qualitynutrition relates to women's education and status. Diseases(AIDS, malaria)can cause/worsen hunger, in part by shortening breadwinners' lives;" families...fail to pass down farming skills to future generations.Poor transport infrastructure can make it difficult for food to reach the people who need it most. [T]rade barriers... keep farmers mired in poverty by depriving them of export markets" . Authors caution there is no single "magic bullet" for hunger. Raise birth-weights via reduced infant mortality, savings on health costsand lost output due to illness, improved growth and lifetime productivity. Costs: medicines, trackingmothers' health, and providing food/mineral supplements. Improve nutrition in young children via encouraging breast-feeding, educating mothers about "weaning foods" . Costs: hard to pinpoint but less than benefits. Reduce deficiencies in key "micronutrients" (iodine, zinc, vitamin A, iron). Improve agricultural technology via higher-yielding crops, controlling pests better. Costs: high rates of returns from improvements. Key types of technology/teaching yield the most.

 

The Economist 15 May 04 "ECONOMICS FOCUS: The Stuff of Life" (75):-Copenhagen Consensus project examines the serious problem of hundreds of millions of poor people lacking access to two essential services: clean water and basic sanitation. According to study, improving the delivery of clean water and sanitation to the poor would be a highly cost-effective way to use additional aid to developing countries. Global "water crisis" refers to: (1) supply of water for domestic purposes, which makes relatively tiny demands; but (2) in many poor countries available supplies" very often fail to reach the poor...because supplymust also meet the demand for water for productive purposes, notably farming...Where supplies fail to get through, it is usually the poor who suffer most" . Global burden of illness from dirty water, bad or non-existent sanitation and poor standards of hygiene" is remarkable" . "[C]lose to half the population in the developing world are suffering from one or more diseases associated with inadequate provision of water and sanitation services" . Improving sanitation gives better value for money than improving water delivery. InSub-Saharan Africa, sanitation benefits alone" might be some $16 billion a year" .

 

The Economist 15 May 04 "War in Sudan:Don't Forget It" (Edit.10) "Special Report on Sudan: Fleeing the Horsemen Who Kill For Khartoum" (21-3):-reports:(1)cautious agreement about an encouraging but uncertain "comprehensive peace" to end north-south civil war since 1957;(2)bloody/displacing attacksdirected by government against western Darfur region whose newly armed people feared being excluded. North-south war started at Sudan's independence by black non-Moslems living over southern half of largest African state, who sought autonomy from Moslem and Arabic north. War killed 2 million(mostly civilians)and became even more fierce when new Sudan oil concession areas were hugely located in south. Under mostly US pressure/promise, both groups finally agreed on series of agreements and "to share power for six years, after which south will be allowed referendum on whether or not to secede...In west and east of country, regions utterly neglected by state , those who feel left out -in particular, in[black Moslem]Darfur-have taken up arms. Government has evidently determined to crush them with such ferocity that otherSudanese are too scared to follow suit" .Its militia is acting so viciously, it is drawing US anger -and soonUN. Economist 29 May 04 "Sudan: Peace in the South, War in the West" (Edit.14) "Sudan: A Triumph Marred By Terror" (48): bring developments up: Sudan's "government and southern rebels surmounted last obstacles in way of peace. [W]ar between north and south...appear[s]to be over. Proposed transitional government will not be pretty...but war is uglier...In western region of Darfur, government is fighting two black Muslim rebel groups...Some 1.2m [blacks]have been driven from their homes, and perhaps 30,000 killed.[A]id workers predict that between 150,000 and 350,000 people will die in next nine months from hunger and disease if Sudan's government does not stop hindering relief efforts" .Economist 03 Jul 04 "Sudan: Dousing the Frames of Darfur" (Edit.13) "Sudan: The Calamity Continues" (39):continue report: "Actions in Darfur...have created arguably worst humanitarian crisis in world today. Arab-dominated regime Khartoum is fighting revolt there by discontented blacks and has been driving black Darfuris fromsmoking remains of homes. Most of driving is done by mounted militia called janjaweed which governmentarms but pretends not to...USAID predicted...1m might die if help did not come fast" .UNSG Annan and US Secretary of State Powell visited Sudan to threaten government with UNSC sanctions, but offer aidwhen/where can. Economist 31 Jul 04 "Sudan Can't Wait: Genocide in Darfur" (Edit.11) "Sudan: The World Notices Darfur" (39-40):both describe international details US and Britain in particular are facing when tryingto end terrible action by janjaweed actions against people of Darfur, and serious food absence for millions. Third Darfur item, "International Law and Genocide: Must Intervention Be Legal?" (40),has Summary in sections due to future relevance of legality UN action/inaction. Economist 28 Aug 04 "Sudan: Crunch Time in Darfur" (Edit.11) "Sudan: Decision Time in Sudan" (39-40) "Darfur's Rebels: No Angels" (40):-there have been frequent/appalling Editorials/articles in past months, but trio is worth reading even if you do not want to scan them all. It contains a large amount of new information on complexities of this situation. Unfortunately much could be relevant to other African/Arab/illogical states and UN delay in crisis. Economist11 Dec 04 "Southern Sudan: The Refugees Prepare To Return Home" (45):-as noted in May items, slownorth-south peace negotiations continued/maybe ended, while western genocide continued, despitesmall/slow intervention in Darfur by African troops. South now seems prepared for peace/important resettlement takes place/is described.

 

The Economist 29 May 04 "Haiti: Misery Upon Misery" (35-6):-another tragedy has hit poorest country in Americas. Torrential rains smashed a border region between Dominican Republic and Haiti," unleashing floods and devastating mudslides" . About 2,000 people were reported killed, half in one Haitian town alone. Meanwhile 8m Haitians already under some control by multi-national forces, attracted by a political revolt but soon replaced by a formal UN peacekeeping force. Transitional government of technocrats is alreadyheaded by a former UN official - and that raises increasing global needs for UN to run nations collapsed "out of control" . Here are Haiti excerpts: " [State has]no army...and a small and ill-armed policeforce...For most Haitians, life is all about survival. Two-thirds of them lack a proper job. The price of ricehas almost doubled since January. Mountains of rubbish have piled up in the streets. In Port-au-Prince, there is no water and almost no electricity for those who cannot afford generators. Good roads exist onlyin the memory of those old enough to remember better days. Estimates of the cost of the looting anddestruction of property in February[revolt]range[$100-300m]. Public services collapsed. That was a body blow to an economy already wounded by years of mismanagement, general instability, a UN embargo in the early 1990s and a suspension of foreign aid after 2000. The only growth business has been thetracking of Colombian cocaine...A readier source of cash[than aid]is the $1billion that the Haitians livingabroad send back home each year. That amounts to three times the country's exports or the government'sbudget. Most of this money is spent on foods and clothes. It helps to pay for survival, not reconstruction. Haitians are growing angry over rising food prices[,but]Haiti's failures are rooted in its history[and]also in its social and racial divisions".


The Economist 05 Jun 04"SPECIAL REPORT on COPENHAGEN CONSENSUS: Putting the World to Rights"(63-5):-a panel of distinguished economists met in Copenhagen to study high-quality analyses of global challenges to improve very serious lives of people in developing countries, and to determine relative costs. "The organizing idea was that resources are scarce, and difficult choices among good ideas therefore have to be made". Aim of the panel was to reach agreement on the best Priorities that should be given to 17 Projects. Panel members agreed surprisingly closely in this orderof the priorities: (1)Diseases: Control of HIV/AIDS. (2)Malnutrition: Providing micro nutrients. (3)Subsidies and Trade: Trade liberalisation. (4)Diseases: Control of Malaria. (5)Malnutrition: Development of new agricultural technologies. (6)Sanitation and Water: Small- scale water technology for livelihoods. (7)Sanitation and Water: Community-managed water supply and sanitation. (8)Sanitation and Water: Research on water productivity in food production. (9)Government: Lowering cost of starting a new business. (10)Migration: Lowering barriers to migration for skilled workers. (11)Malnutrition: Improving infant and child nutrition. (12)Malnutrition: Reducing prevalence of low birth weight. (13)Diseases: Scaled-up basic health services. (14)Migration: Guest-worker programs for the unskilled. (15)Climate:"Optimal" carbon tax. (16)Climate: Kyoto protocol. (17)Climate: Value-at-risk carbon task. The priority list is based essentially on economics/finances, not on the relative urgency of the challenges, nor on a clear implication that items with higher numbers can or should be ignored for the time being. Economist items of 08 and 15 May 04 above give summaries of two subjects that were analysed. For details on the analyses, an authoritative 650-page book is available: Bjorn Lomborg edit., GLOBAL CRISES, GLOBAL SOLUTIONS (Cambridge/New York/Melbourne/Madrid/Cape Town: Cambridge Univ. Press 04):-ISBN 0 521 84446 0 hardback and ISBN 0 521 60614 4 paperback.

It is in two parts, with chapters that do not exactly coincide with the 17 Projects identified above: PART I THE CHALLENGES (1)Climate Change; (2)Communicable Diseases; (3)Conflicts; (4)Access to Education; (5)Financial Instability; (6)Governance and Corruption; (7)Malnutrition and Hunger; (8)Migration; (9)Sanitation and Access to Clean Water; (10)Subsidies and Trade Barriers. PART II RANKING THE OPPORTUNITIES Expert Panel Ranking. Epilogue: Youth Forum: Human Benefit Analysis. The INTRODUCTION by Lomborg is only 9 pages long, and contains the following main subtitles: The Focus for the Consensus; Why was This the First Explicit Economic Prioritisation?; Thinking Outside the Box; Where Does the Copenhagen Consensus Prioritise?; How Does the Copenhagen Consensus Prioritise?; What Does the Copenhagen Prioritise?; The Copenhagen Consensus Process; Conclusion.


The Economist 12 Jun 04 "India's Economic Reforms: Can India Work?" (67-9):-excellent Special Reporton present and future prospects of state that is not only growing at major rate but may also have larger population than China soon. Compares potentials faced now by Manmohan Singh, new Congress prime minister, with his tough reform role as finance minister in 1991. This time he inherits economy growing at more than 8% a year and far from crisis. Current(and 91)figures displayed: Population - billion: 1.06(0.87);GDP$trillion(ppp): 2.86(1.23); GDP per person $(ppp): 2,690(1,420); Consumer prices,% increase on year ago: 3.8(13.9); Exports, $billion: 56.0(17.7); Imports, $billion: 71.0(20.4). But" two reasons toworry[essential] reform may be under threat" : (1)" Congress owes its victory in part to dissatisfaction with incumbent state governments and in part to support of populist parties from two big states, West Bengaland Bihar" .States have role on reform contents/application. (2)" Congress has only 145 of 545 seats in parliament. [I]t is in coalition with parties identified with narrow regional interests, hostile to reform, and[it]also relies on'outside'support of India's communist parties. Last situation has forced concessions onreforms of privatisation/ labour laws/power sector. Admirable/realistic goals include: annual growth of 7-8%, alleviating poverty, helping farmers, empowering women, raising spending on health/education; but "reform is about removing obstacles" .Bulk of report is then about prospects. Economist 10 Jul "India's Budget: High-Wire Act" (37):-new government's budget is described as balanced but hardly inspiring compromise between Congress, communists, and parties that represent India's poorest. It may not have upset anyone, but it has also done little to advance reform. Finance minister has promised to shrink deficit, but has introduced no action on privatization, subsidy slashing, or radical reform of labour laws.Agriculture(livelihood of 70%)and rural areas were provided support and incentives, "including doubling ofagricultural credit...,widespread water schemes, and help for diversification into new farm products and foodprocessing" .On industry, new commission announced to boost both foreign and domesticinvestment." Increases should help to boost India's poor record on investment inflows, which fell 2003-04from $4.7b to $4.5b(tiny fraction of what China takes). Limits, though, are only part of it: foreign investment is mostly restricted by foreign companies' frustrations with India's bureaucracy.,.poor public services andinfrastructure ...This is not end of reform in India, nor is it inspiring start for new government's efforts to advance it" . Economist 17 Jul "India: Closing the Gap" (42-3):-Palaniappan Chidambaram, new finance minister, and top-level staff, already "starting work on reforms for his full annual budget" in Feb, even though government is facing attacks on interim budget(above). "Reforms in next budget...will focus on taxation, subsidies and development expenditures" . Economic/social scale/complexity/impact of proposals are outlined in articles, but may be changed before budget. Yet global magnitude of Indian prosperity soimportant(1b+ people),whole world may hope major reforms succeed. Economist 25 Sep "India and America: Joining the Big Boys' Club" (54):-meeting of PM Manmohan Singh with US President Bush took place during joint Sep visit to UNGA in New York. Just prior to meeting, certain US sanctions on India were lifted; they were originally imposed when it exploded five nuclear bombs in 98, as a declared nuclear power that had not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. According to statement, Indian relations with US "had never been as close" ,and US is now "expanding co-operation...in civilian nuclear power, spaceprogrammes and high technology trade, and discussing missile defences. Indian officials...were keen to portray this as evidence that US now accepts India as serious international partner." Indeed India seems to have achieved its hope that its nuclear test would force US to pay it "serious, sustained and respectful attention." Meanwhile India is submitting joint bid for permanent UNSC membership with Brazil, Germany and Japan. Economist 09 Oct "India: Cohabiting, For Now" (37-8); "India's North-East: The Terror Spreads" (38); "Nuclear Proliferation: A Game For All To Play" (38-9):-all 3 items make above key/positive reports on India more complex. Inserted together, in order, under Economist 09 Oct 04.

 

The Economist 19 Jun 04 "AIDS in Haiti: H For Hope" (39):-in encouraging contrast to nation's terrible political and economic situations, it has pretty good record in tackling HIV/AIDS -reversal of disaster which hit Haiti both hard and early. In 1980s, with little knowledge, "HIV was associated with four Hs:haemophiliacs, homosexuals, heroin addicts and Haitians. By 1993, over 6% of adult Haitians were thought to be infected - highest rate outside Africa. AIDS is the leading cause of death in the country, killing about 30,000 people a year, and it has orphaned 200,000 children" . However, over last decade, proportion of adults with HIV/AIDS may have halved, and 2,000 people now receive anti-retroviral drugs. In five years maybe 25,000 get drugs. Meanwhile 75% know how virus is transmitted and condoms are more widely used. Substantial funds are received and honestly spent; apparent success" stems mainly from close partnership between government, private donors and charities" . UN peacekeepers also cared for. Relativelysuccessful handling of very poor and heavily diseased state hints at repeating lessons elsewhere.

 

The Economist 26 Jun 04, "Polio: A Virus Revives" (52):-experts on global spread of human/animal/plantdiseases have raised concern over increased speed/distance/media/variety. New frustrating catastrophe reflects cultural anger/fear/ignorance, emphasising novel source of global concern." [M]ass vaccination drive has nearly eradicated [polio] virus. Last year, it lurked in only six countries and claimed only 784 victims. UN's goal of wiping it out by 2005 seemed reasonable. But handful of zealots have put clock back.Imams in northern Nigerian state of Kano argue polio vaccine is part of western plot to make Muslims sterile. State authorities suspended immunization there last year... Polio has therefore spread around Nigeria with renewed vigour, and infected neighbours. Ten previously polio-free African nations haverecorded cases this year. As far away as Sudan, new outbreak has been linked genetically to strain of polio found in Nigeria...[S]o long as virus finds sanctuary somewhere, nowhere is safe" .

 

The Economist 10 Jul 04 "Japan's Foreign Policy: From Pacifism to Populism" (Special Report 20-2):-analyses future of second-biggest, but most constitutionally-pacified, global power: "As Japan begins to stretch its long-unused military muscles, how far does it want to go and what can it do?" Both PM Junichiro Koizumi's innovation and increased international threats concerning Japanese people, producedchanging attitude. "Soon after 2001 attack [when Japan sank North Korean spy ship,]parliament passedspecial law authorizing ships from Maritime SDF[Self Defence Force]to help US fleet in Indian Ocean. Law restricted co-operation to refuelling and logistics, but Japan's navy, in effect, provided rear support for[Afghan]invasion...Last summer, parliament passed laws spelling out government's powers in event of attack on Japan's territory.[P]acifist nervousness had prevented enactment before.[PM]had also called for changes to constitution, including pacifist restrictions in Article 9.[B]ecause Asia is less coherent than European Union, Japan's regional role is in some ways even more important to US[whose] 45,000 troopsin Japan, and related air and naval bases,...allow US to project strength across region littered with potential hotspots.[A]lliance will grow more flexible and useful[,although critics]both in and around Japan...detect signs of resurgent right wing, and fear return of Japanese militarism.[Y]et Koizumi's eagerness[does not]imply sinister swing to far right. His foreign policies reflect clear and reasonable national interests and draw support from broad Japanese public, which shows little desire to remilitariseand start strong-arming neighbours...Voters do seem...dismayed...to include Japanese troops in new multinational force in Iraq...endorsed by UN.[P]ublic reaction does not appear to reflect attitudes towards deployment, since mission[now rebuilding quiet Iraqi town]will not change...Japan's conduct of foreign policyis arguably growing more democratic[,although in]1992 parliament passed law allowing SDF to ventureabroad as long as...part of UN mission,..when a ceasefire is in place, and when all parties to conflict agree that Japan can take part" .North Korean threats, including lobbing" medium-range Taepodong missile in 1998...over Japanese airspace into Pacific Ocean" ,have recently justified counter-action, but "most sensible way for Japan to gain influence is to start putting its substantial military resources...to work multilaterally.[Yet as great trader, it] wants to stay on good terms with as many countries as possible." Michael W. Donnelly "The Politics of Uncertainty in Japan" Behind the Headlines Vol.61/No.3(Sep. 04):-complements usefully the above item by describing those aspects of Japan's traditional society thatshould be modified, but may not be, even under relatively radical Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Parts of essay address important issues: Politics and Growing Economic Insecurity; Post-Bubble Blues; PartialEconomic Reform in Uncertain Times; Nascent Signs of Private-Sector-Led Economic Recovery; Emergence of New Forms of Governance; Military Security and Growing Public Anxiety. Conclusion ends: "How Japan continues to evolve will depend partly on political commitment and leadership of PM Koizumi. It is all but certain Japan will not move dramatically closer to liberal market economies like those of US/Canada. Less clear how much further Japan will move toward becoming'normal'state with respect to military security/diplomatic independence. In meantime, uncertainty marks the daily lives of Japanese."

 

The Economist 24 Jul 04 "Local Resources and Global Assets: Saving the Rainforest" (Edit.12); "The Brazilian Amazon: Asphalt and the Jungle" (33-5):-previous items by E.O.Wilson and Eugene Linden et al.(op.cit.)have both addressed need to preserve/restore huge areas of tropical ecology - rainforests - tomaintain natural lives and prevent vast release of carbon dioxide(CO2),major global climate change source. Long article describes serious deforestation, being partly corrected, on long/extensive north-south route through Amazon regions; Editorial is inciting, globally. "World's rainforests are owned bymainly poor countries they cover - but at same time they are global asset. Cutting them down for profit, orto free land for farming, is tempting source of income for their owners. Left intact, on other hand, forests are sinks that withhold carbon from atmosphere, mitigating problem of man-made global warming; they arerich storehouses of biodiversity, another global resource, as well. Plainly, balance between local and global interests must be struck...Tropical countries...should not be denied benefits of any and alldeforestation...Yet deforestation that is optimal...still likely to be greater than what would suit humanity as whole. It makes sense, therefore, to come up with ways to make maintaining forest as rewarding for[owner]as it is for world, once broader benefits and opportunity-costs are taken into account. When...calculation...made, rest of world should foot its share.[W]orld has begun to recognize that itneeds...tropical forests. Time has come to start paying for them" . Economist 14 Aug "Tropical News" (16):-includes 3 letters' texts in reaction to above, all positive and well-informed.

 

The Economist 24 Jul 04 "The United Nations: A Winning Recipe For Reform?" (45-6):-UN Security Councilwas set up in 45 as small, mainly key-victors' , group intended to decide/implement means ofcreating/ensuring world peace. Fundamental Western/democratic and USSR-dominating/communistgroups, with vetos, maintained such confrontation of each other that UNSC could almost never play role until end of Cold War. Meanwhile powerful war-losers and major postwar poor nations sought greaterUNSC roles too. "Kofi Annan, UNSG, set up'high-level panel of eminent personalities' to assess UN's rolein dealing with new global threats.[Interim report]appeared near agreement on one of most intractable issues..-composition of powerful decision-making body, UNSC.[E]veryone is agreed that if UNSC decisionsare to have greater political clout, they must be given greater legitimacy. [D]iscussion ...showed an 'overwhelming consensus' on proposals for expanded 24-member UNSC of 3 tiers: existing permanent 5(China, France, Russia, UK and US); second tier of 7 or 8 potentially semi-permanent members elected onregional basis for renewable term of 4 or 5 years(Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and South Africa might be in this group); and third tier of rotating regional members elected, as at present, for non-renewable 2-year term. Only permanent 5 would have veto...UNSC membership is supposed to be based not just on regional diversity, but also on members' willingness to contribute to world peace and security. But over years, many countries have ignored second criterion. Now panel want to reinforce it, particularly as basis on which thoseaspiring to second tier of membership should be judged. It suggests full review, after 12-15 years, of all members' contributions to work of UN, including its peacekeeping missions' manpower and financing. Panel has divided rest of its work into 6'baskets' : classic inter-state conflict; internal violence, includinggenocide; social and economic threats, such as poverty and disease; weapons of mass destruction;terrorism; and organized crime and corruption. Group decided early on to abandon any distinctionbetween'hard'threats, which worry rich world most, and'soft'threats, of greater concern to rest of humanity.Both, it agreed, were inextricably linked. Most difficult question has been how to deal with pre-emptive or preventive attacks, as on Iraq.[I]t recommends more active role for UNSC, under which it could authorise preventive use of force, but only after'serious and sober assessment'of threat based on'clear and compelling evidence'.[A]ppears also to have won consensus on humanitarian intervention.[P]anel hasalready confounded its critics with boldness of its proposals. It may do so again."

 

The Economist 31 Jul 04 "ECONOMICS FOCUS: Monetary Lifeline" (66):-remittances from migrant workersin richer countries - some of whom have actually become citizens - are of such importance to developing economies that much more information should be sought/remembered by those with global interests. "Poor migrant workers earn little money and less respect. They fill meanest jobs, often with no legal protection. Yet they still manage to save remarkable amounts of money; some might put aside half their pay or more. Despite this, governments and financial institutions have usually paid them scant attention because they typically send home small amounts, no more than a few hundred dollars at a time. That is changing, however, for three reasons: though individually small, remittances are huge in aggregate; they are essential to economies of many migrant workers' home countries; and they are now viewed as possible means of money laundering and source of finance for terrorism. According to recent study[details can be found in online version of article at www.economist.com/finance]by Dilip Ratha, an economist at World Bank,remittances amounted to $93 billion last year. This is more than poor countries received from aid or capital markets. Real number, Ratha says, may be twice as high - making remittances greater than foreign direct investment and in some countries more valuable than exports." G8 04-summit noted importance of remittances in financing small businesses, education and housing in recipient countries. Governments in receiving countries have begun encouraging them(e.g. no taxes). So have many large banks.

 

The Economist 31 Jul 04 "Global Hunger: Empty Bowls, Heads and Pockets" (Edit.12); "Nutrition: Food For Thought" (67-9):-most shocking global fact is that 800m people do not have enough to eat. Human lifetimes of so many, suffering from seriously low nutrition, means their bodies cannot develop properly. "Those who are ill-fed tend to end up both physically shorter and less mentally agile than they otherwise would have been. Hunger also spurs millions of children to drop out of school in order to scavenge for food, and those who manage to attend school despite empty bellies find it excruciatingly hard to concentrate. Malnourishment is thus both cause and consequence of poverty. Weak make unproductivemanual labourers, and global labour market is not exactly clamouring for dim or feeble workers." Major S&T report provides much detail about how free and enriched school lunches greatly improve healths,heights, brains, indeed whole lives, of children - particularly disadvantaged girls - in Malawi example. Yet FAO estimates 17% of those in developing world were undernourished in 1999-2001, their absolute number climbing to 798m, in spite of more food available, because of continued population increases. Africans are eating less well. Also, "malnutrition is largest single contributor to disease" since hunger weakens immune system. "Inadequate nutrition of mothers and young children alone is responsible for 9.5% of global burden of disease...Underweight infants much more likely to succumb to diarrhoea, malaria orpneumonia...[M]any lives are blighted for want of tiny amounts of iodine, iron, vitamin A and zinc...Both hungry and mineral-deficient people tend to be weaker, more prone to illness and less intelligent. This must in turn make them poorer" .

 

The Economist 14 Aug 04 "The Latinobarometro Poll: Democracy's Low-Level Equilibrium" (35-8):-similar surveys of political and social attitudes in 18 Latin American countries(published exclusively by Economist) have been carried out since mid-90s, so system captures shifts in opinion. Valuable 8 charts of poll-collected statistics form major addition to comments." Roughly half of Latin Americans continue to support democracy, though few think it is working well...Support for democracy has edged up since last year...But in most countries it remains lower than in 1996, and in a dozen greatly so. Past year has seen sharp falls in support for democracy in[Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru].[T]here has been significant rise in backing for democracy since last year in[Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Panama, Venezuela].Underlying attitudes towards democracy in region are complex and not without contradiction. Some 55%(up from 50% in 2002)of respondents say they 'wouldn't mind non-democratic government if it could solve economic problems' ...Fact that 71% of respondents think that their country 'is governed for benefit of few powerfulinterests' rather than 'good of everyone'gives some support to view[lamenting failure to develop so-called 'democracy of citizens' ]and may reflect popular perceptions of region's abiding inequalities...63% say they would never support military government and 72% believe that only democracy can bring development. [C]lear majority favour market economy...Anti-US that surged over war in Iraq has not yet subsided. Jennifer McCoy "By Invitation: What Really Happened in Venezuela?" Economist 04 Sep 04(38-40):-McCoy led Carter Center's election observer mission(together with OAS)in deciding (dis)honest status of a nationwide constitution-based referendum carried out to remove or retain President Hugo Chavez. (Dis)approval vote officially required by a numerous/proven number of citizens who questioned his allegeddemocratic/radical policies. Venezuela's election agency declared that Chavez won re-approval by 59% to 41%. Article offers interesting details confirming legitimacy of emotional support. Economist 17 Sep 05"Poverty in Latin America: Not Always With Us"(Edit.13); "Poverty in Latin America: New Thinking About an Old Problem"(36-8):-these two items relate directly and seriously to Democracy's Low-Level Equilibrium described just over a year earlier. The Editorial immediately emphasizes:"Social programs that are good for democracy as well as for the fight against poverty". It argues:"Latin America is less of a stain on the world's conscience [than Africa]. Yet it has another trait: a hugely unequal distribution of income and wealth. A disproportionately large number of Latin Americans are poor - some 222m or 43%of total population, of whom 96m (or 18.6% of the total) live in extreme poverty, according to UN. Behind those figures lie not just human suffering but also an unfairness that is inimical to democracy - makingmany question its value. Fortunately, there are some reasons to think those figures will soon improve - and not just because many Latin American economies are growing strongly again... Region's democratic governments have started to make big and innovative efforts to tackle poverty. These center onprograms that offer poor families cash payments on condition, for example, that they keep their children in school and take them for regular health check-ups... Above all, they show democracies are responding to the needs of their poorest citizens. And that gives more Latin Americans a stake in democracy too".

 

The Economist 28 Aug 04 "Third-World Water and the Private Sector: How Not To Help Those in Need" (Edit.11); "Water in Poor Countries: A Billion Thirsts Quenched" (42); "International Water Companies: The Flood Dries Up" (57-8):-all relate to problem that public/political opinion in poor countrieshas widely seen available/safe water/ sewerage as services to be provided/maintained free by governments. But latter[90%]often inadequate providers, while free consumers are very wasteful. Privatefirms face unfriendly/losing experience, although should be popular. Editorial:" In poor countries drinkingwater comes...irregularly, at some times and places not at all. Then some people die. Vastly more die in many poor countries from non-existence or inadequacy of sewerage systems. [Where firm seeks consumers' payment,]affair has become classic among those[NGOs/]anti-capitalists who argue that water falls free from sky, is basic human need and right, and so no one should profit from supplying it. All of which is true, except conclusion. Rain falls free, but someone has to spend money and deploy skills in getting it to tap, and removing it in sewer. Best organization to do this may well be profit-driven water company[but it is strongly criticized]...Such woes are common in developing world. So is shortage of capital. No wonder World Bank has long called for private-sector skills and money to be brought in" . Second item says WHO claims" sicknesses caused by dirty water and poor sanitation kill about 4,000 children globally each day.[While UN claims]between 90 and 02, extra 1.1b started to enjoy regular supplies of safe water[,b]ecause water infrastructure has not been self-funding,..not been extended to poorest areas, sopoorest have ended up paying inflated prices to black-market water-sellers" .Third item reports manypolitical/business/financial problems faced by private water firms in Third World.

 

The Economist 04 Sep 04 "Reproductive Health: Ten Years' Hard Labour" (74-6); "Genital Mutilation: The Unkindest Cut For A Woman" (75):-International Conference on Population and Development(ICPD)was held by UN in Egypt a decade ago, so both items mainly designed to assess effectiveness of ICPD's new style, but optimum agreed-on, plan. It was "wide-ranging - from more contraception and fewer maternal deaths to better education for girls and greater equality for women. But more than just setting targets...also aimed to change way those at sharp end of making policy and delivering services thought about reproduction. It wanted to move away from focus on family planning...towards broader view of sexual health, and systems and services shaped by individual needs...According to UN Population Fund(UNFPA)61% of married couples now use contraception(11% increase since 94).This has helped pushglobal population growth down from 82m to 76m people/year over past decade. But in some places -particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia- birth rates remain high...Sometimes, high birth rate is result of people wanting large families. But often it is due to lack of affordable contraception...estimated 137m women who want to use contraception cannot obtain it...Poor women still die in huge numbers from complications of pregnancy and childbirth...920 women die for every 100,000 live births in sub-Saharan Africa...Many women go uncounted because they never reach health-care system for treatment in first place...Another subject that needs to be tackled more effectively is youth sex. Largest generation of teenagers in history - whopping 1.3b 10-19-year-olds -now making its sexual debut. How it behaves, and what it learns, is crucial...Few poor countries have earmarked enough of their budgets to meet citizens' reproductive-health needs. Nor have donors lived up to expectations. In 2003, they spent estimated $3.1b on reproductive health...Other causes competing for international funding...AIDS threatens to derail ICPD strategy... What field of reproductive health lacks in resources however, it makes up in ideology. Over past 10 years battlesbroken out between contending views of sexuality, pitting religious conservatives...against social liberals. Fight has become particularly fierce since election of[Bush.]Main battles are over abortion.[Global confrontation over funds for any organization even suspected of allowing abortion is discussed for whole page.]Today's battles over abortion, abstinence and condoms are casting pall over field, andcomplicating...formidable task. Making sex safer and reproduction less risky in 21st century requires all tools to hand. Policies that restrict people's choices should not be fact of life."

 

The Economist 09 Oct 04 "India: Cohabiting, For Now" (37-8):-first of 3 items in issue, all making even more complex the previous serious key/positive reporting on India's new Congress government, found viaEconomist 12 Jun 04 "India's Economic Reform" .These items analyse whether Congress' leader, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and its PM, Manmohan Singh, are so far able to:(1)achieve crucial reform plans;(2)maintain domestic order against rebellions;(3)deal with US over nuclear issues. India seems on edge of becoming global force like China.(1)Apparent Congress popularity just been confirmed by winning big election in Maharashtra over BJP, previous national government party. Yet Gandhi and Singh operation beset by doubts:" about how[they]would share power/manage disparate coalition; and about whether policymakingwould be crippled by need to retain support, from outside formal coalition of two Communist parties on which it relies for parliamentary majority." Communists raised some difficulties because of "objections to economic reforms with which Singh/team identified." If heeded, policy may be paralysed. "Contentious issues ...include privatising airports, raising cap on foreign investment in insurance/telecommunicationsindustries,..cutting subsided interest rates paid to pensioners through provident fund[,and]to abolish big irritant to potential foreign investors." Big storm arose in Planning Commission when it was sought to appoint World Bank advisors etc. but now free to talk to anyone. No problem over nation-wide value-added tax; Communists anyway do not want to bring them down. Factional feuding low-key.(2) "India's North-East: The Terror Spreads" (38):-Congress government faces criticism for handling of worseningterrorist problem in country's north-east. Over 70 were killed 2-5 Oct alone in series of explosions and gunattacks. Blamed on two secessionist outfits in seven region states(over 200 ethnic groups).One wantsindependence for Assam; other wants separate homeland for Bodo. Bhutan army overran camps used by refugees but Bangladesh/Myanmar seen to harbour terrorists. Nagaland sees violence in spite of ceasefire by independence group. Many separatist groups in Manipur accuse Indian forces of human-rights abuses. "Region's conflicts are too many, too complex and too overlapping to be settled by foreign military action alone. But...panicked[Indian]government is rushing fresh troops." "Nuclear Proliferation: A Game For All To Play" (38-9):- US just fingered two senior Indian scientists for(like Pakistan)secretly cooperating with Iran over nuclear power industry and illicit weapons programs. "Both men flatly deny wrongdoing[and claim to have]helped Iran with safety advice.[India]demanded...two men's names be dropped from sanctions list.[US]may relate to process Indian nuclear scientists invented to extract tritium(used to boost explosive power of nuclear bombs)from heavy water used in some..power reactors.[US]has long been keen to work with India on nuclear projects, showing interest in India's plans for nuclear-powered submarine. Indian firms ticked off by US for other sorts of weapons cooperation with Iran. But India has generally been careful to avoid sensitive nuclear areas. In recent years, it has not wanted to upset improving ties with US. However, India's new Congress-led government already proving pricklier. Row over nuclear scientists could yet help sour what both hoped could be emerging strategic partnership." Economist 30 Oct 04 "India and Pakistan: Commando Diplomacy" (48):-meanwhile, new situation may have developed regarding extremely difficult Kashmir problem. Pakistan's General PervezMusharraf proposed an unprecedented compromise for peace negotiations with India." He noted thatKashmir has seven regions, two in Pakistan and five in India. He argued that some or all of these regions should be demilitarised and their status changed. Result could be independence, 'condominium'between India and Pakistan, or a UN mandate." While India "has long been prepared to settle for line of control as international boundary,..some form of'enhanced autonomy'and a solution seems at least possible."

 

The Economist 16 Oct 04 "Beating Cancer: The War On Cancer Is Meeting a New Phase" (13); "The Future of Cancer Treatment: Up Close, and Personal" (75-7):-substantial essay summarized in Editorial, from which following derived. "Cancer...has not been beaten. Indeed, by some measures problem is worse than it was...decades ago. True that treatments have improved somewhat, and prognoses with them, and that a few forms of disease, particularly in children, can be cleared up altogether.[But]likelihood that a person will get cancer at some point has actually risen... Next decade could prove to be one of rapid progress.Battle against cancer is at a turning-point. Because of recent advances, becoming possible to imagine timein not-too-distant future when new medical treatments will be able to tame the disease, transforming it from potent killer into something akin to chronic complaint. Days when cancer no longer strikes terrorin hearts of those diagnosed with it may not be far away...Much of what distinguishes new cancer treatments...is precision with which they are aimed at the disease they are intended to treat. Same kind ofgenetically based precision should be possible in treating other diseases as well, with equally beneficial results...If personalized molecular treatments are...able to score their first victory against...cancer, there will be little doubt about their immense potential in other areas." Condition also on Economist's cover: "The New Frontier of Molecular Medicine" .

 

The Economist 16 Oct 04 "Sri Lanka's Peace Process: As Good As It Gets?" (39-40):-Sri Lanka, huge and charming island state south of India, has population of about 20m, of which roughly 75% essentiallyBuddhist Sinhalese and roughly 20% essentially Hindu-oriented Tamils. Force from latter has been waging 20-year war for independent Tamil homeland. "For year and a half, Sri Lanka's peace process has beenlocked in ugly stalemate. In April 2003, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who had been waging...forindependence to north and east of island, withdrew from talks with government. Since then, ceasefireagreed on year earlier has held, despite violations. Norwegian diplomats, who helped arrange it, haveexpressed fears antagonists' 'incredible complacency'masks' melting at the edges' of frozen war. Butneither side seems to want to plunge into renewed conflict...Formal disagreement with government that is stopping talks concerns their scope...Tigers fear government will block interim authority, thwarting hopesthat Tiger-controlled areas might start enjoying...assistance promised to Sri Lanka in return for peace.Government fears interim authority will pre-empt final outcome, and turn into new platform for Tiger bid forfull statehood. These differences...do not seem unbridgeable. True obstacles to talks lie in two sides' internal troubles" .Splits within sides fully explained. There is "enough on their plates without eithernegotiating peace or taking up arms again...Economic complacency may be even less justified than the political variety."

 

The Economist 30 Oct 04 "Western Sahara: Where The Cause Will Not Die" (52-3):-decades-long(and chronic)history of this large area on western coast of Sahara desert is well-explained, but cannot be fully summarized. Besides providing recent past, item offers concerns about current situation and prospect of solution. Most of original Sahrawi population(100,000 at time Spain left area in 1975)still occupies camps in desolate south-west corner of neighbouring Algeria and now numbers 160,000.It forms Polisario forces, claims government-in-exile, and receives international aid. Morocco sent and has maintainedlarger number of area settlers since Spain left, to claim territory, and has often fought against Polisario.UN has maintained peacekeeping force since 1991 while trying to arrange referendum determiningindependence or pro-Moroccan vote from people. Since most/all Moroccan settlers have been excluded from vote, it has been chronically postponed. Currently Morocco says it is willing to talk more, "but onlyon basis that Moroccan sovereignty should remain unquestioned." UN special envoy has retired. Yet "Sahrawi dreams of independence have not faded" despite area's assets only of phosphate mines/fishzone. "At UN...impatience with supporting mission whose initial mandate...referendum, and which so far cost $600m."

 

The Economist 06 Nov 04 "Romania and the European Union: Brussels Beckons" (53-4); "Romania's Judicial System: Judge and Jury" (54):-discussion of EU prospects for Romania and Bulgaria. Both expected to join in 07, but "Bulgaria's entry more assured" with hope EU "fix date for signing accession treaty early 05[although must improve judicial system].Romania's progress...wobblier. Negotiations, mainly about identifying areas candidate can readily implement EU's rule book[,still unfinished. Though]complicated by parliamentary/presidential elections 28 Nov,...change of government might be healthy. Ruling Social Democrats(PDSR)are post-communists[who recently]modernized style and ideas...but party machine fueled by clientelism and corruption. Main opposition, Justice and Truth,...more liberal, wants to cut taxesfurther/faster,[and]defending gay rights and...legalised prostitution...Most decisions dictated largely bycommitments ...already made to EU, NATO...and IMF...Recent polls show PDSR narrowly ahead of Justice and Truth...but 1/3 voters still to make up their minds...This election first in which direction of country notfundamentally in question.: ..democracy is working.[P]resent government accepts political/economic reforms needed for good of country.[S]till long way to go.:..lowest income per person in central Europe,worst environmental standards, biggest tax arrears, most pervasive corruption, highest infant mortality,lowest education spending. Judicial...mess.:..ramshackle legal system biggest threat to hopes of joining EU...Courts short of judges, judges short of training. Some laws out of date, others new and untested.Lack of judicial independence made worse by political system riddled with cronyism and corruption...Just bolstered judicial independence...Specialised commercial courts being set up; family courts will follow.'National centre for integrity'[to try against corruption. Overall requirement: national legal]system must command trust/respect of other EU governments. [H]ere...Romania still has far to go.[M]edia freedomquestionable and labour market...dysfunctional...Now[EU]is going to let country in largely on trust, knowing reforms promised today will be implemented only in years, even decades."

 

The Economist 20 Nov 04 "Aid Agencies: More Dangerous Than Ever" (48-9):-aid work is one of the most dangerous professions in the world." In past decade, more than 200 UN civilian staff...killed by'malicious acts' in 45 countries. Nearly 300 more civilians/peacekeepers taken hostage. International Committee of Red Cross(IDRC)lost 40 staff on mission over same period. Hundreds of other unarmed aid workers...killed/maimed/abducted/assaulted as tried to help people in some of world's most benighted places.[N]ew is deliberate way they are now targeted, particularly in Iraq/Afghanistan. Three UN aidworkers in [latter still under decapitation threat].Suicide attack on ICRCHQ Baghdad killed ten.[S]uicidebomb in UNHQ Baghdad killed 22...Five Medecins Sans Frontieres murdered in cold blood in Afghanistan.And so...on. Most big relief agencies...have now left Iraq. ICRC remains...without cover of red cross. UN, supposed to oversee Iraq election.,.still operating in Baghdad but with expatriate staff of just 35[300+until attack. UN flag/ICRC cross offered protection until 1990s.]Instead of accidentally killed because...in wrong place/wrong time, clearly identified aid workers began to be murdered - in Balkans/Sierra Leone/Africa Great Lakes region/ Chechnya/Colombia.[Deaths more local factors]than personal affiliation.[But i]n Afghanistan/Iraq UN/aid agencies ...deliberately hunted down. Mostly based in rich countries.,.come to beregarded by many...as part of a western plot to subjugate Muslim world-though more than half[UN/ICRC]beneficiaries Muslims. Blurring...between humanitarian/ military roles, with coalition forcesin Afghanistan/Iraq perceived handing out...food one day/dropping bombs next, has not helped." Aid people see their neutral operating space much limited, as now seen as semi-official distributors of west-government relief; not as impartial agencies meeting local need. UNSG asked for top-priority new anti-risk safety measures. "But will they prove any more effective against targeted terrorist attacks than blue flag?"

 

The Economist 20 Nov 04 "Treating Malaria: A Feverish Response" (81-2):-new Chinese anti-malarial drug has high effectiveness, but is still too costly, and not available in needed quantity. "Malaria...strikes at least 300m/year and kills around 1m, mainly young children, throughout sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia." Drug origin: common wild plant with botanic name Artemisia annua," used in Chinese medicine for over thousand years...In 1960s, Chinese military scientists screening hundreds of traditional herbs in effort to protect soldiers from malaria. Researcher ...managed to extract/characterise chemical...artemisinin thatgives plant's leaves anti-malarial punch. Since then, scientists developed chemical processes to convert artemisinin into more potent derivatives good at killing malarial parasites in blood.[As]activity wanes afterfew hours, best given alongside another anti-malarial medicine, such as lumefantrine, which attacksparasites in different way and over longer period. Artemisinin-class combination therapy(ACT)has provedextraordinarily effective in treating malaria. Trials in several African countries, as well as India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Peru, shown at least 90% of malaria patients treated with ACT over three days recover...Important since other anti-malarial drugs...losing effectiveness.:.malarial parasites evolved resistance.So far, resistance not problem with ACT, partly since combining drugs make it much less likely mutations in parasite will enable it to survive." WHO recommends: where drug resistance occurs, switch to ACT, butfast production/doctor training sought for this year. WHO estimates: 132m ACT courses in 2005; almostdouble in 2006. Problem: getting enough artemisinin. Best plant only in parts China/Vietnam wherecollecting farmers raised prices. Both price control and greatly increased production sought. Methods:farming plants in China and Africa, although sufficient additional production will take time. Alsosimplified/synthesised preparation under study. "Full clinical trial [of safe and powerful US-produced chemical OZ-277]planned soon. If...successful, then further testing planned to see how well new moleculeperforms in [ACT]. If OZ-277 up to expectations, then such therapy might be ready for market by 2008, at less than $1 a course." Meanwhile WHO seeking more funds. One central source by World Bank sought.

 

The Economist 20 Nov 04 "Afghanistan: After the Taliban" (46):-UN counter-narcotics agency(UNODC) reports huge rise in Afghan opium production for third year: export value $2.8b - equal to 60% of 03 GDP, and providing 95+% of heroin reaching Europe. "This year, 131,000 hectares sown with opium seed- 64% increase;...yet harvest, 4,200 tonnes of opium resin, up only 17%" ,due to bad weather/crop disease,rather than effort to destroy/dissuade. "Spending around $150m/year, Britain has formed array ofcounter-narcotics departments and law enforcement agencies, which began functioning only this year.Money also spent on persuading poppy farmers to grow alternative crops, like fruit trees or saffron. UN...advocated floriculture - hoping...bed of roses. But, in absence of almost any law enforcement[or roadsto markets]such schemes hopeless...In fact opium cultivation has no financial equivalent. Last year, each hectare under cultivation yielded 45 kilos of opium, which earned farmers $283/kilo. This year, price was$92." Then argues that only US has capacity to enforce law and is only just starting to undertake action/ funds against opium. "Persuaded Taliban using opium cash to buy arms, US waded in...Governmentordered provincial governors to destroy 25% of poppy crop...Few did so...Helmand is ideal drug country. US also[financed/trained] Afghan eradication team[which]caused chaos. Farmers fired rockets...and sowed poppy fields with land mines. Yet it destroyed 1,000 hectares...and should be expanded next year...US announced $780m for drug control efforts. Britain trained top-level interdiction force[which]destroyed over51 tonnes of opium and 32 heroin-producing labs. Also arrested 20 mid-level traffickers, but...none has been convicted. Drugs squad within Afghan police force faces greater obstacles...Drug traders will surelythrive if no-one ever punished...UN plans to train judges and advocates specially to try traffickers.[D]istant glimmer of hope...although opium making return[in Pakistan]too." Nat Ives "Karzai Plans to Destroy Poppy Fields in 2 Years" New York Times 13 Dec 04:-reports Afghanistan's newly-confirmed president firmly undertakes to destroy country's flourishing drug production, a critical(if very difficult)aim as UN Office on Drugs and Crime officially claims nation has become source for 87% of world's opium. US military review expresses concern Afghanistan's poppy cultivation/opium production will increase andexpand influence of drug magnates at all levels of government. It also claimed that, "by strengthening their ties to drug traffickers, Taliban fighters/other militants will be able to use intimidation and play on ethnic/tribal allegiances to try to undermine government. [Hence, at] narcotics conference in Kabul, Karzaicalled on countrymen to declare holy war against fast-growing opium trade." Carlotta Gall "Armed and Elusive, Afghan Drug Dealers Roam Free" NYT 02 Jan 05:-much detail on drug shipping across Margo desert, sprawling "across far southwestern corner of Afghanistan towards borders with Iran andPakistan.[It] is favored route of drug traffickers taking opium, heroin and hashish produced in Afghanistanto Iran for smuggling to Turkey and Europe. They cross in armed convoys of 10-20 pickup trucks, at suchhigh speed that police officials say they cannot catch them...Scale of problem and deadly seriousness of smugglers have been confirmed by Iranian authorities and UN. Iran has lost more than 3,000 police officersbattling drug smugglers in 10 years...In effort to improve Afghan border control, Iran building/equipping 25 border checkpoints for Afghan authorities along their common border, and has donated 100 motorbikes to Afghan police."

 

The Economist 20 Nov 04 "The United Nations: Time For A Re-Think" (Edit.15-6) "United Nations: Fighting For Survival" (25-7):-this historically important Special Report provides a careful, yet positive, summary of a realistic but strongly positive set of recommendations, agreed on by a panel appointed by Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General. The 16-member group, composed of top-level but independent worthies from all regions of globe, was instructed to submit UN-reform proposals related to Organization's effective coordination of collective security in face of unprecedented global threats. Editorial supports reforms carefully but as essential. UN" embodies collective will and wisdom of imperfect world...Report on how UN might in future better contribute to international security - mobilizing its own and world's resources, to prevent crises where possible and to deal with them more resolutely and effectively where necessary - is due...Yet the thoughtful debate such proposals deserve risks getting lost in poisonous war of words.[Those]who brush against UN as irrelevant in today's world are...dangerously short-sighted.World's most powerful country/top gun has its problems. With global interests and global reach, US is most often called on to right world's wrongs. It should have keen interest in rules-based system whichkeeps that burden to minimum and finds way for others, including UN, to share it...Agreed rules for all to play as much as possible makes strategic sense too.[Yet]system of international rules/treaties/laws is stilla hodge-podge. Some, like UN Charter, deemed universal, though...sometimes ignored.[P]rohibitions against proliferation of...weapons accepted by many but not all. Some disputes can be settled in court... but only where governments give nod...UN Security Council is where most serious disputes end. There trouble can start. UNSC not moral conscience of world. It is connection of states pursuing divergentinterests, albeit...with sense of responsibility. Where it can agree, consensus lends legitimacy toaction...Getting UNSC to mean what it says would help restore some lost credibility. Getting it to evolve collective thinking about international legal niceties in tune with evolving threats...is vital too. It has latelylearned to lean harder on genocidal dictators...Now it needs to contemplate earlier and sometimes even forceful action by itself or others against threats...where delay[,including if too many members,]could invite catastrophe ...All the more reason why Annan's eminences deserve proper hearing." Council on Foreign Relations "Q&A: Reforming the United Nations" 01 Dec 04:-originally available either by NYT>CFR>International>[title] or via the CFR directly. This is an expert interview with Lee Feinsteinwho" has spearheaded Council work on the United Nations" and studied the important UN report and its UNGA prospects. Complete text of "A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility" Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, plus preliminary comments by its requester/addressee,UNSG Kofi Annan, can be read and even copied(99pp Acrobat Reader)from the Secretary General's part of the UN file(www.un.org). Executive Summary(8pp Acrobat)is also available at the same address.

 

The Economist 27 Nov 04 "Women and HIV: The New Face of AIDS" (82-3):-describes report on new global estimate of HIV/AIDS spread, and on women's special problems with HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa. "[R]eport on global AIDS epidemic...by UNAIDS...estimated 4.9m new infections in 2004, and 3.1m people died of AIDS. About 40m people now infected, a small majority...male. But women catching up fast. In sub-Saharan Africa, 57% of those infected are female.[S]triking aspect of virus' s passage from male to female bloodstreams is how little say women have had in matter. Men tend to contract HIV becauseof things they have done; women more likely...because of things...done to them...Violent bloody sex is much more likely to result in infection than consensual variety, and is much more common than manypeople believe...Less obviously, domestic violence contributes to spread of HIV. Women whose husbands/boyfriends beat them are more likely to be infected. This may be because men who beat their wives, also likely to be inconsiderate in other ways...Or it may be because beaten women often too afraid to say no to sex, or to ask partners to use condoms...AIDS specialists sceptical about efficacy ofpromoting sexual abstinence[but]UNAIDS...thinks governments should be promoting'right to abstain'...Programs teaching schoolgirls...right to say no, and explaining to schoolboys...duty to listen, being tried...Helps if both...also taught how to talk to each other.[L]ess educated woman is, greater riskshe will contract HIV.[l]gnorance about sex/AIDS widespread...Educated women tend...more assertive, partly because tend to earn more and so are less dependent on husbands. UNAIDS argues for abolitionof primary/secondary-school fees, not only because would make it easier for impoverished girls to attendschool, but also because would remove an important incentive to sell sex.[B]etween old men/young women[sex]is crucial factor in spread of epidemic[,and since latter at physically special]risk... Women areless inclined to put up with abusive husbands when they can easily find jobs...But economies of many of the countries worst-affected by AIDS are, partly as consequence of epidemic, growing slowly or not at all.Disease that creates conditions that favour its spread is most dangerous disease of all."

 

The Economist 27 Nov 04 "Health Care in Poor Countries: Doctors' Dilemma" (83):-although health workers are very scarce in Africa, insufficient numbers being educated and many of these work in better paying countries." While much attention on fighting AIDS/other diseases in poor countries has focused on access to affordable drugs[see RECENT DEVELOPMENTS: AIDS]concern now shifting to...whoexactly will deliver them. Unfortunately, severe shortage of doctors/nurses/other health-care workers in these countries[according to Lancet report]...Sub-Saharan Africa has only one-tenth the number of nurses/doctors per head population that Europe does, though its health-care problems are far more pressing.[Reasons:]not enough health-care workers trained in first place, and too many of ...trained thenleave for better paid jobs in rich world...Mere 5,000 doctors...graduate in Africa each year(one-third number that graduate in US)...Many rich countries exacerbate problem by recruiting from poor to help deal with their own shortages...World needs 4m more health-care workers, of whom 1m required in sub-Saharan Africa alone. [Lancet]recommends roughly $400m(4%)of overseas aid currently spent on health be earmarked to help build up health-care workforce in poor countries.[Also,]better use...of existing resources...by employing local volunteers rather than highly trained doctors for many routine matters."

 

The Economist 27 Nov 04 "AIDS in Jamaica: The Fear That Spreads Death" (42):-reports serious homophobian/ religious social problems that complicate an HIV/AIDS epidemic. "Caribbean has world'shighest HIV prevalence after sub-Saharan Africa, with 2.3% of adults infected, according to...UNAIDS.Successes: Barbados, Bahamas, Bermuda brought infection rates down recently. Foreign groups helplocal NGOs, and allow many health-care systems to provide AIDS-treatment drugs free of charge,...evenin Jamaica[subject of report by Human Rights Watch].But drugs cannot be successfully issued or used in climate of fear...Powerful evangelical churches spread unforgiving gospel...Dance-hall music...blasts across Jamaica... often[with] direct exhortations to kill gay people... Unlike AIDS in rest of Americas, AIDS in Caribbean is not mainly a gay disease. In Jamaica, where 1.6% of adults HIV-positive, two-thirdsbecame so through heterosexual contact...But homophobia helps spread infection. Terrified of stigma, those at risk -gay or otherwise- may shun health-care advice, let alone testing. For some women, suggesting that a man should use condom can invite trouble. Buying water-based lubricant, which cutsrisk of condoms tearing, is too scary for some -though Jamaica plans to start issuing condoms/lubricant free of charge. Some health workers are exemplary, others are said to be atrocious - degradingpatients/breaking confidences/ denying treatment altogether - though all this is also said to be getting better...One of toughest nuts to crack is spread of the disease in prisons...In many Caribbean countries, around 1% of adult male population serving time. Sex - forced or with consent - is common. Infection spreads not justin jail, but also to wives and girlfriends after prisoners are released...Who can investigate complaints about police or health service personnel, and take action if necessary?

 

The Economist 04 Dec 04 "AIDS in Angola: Good News, Maybe" (46):-could postwar state become second African to roll back AIDS? Angola thought to face spread of AIDS: "long war split families, forced many women into prostitution and displaced 4m. Postwar brought traders/truckers/refugees fromother[areas],where HIV rampant.[T]eenagers start having sex early and take many partners. Young women often sleep with men who are 15 years older. Only one Angolan in ten knows how HIV is spread. Few use condoms...Survey in 2002 found 5.5% adults had HIV...But new[UNICEF]survey has found only 2.8%[of12,000 women at antenatal clinics]infected,[and created overall adult estimate of about 5%. So]epidemicin Angola getting no worse, and may even be retreating...Is Angola about to join worthy club?[Only Ugandareduced HIV prevalence significantly. But optimism is qualified]. 2002 study may have been faulty.[N]ew study may have been carried out too soon...to catch...new infections now that Angola no longer isolated from AIDS-plagued neighbours. But still, fact that AIDS has not yet taken hold means[may be time toeducate young how to protect themselves and strengthen anti-AIDS fight]." Cultural advantages: Angolanboys circumcised, affording protection against virus; young Angolans talk frankly about sex. There may be hope.

 

The Economist 11 Dec 04 "US Energy Policy and the Environment: Heating Up At Last?" (27-8); "Alaska and Oil: One State's Free Lunch" (28-32):-Bush appears ready to take on substantially new energy policyas his initial support for US traditional energy-producing development/firms, plus rejection of UN KyotoProtocol against climate change (see Rohter op.cit.)upset firms/politicians/naturalists. "Idea US can ever strive for any form of energy independence is bogus: though it sits on just 3% of world's oil reserves, itconsumes 25% of global production...By international standards, US still remains unusually dependent on dirty forms of energy(especially coal)and its cars/trucks still have distressingly low fuel-efficiency levels.Bush, however,..is now keen to have another go. Controversial proposal to drill in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge[will seek passage soon. "Alaska and Oil:..item]This week saw publication of final report fromNational Commission on Energy Policy(NCEP), a bipartisan group of heavyweights from business,government, environmental groups and academia. It is arguably the first serious practical attempt to deal with various problems US faces." Substantial remainder of item discusses both economic and political aspects of report and its possible acceptance, grouping this under energy independence, fuel efficiency, coaland climate change. The KEY RECOMMENDATIONS as listed in NCEP(see easily via Google)may also be worth reading:1.Enhancing Oil Security;2. Reducing Risks From Climate Change;3.Increasing Energy Efficiency;4.Ensuring Affordable, Reliable Energy Supplies;5.Strengthening Essential Energy Systems;6.Developing Energy Technologies For The Future. Related item came soon after: Simon Romero "China Emerging as U.S. Rival for Canada's Oil" New York Times 23 Dec 04:- "Chinese energy co'son verge of striking ambitious deals in Canada in efforts to win access to some of most prized oil reservesin North America..Canada, largest source of imported oil for US, has historically sent almost all exportsof oil south by pipeline to help quench US thirst for energy. But...arrangement may be about to change as China... flexes its muscle in attempts to secure oil, even in places like cold boreal forests of northern Alberta, where oil has to be sucked out of sticky, sandy soil...Former Alberta energy minister...estimated Canadacould eventually export as many as 1m barrels/day to China out of potential exports of more than 3mbarrels/day[from sands/within a decade].

 

The Economist 18 Dec 04 "Beating Poverty in 2005: Making Poverty History" (Edit.13-4):-serious/practical/ tense collection of economic and financial initiatives that must be truly implemented by all varied governments and societies in coming year, not simply out of kindness and honesty, but to practically reduce human dangers we now all face. "Coming year will go a long way towards [answering whether]we have the will to make poverty history. In 2005, poverty reduction is scheduled to dominate global policymaking agenda as never before." Key visionary reports will be delivered, G8 summit will focus onAfrica, and UNGA will review progress made towards Millennium Development Goals including "commitment to halve proportion of world's population living in poverty by 2015. For...high-level attention to be paid to needs of poor, is unambiguously welcome. So, too, is...optimism...In economic terms, human race has never been richer, or better armed with medical knowledge, technical prowess and intellectual firepower needed to beat poverty...In poorer countries[there is]unprecedented rise in income/standard of living of hundreds of millions, mainly in Asia...Rapid rates of economic growth in India and China alone promises to free hundreds of millions more from poverty during coming decade.[This is]primarily result, not of policies of global great/good, or charity of rich countries, but of better domestic government - including provision of basic education and health care and, crucially, freeing up of markets. In both countries, even better government would reduce poverty further[if reducing corruption. In Africa too,]abysmal government deserves much of blame. Finding ways to get badly governed countries to raise[standards] notoriously hard...[I]f world's leaders willing to set clear priorities, and [accept]necessary compromise/ consensus...three main policy ideas likely to top next year's agenda: big increase in aid from rich states to poor;massive write-off of poor-country debts; and trade liberalisation[WTO],especially for agricultural products crucial to many poor economies, whose exports now treated harshly by US [Egan op.cit.], Japan, EU." As regards optimum aid expenditure," consider Copenhagen Consensus" (Economist op.cit.].

 

The Economist 01 Jan 05 "Endangered Languages: Babel Runs Backwards" (62-4):-this summary relatesonly to first, factual part of Special Report; remainder implies extinctions of languages might correspond to losses of ecosystems. "Languages have been coming and going for millennia, but in recent times there has been...a lot more going...Some linguists reckon that 10,000 years ago, when world had just 5m-10mpeople, they spoke perhaps 12,000 languages. [As]many started settling down to become farmers, theirlanguages too became more settled and fewer. In recent centuries, colonization/trade/industrialisation/ development of nation-states/spread of...education, among other things, helped extirpate many languages...In past few decades, thanks to globalisation and better communications, rate of attrition greatly accelerated, and dominant languages such as English/Spanish/Chinese increasingly taking over.At present, world has about 6,800 distinct languages(and many more dialects)...Distribution of these languages is hugely uneven. General rule is that temperate zones have relatively few languages, often spoken by many, whereas hot wet zones have lots, often spoken by small numbers. Europe has onlyaround 200; Americas about 1,000; Africa 2,400; and Asia/Pacific perhaps 3,200...Median number ofspeakers is mere 6,000, which means that half world's languages spoken by fewer than that. Already well over 400 of total of 6,800 languages are close to extinction, with only a few elderly speakers left...Probably3,000 or so others are also endangered. By end of this century, number of languages in use will be much smaller than now, but disagreed on how much smaller... Pessimists reckon that in 100 years' time 90%of world's languages will be gone, and that couple of centuries from now world may be left with only 200tongues...Minority languages disappear for many reasons. Could be because speakers beset by some calamity; droughts, floods, earthquakes, or[imported]epidemics/HIV/AIDS. However[some think]mostlanguages disappear because their speakers voluntarily abandon them. Where dominant language is associated with progress and economic success, speakers of minority languages come under pressure to learn it to get on. Most obvious example[today]is English, advancing by leaps and bounds - encouraged by internet. Small number of dominant languages already rule globe. Of world's 6billion+ people, 1b speak Mandarin Chinese as first/second language.[Rest of top 11(includes speaking each as secondlanguage): English(.5b), Spanish(.4b), Hindi(.4b), Russian(.3), Arabic(.25), Bengali(.25), Portuguese(.2b),French(.2), Japanese(.1), German(.1).

 

The Economist 12 Feb 05"The Drug 'War'in Latin America: Next Steps in Colombia"(Edit.11);"Battles Won, a War Still Lost"(35-6):-issue reports on two basically different ways of defending human beings/ societies against dangerous potential of drugs. Editorial: "[I]n 2000[US] launched ambitious program of mainly military aid called Plan Colombia...Bush proposes to keep aid to Colombia largely unchanged in 2005-06, at some $742m. Before this becomes a permanent commitment, US and Colombians should look carefully at its value... [A]s always in war on drugs, victories are illusory. Cocaine is as cheap as ever.Drug prohibition in rich countries continues to fail - at huge cost for Latin American democracies, whose battle to enforce rule of law is contested by powerful drug mobs. In five years, Plan Colombia has offered no evidence to weaken The Economist's conviction that cocaine should be legalised (though its use, like that of tobacco, should be discouraged)"."In 2004, contractors working for US sprayed herbicide on 136,000 [Colombian]hectares of coca, similar amount to previous year. In 2004, almost 150 tonnes of cocaine seized in country, third more than 2003, while 1,900 cocaine labs were destroyed...166 Colombians [extradited] to face drug charges...in US...Yet to many..,Andean drug trade seems as effective/dangerous as ever. Most telling evidence is price of cocaine.[I]n US a gram of cocaine wholesaled for $38 in 2003, down from $48 in 2000...In Britain, cocaine is cheaper than ever.[C]onsumption is broadly flat in North America, according to UN, but rising in Europe.,.Brazil, Mexico and Central America. [One] explanation is that coca has spread to new areas, some undetected, and yields/productivity are rising."Drugs in Canada: Under the Needle"(36-7):-Canada is groping towards a distinctive approach to drugs, one that focuses on harm reduction rather than the repression favoured by US. North America's first trial of heroin maintenance -giving addicts free heroin on condition that accept treatment - [just]got under way[but]will[soon]expand. [Site]curbing disease and deaths among addicts...All will get help with health/housing/job training...More broadly, [Canada]will test whether heroin maintenance, used in Switzerland/Netherlands, will work in North America. Hope is that if hard-core addicts no longer have to commit crimes to fund habits,...more likely to become productive citizens/leave drugs behind...Researchers reckon heroin maintenance...cheaper."

 

The Economist 16 Apr 05"Special Report: Nepal: Himalayan Horrors"(21-3):-"Nepal, sandwiched between [China and India], continues its slide into chaos". Its strategic location - along the world's greatest mountain range and splitting the two most populous states, both liable to become superpowers - meansspecial Nepalese instability could become a global issue. Bulk of Special Report provides authoritative but discouraging information about Nepal's recent history and its many serious political, economic, and security problems. Summary of its final section: "Sooner or later, it seems likely the king will have to climb down. Already most politicians detained during the [king's] coup... have been freed. And... Nepal agreedto accept human-rights monitors from UN. Move was dismissed by some activists as intended to avoid condemnation [but] it does at least give a chance to test claims made by army and [Maoist rebels] alike, that they want to respect human rights. It also sets precedent for limited foreign intervention, which Nepaldesperately needs. Aim of foreign governments is to persuade king to restore power to the parties andassume largely ceremonial role so that 'constitutional forces' united against Maoist foe... Such platformneeds to include strategy for engaging Maoists in talks. Few believe rebels can achieve a military victoryeither... They say want to join mainstream politics, but demanding 'constituent assembly'to discuss new, republican, constitution. Optimists argue they, too, in trouble: loathed, feared, and with a leadership boasting no spectacular successes to appease its self-sacrificing cadres. But to end war, republic might come to seem fair price to pay. King...has gambled with the monarchy itself". Economist 26 Nov 05"Nepal: Three Into Two"(52):-although there have been many - and discouraging - media reports on Nepal's chronic problems since mid-Apr 05, this one offers possibly-republican news. Officially described as: "A novelty for King Gyanendra: a united opposition", it announces that "two of the three sides - theMaoist insurgents and the mainstream political parties - announced 22 Nov they were ganging up onthe monarchy. King.., who seized absolute power in Feb, is as isolated at home as he is unpopular with Nepal's main allies abroad. But he is still solidly in charge [controlling both army and government].Agreement...calls for a boycott of elections king has called for next year, and formation of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution... Foreign governments - especially India's - encouraged by accord".Economist 29 Apr 06"Nepal: Knights and Pawns Check King"(44):-"People power wins in Nepal - for themoment... Nepal's army finally called time on King Gyanendra's disastrous attempt at absolutism. Facedwith the prospect of either mowing down unarmed demonstrators or seeing palace stormed, the generals went to the opposition and asked them to form a government. [I]t was almost certainly army that broughtthe news to Nepal's deluded sovereign that the game was up. [H]e restored the parliament that had beendissolved four years ago [and] implicitly accepted the opposition's policy of securing peace with Maoist rebels by rewriting the constitution... For the first time in many years, outlook for Nepal seems hopeful...Maoist ceasefire was announced on 27 Apr, for three months to begin with... after a decade-long civil warthat cost some 13,000 lives... [D]ynasty has nothing to offer and [king], man of blood, may have to go".

 

The Economist 28 May 05"Democracy in the Middle East: Now Please Vacate Your Thrones"(Edit.16):-thisEditorial offers a strong but persuasive explanation as to "Why George Bush's freedom talk falls flat in some Arab circles". It first notes that when the US President and representatives say they are in favour of democracy in the region, they are often strongly criticized - e.g. by Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League - for not giving priority to Palestine. Moussa is right to claim the"Palestinian cause resonates throughout the Arab world. But nonsense to say Arabs want to shelve their own democratic hopes until Palestine resolved". Many note how democracy has strengthened Israel, how both Iraq andPalestinian territories have held elections, and how "people power" has pushed Syrian troops out of Lebanon. Indeed,"most Arabs say in polls that they would like democracy for themselves. If Bush wants democracy for Arabs,.. why no meeting of minds? Part of answer is indeed Palestine... Arabs blame Bushfor helping Israel to thwart Palestinian self-determination, for propping up local dictators and other authoritarians, and for having invaded Iraq [for oil or Zionism]". While some is rubbish/unfair, it's widely believed. In addition, "last thing [Arab] leaders want is to lose power by introducing the democracy US now demands of them. US and Arab allies are therefore locked in an almost surreal dialogue. [Yet Bush]now seems a true believer. In one blunt speech,.. he has said US made a mistake in having spent 60 years excusing the lack of freedom in the Middle East. The Arab authorities... can only feel chilled".

 

The Economist 25 Jun 05"Global Warming: Better Than Kyoto"(Edit.13-4):-many Economist items, and articles/books listed, report on how negative US government has been to Kyoto Treaty, drafted by UN-wide conference(including US) to limit global warming. Yet there has now been massive global concern among experts(and in US)because:(1) evidence of serious global warming is firm; (2) human responsibility forthreat, from vast production of certain gases, is so evident that counter-action must be taken; (3) global effect of all(or even most)current global trends will involve not just costs to planet's environment, but will cause large numbers of human deaths. However imperfect the Kyoto Treaty may appear/be, all major global economies must reduce/avoid production of the gases. Here are extracts from Editorial: "Britain, currently chairing the G8, is determined that the leaders should focus on two big issues - African povertyand climate change - which are both huge problems and need to be addressed at a global level. In another way, things don't look so promising: rich world's leaders will probably pass up on chance to discuss most important thing they could do to slow climate change - set up a global system for trading carbon emissions permits. That's because George Bush is adamantly opposed to the limits on pollution that any such scheme requires. Thanks to implementation in Feb of UN Kyoto Treaty , most of rich world(though notably not US) now regulates emissions of carbon dioxide[CO2], chief gas contributing to global warming. Carbon trading...is now seen as least costly, least distorting and most effective way to curb carbon emissions...But US[,after Bush senior organized the first,]has been left way behind by second generation of emissions-trading sanctions, [now]sprouting around the world. [I]nitiatives are working, butit could take years for them to come together into a global market for emissions without cooperation and support from US, world's biggest energy consumer and biggest polluter. Bush...believes that would undermine economic growth [,yet]if US implemented a system similar to Canada's, it would cut 0.5% off GDP by 2025... Many[US]business leaders, and some big cheeses in Republican Party, want to embrace idea ...What better way to give a jolt to this year's G8 summit?" See also: Nicholas D.Kristof"A Livable Shade of Green"NYT 03 Jul 05:-very influential OP-ED COLUMNIST destroys Bush's negative economic argument: "Kyoto would have wrecked our economy". He reports that anti-CO2 campaign by government of Portland, Oregan, has"reduced carbon emissions below the levels of 1990, benchmark for the Kyoto accord, whilebooming economically. What's more, officials in Portland insist that the campaign to cut carbon emissions has entailed no significant economic price , and on the contrary has brought the city huge benefits".

 

The Economist 02 Jul 05:This single issue contains six articles relating to global scientific/financial/policy efforts to improve human health - particularly AIDS. They are identified in sequence mostly just by theirtitles, pages, and the 'official'summaries of their aims: "G8: Helping Africa Help Itself"(Edit.11):-Lotsmore money for Africa will not make poverty history. But it might just do some good";"Aid to Africa: The $25 Billion Question"(Special Report 24-6):-"Years of mistakes have taught donors a bit about how to spend aid money better"; "Evangelicals and Aid: Right On"(Lexington 34):-"Bob Geldof and Bono have some unlikely friends in America... During discussion of a plan to spend $15 billion fighting AIDS, [US President Bush] turned to his silver-penned speech writer... 'Mr President', came the reply, 'if this is possible , and we don't do it, we will never be forgiven'"; "AIDS In South-East Asia: There's Good News and Bad News"(38-9):-"Good prevention work has tamed the AIDS epidemic in some countries, yet it is getting much worse in others"; "The Grand Challenges in Global Health: 43 Ways To Save the World"(69-70):-"The Gates Foundation's latest largesse has just been announced. It will pay for some intriguing and original research. But will it translate into healthier people? [References to several AIDS research projects]; "AIDS: Moving Targets" (70):-"Progress, and problems, in treating AIDS around the world".

 

The Economist 09 Jul 05"Nuclear Power: The Shape of Things to Come?"(58-60):-a very useful Special Report on relevant realignment of global energy production."Climate change is helping a revival of the nuclear industry, though its economics still look dodgy", combines the inter-related effects of concerns for both physically safer but financially sound ways to produce electricity. Problems restraining nuclear power construction recently are briefly identified; but global temperatures now produce growing concernover carbon emissions produced by fossil fuels (particularly coal) in generating power."[N]uclear energy is essential if the rate of [climate] change is to be slowed. As a result, there is an unlikely alliance between the nuclear industry and many environmentalists.[More] believe nuclear energy is the best way to reduce carbon emissions", particularly with inherent weaknesses/high costs of solar and wind systems. Major nuclear power construction trends, financing factors and political/scientific priorities are described byregion/nation and the tough competition. Report concludes: If practical CO2 taxes are directly or indirectly paid, "new nuclear plants begin to look economically viable[, although] politics make it unlikely thatcarbon is going to pay its full social costs for some time to come. That's why some governments - including US - are thinking of subsidising nuclear instead. [T]he nuclear industry is back in the game".

 

The Economist 16 Jul 05"In Europe's Midst"(Edit.13-4):-"Four young British Muslims became zealots, and the zealots became suicide-bombers.";"Muslim Extremism in Europe: The Enemy Within" (Special Report24-6);-"What turns a man into a terrorist, and what can be done about it?";US:"Fighting Terrorism: Imagining Something Much Worse Than London"(27-8):-"The unwieldy Department of Homeland Securityhas a timely reorganisation, aimed at focusing on most dangerous threats."; "Jihadists in the Middle East: Cradle of War, School of Jihad"(41-2):-"Al-Qaeda's allies turned Iraq into new Afghanistan.";"Israel's Suicide-Bombing: Ploughing on Regardless"(42):-"Suicide-bombers try to derail the Gaza pullout.";"Italy and Terrorism: The Next Target?"(44-5):-"Terrorism is 'knocking at Italy's door, says the interior minister. Most Italians need no persuading."; "London: After the Bombs"(52-3):-"How four suicide attacks by British citizens have changed Britain."; "Ethnic Relations: One Step Back"(53):-"Attacks in London will test analready-embattled group."; "Terrorism Insurance: Change of Calculation"(71):-"The bombings in Londonmay affect a US debate.":-after the serious suicide-bomber explosions of 07 Jul in London, Economisteither collected from professionals, or at least presented in valuable forms, a vast and expert variety of related - and serious - information in the nine good articles listed here. Following each title, their official summaries are offered, since they are both clear and succinct. I particularly stress the Special Report, not because it is critical of Muslims/Islamic doctrine (it isn't), but since it describes how and why young men can become mass killers. (Young) people with twisted/frustrated attitudes can gain/use mass weapons relatively easily in virtually any state on earth and regardless of their religions. (My concern about gradual but inherent global trends of this sort, started this future-looking bibliography over ten years ago...)

 

The Economist 16 Jul 05"Global Warming: More Than Hot Air"(77):-concludes that "The G8 summit made quiet progress on climate change" in spite of the fact that US President Bush was not willing to admit/accept any action in response to the Kyoto Treaty, even though all the other G8 states, including Russia, were committed to it. British PM Blair "persuaded Bush - the bete noire of the climate crowd - to sign a statement that appears to take climate change seriously...Much has been made of G8 leaders' statement agreeing that global warming is really happening and Bush's unprecedented acknowledgmentthat mankind's actions are indeed playing an important role in it.... [S]ummit's real advance appeared rather banal: the promise of a new 'dialogue'on climate policy among the G8 and handful of large and populous developing countries... [T]his dialogue could turn out to be important [because] group that includes China and India could well persuade US to act on climate... [I]t is just possible that cosy talks among some of the world's biggest emitters might pave the way for a lasting breakthrough on global warming". First meeting of new climate dialogue is due to take place in Nov 05.

 

The Economist 23 Jul 05"Myanmar: How To Save It"(Edit.12); Myanmar: The Mess That the Army Has Made"(23-5):-Special Report offers a thoughtful account of how "Brutality and neglect by Myanmar's military regime have created a pariah state with a wretched and desperate people...Country is stuck in such a rut that the prospect of a foreign invasion is a fond hope, not a fear... Indeed, the junta looks more entrenched than at any point in the 17 years since it took power[, while] the life of ordinary Burmese is becoming ever more miserable... [When elections] were held in 1990, the junta refused to honour the result, a landslidewin for National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Instead, the generals simply locked up their political opponents and continued as a military dictatorship... In 2003, the [junta, calling itself the State Peace and Development Council or] SPDC unveiled a seven-point 'road map'to democracy. But the road, predictably, is long and winding... Instead, [SPDC] appears to be digging in, literally: the army is shifting its headquarters to a series of underground bunkers in... remote, hilly region of central Myanmar".Editorial concludes"it would not hurt to spell out exactly what steps outsiders would like generals to take,how quickly they should be taken, and what consequences of each stage of compliance or defiance would be [via UNSC?]. For example, foreigners might agree to restore full diplomatic relations if junta releasedMiss Suu Kyi. Next, they could trade big infusion of aid for, say, an effective ceasefire in various war-torn corners of the country. Then they could offer to drop sanctions, should junta ever cut some sort of power-sharing deal with its opponents... None of these steps would be irreversible, and there[could]be plenty ofother penalties.Even Miss Suu Kyi herself has already conceded that an absolutist approach not practical."

 

The Economist 30 Jul 05"AIDS: Too Much Morality, Too Little Sense"(Edit.13-4); "AIDS in China: Anatomy of an Epidemic"(36-8); "AIDS: No Carnival"(71-2); "AIDS in Brazil: Roll Out, Roll Out"(72):-this issue contains so many strong items dealing with the global seriousness of HIV/AIDS problems and potential controls, instead of simply including their titles under RECENT DEVELOPMENTS, at least their official summaries are presented. Basic point conveyed by the Editorial is that:"Politicians must suspend moral judgments if AIDS is to be defeated". Its strong and specific argument is that:"The lesson for rich and poor alike is that to contain AIDS morality must take second place. Politicians may find it easier to yield to sanctimonious lobbyists than to explain why refraining from judging other people makes more sense.But that does not excuse them. Too many lives are at stake. Major article on AIDS in China is summarized as arguing:"It is not too late to avert a national catastrophe". Some points:"If China is to contain its AIDS epidemic, it will need help, lots of it, from international agencies and NGOs. AIDS everywhere presents a range of problems that are not susceptible to solution by a single agency. One big task, for example, is that of giving information. Many Chinese are still deeply ignorant about AIDS. Stigma attached to diseaseis potent, despite widespread sympathy for peasants [who contracted it through selling their blood], anddespite efforts of a few brave people...who campaign tirelessly against prejudice ...But first China must find answers to the question of how to prevent a drugs-driven epidemic becoming a sex-driven one. If it does that, it has a good chance of containing AIDS. If not, it will discover that all its problems multiply, as Africa and, to a lesser extent, India have already found. China does not have much time." Next article stresses views raised at Third Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment.Its summary:"AIDStreatment more widely available than ever - but efforts are needed to stop people becoming infected in the first place"."[Conference] is reaction to the huge international AIDS conferences held every two years... which have become jamborees/platforms for activists to bite hands of donor governments/drug companies that feed them. International AIDS Society...thus decided to fill gap-year with purely scientific meeting...It has by and large succeeded...Past few...seen treatment campaign against AIDS accelerate. Distributionin poor countries of anti-retroviral drugs, which keep symptoms at bay, is proceeding apace[,although]not pace WHO would have liked..: 3m to be on these drugs by end of 05. [N]umber will not be achieved until end of 06.[However target] probably not ambitious enough...G8 meeting [Britain]provided new target: 'close as possible to universal access to treatment for all who need it by 2010'... [Yet] several...modelsdiscussed at conference suggest that, without parallel advance in prevention techniques, spread of effective treatment might even increase the spread of the virus. One way to combat this risk is to use network being put into place to deliver treatment to preach message of prevention. Another, just as important, is to find out which prevention techniques actually work." AIDS in Brazil[location of Third] offers:"What can world learn from Brazil's experience of dealing with AIDS?" "Brazil's handling of the epidemic is widely regarded as exemplary... Total [infected] just half [World] Bank's prediction - about 600,000... First lesson is don't be squeamish". Brazil(largely Catholic)hands out free condoms in abundance(20m/month). Drug users treated sensibly: regular supplies of clean needles(3/4 claim never share).Prostitutes: targets of campaigns to promote condom use. Second: treat freely. Law gives all residentsright to best available drug treatment at no cost. (This year $395m on anti-HIV drugs, although in conflict with foreign drug companies, and evades patents and buys or manufactures generics). Third: encouragevoluntary action. By 2000, 500 charities/voluntary groups devoted to AIDS (found best value for money).Fourth: "if you think action is expensive, try inaction"(in addition to savings through fewer infected, period 1996-2002 government spent $1.8billion on anti-retroviral drugs but "estimates that early treatmentsaved it more than $2.2 billion in hospital costs over same period... [A]n aggressive program of prevention and treatment does not seem so costly after all".

 

The Economist 06 Aug 05"Medicine: Catching the Flu"(Edit.10); Medicine: Containing a Pandemic"(63):-Editorial emphasizes that "The world must prepare for pandemic influenza... Given how much money rich countries have spent on preparing for bioteerror attacks, it is surprising how little attention they have paid to possibility of a flu pandemic, which may be likelier and which, if it happens, would probably kill more people. The costs of buying more anti-viral drugs, investing in vaccines, preparing national responses and forging an international plan would not be very high, but these things could make all the difference...[F]lu is a far bigger danger than SARS because it moves so much faster. So, too, must the world's governments if they are to prevent death on a massive scale." The S&T article describes two studies which "suggest it may be possible to prevent a global outbreak of deadly influenza by using anti-viral drugs". In this connection it stresses that: "For many years, virologists have been warning that an outbreak of pandemic influenza is overdue. Unlike the seasonal version, pandemic influenza is usually severe and deadly - the result of a genetic mutation in the virus. [Moreover,] influenza pandemics happen from time to time. Three occurred during the 20th century". The World Health Organization is in advanced negotiations with Roche for the"creation of a global stockpile"of "the anti-viral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu)"that could be "delivered rapidly to the source of an outbreak". [This is good news. Indeed, high-speed andglobal cooperation is now urgently needed in a growing number of fields.]

 

The Economist 13 Aug 05"Leaving Gaza: Goodbye, And After"(Edit.11); "Special Report: Israel's Settlers: Waiting For a Miracle"(21-3):-thrust of Editorial is that"Israel's disengagement from Gaza strip will lead nowhere unless George Bush re-engages in Palestine...Beyond economics, Palestinians need a 'political horizon'- a believable promise that Bush's oft-enunciated'vision'of viable Palestinian state in West Bank as well as Gaza is achievable without recourse to the gun... With US pushing, it should at least be possible to start a process, building first on self-government for Gaza and, in West Bank, a settlement freeze followed by further withdrawals. Israelis and Palestinians are exhausted after five years of violence, andsusceptible to pressure... Bush has kept his distance. Day after Sharon pulls out must be the day that Bush steps in". SR notes that "The row over Israel's biggest evacuation of settlers in over two decadespresages a growing clash over what makes the Jewish state Jewish". It then describes different views that have existed/developed among Jews, and have changed as the world - and Palestinian demography - have affected Israeli circumstances. Economist 20 Aug 05"Jewish History: Facing Zion":-offers a review of the recent book by Howard M.Sachar"A History of the Jews in the Modern World"(Knopf; 830 pages; $40).Review is summarized:"A new history of the Jews is anxious about Israel, less so about Jewish identity".Economist 27 Aug 05"The Status Of Gaza: Now Who Takes the Blame?"(39):-Item examines"The puzzle of Gaza's new legal status". In particular,"the question now looms:'will Gaza still be 'occupied territory'?...Under 1993 Oslo accords, Gaza and West Bank are one unit, so either all of it is' occupied'or none of it is ...Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) lays down what occupier must do for the occupied, such as providing basic services,.. giving aid agencies free access, and - the most egregious of Israel's violations- not settling its own citizens there... Trouble is, international law never imagined anywhere like this - a place neither fully occupied nor completely sovereign... UN will only pass judgement - if ever - whenthings are much clearer. Until then...much will depend on what stance other countries/foreign donors take".Economist 24 Sep 05"Special Report: Palestinians in Gaza: Will They Sink Or Swim?"(29-31):-item looks at serious military/terrorist issues mainly as some of complicating factors facing substantial population(2.8m by 2020) and profound poverty("its near-equals are... Malawi, Burundi, Somalia and Sierra Leone). Report's basic argument is: "Israel's withdrawal has left Gaza seething, lawless, poor, cut off from outside world - and with a one-time chance to make a new start". Analysis is informative and tough but positive.

 

The Economist 20 Aug 05"Famine Relief: Starving For the Cameras"(Edit 10-1);"Niger: The Worst Is Over"(38); "Economics Focus: Destitution Not Dearth"(57):-all three items relate to the various imperfections involved in the handling of a serious food crisis in Niger and nearby West African countries. Editorial's main point is that: "People dying from hunger like those in Niger should not have to wait for the TV crews to arrive". Essential point is that Niger's nightmare of inadequate food consumption was anticipated, but food/financial assistance was inadequate until TV viewings - and other media descriptions - drew thetragic situation to the attention of donor countries' publics and governments. Second item stresses thatorigin of regional crisis was drought and swarms of locusts. Neighbours "alerted international donorsto impending food shortages after the harvest failure" but "Niger's government has been accused of trying to cover up the extent of the food shortages" until much later. "Economics" shows how special issues caused starvation. "Niger's harvest... was merely mediocre, not disastrous... Niger's distress shows up most clearly in prices, not quantities. A pastorialist's terms of trade depend on [the sales price of hislivestock and cost of food]. In Niger this year, latter has soared; former has plummeted...[U]nfortunates suffer a lack of power to purchase food, even if there is no lack of food to purchase. [Reasons behind"hungry prices" are explained - and could have been anticipated.] If mass hunger were simply result of there not being enough to eat, remedy would be obvious: more food... But if mass hunger begins with a collapse in purchasing power, rather than a shortage of food, [w]hat is needed is a way to restore lost purchasing power". [Famous 1982 classic "Poverty and Famines" by Amartya Sen is recommended highly.]Editorial concludes:"World's system for fighting the direst cases of mass hunger should not rest on a global sympathy contest umpired by TV". A "standing fund on which relief agencies can draw" can actquickly and appropriately; a "financier of last resort" also needed to act as "swing provider" to neglected crises.[Here's another case of a serious global threat that demands, but also creates, global coordination.]

 

The Economist 03 Sep 05"Drugs in Colombia: Hand Picked"(36):-item reports on developments in Latin American state that follow those in Economist's item of 12 Feb 05 above, and constitute"New twists in war on coca"."Colombia's government has based its push against the country's illegal cocaine industryon a massive campaign of aerial spraying of the coca crop with glyphosate, a weed-killer... According to surveys by UN Office on Drugs and Crime, land under coca in Colombia shrank to 86,000 hectares in 2003 from a peak of 163,300 hectares in 2000. But, since then, spraying seems to have brought diminishing returns. According to latest UN survey, land under coca fell only 7% in 2004, to 80,000 hectares even though 136,000 hectares sprayed. So Alvaro Uribe, Colombia's president, has changed tactics. Most important is to pull more coca bushes up by hand... Manual eradiction... cheaper... than spraying. It is more effective, too, as coca requires repeat applications of glyphosate before it dies... Officials say that aerial spraying will remain mainstay of their anti-drug effort. But critics point out that while demand for cocaine remains unchanged, spraying merely drives coca cultivation deeper under jungle canopy, where harder to detect, as well as stimulating development of higher-yielding and herbicide-resistant varieties. Uribe recently suggested that his government buy coca crop from farmers. That smacks of desperation. Not first Latin American president to find himself squeezed uncomfortablybetween US pressure to win 'war on drugs' and market realities that make victory so hard".

 

The Economist 10 Sep 05"The United Nations: The Oil-For-Food Fiasco"(Edit.12-3); "Special Report: The United Nation: Can Its Credibility Be Repaired?"(30-2):-Both items deal with how a decision on UNSG Kofi Annan's program to constructively reform the UN coincides with the release of a serious critique against UN management. In same issue, two other items deal - somewhat critically - with major UN-related global aid programs. These are summarized jointly in a separate article which has somewhat different allocation. All four are deeply relevant to a special UN global summit in New York. Editorial argues:"After more than a year of investigation, Paul Volcker... chose this [week] to publish his report on what went wrong with UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq... Program...basic aim...was to allow Iraq under sanctions to sell...oil so that some basic food/medical needs...could still be met. But Volcker's team confirms that program was riddled with waste, inefficiency and corruption. [Yet] Volcker has found no evidence at all that UNSG himself did anything corrupt [and argues] Annan not responsible for everything that went wrong... UN Security Council tried to keep control through a sanctions committee of national diplomats. Having neither UNSC nor secretariat in clear command was recipe for 'evasion of responsibility at all levels' ... Annan shouldnot be fall guy for US' s failure to muster [UNSC Iraq-invasion] consensus in its favour". SR first reports on Volcker's belief that"failings it found are symptomatic of 'systemic problems' throughout [UN system, which hence] needs thoroughgoing reform - and urgently...Recent studies...come to identical conclusion, including High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change set up by UNSG himself[, which] formsbasis for reform that over 170 heads of state/government to endorse in NY 14-16 Sep... There has beenenormous trouble in drafting so-called 'outcome document'which, based on panel's proposals, to be presented to summit. Bargaining had been mired in furious wrangling between member states, with US pitched against group of developing countries... [Then John Bolton, new US ambassador (op.cit.)] threw negotiations into further crisis by insisting on hundreds of last-minute changes to 39-page draftdocument that everyone else had thought was pretty near complete. [Some alterations demanded] toreinto the delicately balanced 'grand bargain'between rich and poor...Plan was: poor to have Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) reaffirmed, along with promises of more aid and debt relief, pledge to tackle climate change and progress on disarmament. Developed world: to get clear definition of terrorismincluding those considered 'freedom fighters' by some, agreed right to humanitarian intervention, powerfulnew human rights body that would exclude human-rights violators, creation of new 'peacebuilding commission'to help reconstruction of post-war states and UN management reform". Essence of UNSG proposals had been preserved. "But Bolton's line-by-line amendments, including his widely reportedinsistence on deletion of all specific references to MDGs, the International Criminal Court, and Kyoto summit, along with what were perceived as his bullying tactics, opened a Pandora's box. Developing countries retaliated with a string of their own amendments which, if adopted, would have emasculatedwhole document". A rescue operation involving 'core'group of 30 countries was negotiating day and nightat time of publication. Latter half of document offers special analyses on following issues: Use of force and collective security; Humanitarian intervention; The Security Council; Terrorism; Human Rights Council;Non-proliferation; Is Annan to go or to stay?

 

The Economist 10 Sep 05"The UN's Millennium Development Goals: Aspirations And Obligations"(67-8);"The Global Fund: Weaving A Safety Net"(75-6):-both items discuss difficulties faced by critical UN-related aid programs. Both are politically relevant to the special UN global summit in New York 14-16 Sep 05.Item on MDGs looks at them from Finance and Economics viewpoint and concludes they "cannot be met; some can barely be measured. What then are they for?" Five years before Sep 05 summit, "world leaders minted a new set of pledges to free their fellow man from 'the abject and dehumanising conditions' of extreme poverty. Pledges were translated into eight MDGs which aim to halve poverty and hunger, enrol every child in primary school, spare mothers and their infants from untimely deaths, thwart infectiousdiseases, save the environment and forge a 'global partnership'in pursuit of development. [M]ost poor countries will miss almost all 2015 goals... Chief appeal of MDGs is precisely that they convert high rhetoric into hard numbers. But most targets are less rigorous than they look... As 2015 approaches,people will want to know whether MDGs have been met, and UN will not be able to tell... [V]ictory over poverty cannot be so easily purchased... The global targets the world set for itself 5 years age did not emerge from the bottom up, as what might be feasible in each poor country. They were instead imposed from top down. Their fit is thus often rather awkward... Sub-Saharan Africa likely to be generations late.Ambition is a good thing if it encourages countries, rich and poor, to redouble efforts. But in Africa's case, efforts must be quadrupled or quintupled. That is promise international community cannot possibly keep, and so perhaps unwise to make". Global Fund item reports "Tough times ahead for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. [It] estimates it needs $7.1b from donors to fund projects in 2006 and 2007... This week... it received pledges totalling $3.7b.,. just enough cash to fill [2005] shortfall of roughly $350m, and to pay for renewal of projects already under way. [I]t does not allow...any new projects over next two years - unless more money is forthcoming... New donors... may be found among oil-rich Arab states and also from private sector[, and] several current donors...have yet to makeconcrete pledges for coming two years. [H]ow much US will give fund for 2006 [is] a far cry from the $1.2b that AIDS lobby believes US should be giving next year to pull its weight... To date, fund has pushed $1.5b out into the field, enabling 220,000 people with AIDS to start treatment, as well as 600,000 withtuberculosis and 1.1m with malaria... For all its teething troubles, fund has proved good way for world leaders to honour their pledges to do more for international public health. But to do so even better, itneeds to professionalise its operations and bring in more people with strong experience in business and finance to manage the billions of dollars it seeks to attract in future".

 

The Economist 24 Sep 05:-"Flu Vaccine: Preparing For A Pandemic"(95-6):-S&T item relates to Economist06 Aug 05 Editorial and S&T on related subject("Medicine:..."). This major article argues "More vaccine is needed to prepare world for an influenza pandemic... Aches and pains that most people know as flu could mutate into a superflu that might kill tens of millions of people within two years. [T]hat is what may well happen... Many scientists now believe that another influenza pandemic is inevitable some time soon.Currently a strain of bird flu in widespread circulation to which humans have no natural immunity. This strain has killed more than 60 people so far, about half the number infected. Small pockets of human-to-human transmission has already been seen... Geographical extent of bird flu means it is not question ofif a strain emerges that can be transmitted easily between humans, but when... World health ministers meeting to discuss how to pool resources, boost surveillance and improve capacity to contain and respond to an outbreak... WHO wants more governments to draw up preparedness plans (only 40 have these so far) and agree on how they will coordinate their responses. One leading concern is scarcity of flu vaccine. Although WHO's new global stockpile of anti-viral drugs is a first line of defense [see 06 Aug],only sure way of protecting billions of people against superflu is to vaccinate them. Few would have natural immunity. Could also take six months from appearance of first superflu strain to produce a vaccine... World woefully unprepared for pandemic. Entire capacity for flu-vaccine production only 300m shots/year... Yet in case of superflu, several billion people would need vaccination... Vaccine must be produced each year from scratch because, each year, the influenza virus changes... Most world's fluvaccine produced in nine countries... Without international agreements now, high risk of inadequate, inequitable and delayed supplies of vaccines... [Material on current scientific research.] Governments need to buy all of seasonal vaccine that national health agencies have said would be worthwhile. It would also help for governments to give manufacturers more long-term certainty over amount of vaccine theyplan to buy each year... In longer term, there will be more options";

 

The Economist 24 Sep 05"Afghanistan's Parliamentary Elections: Putting Steel Into Karzai"(Edit.17);"Afghanistan's Elections: Democracy, Sort Of"(54):-Overall conclusion: "A relatively peaceful vote, butAfghanistan's future still not secure... Parliamentary and provincial elections held 18 Sep were violent, with19 polling stations attacked by Taliban insurgents and a dozen people killed. Intimidation and fraud wereevident, compounded by confusing voting system, whereby each candidate stood as independent. Butthis was much less chaos than had been predicted... [T]urnout...at around 50% nonetheless bespoke strong support for democracy and accountable governance[; but] promised recovery lies further ahead than ruination lies behind... By preventing... political parties President sought to ensure weak opposition...Of 207 'commander-candidates' identified before poll, merely 32 disqualified...Karzai to blame [and] must now undo harm his weakness has done, and ensure no elected candidate/other official maintains a militia. To persuade Karzai to do this, allies must add steel to their assurances. [U]ncertain whether [NATO] allies would fill the breach US would like. Must do so. [At stake] are fights against Taliban, al-Qaeda and drugdealers... Ultimately no western power can end insurency raging in southern/eastern Afghanistan... Will take years, [b]ut... Pakistan could reduce the killing...and must arrest its old friends, Taliban leaders";

 

The Economist 15 Oct 05"Sudan: Darfur's Despair"(47-9):-discouraging essence of major status report: "The plight of more than 2m Darfuris could worsen rapidly unless thay are far better protected by African Union or other troops". Only brief selection of the bad news: "In past 5 weeks, violence has increased sharply again, and AU, which has 6,000 troops in country,.. endorsed by UN to monitor peacefire and hold [defensive ring around refugees], still struggling to impose authority. There are now about 1.8m people in camps of Darfur and further 200,000 refugees just across border in Chad. [F]ear is now prevailing emotion in many [camps, and] armed gunmen sometimes ride brazenly into a camp... Everyone agrees security has sharply deteriorated. Threat[:] violence will soon jeopardise continuation of humanitarian support for refugees and destabilise region that had only recently achieved a bit of equilibrium. If chaos in west increases, this year's historic but fragile deal between government of Sudan and southern rebels... could also unravel. New wave of violence... has not only been directed at refugees, but at aid workers themselves. [M]any... beaten/whipped/kidnapped. [Two aid contractors and two AU soldiers killed.] Result is that [in major areas] UN and aid agencies in state of virtual paralysis... WFP has...built up...months of food supply [stocks] because become impossible to shift it to many outlyingcamps... Much violence sheer banditry [and] plenty of evidence that [it] marks return to war's old battle lines. [T]wo years ago, [Arab militia] janjaweed were armed by Khartoum government and became itsproxy fighters against rebels. They killed thousands and committed most of atrocities in war... Mounting evidence that not only has Sudanese government done nothing to disarm these militias, but that it may be coordinating their attacks again... Now little to prevent those who want to rape, loot and kill in Darfur from doing so...AU force can do very little to protect civilians. Janjaweed still seem able to act withvirtual impunity. With region unsafe, many refugee camps starting to take on air of permanency. [M]ost aid workers now concede many refugees...may never go back... Millions of pastoral people have changed forever [and] must rely on goodwill of others, for security/food. Peace talks in Nigeria... sputter along[and] no deal looks imminent. Meanwhile security on ground needs addressing urgently, regardless of talks... Real problem is that AU troops yet to enforce...disengagement. Economist 03 Dec 05"Sudan: Stop the Killing, Again"(Edit.10):-"Sudan's peace accords will unravel unless outsiders co-operate to intervene...AU's 7,000-strong force, with NATO logistical help, is the best on offer, though Sudan'sgovernment is still doing its utmost to obstruct it, spending months, for example, holding up delivery ofCanadian armoured cars. More of a fuss should be made about such behaviour - and West should bemore generous with its own help: a few helicopters, for instance, would hugely help AU, which needs EU and US to pay for another 5,000 troops on the ground. Above all, leaders in West should help stir world's conscience. Sudan must not be allowed to fall apart again"; "Sudan: It'll Do What It Can Get Away With"(24-6):-"Outside powers all seem to want a piece of Sudan. But none been able to stop government in Khartoum from continuing to mistreat people. In truth, all Sudan's regional problems interconnected.Until government emerges in Khartoum prepared to concede share of power and wealth to impoverishedperipheries of country, peaceful and prosperous new Sudan is unlikely to take shape".

 

The Economist 29 Oct 05"The Latinobarometro Poll: Democracy's Ten-Year Rut"(39-40):-the 2005 poll (see14 Aug 04 for previous year's poll) is summarized: "Latin Americans do not want to go back to dictatorship but they are still unimpressed with their democracies". Some highlights: "Poll has captured shifts in opinion in the region during a decade that saw initial enthusiasm for democracy and free-market reform tempered by recession, and followed by advent of leftish governments and then strongeconomic recovery... Support for democracy lower in a dozen countries today than in 1966... Nevertheless,poll suggests growing resilience in Latin American democracy. Some 62% say that in no circumstanceswould they support a military coup... And 70% agree... that whatever its problems, democracy is the least bad system of government. But much of the machinery of democracy is missing or defective. Only 26%of respondents said citizens in their country are equal before the law... Only a fifth express much faith in political parties and only a quarter in congress and the courts - a slight improvement on recent years...Clear majority believe that a market economy is the only means by which their country can develop. Sentiment towards privatisation is improving... Latin Americans continue to see their main problems as being unemployment, crime and poverty. Just 31%... think their country is progressing... But across the region, expectations are rising: 54% think their children will live better than they do... Almost everywhere,opinions towards US are thawing, though they are yet to reach the warmth of late 1990s... Most popular leader among Latin Americans seems to be Brazil's president, Lula da Silva, despite his party's recent woes... Poll indicates that crime remains a big problem in the region. Some 41% of respondents said theyknew someone who had been victim of crime in past 12 months... But 30% think progress is being made in reducing corruption..., up from 26% last year... In 1995, 80% of respondents said they were Catholic and only 3% Protestant. This year, those figures were 70% and 15% respectively... Two things are clear. Latin Americans will not easily revert to authoritarianism, even in hard times. But... building consolidated democracies amid poverty, inequality and a legacy of past undemocratic practices, is long, slow job".Economist 26 Nov 05"Latin America: Redrawing the Political Map"(45-6):-offers a good many national descriptions and 2006 predictions. "A dozen presidential elections over as many months are likely to produce more muddle-through rather than a shift further left" - is the broad conclusion. But severalgeneral comments are again offered: "Democracy has finally become a habit in Latin America and, with it, the normal healthy alternation of power... Plethora of upcoming polls shows how routine democracy has become in this once dictatorship-ridden region. Electoral fraud is now exception rather than rule... But other procedural aspects of democracy need attention. Political parties tend to be weak. Some... electoral systems encourage fragmentation; in others,... artificial restrictions on participation. Meanwhile,elections are growing increasingly expensive, but few countries have grappled effectively with campaignfinancing. Despite all the problems,... democracy is steadily 'putting down roots' in Latin America".

 

The Economist 29 Oct 05"China: Faintly Declining Investment"(43):-"As one of world's biggest recipients of foreign direct investment (FDI)... should Chinese worry about signs that 2005 inflows levelling off?...FDI in first 9 months fell by 2.1% compared with same period 2004... Last year's [total was] record $60.6b[and] cumulative total by end of 2004 had reached $562b... Ironically, given foreign complaints aroused by China's trade surpluses, 63.3% of China's export growth 2004 produced by foreign-invested enterprises...Taiwan, one of biggest investors in China, has already moved so much of its electronics production to mainland that it now makes only highest-technology components at home... Intense price competitionand rising raw-materials prices have cut [some] profit margins. [Moreover,] China has been trying to curtail investment in overheating sectors. It would be happy to see less investment in property, for example... But even if double-digit FDI growth is a thing of past, desire to invest in China is hardly going to dry up any time soon. Investment for supplying China's domestic market will take up some of slack...Despite reports of upward pressure on labour costs, no convincing evidence suggests that China is about to lose its comparative advantage in labour-intensive industries. [S]urveys still suggest that investors rate China highly. [Estimate:] China will continue to attract around $5b/month". A related - if more financially complex - essay in issue is"Special Report: China's Banking Industry: A Great Big Banking Gamble"(71-3). Its summary: "Reforms of China's banking system have not gone nearly far enough". Its conclusion:"[P]reventing foreign takeovers simply delays bank reform and means more costly bail-outs. [But] Chinais gambling on going it alone. By rushing poorly reformed banks to market and sucking in a bit of money and know-how... from foreign investors, it hopes to improve them sufficiently and sufficiently rapidlybefore economy runs into a headwind. The size of that gamble should not be underestimated".

 

The Economist 05 Nov 05"Climate Change: Feverish Analysis"(89):-its summary: "Global warming may damage health and cause fatal disease. Perhaps." Main points: Scientists have long warned its impact on global environment, but evidence that global warming could pose a direct risk to human health, too,has been offered in study by Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and Global Environment. Study argues that "global warming exacerbates freak events such as hurricanes, flooding and heat waves, andthese in turn spread disease and death... Previous studies of climate change and malaria typicallystudied impact in high altitudes. New report scrutinised low-lands, too, and concluded that freak...flooding - the sort climate change may encourage - led to five-fold increase in malaria. One researcher seeslink between increase in emissions of carbon dioxide and rise of asthma... Report concludes that global warming favours spread of disease - especially if it leads to extreme weather events... Humans and ecosystems alike are particularly vulnerable to disease if 'return time'between extreme events shortensin future... Study has reached gloomy conclusions with nasty implications for both health and finance...Project was supported by UN Development Programme[UNDP], whose primary focus is poverty, andSwiss Re, a reinsurance giant devoted to managing global risk". The serious poverty impacts of the study's conclusions are strongly emphasized in Barbara Litzlbeck"Ripples of Global Warming Spread Outward"Inter-Press Service(IPS)04 Nov 05:-"Although industrialised countries produce most greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, study points out that developing countries suffer worst consequences".

 

The Economist 05 Nov 05"Trade And Poverty: Tired of Globalisation"(Edit.11-2); "Charlemagne: The Farmers' Friend"(58); Special Report: Brazilian Agriculture: The Harnessing of Nature's Bounty"(73-5);"World Trade Talks: In the Rough"(77-8):-Editorial, arguing that "Trade liberalisation and other forms of openness are needed more than ever", stresses The Economist's mid-19th century theme, regenerated when the future lives of a billion poor will suffer if there's unwillingness to free more trade globally.Highlights: "Despite spectacular rise in living standards that has occurred as barriers between nations have fallen, and despite resulting escape from poverty by hundreds of millions of people in those places that have joined world economy, it is still hard to convince publics/politicians of the merits of openness. Now, once again, queue is forming to denounce openness - ie, globalization. It is putting at risk the next big advance in trade liberalization and next big reduction in poverty in developing countries... Doha round of trade-liberalisation talks under WTO are in trouble[see World Trade Talks]. When it began in 2001, round was billed as big effort to boost growth in poor countries, and lowering of barriers to food trade was placed at its centre... However, fairly bold US proposal for reducing farm protection... greeted by much weaker response from EU [see Charlemagne's article] and none at all from Japan... Complexity of a negotiation involving 148 countries and highly technical issues means that deal really needs to be done during 2006, with political framework for it set early on... Some sort of fudge... must be likely [but] would still represent both missed opportunity and risk. Missed opportunity is that Doha has offered first proper chance to involve developing countries in trade negotiations - but also thereby to use a fullexchange of agricultural/industrial/service liberalisations to make a big advance in free trade that couldbenefit a wide range of countries [see major article on Brazil]. If rich world [was] more ambitious on agriculture, gains would... help poorest countries... Risk is that failure to agree on new wave of openness... will set a sour political note for what may be tougher times ahead [and] tragedy for the whole world".

 

The Economist 19 Nov 05"Infection: The Usual Suspects"(84-5):-gist:"Some of the efforts to control bird flu could be usefully extended to tackle other emerging human diseases that come from animals". Points made stress the serious impact of new global lifestyles: "While impossible to predict the precise nature of next influenza pandemic, [besides lives] it might cost at least $800b. [Since] clearly important to bring strain of bird flu under control [, current] threat of influenza pandemic will be reduced by improvement in viral-strain surveillance, veterinary health care and laboratory services... But also worth taking a broader look at diseases emerging from animals... Makes sense to take long-term measures to strengthen institutional, regulatory and technical capacity for dealing with animal as well as human health because there are such a large number of animal-related pathogens emerging. Thus far, counted1,400 pathogens that affect humans...:13% regarded as emerging (SARS, HIV, etc) or re-emerging(tuberculosis, West Nile virus, malaria etc). Furthermore, number of new pathogens emerging seems to beon the increase... Most of these diseases come from animals [zoonoses]. Many are important because they are so lethal (Ebola)... Broadly speaking, it is change that is driving this emergence, whether that change takes place in human travel, agriculture, land use or the environment... World is changing very fast in 'ways that matter to pathogens and...give...new opportunities to infect new host species/get tonew areas' ... People travelling more between tropical/other regions... Another driver: rapid intensification of agriculture, now increasing in developing countries... Other factors include urbanization, overcrowdingof humans in poor, tropical countries and movement/trade of animals. Still, about half of zoonotic pathogens have a wildlife reservoir. These can be spread by changes in land use that bring humans intocloser/more regular contact with wild animals... A densely packed, mixed animal market where wildlife, domestic animals and humans mingle in less than sanitary conditions provides ideal conditions for virus to jump from one species to another. If many... factors responsible for emergence of new diseases... likely to continue, how is the world to respond to the threat of new diseases? Answer seems to be to spend more money on animal/human health, as well as on monitoring/surveillance of pathogens. With the world an increasingly connected place, achieving high standards in these areas would be global public good".

 

The Economist 19 Nov 05"Vaccines: Fighting Malaria"(85):-article shouts "A new vaccine shows promising results" and contains following: "Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds and is leading cause of death in young children in Africa. WHO [says] 300m people catch it every year, killing 1m and directlycontributing to the deaths of further 1.7m. [It also] has significant economic impact, costing sub-Saharan Africa $12b/year in lost GDP and consuming 40% of all public health spending there... Simplest way to stop [it] is to prevent infected mosquitoes from biting[, but] they are becoming resistant to insecticides. [Worse], scientists are finding increasing resistance [to traditional] drugs. [However,]experimental tests... in Mozambique indicated that an effective vaccine might be possible. [Yet] producing a vaccine... has proved particularly challenging:.. the parasite that causes malaria... is complextype of organism with complicated life-cycle... Candidate vaccine... targets immune system's response to when parasite [first] injected by infected mosquito... [Hence] using multiple antigens or additives to boost immune response might be even more effective. Candidate vaccine,..developed by GlaxoSmithKline,.. is still several years from market but, if all goes well, would be commercially available by 2011, [and] at low prices in developing countries. Even so, serious amounts of money will be needed to ensure it reaches the millions who need it. Gates' Foundation gave $108m grant to support clinical development of vaccine, but more is needed. Reducing infection with malaria parasite [might even] help tackle... AIDS".

 

The Economist 03 Dec 05"Climate Change And the North Atlantic: The Sound of Distant Howling"(Edit.11);"Climate Change: Restricted Circulation"(76-7):-Editorial is officially summarized as: "Signs of climate change are hard to be sure about. But the latest do look alarming". It argues: "[I]t is now possible to discern a dim howling in the distance. [C]urrents that do moving change from time to time [can] change in a matter of decades. [W]hat history and models describe, may actually be happening at the moment to currents in the North Atlantic. If true, it would mean a cooler future for north-west Europe - possibly a lot cooler. And that future would be close; the change could happen over the course of two or three decades. Moreover, the most plausible explanation for the shift is, paradoxically, global warming. [Fairly complex oceanographic trends/explanation are carefully described in second item. R]esult [of alreadyavailable data] is about as rebust as can be expected. [P]ractitioners can now afford instruments and infrastructure to monitor parts of the ocean continuously. The truth will soon out and [demand] more effort into looking at how governments should respond if north-west Europe does get significantly colder. [F]inding also provides a reason to think more clearly about whole issue of climate change. [Current] international meeting in Montreal... is supposed to begin process of sketching out what post-Kyoto world might look like. This result may focus minds, whether focus directed towards trying to stop global warming or, if decided climate change unstoppable, working out best ways to live with it".

 

The Economist 10 Dec 05"Grounds For Hope on Global Warming: Don't Despair"(Edit.11-2):-the initial/front-cover Editorial makes a strong case in favor of following the imperfect 1997 UN Kyoto Protocol - which US has refused to implement - with an even more urgent global agreement. "Costs of cutting carbon emissions pile up in short term, while benefits are far-off/uncertain. Given these difficulties, fact thatKyoto was signed at all, looks like achievement. So is fact that it established right goal - binding targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions - and got 150 countries to sign up. International Energy Agencyreckons industrialised signatories look like hitting their target of cutting their greenhouse gas emissionsto 5% below their 1990 level by 2012. But holes in treaty are so huge - US didn't sign up, and developingcountries don't have targets - that even with Kyoto in place, at their current rate of increase, globalemissions look like increasing by 50% between now and 2030. In consequence, global environmentmeeting [now] in Montreal to discuss better ways of implementing Kyoto, rather cheerless... However, while Kyoto is stuck, world is moving on. In past 7 years... much has changed"."Climatology: Changing Science"(89-90)reports"past year has seen [important detections:"climate seems particularly changeable at moment" which] help to disentangle signal and noise. First, and most basic, is continuation of warming trend at Earth's surface... Second is that Arctic... does indeed show signs of rapid warming... Third isresolution of an inconsistency , [showing both temperature on ground and futher up in atmosphere are]rising in parallel...Fourth is... in the way world's oceans have warmed up... induced by greenhouse gases...Fifth is observation in reality of predicted link between increased sea-surface temperatures and frequency of most intense categories of hurricane, typhoon and tropical storm... Sixth is observation ocean currents in North Atlantic are faltering (op.cit.)... Signal, in other words, looks strong... That the climate is warming now seems certain. And though magnitude of any future warming remains unclear, human activity seemsmost likely cause... Too rapid or too great a warming... risks serious, unpleasant and in some casesirreversible changes... If greenhouse-gas emissions are to be capped,... a mixture of political will and technological fixes are needed". A list of technological fixes('wedges' ): "greater efficiency, decarbonisedelectricity, decarbonised fuels, fuel displacement by low-carbon electricity, methane management, andnatural carbon sinks". Examples of renewable energy sources in 10 Dec 05"Technology Quarterly: Sunrise for Renewable Energy?"(op.cit.18-20). To return to Editorial, it states: "News from business and from politics is ambiguous. Business, which was once solidly against controlling carbon emissions, now divided. [Its] growing interest partly public relations, but there's solider economic self-interest involved, too. Companies are investing in renewables because gap in cost between them... and conventional energy sources is shrinking [TQ]. Not just small companies run by idealists betting on environmentally-friendly technology. GE, world's largest energy-equipment supplier, convinced there's money to be made from technologies such as clean coal". See "Special Report: The Greening of General Electric: A Lean, Clean Electric Machine"(77-9) which describes how "Jeffrey Immelt is betting the future of his company on environmental technologies". The more companies invest in green technology, greater the chances that their customers... will buy the stuff and thus cut their emissions. But two main determinants of whether or not this will happen are oil prices and governments". The final portion of Editorial appearsdoubtful regarding an overwhelming impact from critically lowered oil prices. Much describes how apan-European carbon-trading system was launched this year (op.cit.), how many local US governments and businesses do likewise, and how public opinions and national (e.g. Chinese) policies show growing concern. Such developments should affect Montreal meeting's decisions.

 

The Economist 17 Dec 05"Climate Change: Pricking the Global Conscience"(77):-item follows the above10 Dec 05 'Montreal'items, concluding:"UN conference on global warming makes progress, sort of". Itfirst recalls Kyoto Protocol "obliges many industrialised countries (but notably not US) to cut emissions of greenhouse gases(GHGs) by fixed amount below their 1990 levels by 2012. Treaty's 150+ signatorieshad hoped to map rough outline of what should come after[wards. But] US delegation strongly opposedthem, insisting that too early to contemplate life after Kyoto... Canada's PM... denounced US positionand invoked need for 'global conscience'to deal with this most global of problems. US' s chief negotiator stormed off, throwing meeting into chaos. Talks looked destined to fail. Canada's friends [includingAustralia, China, ex-president Clinton stressing many US already cutting GHGs] came to rescue. Finding itself isolated, US delegation reluctantly returned [and] compromise deal 10 Dec. Final pact not quite 'historic agreement', but makes progress in 3 broad areas. First, signatories agreed on details essential for implementation of pact [e.g. compliance rules; credits for reducing GHGs in poor/former-Soviet states].Second, agreed future climate talks [(1) signatories on second-period targets; (2) all on possible UNclimate pact. Third,] promote carbon capture/sequestration technologies and get serious aboutadaptation to climate change. Carbon sequestration matters as world cannot meet [both] energy needs/ climate goals without technologies for using vast global reserves of coal in ways that do not contribute to global warming. Adaptation matters because... many aspects of global warming already inevitable[e.g.sea-level will continue to rise for decades]. Summit therefore deserves credit for bringing US back into UN's climate negotiations. Greater still if serious efforts to adapt to inevitable consequences".

 

The Economist 24 Dec 05"Japan's Humanoid Robots: Better Than People"(58-9):-thrust of major essayconcentrates on one society's special needs and wishes in a vital area: "Why the Japanese want their robots to act more like humans". However, if civilization of planet continues, Japan's robotic future willnot be unique: eventually all global societies will - more and more - both want and need humanoids to do jobs that ultimately humans won't or can't do. Highlights: "With too few young workers supporting anageing population, somebody - or something - needs to fill the gap, especially since many of Japan's youngpeople will be needed in science, business and other creative or knowledge-intensive jobs... Consensus among Japanese is that visions of a future in which immigrant workers live harmoniously and unobtrusivelyin Japan are pure fancy. Making humanoid robots is clearly simple and practical way to go. Japan certainly has the technology. It is already world leader in making industrial robots, which look nothing like... people but increasingly do much of the work in its factories... Japan will need workers, and it is learning how to make robots that can do many...jobs. But... keen interest in robots may also reflect something else: it seems that plenty of Japanese really like dealing with robots. [M]ost Japanese view robots as friendly and benign.Robots like people, and can do good.;. and native religion...does not make clear distinctions betweeninanimate things and organic beings... Japanese popular culture has also consistently portrayed robots in positive light... Japanese public [may even] hope that real-world robots will soon be able to pursue good[global assistance]...Japan free to make use of a great new tool, just when its needs and abilities happilyabout to converge. [ Since robots can avoid the complexity of Japanese personal contacts,] researchersforging ahead with research on human interfaces. [I]nteractive robots' ... advantages for... users willmultiply... Eventually interactive robots going to become more common, not just in Japan but in other rich countries as well...What seems to set Japan apart from other countries is that few Japanese are all thatworried about effects hordes of robots might have on citizens". [Accelerating speed/scale of human travel, in my view, may globally complicate social relations, but perhaps eased by language/culture-aiding robots.]

 

The Economist 21 Jan 06"Special Report: Bloodless Regime Change: A Rainbow of Revolutions"(23-5):- report describes dozens of fully - or at least noisily - successful public demonstrations against tyrannic regimes, and draws global conclusions. Its introduction:"If outsiders make such a mess of getting rid of despots, why not encourage the locals to have a go?" - a modern and often effective combat tactic. Main points here do not list regimes' titles. "World has marvelled at the way one stinker after another has been almost elegantly thrown out of office... with scarcely any trouble or expense on the part of outsiders...Secret of people power's success is simple: a tyranny can cut off one head or even 1,000, but 10,000 or 100,000 is much more difficult - and becoming more so with time...That communism could be thus brought down, gloriously and bloodlessly, sent shivers of fear through the world's despots, and of exhilaration through their subjects. Non-violent action surely played a large part in ending apartheid.Democratisation [then] moved through Africa in 1990s like feathergrass. [Many countries] got rid of dictators, moved to a multi-party system or cleaned up their act in other pro-democracy ways...Something similar happened in [all continents, although] many... popular overthrows that at first seemed splendid, turned out badly... More worrying, for some of those... who believe that democracy will serve...interests, is possibility that it will be destabilising, or result in the election of hostile governments. It isclear that elections often return to power the people who previously held it undemocratically... Electionsare not necessarily free, of course, and even free elections, on their own, do not constitute a democratic system... Success has many fathers, and when people power turns out well, many will claim the credit. [P]ressure of foreign governments, activities of outside NGOs, moral support, financial help, foreign press, use of e-mails and so on, all contributed to the downfall of various dictators. But evidence is thatpeople power, if it is to bring about a lasting change increasing freedom, must bubble up from below. It must be indigenous, broad-based and, ideally, non-violent. In practice, that means it must be organised, and led by people who could be plausible politicians after revolt. Must be on the spot; exiles carry little weight. [P]eople power still worries world's authoritarians [, and] plenty of...governments...are frightened. They are probably right. It may take years to develop, and may not always turn out quite as hoped, butpeople power is catching: the more often it works, the more often it will be used".

 

The Economist 11 Feb 06"The Limits To Free Speech: Cartoon Wars"(Edit.9); "Special Report: Islam and Free Speech: Mutual Incomprehension, Mutual Outrage"(24-5); "Racial and Religious Hatred: Of Imams and Nazis"(26):-all relate thoughtfully to global emotions/demonstrations/violence/law related to Danish press cartoons on Prophet Muhammad. Editorial core: "No question these cartoons offensive to many Muslims.. They offend against convention in Islam that Prophet should not be depicted [and] because theycan be read as equating Islam with terrorism... Not good idea...to insult people's religious or any other beliefs just for sake of it. But that is and should be their own decision... In a free country, people should be free to publish whatever they want within the limits set by law[, and drawing that] line requires fine judgements by both lawmakers and juries. [T]he fewer constraints that are placed on free speech, the better. Limits designed to protect people are easier to justify than those that aim in some way to control thinking... Freedon of expression... is not just a hard-won human right but the defining freedom of liberal societies... Shouldn't the right to free speech be tempered by a sense of responsibility? Of course. [M]ediaought to show special sensitivity when the things they say might stir up hatred or hurt the feelings ofvulnerable minorities. But sensitivity cannot always ordain silence... Long before making a drama out of Danish cartoons, a great many Muslims had come to equate the war on terrorism with a war against Islam. [Hence] many things Western countries could usefully say and do to ease relations with Islam, butshutting up their own newspapers is not one of them. [F]reedom of expression is not just a pillar ofwestern democracy, as sacred in own way as Muhammad is to pious Muslims. [S]preading/strengthening it may be one of the best hopes for avoiding incomprehension that can lead civilisations into conflict".

 

The Economist 18 Feb 06"Haiti: Making the Best of an Election in a Failed State"(Edit.13-4); "Haiti's Electoral Aftermath: The Rubbishing of a Vote"(35):-Editorial's official summary:"Rene Preval's tortuous triumph should not be the prompt for outsiders to go home". Highlights: "For past two years, UN mission has been trying to turn Haiti into a nation. A crucial step was presidential election 07 Feb. [D]ay went well [but] counting of votes did not [details are in the article]. At first it seemed Rene Preval, former president, won clear victory. Preval was once an ally of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the firebrand populist, who was pressed to resign as president by US and France two years ago. As vote count drew to a close,Preval's vote had fallen to 48.7% which meant a run-off ballot - even though no other candidate got more than 12%. His supporters cried fraud. [W]hether... incompetence or a conspiracy,... several worrying signs. Suspiciously high number of blank ballots were cast and tens of thousands of ballots went missing. Some found, burned, on a rubbish dump. Government agreed to inquiry, but wanted to exclude UN from it. Finally, agreement to exclude some blank ballots, pushing Preval's vote to 51% [and] allowinghim to be declared winner. Haiti's immediate need: clear democratic mandate. But... take more... if country of 8.3m people with income/head just $390/year to cease being a failed state. UN mission someachievements to its credit... Violence largely confined, [but still] enough to blight country's prospects. UN needs to be more assertive: (1) electoral authorities need outside oversight; (2)UN's 9,000-strong force of troops and police should be strengthened [French-speakers to build police force]; (3) need UN and aid donors to take less cautious approach. Breaking grip of violent drug gangs would be easier if UN offers social projects, more jobs, etc. [In short term, Haitians] need help to break vicious circle ofdisorder/political deadlock/poverty. UN should finish [its] job - lest it has to start all over again in future".

 

The Economist 18 Feb 06"Climate Change (I): Full To Bursting"(76-7):-Its own gloomy summary:"Rising levels of carbon dioxide will dump even more water into the oceans". Essence: "[G]reen-leafed plants, that breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, also put water vapour into the atmosphere. [W]hateffect will rising concentrations of carbon dioxide have on this? [Apparently:] less water in atmosphereand more in the oceans. [A]round the world, rivers have become fuller over the past century. [New study concludes that:] fuller rivers cannot be explained by more rainfall or haze or changes in land use, butcan be explained by higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Mechanism is straightforward. A plant breathes through small holes, called stomata, found in its leaves. Plants take in carbon dioxide, and when atmosphere relatively rich in this gas, less effort is needed. Stomata stay closed for longer, and less water is lost to atmosphere. This means that plant doesn't need to draw as much moisture fromthe soil. The unused water flows into rivers... Recent rises in surface temperature have been pinned onrising levels of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide. However, [this] work first to identify directeffect of that gas on ecosystems. [A]larmingly, if rivers dump more water into oceans, then rising sea levels will rise more rapidly still. Such changes would be felt especially in low-lying, populous and poor countries". "Climate Change (II): Greenland's Less-Icy Mountains"(77):-Directly related article:"Biggest unknown factor in making predictions of rising sea levels in response to global warming is role played by massive ice sheets that cover Antarctica and Greenland. If parts of these melt, sea level rises far more rapidly than in the past. [F]our years ago a small Antarctic ice shelf suddenly disintegrated. This week, alarming news from...Greenland[,whose] ice sheets cover 1.7m square km...and surface of ice rises to altitude of 3km. [Normal understanding] was that Greenland ice sheet relatively stable in centre, but thinning slowly at edges... That [now] questioned... [H]ave found that flow-speed of 12 glaciers, which together account for about half the discharge of water from ice sheet, is increasing - and fast... The speed at which the glaciers flow has doubled to 12km a year. As a result, volume of ice falling into the sea from Greenland has also doubled over past decade. [A]lso found Greenland ice sheet experienced a greater area of surface melting... Most of this has been in south of island, i.e. where accelerating glaciers lie.Water flowing from surface could ease the passage of glaciers into the sea. [Combined, impact of]Greenland ice sheet to rise in global sea levels has increased from 0.23mm a year in 1996 to 0.57mm in 2005. On top of this,.. an increased flow of fresh water... could change the way currents flow in North Atlantic, to detriment of Gulf Stream[, which makes] north-west Europe warmer"."The[US] Environmental Movement: Endangered Species"(32-3):-while major article is ostensibly concentrated on problems faced/ generated by hundreds of NGOs within US, the impact of their difficulties is already global (e.g.Kyoto).

 

The Economist 25 Feb 06"The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership: Reactor Dreams"(38-40):-attempt tocombine global need for vastly more nuclear energy with restraint on global nuclear WMD. "[US President]Bush's problem is how to deal with proliferation risks while promoting nuclear power. His solution: getcountries that already have advanced nuclear industries to 'lend'nuclear fuel to poorer countries thatneed it, then recover spent fuel from them for recycling and burning down, getting rid of dangerousnuclear wastes... Harder to do covert nuclear dabbling [Iran? North Korea?]. [B]y 2050... there will be 1,000 nuclear power stations about the globe[450 today. So] proliferation risks will grow too. Bush hopes new safer/smaller/simpler reactors for [poorer] countries, and new technologies extracting more energy from fuels [plus reduced waste problems.] If GNEP technologies...move to production, plutonium stockpileseventually eliminated. [I]dea has had good hearing in London, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo (potentialpartners) and Vienna(UN IAEA). But will they also chip in to huge cost of making technology work? Bushincluded $250m in next budget for R&D,with larger sums promised for 10-year effort to produce pilot fast-burner reactor. Danger basing policy on technology that may never work/be exorbitantly costly. [Also]problem of where waste will go. [Even] recycled fuel wastes take 1,000 years[to pass radioactivity peak].

 

The Economist 25 Feb 06"Ageing: How To Live For Ever"(84):-report on new/progressive science evidence in age field. For full account of high likelihood of successful research in near future, see Ray Kurzweil & Terry Grossman(op.cit.). Summary of item:"[P]oint at which age turns to ill health and ultimately deathis shifting - i.e. people remaining healthier for longer[,raising] question of how death might be postponed, and whether might be postponed indefinitely... Much [longer living already] result of improved nutrition/ better medicine. But... healthy old age also involves maintaining physical/mental function. Age-related...changes in brain, muscles, joints, immune system, lungs and heart must be minimised - 'senescence'. [E]xercise can help to maintain physical function late in life[, while] exercising brain can limit progression of senescence... Caloric restriction/choice and altering genes...shown promise in slowing senescence. [Various research underway to delay or even reverse senescence.] Low-calorie diet [may be] linked to rate at which cells divide [and] maximum number of times human cell can divide before it dies.[Some] believe only those cells that have stopped dividing cause ageing [and] could demonstrate whether possible toavoid growing old. But successful ageing being promoted here/now. [People with] emotional support not only have higher physical performance than the isolated, but also show lower levels of hormones...associated with stress... "[A]llostatic load"- ...physiological toll...on body - predicts life expectancy well...Elderly people with high degrees of social engagement had lower allostatic loads. [A]lso more likely to bewell educated and have high socio-economic status. Thus appears death can be postponed by various means and healthy ageing extended by others. Whether death will remain ultimate consequence of growing old remains to be seen". Issues needing thought (decisions?) even before widespread rumours of very long-term lives relate to politics, society, finance, employment, science, home, law, religions, etc.

 

Timothy Egan "Big Farmers Reap Two Harvests With Subsidies a Bumper Crop" New York Times 26 Dec 04:-US has been pressing rich countries(EU, Japan)to lower/eliminate ridiculous farm subsidies asmajor WTO improvement/ fairness for at least some developing countries. Though discussed here inNebraska terms, serious irresponsibility of its subsidies merits US involvement in fair global farm-trade deal." Despite fact farm income has doubled in two years, federal subsidies also gone up nearly 40% over same period - projected at $15.7b this year; $130b over last nine. That bounty drawing fire from people who say that at moment of farm prosperity, nation's subsidy system never made less sense. Even thosedeeply steeped in system acknowledge it seems counterintuitive...Answer in quirks of federal farmsubsidy system/way savvy farmers sell crops...Farmers use peculiar world of agriculture market timingto get both high commodity prices/high subsidies...Money not tied to what farmer actually received forcrop. Farmer does not even have to sell crop to get cheque, only prove market has dropped below certain set rate...Farm groups say subsidies provide for stable food supply, and ensure major sectors of USagriculture will be competitive on global market...But because nearly 70% of subsidies go to top 10% ofagricultural producers, recent prosperity not seen/felt among many small/medium-size growers...So not surprising current subsidy system drawing home-grown criticism[;some]say it is only widening gap between large and smaller farmers, while not helping rural US. Subsidies also drawn criticism from farmerswho grow fruits/vegetables/nuts - nearly half of US agriculture - but have nothing like elaborate safety netin place for corn/cattle/wheat/hog producers.'We don't get payments, and we don't want them,'said[president of club]which represents farmers in biggest agricultural state, California.'We believemarketplace should decide who stays/who goes. We certainly shouldn't be paying people not to grow.'Farm production doubled over last 50 years, while number of farms fallen by two-thirds.[A]bout150,000 of US' s 2.1m farms produce 70% of major food crops. But only certain crops...qualify for subsidies.[Some farmers and]critics say corporations/extended families/partnerships taking advantage of system that has little relationship to ebbs/ flows of food supply, and rewards them most in times like now, when farmers should seemingly be able to get by without government help. Any farm entity - often corporation - can collect up to $360,000/year.[F]armers do not actually have to grow crop to get money...While big farms having record years, much of rural US continuing to decline...Highest single yearfor subsidies was 2000, when farmers got $22b in payments. But their income was only $47b that year.This year, with farm income at $73b, first year when farmers set record for earnings, while subsidies still among highest recent years. This...year raises question of what would happen to US agriculture if government stopped making such large payments.It's possible farmers would produce same amount of food in pure free market."

 

The Economist 01 Apr 06"Australia and AIDS: Help Thy Neighbour"(35):-"Partnership between Australian government and Clinton Foundation[op.cit.]... will work in China, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea (PNG),mainly to supply tests and anti-retroviral drugs... HIV has grown alarmingly in PNG to reach 50,000 estimated cases, about 2% of adult population.... Possibly rising to 500,000 cases by 2025. Unprotected sex has driven most of the spread in PNG. In China (500,000 estimated cases) and Vietnam (260,000 cases), contaminated blood transfusions, prostitution and intravenous drug use are the main avenues...AIDS left unchecked could prove another potential source of regional instability along with terrorism...Having 8.3m people infected with HIV in Asia and the Pacific threatens the economic life of Asia,especially that of China... The outlook is grim: the number of sufferers is forecast to more than double to 20m by 2010 unless rich countries... start exporting their own successful experience in curbing AIDS";"Treating AIDS: A Missed Target"(64-5):-"World Health Organization(WHO)'s attempt to roll out AIDS drugs in poor countries has missed its target. A shame, but not a disaster[op.cit. AP 28 Mar]. The '3 by 5'initiative to get 3m HIV-positive people in poor/middle-income countries on to anti-retroviral drugs by end of 2005 has got less than halfway there. [WHO/UNAIDS reported] a mere 1.3m of those infectedin target countries are on courses of drugs. [Yet shift from pure prevention to care offered incentives for]those who might...be infected[: new] reason to find out the truth [and encourage modified behaviour to reduce transmission. Also, even 3+ times the previous number under treatment] averted about 250,000 premature deaths in 2005. One problem [was] that in most countries the [essential] infrastructure... didnot exist. [Hence] the initiative may have been more successful than [new] figure suggests, since partmoney has gone on infrastructure [and] this sort of work has spin-offs beyond the treatment of AIDS.Expense of treatment also tackled[:] big change...in market for AIDS drugs. Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative has helped to defragment market for generic anti-retroviral drugs by signing contracts... in India and South Africa that guarantee large order-volumes and reliable payment. As result, price in some cases... below $150 per person per year.. Progress, then, being made. [Possible] 3m figure by end of 06".

 

The Economist 29 Apr 06"African Poverty: The Magnificant Seven"(51-2):-"How a few simple reforms can lift African villages out of poverty... UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)(op.cit.) set such targets as halving proportion of people living on less than $1/day by 2015. Other continents same targets, butmost egregious examples of poverty, poor health and underdevelopment usually found in Africa... World Bank-IMF report[:] African countries not doing enough to meet their targets on poverty. UNICEF still gloomier[:] in Africa over 25% children under five still underweight, 'catastrophe for development'[and] in east/southern Africa number underweight actually increased. [T]his sort of statistic fires up Jeffrey Sachs(op.cit.), head of Millennium Project, [who contends] Africa's leap forward must begin... in parchedand pestilential villages where up to 80% of poor Africans actually live. To this end, Sachs has set up 12 "research villages" in 10 African countries(map) to pioneer models of development that can bereplicated by other villages in future. Another 66 villages added to experiment in clusters around original12. Hope is for 1,000 such villages by 2009, with exponential growth thereafter. Each village will receivepractical help from Project [at] $250/person over five years...Project trying to show how few simple reforms, seven in all, can substantially improve lives and provide livelihoods. These are: fertiliser andseed to improve food yield; anti-malarial bed nets; improved water sources; diversification from staple into cash crops; school feeding program; deworming for all; and introduction of new technologies, such as energy-saving stoves/mobile phones. [In] first Millennium village,.. incidence of malaria dropped byat least 50% since...bed nets. Food yield has more than doubled [and] school feeding program has[raised students' ] exam results. [Signs of various improvements in] economic activity as well... Sachs concedes seven reforms can, in short term at least, be repeated only with 'resources from the outside'.This makes model unduly dependent on foreign aid[, but] there is hardly a better investment".

 

The Economist 27 May 06"[US] Democrats and Global Warming: The Politics of Meltdown"(30):-"[Former VP and Democrats' 2000 candidate against Bush,] Al Gore, has brought [his most deeply/professionally concerned] issue back into political spotlight. His film about horrors of global warming,'An Inconvenient Truth', opened this week. [For details: Economist 06 May 06"New Film: Apocalypse Now?"(83) describes it as "a fascinating and alarming polemic... inspired by lectures/slide-show on global warming Gore has delivered more than 1,000 times [about]'our planetary emergency'".Concludes he may be right :"time is running out faster than most of the world thinks". Also: Andrew C.Revkin"'An Inconvenient Truth': Al Gore's Fight Against Global Warming"NYT 22 May 06:-"[N]ew documentary about former VP Al Gore'squest to spur action against global warming... He laments being unable so far to awaken the public towhat he calls 'planetary emergency'despite evidence that heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gasesare warming the earth, and even after Hurricane Katrina and Europe's deadly 2003 heat wave, which he calls a foretaste of much worse to come... Question now is whether the documentary, with potential to reach millions of people instead of a roomful of listeners at a time, can do the job".] Gore consistently waves away [candidacy, b]ut other prominent Democrats are raising their voices for the cause. [Gore also pressing literature: Michiko Kakutani"Books of the Times: Al Gore Revisits Global Warning, With Passionate Warnings and Pictures"NYT 23 May 06:-"[I]ssue has been making inroads in collective imagination, spurred by new scientific reports pointing to rising temperatures around the world andmelting ice fields in Greenland and Antarctica. A year ago, [US] National Academy of Sciences joinedsimilar groups from other countries in calling for prompt action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions... A new Time/ABC News/Stanford Univ. poll showed that 87% of [US] respondents believe government should encourage/require lowering of power-plant emissions... Gore... has revived the slide presentationabout global warning that he [has been giving] on the road, and he has now turned that presentation intoa book and a documentary film, both called 'An Inconvenient Truth'... Book, as user-friendly introduction to global warming and succinct summary of many of the central arguments laid out in other [new books],... is lucid, harrowing and bluntly effective".] This week Senator Hillary Clinton urged action on global warming in a big speech on energy policy [and] praised Gore as a 'committed visionary on global warming for more than two decades' . Last week, her husband [former US president] Bill Clinton told[university] graduates: 'Climate change is more remote than terror, but a more profound threat'. Gallup poll this spring found 67% US respondents thought quality of environment getting worse [2002=54%; and]a few bad hurricanes may change political indifference. [Annual]season begins next week, and federal meteorologists predict it will be particularly nasty". [Latest: John Schwartz"2 Studies Link Global Warming to Greater Power of Hurricanes"NYT 31 May 06:-"Climate researchers at Purdue Univ. and MIT separately reported new evidence [30 May] supporting the idea that global warming is causing stronger hurricanes[-] subject of a long-running scientific dispute".] "Gregg Easterbrook of the Brookings Institution sayspoliticians... should appeal to US optimism, emphasising that the problem can probably be solved after all, and cheaper and faster than anyone thinks". [This directly relevant to new report issued by Christian Aid, based on figures of UN and key Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Reuters"Climate Change May Kill Millions in Africa - Report"NYT 14 May 06:-"Disease spread by global warming could kill an extra 185m people in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of century and turn millions more into refugees unless rich nations take action now, report said".] While President Bush has recently conceded [only] that USis 'addicted to oil',... Senators of both parties have sponsored legislation for cap-and-trade emissions of greenhouse gases, and declared ... 'Climate change is real and having major impact on our way of life'". [Split views over greenhouse threat of carbon dioxide, however, already affect design of themany/unavoidable electric power coal-plants. See: Simon Romero"The Energy Challenge: Coal May Be Fuel of the Future, but Industry Battles Over Path" NYT 28 May 06:-"Future of US energy users is playing out in coal-rich areas... US enough to last...two centuries at current use rates...But conventional process for burning coal in power plants has one huge drawback: one of largest manmade sources of the gasesresponsible for global warming. Many scientists say sharply reducing emissions of these gases could make more difference in slowing climate change than any other move worldwide [and] US companies are best positioned... in adopting new technique to limit environmental impact of the more than 1,000 coal-fired power projects on drawing boards around the world. On this issue, however, executives ofsome of the most important companies in coal business diverge. Their disagreement crucial in debateover how to satisfy US' s growing energy appetite without accelerating climate change".] Debate may well stay hot through the 2008 primaries. But past experience suggests general election will be won or lost on other, more serious issues."[I agree, but only because neither candidate would push inaction.]

 

The Economist 03 Jun 06 "Business in India: Can India Fly?"(Edit.13); "A Survey of Business in India: Now For the Hard Part"(1-18); "India [Financial Sector]: Safe and Sorry"(73):-"It has taken off at last. Only with further reform can it spread its wings and soar... Despite huge potential market of 1.1 billion people, despite its wealth of English-speakers and democratic institutions, despite vaunted 15-year-old reforms,India has been a daunting place to do business, its entrepreneurs chained down by the world's most bureaucratic bureaucracy, lousy infrastructure and lousier Fabian economic ideas... Survey [by Simon Long] argues Indian business has secured niche in world economy that can only grow in importance... India now boasts robust economic growth [- averaged 8.1% GDP growth over past three years; at least 6% since 1991. Also] producing far more world-class companies than China [and] best known are wizards of software and 'business process outsourcing'- Indian firms: two-thirds of global market in offshore information technology services and nearly half that in BPO. Now being joined by manufacturers... bythe efficient use of technology. [Yet] India needs to grow much faster. Otherwise, poverty will persist for decades and social tensions will mount... Government action desperately needed to unplug bottlenecksthat will tighten as economy grows... Not just question of roads/airports/electricity; most village children lack the basic literacy needed to find work off the land. India's admired technical institutes soon unable keep pace with demand for well-qualified English-speaking engineers, chemists etc. Trade liberalisation halting/partial: banking system credit to wrong places; labour laws deter employment; privatisation stuck; fiscal deficit...still sucks resources from productive investment in infrastructure/education/health;foreign investment in many industries hampered... India has taken off. Just think how high its peoplecould fly without all these chains".Survey: India has globalisation, technology, demography, democracy.

 

The Economist 03 Jun 06 "Special Report: Twenty-Five Years of AIDS: Unhappy Anniversary" (24-5):- "Quarter of a century on, AIDS epidemic shows signs of peaking. But now the cost of its consequencesis becoming clearer... According to UNAIDS, world spent $8b+ in 2005 trying to prevent spread of HIV... in poor/middle-income countries... and care for those already infected - about 39m. [Since UNGAcommitments in 2001,] increase in fraction of population infected has slowed dramatically; in sub-Saharan Africa where 60% of infected live, this fraction has remained unchanged for 5 years [and]prevalence rate... rising only at rate population as whole is growing... Need today...is for a few success stories[:] AIDS can be contained if prepared to spend the money to contain it... UNAIDS report contains evidence prevention methods are working in parts of Africa where they did not seem to work before. In 8 of 11 African countries studied in detail, people having sex before they reached 15 has dropped; use of condoms increased; and in six there was decline of 25%+ from peak prevalence among those aged15-24. Drop at this end of age range suggests reduced infection rates, rather than increased mortality...Figures for treatment are going in right direction, too. More being treated with anti-retroviral drugs. Figureat end of 2005 was 1.3m [-] less than half target of 3m UNAIDS had set itself, but not negligible. [M]akingthese drugs available to all who need them by end of decade is still within reach[:] goal is to see 10mtreated by 2010... Rate money has been made available for AIDS from all sources... underwent a step change in 2001[:] pledge was to find $7-10b by 2005, and what turned up was $8.3b. [Money particularly via two large funds.] Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria...has internationalist credentialsthat most activists like. Financed by many countries/large charities/contributions from business [and] novel feature is regular assessment of its projects by outside consultants. [Other major fund is] PEPFAR,President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, [by US' s] George Bush. [A]ctivists are happy to take... UStaxpayers' money, but... comes with strings they do not like [, and] when large sums are at stake,tensions may be inevitable... AIDS is still incurable. Treatment works only as long as take the drugs. [A]ll realise on a mission without an end [, yet] 50th anniversary of AIDS may be more cheerful than the 25th" .

 

The Economist 17 Jun 06 "AIDS: Nef Off" (87):- "The reason HIV is so virulent may have been found... Thehuman immunodeficiency virus, HIV-1, is the most intensively studied pathogen in history. It still has secrets to reveal. One is why it is so deadly. Many of man's primate relatives in Africa harbour similar viruses. Yet,.. simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVS) have little impact on their hosts' health...Investigation suggests it is result of a change in the role of a single viral gene, called nef...In most SIVS,one role of nef is to remove a protein called TCR-CD3 from the surfaces of the cells that host the virus.Host cells in question are immune-system cells called T-cells. Specifically, they are 'helper'T-cells, which orchestrate the immune system's response to pathogens such as viruses... In the case of AIDS,immune system continues to be stimulated, and this prolonged stimulation results in high death rates among T-cells. Eventually, that exhausts immune system's capacity to regenerate itself. Result is acollapse in the number of T-cells, and the accompanying symptoms of AIDS. In most simian infections,this does not happen because nef keeps the TCR-CD3 level too low for this exaggerated response to occur. That is also true in a rarer form of human AIDS caused by a virus called HIV-2. This form of AIDSis found in West Africa, but has not spread much beyond that part of the world. Indeed, of the 16 immunodeficiency viruses, all but five had nef genes that removed TCR-CD3 from the cell surface. Threeof those five were closely related monkey viruses. The fourth was HIV-1. The fifth was the chimpanzee virus that is the direct ancestor of HIV-1".

 

The Economist 24 Jun 06"Philanthropy: Give and Make"(Edit.12);"How To Save the World: Bolton v Gore"(38):-both deal - in very different flavors - with the world's vast/quick need for responsible aid from therich/smart. [My own deep feelings are at end of this item.] Editorial makes case that "Admirably, Bill Gatesseems as serious about giving his money away as he was about making it...No matter what inspiration,philanthropy is good for doing all sorts of things governments fail at. Free of vicissitudes of votes/public opinion, philanthropists can take on causes that are unpopular or neglected... So applaud Gate's decisionto make giving away money his day job, and to work at Microsoft part-time... Gates Foundation, whichalready does a fine job, will do even better. He is also setting an example to those, such as his friend, William Buffett,.. who look likely to leave the task to someone else. [See particularly following major articles/essays: Timothy L.O'Brien & Stephanie Saul"Buffett to Give Bulk of His Fortune to Gates Charity"New York Times 26 Jun 06; Donald G.McNeil Jr. & Rick Lyman"Buffett's Billions Will Aid Fight Against Disease"NYT 27 Jun 06; Landon Thomas Jr."A Friendship: A Gift Between Friends"NYT 27 Jun 06; David Leonhardt"How To Give Money as Buffett Does"NYT 28 Jun 06.] Not every donor needs to become a full-time philanthropist - a growing industry of intermediaries can help sort deserving schemes from the rest.What matters is that giver should do more than simply hand over money...Capitalism has demonstrated it is best system for creating great fortunes. More capitalists should show it is best for getting rid of them, too". Bolton/Gore item reports on extraordinary plot by US amb to UN to justify Bush administration'srefusal to implement UN's Kyoto agreement to begin initial global action against the fatal weather crisisby introducing:"A question of priorities: hunger and disease or climate change?" US amb Bolton effectively drew attention of selected UN ambs to the specialized results of "Copenhagen Consensus"(op.cit.) which analysed the relative cost/speed/effectiveness of various forms of international 'crisis' activity. "Given a notional $50b [only, seven UN ambs were asked how to] spend it to make the world better place. [T]hey drew up list of priorities [and] top four were basic health care, better water/sanitation,more schools and better nutrition of children. Averting climate change came last. Ambs thought it wiser to spend [strictly limited funds] on things they knew would work". Result would have upset former US VP and presidential candidate against Bush, Al Gore(op.cit.), who "calls global warming 'onrushing catastrophe'and argues vigorously that curbing it is the most urgent moral challenge facing mankind". [My own views:There are both massive-enough rich-nations' assets, and rapidly-expanding factual/ technical facts, available for the 'rich'to fully address any global or globally-relevant needs, withoutfeeling uninformed constraint or substantially-lowered self-standards. Much more important, the entireplanet is now massively and increasingly inter-dependent. It is also now living in an unprecedented planet-wide situation where basic global knowledge is both wide and expanding/accelerating fast - often via social TV. Hence all human beings, however poor/backward, are often now knowledgeable about thegreater power/riches - and apparent misdeeds - of some others, so many groups can feel hurt/frustrated/ religious against others; and might be able to organize terrorism of some sort against selected people/ facilities anywhere. Any terrorist group is ultimately able to use a vast variety of existing/developable weaponry/poisons in any society on earth. An essential way to reduce this world-wide threat - apart from correcting current complaints asap - can only be to reduce serious/perceived pain/poverty, and obtain -through cooperative intelligence/law among all governments everywhere - advanced information about relevant threats -since all societies may somehow be threatened. But the most defensive and selfishly-beneficial (plus deeply moral) means of easing this situation is for the rich and informed to provide allthe funds/goods/skills necessary to accelerate equity - both obtaining and offering relevant knowledge.]

 

The Economist 01 Jul 06 "Billanthropy: How to Spend Money and Influence People"(Edit.9);"Special Report: Philanthropy: The New Powers in Giving"(63-5);"The Fight Against Disease: How To Spend It"(64):-including the 'Cover story'and leading Editorial, these offer strong support for "helping the world's needy" after reporting on the massive/joint generosity of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett through the highly businesslike/effectively-spent "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation"(op.cit. 24 Jun). Both the Editorial andarticles argue: "[M]any more people [are] thinking of doing some good to the world that has done so much good to them. But it is not just the quantity, but also the quality, of their money that matters.Foundations are a source of discipline and innovation for charities. If foundations give wisely, they can influence the way charities spend the rest of their money [and] Gates' s focus on poor-country diseases increases the chances of making the breakthroughs in medicine and delivery systems necessary tobeating those illnesses". Special Report says "Gates Foundation will eventually be able to count onassets of around $60 billion. That makes it by far the world's biggest charitable foundation. [It] faces two huge tests: how to operate at a much larger scale and the sheer complexity of the problems it is trying to solve... Even so, [advisor believes it] is unusually well placed and will be able to expand smoothly intosome new areas because of the entrepreneurial way in which it operates" and "To its credit [it] has built performance measurements into all its projects". Medicine item:"As all governments know, health budgets are infinitely expandable. Foundation will make a useful difference to the fight against disease in poor countries. [It] is notable for its willingness to sponsor research into better means of preventionand treatment. In particular,.. backing 43 projects that will, if they succeed, eliminate important obstaclesto a healthier world. At the moment, the amount spent around the planet on health research does not reflect the damage a disease does... Evening out these egregious differences would be cash well spent".

 

The Economist 01 Jul 06"Democracy in the Arab World: Not Yet, Thanks"(42-3):-item illustrates how"Recent hopes for the steady advance of democracy are being widely stifled". It tells of many limited democracy-related movements in Arab countries, and counter-reform developments there more recently. General pictures then and now as follows: "A few years back, and especially in wake of US invasion of Iraq, many[Arab leaders] found it politic to sound responsive to mounting pressure for reform. It was partly internal,inspired by factors such as demography, fading potency of long-ruling ideologies, and impact of harder-to-control new media such as TV. External forces helped, too, most notably [US/]other Western governments, [pushing] political freedom as the ultimate foil for extremism... But now, the tide appears to have turned".Politically reactionary events are described in: Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and even Lebanon. "Several factors explain the waning of reform momentum. One is thehigh price of oil. Exporters... find themselves so flush with cash that they can again buy off dissent. But a bigger factor is advance of Islamist opposition groups. In past year, religious parties have crushed secular rivals in Iraq, Hamas has captured shaky government of Palestine, Islamists have performedstrongly in Saudi Arabia's polls, and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood won unprecedented fifth of parliament's seats... Islamic surge has frightened not only the region's governments, but also foreign promoters of democracy... Western officials and academics at a recent conference appeared to 'wash their hands of supporting democracy in the Arab world'. [Some US politicians have revived support for an old Arab leader.] Similar signs of return to [Western] realpolitik have been noted with relief by Arab governments".Economist 22 Jul 06 "Arabs and Democracy: Not Yet, Say the Arabs"(79-80):-this review of three booksis officially summed as arguing (like the above item): "Why democracy will not sink roots in the Arab world, at least in a hurry". It later says: "None of these books asserts categorically that the Arabs are unfit for, or incapable of, democracy, but all make plain how extraordinarily hard it will be for a system of one-person-one-vote to sink roots in such unfamiliar soil". Fouad Ajami The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq(Free Press):-"[D]ominant tone...is one of lamentation. Despite thesupposed attractions of new deal US offered Iraqis, beneficiaries have been patently unable...to graspit". Rory Stewart The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq(Harcourt):-"[S]tory of appalling chaos, local Iraqi chicanery/violence, and administrative mayhem imposed from outside". Mark Allen Arabs(Continuum):-"[T]houghtful pot-pourri of observations on the Arab psyche and identity. [O]ld-fashioned bonds of blood, tribe, religion and pan-Arab identity tend to govern behaviour".

 

The Economist 08 Jul 06"North Korea's Missiles: Rocket Man"(Edit.9);"North Korea: Kim Jong Il Goes Ballistic"(36-7):-though drafted before 5-veto-affected United Nations Security Council(UNSC) seriously criticized the missile-showoff/threatener unanimously, the text identifies its Pacific/relevant intentionsand fears. From Editorial: "North...launched Taepodong rocket/half a dozen others...calculated to blasta hole in diplomatic effort... to get Kim Jong Il's regime to give up its nuclear bomb-building. Bigger worry[:]will incinerate wider efforts to stabilise region full of dangerous rivalries...Hermit Kingdom often seems more tragi-comic than threatening. [C]hief dangers regime poses to outsiders often accidental: thatrockets will unintentionally hi