Obstacles to Development Arising from the International System

By Manuel F. Montes, Senior Advisor on Finance and Development at the South Centre in Geneva, IPS, November 12, 2014

As the international community wades into the political discussions regarding the alternatives to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015 and the design of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as mandated by the Rio+20 conference, it is timely to consider the question of whether development is a matter mostly of individual effort on the part of nation-states or whether there are elements in the international economic system that could serve as significant obstacles to national development efforts.

If there are obstacles in the international economic system, it is important that the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs address the question of the elimination or the reduction of these obstacles.

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An Interview with Christopher Black

A Transcript of the interview with Christopher Black, International Criminal Lawyer, taken at the 12th Rhodes Forum

My name is Christopher Black, I am a criminal lawyer based in Toronto, Canada. But for the last 15 years I’ve been involved in international war crimes tribunal work at the Yugoslav tribunal in the Hague, but most of my time Rwanda tribunal in Tanzania. There I was defending the chief of staff at the National Police, Gendarmerie General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, who was acquitted just this February of all the charges after 15 years of imprisonment.

My position here at this Forum is to put across the point of view that these tribunals are not institutions of criminal justice as portrayed in the mass media or by the tribunals themselves, but in fact are politically motivated courts whose purpose is one thing – propaganda.

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UN GA's Third Committee Passed a Resolution Condemning Attempts to Glorify Nazism

United Nations, November 21, 2014

A draft text on combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices was approved by a record vote of 115 in favour, 3 against (Canada, Ukraine, United States), with 55 abstentions.

The Resolution condemns glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

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Behind the Guns: International Economic Law as a Strategy for Regime Change

A Transcript of the Paper by Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law, University of Auckland, New Zealand, delivered at the 12th Rhodes Forum in September 2014

I am delighted to be able to make some contribution to such an esteemed panel. When I got the invitation I thought as a critic of international economic agreements what might I be able to contribute to this dialogue. My starting point is some reflections on international law from Tony Anghie in his book entitled “Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law”. One of the features of the post-World War II period has been the increasing role of international economic law as a vehicle for superpowers. Anghie said quite incisively that the old law of conquest created the inequalities that we now see in the new international law of contracts that perpetuate, legalize and substantiate the concept of neutrality, but a neutrality that is in fact based on those inequalities when the international agreements that the Third World states entered into in particular are enforced against them. The notion of progressive international law that we heard in the last panel, I am going to take issue with to some degree as international economic law being in fact one of the vehicles for ongoing imperialism.

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Wir verlieren Russland

Von Martin Hoffmann, Der Tagesspiegel, 18 November, 2014

Plädoyer für einen Neuanfang der Beziehungen

Dies ist ein Weckruf. Ein Weckruf an all jene in der Politik, die schlafwandelnd auf die Überlegenheit des Westens vertrauen. An diejenigen, die davon überzeugt sind, der Westen müsse endlich Stärke zeigen und seine Sanktionen verstärken. Auch an jene Ostpolitiker mit Augenmaß, die auf den Dialog setzen, aber überzeugt sind, ein Krieg sei ausgeschlossen und am Ende werde die Vernunft siegen.

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Catholic Social Thought and Post-liberal Political Economy

By Adrian Pabst, Radical Orthodoxy Annual Review, University of Kent

The crisis reveals that globalisation since the 1970s has so expanded and speeded up the processes of capitalist change as to engender something qualitatively different. More than ever before global capitalism erodes the ‘moral economy’ of mutual obligations on which economic exchange ultimately depends. By further reducing everything and everyone to a tradable commodity, capital constantly expands the reach of the market into new areas and creates more opportunities both nationally and globally. But by the same token, it undermines relationships, reciprocity and responsibility without which markets cannot generate lasting prosperity or combine private profit with social benefit.

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China's Silky Road to Glory

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times Online, November 14, 2014

Predictably, once again, this vertiginous flurry of deals and investment had to converge towards the most spectacular, ambitious, wide-ranging plurinational infrastructure offensive ever attempted: the multiple New Silk Roads - that complex network of high-speed rail, pipelines, ports, fiber optic cables and state of the art telecom that China is already building across the Central Asian stans, linked to Russia, Iran, Turkey and the Indian Ocean, and branching out to Europe all the way to Venice, Rotterdam, Duisburg and Berlin.

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ISIS, Militarism and the Violent Imagination

An Article by Richard Falk published at the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, September 26, 2014

Before ISIS

The beheading of American and British journalists who were being held hostage by ISIS creates a truly horrifying spectacle, and quite understandably mobilizes the political will to destroy the political actor who so shocks and frightens the Western sensibility, which is far from being free from responsibility for such lurid incidents.

Never in modern times has there been a clearer example of violence begetting violence.

And we need to ask ‘to what end?’ Political leaders in the West are remarkably silent and dishonest about what it is that they wish to achieve in this region beset since 2011 by a quite terrifying outbreak of political extremism, whether from above as in the cases of Syria, Egypt, and Israel or from below as with ISIS and al-Nusra.

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