Peace instead of NATO

By Oskar Lafontaine, Current Concerns, No. 2/2015

For the vast majority of the population of the former Federal Republic, NATO has been the guarantor of peace and freedom for a long time. Anti-communism, fuelled by the fear of the Soviet Union operated by the world revolution, the Berlin Blockade and the construction of the Berlin Wall left little room to think about alternatives to NATO. But in 1965 at the latest, when US President Lyndon B. Johnson bombed North Vietnam and deployed more and more ground troops to South Vietnam, a discussion about the policy and objectives of the Western power started especially in the universities. The military infrastructure of NATO, which has always been a US military structure in its core, brought about Germany’s involvement in every US war like that of other states’, which were integrated into it. That has not changed until today. In his book “The Grand Chessboard” former security adviser to Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, commented this dependence as follows: “The brutal fact is that Western Europe and increasingly also Central Europe, remains largely an American protectorate, with its allied states reminiscent of ancient vassals and tributaries.”
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WPF ICC Meeting in Vienna

The World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” International Coordinating Committee meeting will be convened in Vienna, Austria, on March 4, 2015

The members of the Committee will analyze WPF developments, consider agenda of the 13th Rhodes Forum Annual Session and preparations to upcoming WPF Events in 2015.

Implementation and results of the “Schools of the Dialogue of Cultures” Project will be discussed.

One of the key points of the meeting’s agenda is the prospects of the WPF Research Center to be opened in Austria.

Still No Exit for Greece

By Kemal Derviş, a co-author of the “22 Ideas to Fix the World”, January 21, 2015

Europe’s political landscape is changing. Populist parties, both on the far right and the far left, are gaining electoral traction. Some, such as France’s National Front, oppose their country’s eurozone membership; others, such as Podemos in Spain, do not. Nonetheless, the challenge that these new parties pose to Europe could prove to be extremely disruptive.
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Human Rights Violations inside EU

By Walter Schwimmer, Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Co-Chairman of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” and Chairman of the WPF International Coordinating Committee

What is the Ostrich Protocol? How the EU member states play ostrich when it comes to human rights violations inside EU?

The Treaty on the European Union, in its current format also known as the Lisbon Treaty, as well as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights claim to establish an area of freedom, security and justice, founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and the respect for human rights [1]. That sounds perfect. After centuries of inhuman treatment of people very often by their own governments, culminating in the tyrannies of communism and Nazism in the 20th century, EU citizens should be able to feel safe from brutal attacks and illegal operations of a violent state, if not ....If they are not refugees from another EU member state and they do not try to look for protection because they were subject in their own state to political persecution, inhuman treatment or even torture.

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Why the Modern World is Bad for your Brain

By Daniel J Levitin, The Guardian, January 18, 2015

Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence. Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows.
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Growing Inequality as a Threat to Social and Economic Progress

Oxfam international organization recently published a report according to which “the combined wealth of the richest 1 per cent will overtake that of the other 99 per cent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked.”

The same issue has been raised by Thomas Piketty in his “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” – a research nowadays widely discussed worldwide.

The problem of an increasingly unequal distribution of social wealth becomes a matter of concern and analysis of a growing number of economists, political scientists, sociologists and experts on governance. The growing wealth inequality aggravates financial plight of millions, leads to degradation of the social fabric and poses a real risk of social upheavals.
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It is Painful to Live Amidst Chaos

Immanuel Wallerstein, January 15, 2015

The world-system is in serious trouble and it is causing pain to the vast majority of the world’s population. Pundits and politicians grasp at straws. They magnify every momentary, and usually transitory, occurrence of slight improvements in the various measures we are accustomed to using.
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Humanitarian Intervention in Law and History: Use or Abuse?

A Transcript of the Paper by Lyal S. Sunga, Visiting Professor, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, delivered at the 12th Rhodes Forum in September 2014

I want to say that I’ve long praised professor Koechler’s inciting conviction that genuine intercultural dialogue is essential for each culture to define better its own identity, understand and respect other cultures and promote international cooperation and world peace. I salute the Forum’s far-sighted diplomatic leadership for promoting dialogue among civilizations, an ever urgent goal in ever more turbulent world.

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An Open Letter to Prof. Klaus Schwab, WEF, Davos

By Kamran Mofid, January 18, 2015

Prof. Klaus Schwab,
Founder and Executive Chairman,
World Economic Forum,
Geneva, Switzerland

Dear Prof. Schwab,

I notice that you hope the 2015 WEF meeting will be a “starting point for a renaissance of global trust”.  This is a noble aim, very important and timely.  Thus, as the Founder of Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) I wish to endorse and support you in this aim.

Today in many parts of the world, the so-called market, and the values of consumerism, underpinned by the “Black Friday” values, have become increasingly dominant and are now seriously threatening our global future, both in terms of our care of the planet and in increasing societal rivalry and conflict.

In the process we have lost trust in everything. This is why I believe your aim is so important.
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