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A Case of Bad Politics

By Fred Dallmayr, Co-chairman, WPF “Dialogue of Civilizations”, April 24, 2014

Political philosophy has traditionally been divided on the issue of “human nature.” According to some thinkers, human nature is essentially flawed, corrupt, or bad—a corruption which can only be mitigated by strong external constraints. According to others, human nature is essentially benign or good—a goodness which manifests itself best in the complete absence of regulation. A third and probably wiser view avoids both of these strong claims, shifting the accent from “essence” to “potentiality.” In this view, human beings are capable of both good and bad conduct, with the difference depending on prevailing modes of conditioning, that is, on the habitual fostering of either good and beneficial or bad and destructive dispositions.


What Venezuelan ‘Regime Change’ Could Mean

Andrés Cala, Consortiumnews, April 15, 2014

For 15 years, the economic keystone of Latin America’s growing independence from U.S. domination has been energy-rich Venezuela’s willingness to provide discounted oil to many of its neighbors, a project now at risk amid violent opposition protests at home and threats of destabilizing sanctions from Washington.

The preferential financial terms for oil was the brainchild of Venezuela’s late leader Hugo Chavez who understood that the only way that he could counter America’s economic might was to use his nation’s petroleum to stabilize the fragile economies of Caribbean and Latin American countries, including longtime U.S. target, Cuba.


Violence and the Struggle for Power in Egypt

An Article by Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia, 14 April 2014

There is no sign to show that political violence in Egypt is abating.

Political violence has become even more pronounced since the ouster of the democratically elected President, Dr Mohamed Morsi, on the 3rd of July 2013. The ouster is in fact one of the primary causes for the increased violence. They are inter-linked for two reasons. The suppression of Morsi’s movement, the Ikhwanul-Muslimin, by the military backed interim government has been violent. Peaceful protest camps were crushed in a deadly operation on 14 August 2013. At least a thousand people were killed in a week of violence. Thousands of Ikhwan members were arrested, including its spiritual leader, Mohamed Badie. The Ikhwan was declared a “terrorist” group in December 2013. On 25 March 2014, 529 people, many of them connected to the Ikhwan, were sentenced to death by a court for rioting and killing a policeman. It was a decision whose brutal severity shocked the world.


America's Coup Machine: Destroying Democracy Since 1953

Nicolas J.S. Davies, AlterNet, April 8, 2014

Soon after the 2004 U.S. coup to depose President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, I heard Aristide's lawyer Ira Kurzban speaking in Miami. He began his talk with a riddle: "Why has there never been a coup in Washington D.C.?" The answer: "Because there is no U.S. Embassy in Washington D.C." This introduction was greeted with wild applause by a mostly Haitian-American audience who understood it only too well.


The Crucible of Iraq

An Article by Chris Hedges published at Truthdig on April 6, 2014

The hierarchy of suffering, part of the dark pathology of war, entices victims to retreat into personal inner sanctums of misery and to sanctify their own victimhood. The sanctification of victimhood allows them to dismiss the suffering of those outside their ethnic or familial group. This process is used to justify acts of indiscriminate violence carried out in the name of vengeance.


The Week the World Stood Still

Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch, October 15, 2012

The world stood still 50 years ago during the last week of October, from the moment when it learned that the Soviet Union had placed nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba until the crisis was officially ended -- though unknown to the public, only officially.


Self-determination in the Age of Global Empire

A Keynote lecture by Hans Köchler, Founder and President, International Progress Organization, delivered at the 3rd International People's Forum "Affirming Life Together in the Face of Belligerent Empire", Peace Memorial Hall, Jeju Island, Korea, October 25, 2013

One of the most important aspects where people – in distinction from imperial rulers, governments, and bureaucracies – can actually do something is the deconstruction of imperial myths with regard to human rights and democracy in particular. The myth that the imperial power, often vaguely referred to as “the West”, is the guarantor of human rights and democracy has served as one of the main justifications for many military interventions in recent decades. We have also been witnessing this scheme in what has been happening under the label of the “Global War on Terror”. The main reason why so far so little has been achieved in terms of a deconstruction of these imperial myths is fear: almost no one is prepared to risk to be isolated in public opinion, or to be vilified by the mainstream media in the powerful countries.


Resolution of the European Association of Former Parliamentarians of the Member States of the Council of Europe

The European Association of former parliamentarians of the member states of the Council of Europe

- Observe with much concern and attention the political situation in Ukraine;
- As former parliamentarians, we reject the idea of a new “cold war”;
- We think that a solution can only be found through a diplomatic agreement between all parties concerned. The Council of Europe could contribute to reach such an agreement considering that Ukraine, Russia and the 28 countries of the EU are part of the Council of Europe;
- We want to recall the fundamental project of the EU, the Council of Europe and the OSCE, which is to fight war and to promote peace;
- We underline the importance of representative democracy and the respect of minorities;
- We state that beyond any citizen consultation the common well-being should be taken into consideration as main goal;
- We wish that, whenever possible, the European Commission for democracy through law (Venice Commission) of the Council of Europe be in charge to find the constitutional solutions which are needed.

Paris, 14 March 2014


Ukraine Crisis: Chinese President Xi Jinping Urges US to Show Restraint

The Guardian, March 10, 2014

Beijing leader tells Obama and Merkel that they must pursue a political solution to ‘extremely complex’ situation.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has urged a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine and for all parties to exercise calm and restraint, during separate telephone calls with US president Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

“The situation in Ukraine is extremely complex, and what is most urgent is for all sides to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid an escalation in tensions,” China’s foreign ministry on Monday cited Xi as telling Obama.