Politics

Drones and the New Ethics of War

By Neve Gordon, OpEdNews, January 23, 2015

This Christmas small drones were among the most popular gift under the tree in the U.S. with manufacturers stating that they sold 200,000 new unmanned aerial vehicles during the holiday season. While the rapid infiltration of drones into the gaming domain clearly reflects that drones are becoming a common weapon among armed forces, their appearance in Walmart, Toys "R" Us and Amazon serves, in turn, to normalize their deployment in the military.
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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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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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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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The Other Europe

Russia and the West

By Karl Müller, Current Concerns, 2015, No 1

Various media quoted or provided a forum for a number of European voices who do not agree with the confrontation policy with Russia.

Here is a small selection:

“I cannot overlook the fact – and that it is not a coincidence – that Henry Kissinger, Helmut Schmidt, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and even of course Helmut Kohl, not to mention Mikhail Gorbachev – all of them old men – hold the same view: There is no stability in Europe without Russia, only with Russia. And I feel very comfortable in their company.” This is what Egon Bahr said in an interview with Compact magazine, issue of January 2015. 92-year-old Egon Bahr is one of the fathers of the German policy of détente during the sixties and seventies and up to this day, his words still carry weight internationally.
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Russian Approach Towards China and India, Vector for a Multipolar World Order

By Francesco Brunello Zanitti, Scientific Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences (Istituto di Alti Studi in Geopolitica e Scienze Ausiliarie – IsAG, Rome)

The last months of 2014 were marked by a series of significant bilateral agreements and summits involving Russia, India and China. According to many international analysts, the research of better relations with the two Asian giants by Moscow represents another further step towards global transformation from unipolar order ruled by the United States to a multipolar one.
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President of Iran Reiterates Iran’s Opposition to Violence, Terrorism

TEHRAN (FNA), January 10, 2015 - Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani condemned any form of violence against people across the world and reiterated that extremism and violence have nothing to do with the real nature of Islam.

“We condemn extremism, violence and terrorism across the world, including in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria or in Paris and the US,” Rouhani said in a meeting with the delegates to the Islamic Unity Conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Friday.

“Those who are unrightfully killing people and carrying out acts of violence and extremism in the name of Jihad, religion or Islam are, wittingly or unwittingly, treading the path of (promoting) Islamophobia and (are actually) fighting against Islam,” he added.

Rouhani once again reaffirmed the Islamic Republic’s support for nations that resist against terrorism.
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Denazification – Urgently Needed in Europe

By Anis H. Bajrektarevic, Modern Diplomacy

There is a claim constantly circulating the EU: ‘multiculturalism is dead in Europe’. Dead or maybe d(r)ead?... That much comes from a cluster of European nation-states that love to romanticize their appearance via the solid Union, as if they themselves lived a long, cordial and credible history of multiculturalism. Hence, this claim is of course false. It is also cynical because it is purposely deceiving.

No wonder, as the conglomerate of nation-states/EU has silently handed over one of its most important debates – that of European anti-fascistic identity, or otherness – to the wing-parties. This was repeatedly followed by the selective and contra-productive foreign policy actions of the Union.
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Statement of the WPF Presidency on Paris Terror Attack

January 10, 2015

Like every civilized person the members of the Presidency of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” are deeply shocked and outraged about the brutal and coward terrorist crimes carried out in Paris.

First of all we would like to express our compassion with the relatives and friends of all the murdered victims of the terrorists, civil hostages, policemen, journalists and with the whole French nation. Terrorism has to be condemned and fought with the utmost vigor as there is no justification at all for terrorism, in particular no religious justification. Terror and murder are an assault on any religion, as rightly expressed by many competent authorities, on Islam as well. Any attempt to justify terror with religious objectives is an abuse of religion and an offense to true believers.

There is also no political justification for terrorist violence as violence does not solve any problem but will create new problems. But above this clear condemnation of terrorism and its abuse of religion one should not oversee that there are rising tensions in European societies and an increase of xenophobic, anti-Semitic and islamophobic attitudes. Intentionally or not, increasing alienation and confrontation between the religious and cultural communities are playing into the hands of extremists who claim to defend the interest and the honor of disregarded groups including their religious values. Obviously neither governments nor civil society have yet found the way out of that dilemma and need a new strategy instead of an undefined and vague multiculturalism.
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