Emotions have long played a central role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet recent events provide an opportune moment to overturn this precedent. The long-term well-being and best interests of Israel, as a democratic and accountable state, must be supported rationally. It is inescapably evident that Israel must find more rational ways to maintain and further its security and survival through increased support for justice, equality, dignity and respect for the national aspirations of the Palestinians.
As the U.S. and EU advance towards adoption of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the West’s relationship with NATO ally Turkey has seemingly fallen by the wayside. The TTIP, a proposed free trade agreement that would integrate the world’s largest economies, risks excluding Turkey unless its current European Customs Union Agreement with the EU is modified accordingly. Turkey’s exclusion from the TTIP would prevent it from imposing a customs duty on U.S. imports, while allowing the U.S. to continue imposing such duties on Turkish imports, further imbalancing the bilateral economic relationship. An agreement without Turkey’s participation would negatively impact the U.S.-Turkey overall relationship at a time when common challenges between the two countries demand their close cooperation. While the TTIP will bolster U.S.-EU trade ties, with estimated gains amounting to USD 134 billion a year for the EU and USD 107 billion a year for the U.S., Turkey’s absence from the agreement would be a devastating economic and diplomatic loss for the U.S.
On many levels, the global economic context is highlighting the limitations of our current growth model. Decades of streamlining and efforts to improve processes, methods, structures and expertise have left human reserves depleted. As the demands of the workplace keep rising, men and women are under ever-greater strain, hard-pressed to derive personal fulfillment from their jobs. Alongside this trend is a hesitant acknowledgment that consumerism alone is not enough to provide satisfaction, regardless of income level. Our modern economy, as many theorists have pointed out, has not managed to link growth to happiness. Societies and businesses everywhere are struggling to find new resources to generate more harmonious growth, growth that delivers not just value but also the personal fulfillment that should result from it.
Although we are a long way from having a designated day recognizing acute respiratory infection prevention and awareness, respiratory tract infections come second in the global burden of disease rankings after heart disease and are the second most common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. But, unlike heart disease, acute respiratory tract symptoms account for the vast majority of antibiotic prescriptions. Unfortunately, most of these antibiotic scripts are given empirically, without the proper medical evidence, and are thus unnecessary.
In the US and around the world, job creation has been and continues to be a major focal point of education policy discussions. With unemployment reaching 30-year highs during the Great Recession, this focus seems warranted. As the US and global economies have pulled out of recession and begun to soar, we must not lose sight of the driving force behind the innovation that ensures economic prosperity: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). As a planet, we will confront challenges in the coming decades that will require unprecedented innovation and we need the best and the brightest among us to take on these challenges. We need more STEM graduates to ensure a bright future for generations to come.
Recently, I had the distinct pleasure to participate in the largest U.S. investment summit ever convened, Select USA. Investment delegations from over 70 international markets intermingled with U.S. business representatives all in the name of doing business, building strong networks and creating jobs.
The historic 2015 Summit of the Americas—which included Cuba for the first time—marked the beginning of a much-needed discussion for the countries of our hemisphere: how can we work together to ensure more prosperous and equitable societies? Economic growth and prosperity that privileges exclusively a few people is not only an extremely unfair situation; it also leads to political and social instability that, at the end of the day, affects our societies as a whole. In this sense, the urgency of generating “prosperity with equality”, the theme of the Summit, has become an imperative for all its participants.
Just one week after diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland packed their bags for the long flight home, believing they had scored a decisive victory at the end of marathon nuclear talks with Iran, disagreement emerged over the key takeaways of the resulting Joint Plan of Action. On Thursday, April 9th, Iran released a set of talking points almost perpendicular to a State Department fact sheet sent out a week previously. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei played up the discrepancy, calling for an immediate cessation of sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program while offering no concessions of his own. Just hours earlier, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan rejected the notion that a consensus had been reached at Lausanne, repudiating claims that military site inspections were on the table.
As Russia gears up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War (or as we call in the West, World War II) on May 9, Ukraine’s government seems intent on stirring the pot, with plans to complete the “de-communization” of Ukraine by the Victory Day deadline. The law passed by the Rada on April 9 outlaws communist symbols and elevates controversial anti-Soviet fighters to “national hero” status. What started off as an effort to banish undesired political opponents and bring down statues of Vladimir Lenin and other communist leaders, now appears to have turned into yet another witch-hunt that can only lead to further polarization.
The dynamic interplay between economic and security issues in Europe pose fundamental challenges for the future of the EU. The role of the US proves to be of crucial importance in order for the risk to subside and avert symptoms of a deconstructing Europe. At a time when both EU debtor and creditor countries have been entrapped into a partnership-in-debt that is very difficult to break apart without inflicting mutual damage, the study of both history and international relations reveals that geopolitical matters take precedence over macroeconomic issues. The US strategy for successfully managing EU’s debt crisis in a far from straightforward deteriorating security environment underscore the beginning of a new era in Europe’s economic and security affairs. That being said, as a consequence of the Ukraine crisis, Europe finds itself well positioned as a meeting point between: a) the US quest for developing a solid and durable rebalancing strategy to Asia and all that goes with it for progressively allowing America’s measured disengagement from Europe to take off, b) the necessity of establishing a functional balance of power in Europe to preserve EU’s integration process and deter Russia's new assertiveness, c) the importance of Germany’s regional containment through the emergence of a tripartite partnership with France and Poland under the US security umbrella.
Copyright 2006-2015 The Diplomatic Courier™. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.