Years ago I met Ade, a farmer living just beyond the city of Ibadan, Nigeria. Ade was cultivating a small, sparsely planted plot with a baby on her back and three other visibly undernourished older children standing nearby. Her efforts to grow an improved soybean variety, which could have improved her children’s diet, had failed because she lacked the time to tend to the new crop and could not afford to hire labor.
As we bear witness to a steadfast “rise of the rest” within the global marketplace, Nigeria has proven to be not simply geopolitically ambitious, but also boasts a competitive advantage early in the contest.
The United States' relationship with Burma has long been defined by a “carrot and stick” approach. However over the course of the Obama administration’s first and second term, the stick seems to be disappearing, even as Burma stalls and regresses in its promises for reform. Sectarian conflict has flared up once again and is threatening to reignite strife throughout western Burma.
President Obama has had a busy week in New York dealing with U.S. policy concerning Iran and Syria at the United Nations General Assembly. Egypt and the Middle East are likely to emerge as topics further complicating his schedule. Yet it is the visit later in the week in Washington with Prime Minister Singh of India that could be the most important meeting for Obama’s “rebalance to Asia” strategy and presidential legacy for his foreign policy. India is the lynchpin for democracy in South Asia. Its economic recovery can help the U.S. job market, and the U.S.-India strategic partnership proactively promotes the dual goals of non-proliferation and counterterrorism.
I remember asking my good friend, Glen Smith, Member of Parliament for the Devonshire North West Constituency in Bermuda, how he won a Parliamentary seat which was held by then-Premier of Bermuda and Leader of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party (PLP), Paula Cox. (The PLP held office in Bermuda for 14 years until One Bermuda Alliance won the national election in December 2012.) Glen’s response was almost too simple to be true—he spent weeks listening to constituents, understanding their needs, and embracing their vision for life in Bermuda. Glen knew what was on the minds of the electorate and this knowledge formed the basis of his leadership agenda. In the never-ending election cycle of modern U.S. politics, we often see politicians catering to voters—at least, the voters in their bloc. Yet Glen’s inclusive approach to representing all of his constituents is increasingly rare. And in many corners of the world, this level of responsiveness to the people is practically unheard of.
As the U.S. debates whether to stand with the Syrian opposition and confront the atrocities committed by the murderous Assad regime in Syria this week, the Iranian regime is using Iraqi forces as proxies to massacre its own opposition–the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI)–at Camp Ashraf. The facility, in Diyala province north of Baghdad, is home to approximately one hundred Iranian dissidents.
Malala Yousafzai’s inspiring address at the United Nations earlier this year will not soon be forgotten. Dominating headlines around the world, Malala—the young Pakistani education activist who was shot by the Taliban last October—shone the spotlight on what has been labeled an “education emergency.” In doing so, Malala drew attention to the fact that 57 million children still go through life without a basic primary education.
It has been said that the Balkan region produces more history than can be consumed locally. Much of the world would prefer to forget the bloody breakup of former Yugoslavia, if only to escape the competing versions of history that members of the various communities seem so inordinately fond of reciting.
“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” President Obama, 2009
“I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security, and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.” President Obama, 2013
When the United Nations Security Council adopted the Resolution 1325 in 2000, it was the first time the Security Council firmly placed the role and rights of women on the international security agenda. This represented a significant political shift, progressively reiterated by four other resolutions that have supplemented the original. The Resolutions 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960—better known as “the related resolutions”—provide support for Resolution 1325 and concrete areas for implementation.
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