The internet was an experiment that got loose, Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google and one of the “Fathers of the Internet”, told comedy talk show host Stephen Colbert in July. He said, “There are about 3 billion people online now. Every time they come up with new ways of using the internet, we all learn something from that.”
Ukrainian Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ihor Prokopchuk, announced mid-day on Thursday that Ukrainian forces had “registered a direct invasion by the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine.” Three hours after this announcement, as Ukraine claimed large scale movement by Russian infantry and mechanized divisions, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was convened to hold an emergency meeting on the Ukraine crisis.
It is curious that those leading oppressive and corrupt regimes fail to realize that they carry the seeds of their own destruction, if not for themselves then for their offspring. These regimes are properly castigated for their impact on individuals, but their disrespect for the Rule of Law permeates the whole culture of such a country. When government does not obey rules, the people come to believe that rules do not matter. And if rules do not matter, then people are free to behave as they wish. The result is chaos and an existence in which the powerful are free to prey on the vulnerable. All of which leads to an erosion in fundamental elements of human conditions such as employment, education, and housing.
Much has been said in the press of the dreaded threat of ‘cyber warfare’, but little detail or clarity has given dimension to this threat of sinister activity. Comments from the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence Phillip Hammond such as, “It’s a new capability… we should explore the boundaries of it,” do little to reassure us that world politicians are imbued with the necessary understanding of this emerging threat. It is necessary for governments to recognize and fully understand the consequences of this hazard, so they can proactively formulate sanctions and policy that need to be developed by the international community.
During the first week of August, leaders from 50 African states met in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Realizing the potential profitability of investment and multilateral trade relationships with Africa, countries outside of the continent, including and especially China, are increasingly competing for a piece of the pie.
The United States has long held the reputation of protector of the “Free World,” promoting democratic ideals and the rule of law globally. But today, the United States is a shy mediator in the midst of disarray and the world order is beginning to reflect it.
Europe and Asia have never had the easiest of partnerships, but recently the European Union has been trying to enhance its ties with the continent via its own “Pivot to Asia.” Though distractions have somewhat diminished Europe’s high-profile engagement with Asia, the EU is making progress with its less visible diplomatic endeavors. They are not making headlines, but these efforts can only be beneficial for EU-Asia relations.
On August 24th, Ukraine marks its independence for the 23rd time. During all these years we have been happy to say that regardless of any political contradictions, we have managed to preserve our independence and territorial integrity without any bloodshed inside the country or an external war. But this year has changed a lot.
Each year, the Institute for Economics and Peace releases the Global Peace Index, which determines numerical rankings of peacefulness between nations around the globe. The Index is based on three main determinants, of which there are many subcategories: the level of safety and security in the society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarization. Beyond that, the nations are ranked according to 22 quantitative and qualitative assessments of peace, including weapons imports and exports, levels of organized conflict, incarceration rates, and the number of armed service personnel occupying a nation, among many others.
With just under 500 days remaining until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, countries are pushing to achieve and exceed all of the goals. Yet, despite our best efforts, our work will not be done when 2015 ends.
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