Monthly Archives: April 2008

Mugabe! Ye Have Tarried Too Long, Begone!

The ongoing saga of March elections in Zimbabwe continue with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission still insisting it is pursuing the onerous task of counting ballots. But, try as he may to alter reality, Robert Mugabe still can not get the vote count to turn out as he desires. The Electoral Commission says it has once again completed counting parliamentary results and they still indicate the Movement for Democratic Change secured a majority, and “once this process hs been completed, the process of verification of the presidential candidates will commence tomorrow.” Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC insists it it time for the”old man(to)go and have an honourable rest.”

Reality is that counting votes has nothing to do with determining who won or lost the election, the only thing that counts, is for Mugabe to leave and allow a new generation of Zimbabweans dedicated to democracy to assume leadership. In a sense, only one vote counts in this election, that of Robert Mugabe.

Turkish PM Erdogan Mediates In Middle East

The presidency of George Bush has virtually lost all credibility in the Middle East due to its blatant one-sided support for Israel. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, of Turkey, is attempting to step into the American vacuum of power by presenting himself as a neutral mediator who has the respect and confidence of both Israel and Palestinians. He is currently working to establish dialogue between Israel and Syria and might be able to expand his role to embrace a broader agenda dealing with Middle Eastern peace. Israel has close ties with Turkey, and, since Erdogan represents an Islamic party, he has the ability to reach out to diverse Muslim groups in the region as an indvidual who will not enter negotiations with a set agenda but is willing to encourage compromise.

Anaka might be uniquely quality by dint of its acceptability to key players in the region to jump start the Israel-Palestinian negotiations. Israel political leaders trust Erdogan and might be willing to participate in discussions with Hamas if such talks were organized by the Turkish prime minister.

Perhaps, it is time for Condi Rice and Bush to step down and allow Turkey to step up in assuming leadership in the Middle East.

Russia Pushes East As West Pressures Eastward

Putin Russia has been steadily extending its power and influence into areas that broke away from the old Soviet Union just as western powers are exerting pressure on the border of Russia with installation of missile bases. Tension between Russia and Georgia escalated as Russian military forces were deployed in Georgia’s breakaway republic of Abkhazia. There are reports local residents are being forced to swap their ID cards for Russian passports. Russia denied claims its troops were being sent into the Ochamchira region, which is mainly ethnically Georgian.

Georgia wants the expulsion of Russian peace-keeping troops which it believes are fostlering the breakaway republic to sever all ties with Georgia. The United States emphasized its support for Georgia and urged Russia to cease strethening its ties with separatist elements in Georgia.

The ironic aspect of this situation is the blatant attempt by Russia to encourage separatism while, at the same time, condemning the declaration of independence of Kosovo from Serbia on ground it reflected separatism.

A major problem is that Bush has lost all leverage with Russia because of his fight to install missile bases on the border of Russia. Any sensible foreign policy expert would have explained to the president that by pushing Russia and making threats, he was opening the door for Russia to retaliate with its own threats and power plays.

West Launches Attack On Iran-Sends In Barbie!

Iran’s top prosecutor blasted the latest manifestation of Western interference in his nation’s internal affairs–sending Barbie dolls to Iranian children. Iran ranks as the world’s third largest importer of toys, and, apparently, Barbie dolls have dramatically impacted the feelings of Iranian female children. According to Dori Najafabad, a prominent prosecutor, the blond haired, scantily dressed doll has led to “destructive, and total cultural consequences.” He insists the appearance of personalities such as “Barbie, Batman, Spiderman, and Harry Potter… computer games, and movies are all a danger” to the health and security of the Iranian nation.

A local Tehran shopkeeper who sells toys told a Reuters reporter, “Iranians love everything Barbie. I just can’t understand it.” He pointed out Iranian manufacturers have introduced “Sarah,” a nice Muslim little girl who dresses in accordance with Islamic tradition, but, for some reason she simply isn’t making it with Iranian girls.

European Union New Policy On Illegal Immigrants

The European Union will soon announce a new policy that will allow its member states to only detain illegal immigrants for no longer than six months. The EU wants to create a uniform policy that would be applicable throughout the organization. There are an estimated 10 to 12 milliion illegal immigrants in the EU, some of whom work under virtual slave conditions and it was felt there was need for some universality in treatment. The compromise entails a seven-day period for illegal immigrants to voluntarily return home, provides for special facilities for detainees, especially for children and allows non-government organizations access to the illegal immigrants.

As the European Union continues to grown, illegal immigration will only increase in importance as a vital component of its workforce. It certainly makes sense to establish uniform codes of behavior toward these workers.

German Foreign Ministry Report Blasts China!

A new German Foreign Ministry report on China’s human rights situation blasted its leaders for a systemaized process of abusing the rights of those who express disagreement with government policies. Although the report noted some improvement in the human rights situation, it listed criticisms such as laws that are introduced and then ignored for political reasons, holding dissidents in custody for as long as necessary, censoring the media, controlling Internet access, trials held in secret at which defendants are not even provided lelgal representation, torture, lack of freedom of speech, assembly and religion.

Defenders of China will no doubt point to America’s large prison population and its government sanctioned torture program in order to excuse away Chinese behavior. The essential difference is that in America, critics operate freely in the media and on Internet to attack the government for incorrect policies.

Nation Building Builds Nation Building Nation!

It is all too common in examples in which nations undertake to build up another nation that, in the process, those extending benefits may well wind up with more benefits than the object of the benefit. Resentment is building in the Solomon Islands over efforts by Australia to assist in providing security to the population and ensure the Solomon Islands is able to attain higher standards of economic development. A report by the private organziation, AID/Watch, says the $1.3 billion operation by Australia has triggered rapid inflation and inflicted “aid trauma” on the islanders. The economic benefits accruing to aid workers, soldiers, police and contacted companies provides them with strong incentives to keep the process going of building up the Solomon Islands.

About 99% of those assisting in the operation are native born Australians which engenders feeling among the Solomon Islanders the entire operation is geared to ensure foreigners walk away with large economic benefits from aiding people on the islands. The report also notes, after an initial effort to spark development, time has witnessed an ever increasing decline in the clarity of what was the mission really all about. The “plan” never described when it would be completed and how the Australians would gracefully exist the Solomons.

The example of this exercise in futility for the Solomon Islands raises all too familiar similarities to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. If one doesn’t know how or when to exist, is there really a plan?

Olympic Game Fights Erupt In Seoul

The Olympic Torch relay hit the streets of Seoul only to create demonstrations from groups including ethnic Chinese who expressed their pride to North Korean defectors who regard China as a supporter of the oppressive North Korean regime. Han Chang-kwon, head of a union of North Korean defectors, stated bluntly, “I believe China isn’t qualified to hold the Olympics. They’re using the Olympics to send North Koreans back to their country, which is why I came to rally to publicize their in humane actions.”

At one point an angry North Korean attempted to set himself on fire, but was prevented by the police. More than 8,300 police officers were moblized to protect the 22 kilometer Olympic march. Even while Koreans protested against, thousands of Chinese expressed their admiration for China and wanted the world to know they have pride in the Chinese nation.

The Olympics was to be an opportunity for China to enter the world stage as a leading nation in the 21st century. Instead, its actions in Tibet, its crackdown on Chinese dissidents, and its policy of returning fleeing North Koreans back to the oppressive world of North Korea increasingly turn supporters of China into disappointed friends.

Gay Marriage Law Sweeps Gaily Along In Norway

A new poll by the Norwegian newspaper, Vart Land, discovered an overwhelming majority of Norwegians support the proposed law that would allow gay marriage to become legal in their nation. Of those surveyed, 58% expressed support for the new Marriage Act and 31% were opposed. The remainder either were uncertain or had no opinion. Gay activist leader, Jon Reidar Oyan, said: “We in the LLH(Norwegian National Association of Lesbian and Gay Liberation) are very happy such a large majority of the population wish to put an end to the discrimination of homosexuals and our children.”

Strongest support for the measure came from left wing voters while, not surprisingly, the greatest opposition stemmed from more conservative ones. The new act will most probably take effect some time later this year.

Swedish Migration Board Might Migrate To Iraq

The Swedish Migration Board unboubtedly has been spending too much time in Stockholm and might benefit from a trip to the southern climes of hot and dusty Iraq. An Iraqi woman is going to be deported back home where she faces the prospect of being the victim of an honor killing, but, according to the Migration Board, all is well and peaceful in quiet Iraq. The Board has decided that reduction in violence in northern Iraq has been so powerful, that no one is really at risk living in that location. This decision was made against efforts of the Swedish Foreign Ministry and the Red Cross which spoke about the dangers confronting the woman upon arrival in Iraq.

The Migration Board expert on Iraq stated that Iraq authorities can give the woman “reasonably effective protection against criminality.” We suggest a program be initiated to send this gentleman on an all expense free trip to northern Iraq where he can enjoy pleasant strolls through cities without fear of any danger. On the other hand, ducking might be a wiser policy.