Posted on 16 September 2012 by Nicholas Hughes
In the very same week that the diplomatic outposts of advanced democracies have come under sustained attack from the thuggish agents of monoculturalism, the Scottish devolved and British national governments have finally announced the creation of a draft agreement on the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Where the former incidents represent an assault upon the principles of individual liberty and genuine multiculturalism around which many modern states are erected, the latter may be one step on the path to a dissolution of the type of society by which they are sustained.
If this strikes as somewhat hyperbolic, then it is only because the ethical content of territorial secession is a relatively under-examined issue in International Relations – misted as the matter is by the heat of national passion. For invidious characters like Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, the conclusion that the separation of populations is a necessity often seems to withstand the absence of first premises. The self-righteousness of nationalists, and their motif of victimhood, tends to overshadow any attempt to properly examine the coherence of their narrative. Continue reading “The ethics of Scottish secession: tales from an imagined community” »
Posted on 20 August 2012 by Katherine Abraham
Offering political asylum to Julian Assange seems to be one of the seven deadly sins for the Ecuadoreans currently. Ecuador has decided to grant political asylum to the 41 year old Wikileaks founder who is wanted by the Swedish government on charges of sexual assault. He has been forewarned by the British government that he will be extradited the minute he leaves the confines of the Ecuadorean embassy office.
The UK and the US have reacted rather sharply to this move by Ecuador. However, several lesser known facts about the case account for Ecuador being able to back Assange. According to the CIA Factbook, Ecuador does not rely on dealings with the European states for much of its economic activity. In fact, even trade with the United States of America does not account for the majority of the Ecuadorian income. The Ecuadorian economy slowed to 0.4% growth in 2009 during the global recession and due to the sharp decline in world oil prices along with remittance flows. Continue reading “Ecuador kicks up a British storm” »
Posted on 16 August 2012 by Nicholas Hughes
UK/ECUADOR – The Ecuadorian foreign ministry has reacted angrily to suggestions that the UK government may “storm” its London embassy in an attempt to arrest Julian Assange – the Wikileaks founder who faces allegations of rape and an extradition to Sweden. Although the former has not ruled formally on Mr Assange’s request for asylum, its response to the British government suggests that it may yet be granted out of a desire not to be seen to back down. The British, for their part, claim that provisions in the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 allow them to enter diplomatic premises in pursuit of those in violation of their bail. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-19259623
OIC – In spite of the protestations of Iran, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has voted to suspend the membership of Syria, citing the continuing violence being inflicted by the government against insurgents. The leadership of Saudi Arabia, which sponsored the initiative and hosted the event, had made attempts at conciliation with Iran, only to be rebuffed on the Syrian issue. Likewise, Saudi Arabia’s attempt to encourage military support for rebel forces was met with a muted response. http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=281394&R=R3
IRAN – According to an Iranian news agency, a number of “personalities” within the regime have issued a letter to Supreme Leader Khamenei calling upon him to dilute the powers of President Ahmadinejad. The President, who from 2013 will begin his final year in office, is a divisive figure even in Iran – criticised for his handling of the economy as much as for foreign policy. It has long been rumored that the Supreme Leader will seek to abolish the role of President, to be replaced with a premiership less likely to conflict with clerical authority. http://www.rferl.org/content/iran-reports-of-khamenei-being-lobbied-to-curb-outgoing-president/24678643.html
THAILAND – The Thai government is reported to be conducting informal peace talks with some of the Islamic insurgent groups operating in the South. With an estimated 9000 militants operating in the region bordering Malaysia, the country has for some time experienced a violence that has cost the lives of thousands of Buddhists and Muslims alike. http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/RestOfAsia/Thailand-holds-peace-talks-with-Muslim-militants/Article1-914365.aspx
Posted on 18 July 2012 by Luke.Middup
The United Kingdom Government has outlined plans for the size and structure of the British Army after 2020. Its proposals were driven at least in part by the need to rationalise a Defence budget £38 billion in the red at the same time as trying to save additional money to contribute towards reducing the UK’s budget deficit.
The plan drawn up under the supervision of Lieutenant General Nick Carter, a man widely tipped to be the future Chief of Staff of the Army or possibly even Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), essentially splits the Army into two distinct forces. The first of these would be a reaction force of a Division consisting of three Brigades. Each Brigade would consist of one armoured and two mechanised Infantry Regiments. There would also be a separate airborne/air-assault Brigade.
In addition, there would be one mechanised Infantry Battlegroup and one airborne Battlegroup maintained on 48-hour readiness to deploy supported by two Regiments of the Army Air Corps’ Apache Attack Helicopter Force. It is envisaged that the reaction force could deploy a Brigade-sized element into the field within three months and the entire Division could be deployed for a period of up to 12 months.
Continue reading “UK defence: the Army of the future” »
Posted on 23 April 2012 by Iram Ramzan
Earlier this week, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told a news conference that the $3.2 billion lending program for Egypt “will not be sufficient, and everybody knows that, so it will require other donors, other participants to also come to the table to help Egypt”.
Continue reading “Saudi financial package to Egypt exposes influence of the Kingdom” »
Christine Lagarde (c) World Economic Forum
Posted on 21 April 2012 by Nicholas Hughes
By Emma Wallace
Throughout this week I have been attending the rape and sexual abuse case against Ven. Pahalagama Somaratana – chief monk of Selsdon Buddhist Temple in London – at Isleworth Crown Court.
To give a bit of context: Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, and there is controversy over the fact that many Buddhist monks are now dipping their toes into political matters on the island.
Hardly any media faction is touching this story in Sri Lanka, so when I was asked by a newspaper called The Sunday Leader, and the BBC, to attend court I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity. A parallel can perhaps be drawn between this case and those against priests who were accused of child abuse in Catholic-majority countries recently. Continue reading “London-based Sri Lankan monk faces sex abuse allegations” »
Posted on 23 March 2012 by Mitch Barltrop
Editor’s Note: Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the G8 & G20 Youth Summit, Mitch Barltrop, moots the notion of whether negativity should be allowed to reign over positivity in international relations. Does it do a world of good?
‘Dignity, health, and prosperity’. Those were the key tenets to Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama’s keynote article in last week’s Washington Post. Their joint declaration proclaimed nothing new. The Anglo-American relationship remains special, perhaps most virulently in the field of foreign affairs.
Continue reading “Negativity: does it do a world of good?” »
Posted on 11 March 2012 by Iram Ramzan
At a time when Europe is experiencing an economic crisis and record unemployment, it should be natural for politicians seeking election (or re-election) to address such issues, which are a priority for many French people.
Instead, President Sarkozy has decided to focus on halal/kosher meat and foreigners in France, saying, “Our system of integration is working increasingly badly, because we have too many foreigners on our territory and we can no longer manage to find them accommodation, a job, a school”.
Sarkozy’s close ally and interior minister, Claude Guéant, added to the controversy, saying that if foreign residents were given the right to vote for local councillors – as mooted by the left – halal food options could become “obligatory” in school canteens. Continue reading “Prying Eye: President Sarkozy, national identity and the scapegoat of immigration” »
Posted on 20 February 2012 by Peeping Tom
More than 2,000 British armed forces reservists are being called up to boost security for the 2012 London Olympics.
The UK Government said 2,100 personnel will be called up, as part of 13,500 military staff to be on duty during the busiest periods of sporting action.
The Ministry of Defence said it would select reservists with “supportive employers” to minimise the impact of their deployment on businesses.
An MoD statement read: “Some reservists will provide a range of specialist capabilities and expertise, while the majority will form part of the support to Olympic venue security operations.
“Defence will continue to apply its policy of intelligent selection, designed to identify, in good time, volunteer reservists with supportive employers with the training, skills and availability in order to minimise the impact of mobilisation upon the individual, their family and employer.”
Posted on 12 February 2012 by Bleddyn E. Bowen
The Argentine government has taken an official complaint to the UN accusing the UK of militarising the South Atlantic and dispatching HMS Vanguard (a nuclear-armed submarine, or SSBN) to the region.
(c) George Hutchinson
Whether or not this is mere inflammatory rhetoric played for certain audiences, the strategic ignorance portrayed in such accusations is extraordinary. Putting the issue of who should own the islands aside, the absurdity of the nuclear and militarisation claims is obvious with the most rudimentary understandings of nuclear and naval strategy. Continue reading “The Falklands: Argentine rhetoric and strategic ignorance” »