Monday, May 12, 2008

World News Roundup (Gordon Brown for President)

  • Why is Myanmar refusing outside aid while its population is decimated by the recent disaster? So foreigners don't see the widescale genocide.
  • Zimbabwe has been a humanitarian crisis for a decade. Mugabe has refused to release last month's election results, and is calling for a runoff election, while his supporters use violence to intimidate or kill supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai. The Court has ordered that the results of last months election do not need to be released before the recount (a win for Mugabe), but that 200 Tsvangirai supporters should be freed from jails around the country (a win for the opposition). The fact Tsvangirai supporters were systematically imprisoned is worrisome, but the courts of the country might actually steer Zimbabwe towards real change. Our role has been to ask why the rest of Africa hasn't stepped up to fix their neighbor yet. (Meanwhile, we might be responsible for a civil war in Mexico).
  • China still doesn't have free speech. (Go figure.) In the Atlantic last month, Fallows reported on the Chinese Internet situation, how the Great Firewall is evolving over time. He noted that "Chinese citizens... risk financial or criminal punishment for criticizing the system or even disclosing how it works." Zakaria has a few of his own comments on where China could do better.

Has anyone realized what needs to be done, aside from maybe Gordon Brown? That's not surprising, though, the British Prime Minister is historically the Cassandra figure in international politics. What could make anyone listen this time?

UPDATE: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner seems to get it (excellent FP link there, highly recommended piece). Last week, Kouchner suggested...
...that the international community and the UN are obligated to intervene in Burma, regardless of the wishes of the military junta, in accordance with the "Responsibility to Protect", or R2P, as outlined by the UN at the General Assembly in 2005. The concept asserts that the international community is obligated to intervene in cases where states fail to protect their populations from "genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.