Italy’s Changing Foreign Policy

By Piero Ignazi (for Safe Democracy)

Piero Ignazi explains how Italian foreign policy has changed since the election of Romano Prodi as Prime Minister. While Berlusconi was in office, Italy found little support among its European counterparts, and turned to the United States as one of its only allies in the international relations. But now, with a shift in leadership from center-right to center-left, Italy has pulled out of Iraq, criticized Guantanamo, and even begun to question its continuing involvement in Afghanistan. The relationship between Italy and the United States will never be the same.

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North Korea’s Most Recent Provocation

By Fernando Delage (for Safe Democracy)

Fernando Delage discusses how the North Korean launch of intercontinental missiles (this past July 4th) was an attempt to intimidate the world community. The missile launch shows that the economic sanctions placed upon Kim Jong-Il‘s regime are working, and that the dictator has little to lose in terms of international punishments. Delage explains why North Korea wanted to draw attention with the launch, how the attack has only served to isolate the country more from the international community, and how the Bush Administration has been left with few other options but to continue with multilateral negotiations.

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Getting Nowhere in the Middle East

By Mario Sznajder (for Safe Democracy)

In Mario Sznajder‘s view, the current Israeli policy of not negotiating with terrorists is completely irrational, and is leaving both sides with heavy losses. Seeing as how a military solution would only perpetuate the cycle, Sznajder believes that the only way to end the violence wracking the Middle East is to open careful negotiations between both sides with the help and guidance of Egypt. The Egyptians have been doing considerable work in order to liberate Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas, and to end the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip. Let Olmert believe what he wants, the rest of the world recognizes that negotiation is the only real way for Israel and Palestine to put an end to violence once and for all.

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The Peronism of Kirchner and Chavez

By Martin Varsavsky

Martin Varsavsky questions the Argentinean public’s support of Hugo Chavez, attributing it to a juvenile tendency to blame foreign powers (whether the United States, Spain, or Chile) for Argentina‘s problems. Varsavsky believes that Chavez is nothing more than a peronist leader, incapable of helping his country to develop economically or socially, and that Nestor Kirchner‘s partnership with Venezuela will lead to inevitable failure. Argentina would do better to model itself after Chile or Spain, poor countries that have been able to raise themselves up and prosper. It must learn that there are no magic formulas for success as a nation. In order to progress, the Argentinean people must accept the complexity of progress and work towards better education, tolerance, and greater maturity in their governmental decisions.

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Disbanding Colombia’s Paramilitary Groups

By Aldo Civico (for Safe Democracy)

Aldo Civico analyzes the three major contributors to the ongoing crisis between the Colombian government and paramilitary leaders: the economic structuring of the paramilitary groups, the continuation of narco-trafficking, and the involvement of Colombian armed forces in narco-trafficking. Civico criticizes the demobilization process and emphasizes the importance of the rule of law in reaching a solution. A safer, more just democracy in Colombia is possible.

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Álvaro Uribe’s (Non-Populist) Popularity

By José Luis Gómez Garavito (for Safe Democracy)

There are many explanations for Álvaro Uribe‘s recent electoral success in Colombia, but the most relevant, José Luis Gómez explains, is that Colombia reelected Uribe because of a common concern for security. Gómez Garavito explains how the vote for Uribe was neither a vote of punishment, nor desperation, but rather a vote of trust for a popular president. Despite all of his critics, Uribe has managed to avoid the empty rhetoric of Populism in order to broaden, and yet concentrate his power in Colombian politics.

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Africa, Between Natural Riches and Misery

By Sagrario Morán (for Safe Democracy)

Sagrario Morán explains that although Africa is one of the richest continents on earth in natural resources, it is the one most plagued by violence, war, and human rights violations. In Morán‘s opinion there are both external and internal causes to Africa‘s trouble. Externally these issues arise from the foreign interference of colonialism and big business, while internally conflict stems from constant civil war, negligence in government, corruption, and ethnic, racial, and religious hatred. And yet, through all of the suffering that the continent has undergone, Morán believes that with intelligent planning, strategic development, and solidarity, a bright future can be achieved in Africa.

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Russia in the face of the Iranian Nuclear Crisis

By Mercedes Herrero de la Fuente (for Safe Democracy)

Mercedes Herrero explains the motivations behind Russia‘s moderate stance towards Iran in its bid to harness nuclear energy. Despite US and EU criticism, Russia has acted with great reserve in condemning Iran, for various reasons. Economically, Iran‘s move towards nuclear weapons could be quite lucrative for Russia, and politically, Russia is using the crisis to gain international power as a world player. Yet, if the situation were to worsen, and Mahmud Ahmadineyad were to become even more radical, Moscow would be one of the principal nations in danger of the Iranian threat, and may be one of the firsts to suffer if Teheran obtained nuclear missiles.

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The complex triangle between Syria, Israel and Hamas

By George E. Irani (for Safe Democracy)

George E. Irani analyzes previous conflicts in the Middle East emphasizing the power that Syria holds in influencing Israeli-Palestinian relations. Irani views Syria as a possible instigator for the violent actions of Hamas, and the Bashar Assad regime as a major source of conflict in Palestine. The coming days will be important in determining how the delicate balance of power in the Middle East plays out. Irani explains the complex relationship between Ehud Olmert, Bashar Assad and Hamas.

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