A U.N. Plan for Israel

Posted by , 14th December 2010

Palestine - Israel conflictRobert Wright
12/14/2010

If there is no two-state solution to the situation between Israel and Palestine, Israel has two poor choices: give Palestinians the vote in occupied territories while the Arab birth rate makes Israeli Jews a minority or continue to deny the vote to Arabs, moving Israel toward global pariah status and giving terrorists propaganda to feed their calls for war. Wright says there is a third solution: have the United Nations create a Palestinian state now as it did a Jewish state. Although it would be tricky, it is better than the current state of affairs between Israel and Palestine.

Wright blogs for The New York Times on culture, politics, and world affairs.

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In Britain, outrage without a thoughtful outlet

Posted by , 14th December 2010

Great BritainAnne Applebaum
12/14/2010

Unlike their stoic acceptance of government spending cuts this fall, disgruntled British citizens took to the streets several times over the past month and engaged in riotous vandalism, presumably in response to raised university tuition rates. A younger generation feels no nostalgia for the austere postwar years. Applebaum suggests there is resentment on the part of young people whose baby boomer parents enjoyed free university tuition and other benefits from taxpayers. The British protests are similar to those that occurred in Greece two years ago, perhaps due in part to both countries lacking an “organized political outlet” through which to vent their grievances.

Applebaum is a weekly columnist for The Post, writing on foreign affairs.

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Health reform will survive its legal fight

Posted by , 14th December 2010

HospitalEric Holder and Kathleen Sibelius
12/14/2010

Various suits are challenging the constitutionality of health care reform and particularly the provision that those who are able to afford coverage must purchase an insurance policy. Uninsured citizens currently add approximately $1000 per year to insured individuals’ rates through their burden on the health care system. Without mandating basic coverage, the other provisions, including those for persons with pre-existing conditions, will not be feasible.

Holder is the attorney general of the United States. Sebelius is secretary of health and human services.

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Drawing a Line in the Water

Posted by , 13th December 2010

Lee Myung-bakSelig S. Harrison and John H. Cushman
12/13/2010

The North Korean shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island was just the latest act in a long series of naval clashes between the two Koreas resulting from a dispute over the Yellow Sea boundary imposed by the United Nations forces. The authors say to end the dispute the United States should redraw the sea boundary, called the Northern Limit Line, moving it slightly to the south. They show how President Obama has this authority as a result of a 1950 United Nations Security Council resolution. This would help defuse tensions and keep the peace and can help lead to the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and establishing diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Harrison, the author of “Korean Endgame,” is the director of the Asia program at the Center for International Policy. Cushman, a retired Army lieutenant general, commanded the United States-South Korean First Corps Group from 1976 to 1978.

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What’s Wrong With Spain?

Posted by , 13th December 2010

José María AznarJosé Maria Aznar
12/13/2010

Spain faces its worst political crisis and a critical economic situation, writes Aznar. Now at the center of Europe’s financial turmoil, just six years ago Spain was creating six out of 10 new euro-zone jobs, its government accounts were in surplus, and public debt was decreasing swiftly. Yet today investors are assigning the highest default risks to the Spanish government’s debt since it entered the euro zone. In the social sphere, the situation is distressing. Aznar explains that Spain’s crisis is rooted in decisions to encourage regional divisions and to abandon successful market-based policies. He concludes that with a new national political project and the implementation of the appropriate policies, Spain can recover confidence in itself.

Aznar is the former prime minister of Spain (1996-2004).

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Block Those Metaphors

Posted by , 13th December 2010

Congress USAPaul Krugman
12/13/2010

The Obama-McConnell tax-cut deal will probably pass Congress, with both good and bad elements. Krugman says the deal will boost the economy in the short-term but isn’t addressing the heart of the problem. Highly indebted Americans are paying down their debts and not spending in while others who can spend are not spending more. To solve our nation’s economic problems, the government should be spending more while the private sector is spending less to support employment while debts are being paid down. This is a form of stimulus, which will be expensive but is worth it if it is done well and rights the economy. The tax deal will likely not give the nation much “bang for the buck,” he says, and the country will be having this conversation again in 2012.

Krugman is a New York Times columnist.

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An Obama foreign policy win in South Sudan

Posted by , 10th December 2010

Michael Gerson
12/10/2010

The new independence of South Sudan is a diplomatic success worth celebrating. After the Obama administration offered the Khartoum regime (the Muslim north of Sudan) a series of incentives called “the road map,” the regime agreed to allow southern Sudan to “go quietly.” The bipartisan nature of this pending diplomatic solution is worth noting: the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was begun in 2005 under the Bush administration, and helped create a unified national government in Sudan and guaranteed an “independence referendum” for south Sudan in 2011. That referendum will be voted on this January 9, with many southern Sudanese who now live in Khartoum returning to their home region to vote. Of course there will be challenges as the newly independent South Sudan becomes a nation, but this successful venture shows how government officials can do a great deal of good in the world.

Gerson is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in the Washington Post.

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A case for trying pirates before a U.N. tribunal

Posted by , 9th December 2010

piratesDavid B. Rivkin Jr. and Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky
12/9/2010

International law classifies pirates as “enemies” of all mankind, but developed countries have been reticent to try and convict pirates, choosing instead to funnel suspects to Kenya for legal action. But the Kenyan government is running out of funding for the large number of prosecutions, and the international community needs to develop a comprehensive framework for dealing with piracy. The authors suggest an international tribunal by the United Nations as a long-term solution, and they believe that Washington should be a legal and military leader in the effort to secure the freedom of the seas.

Rivkin, a Washington lawyer, served in the Justice Department and the White House counsel’s office in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. Ramos-Mrosovsky is a New York-based attorney whose practice focuses on international and federal litigation.

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China’s Global War on Human Rights

Posted by , 9th December 2010

zhongnanhaiJamie F. Metzl
12/9/2010

Wherever human rights are massively abused today, China is the main protector of the abusing government, writes Metzl. Beijing is promoting a world-wide rejection of postwar international norms. This is in part because China’s concept of sovereignty stands in sharp contrast to the norms of the human rights system. And China’s rise poses challenges to the international community’s ability to effectively confront rights abusers. Metzl concludes that those unlucky souls around the world who find their rights massively abused by their own governments can, thanks largely to China, expect little or no help from foreign states.

Metzl, the executive vice president of Asia Society, served in the State Department during the Clinton administration and as a United Nations human rights officer in Cambodia.

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