This blog comes out of a desire to encourage others (and myself) to take a step back from our tired debates over policies of protection and humanitarian issues and begin a new dialogue. These exhausted debates have a tendency to drown out the humanness of such matters, clouding our vision, and allowing us to forget our purpose and responsibility to each other as neighbors. It seems that we as an international community all too often lose sight of what ought to inform our actions and interactions: our shared humanity. It is my hope that this blog will offer a perspective which attempts to find the humanity in the midst of politics and power, and considers how we might use the latter to protect the former.
In 1992, the United States became involved in UNOSOM, a Chapter VII humanitarian mission in Somalia. The original goal of our participation in this mission was to ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to a suffering Somali population. As a part of Operation Restore Hope, we began to focus in on the capture of General Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid, a wanted Somali warlord.
This summer, the International Criminal Court makes its way to prime time television. The new show Crossing Lines comes from the writer and executive producer of both Criminal Minds and Third Watch. An international police drama, Crossing Lines focuses on a global team of police working with the ICC to track down the world’s worst criminals.
From surveillance tool to weapon of war, drones have quickly captured the attention of the world. Most notably used by the U.S. military in Pakistan as a part of the “War on Terror”, many have come to only see the violent side of this technology. In some circles, the word drone has become synonymous with civilian casualties. With the number of civilian deaths, it is hard to argue against this view.
As I write this post, North Korea has declared martial law in preparation for nuclear testing. My cynical side wonders when the people of North Korea aren’t under martial law, but even so this move shows Kim Jong Un’s expectation that the international community will retaliate for the unauthorized tests.
"America's reputation suffers, and our ability to bring about change is constrained when we are perceived as idle in the face of mass atrocities and genocide." - Presidential Study Directive 10, April 4, 2011
While no official announcement has been made as of yet, it has become clear that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice is likely to be President Obama's pick to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. What many, including myself, initially saw as an obvious choice and a candidate who would glide through confirmation, has become a point of contention among a select group of Republican Lawmakers.
Whilst we all watched perhaps the most pointless debate in presidential history last week, I found myself wondering whether there will actually be any real substance to any of these debates. Has political theater taken total control of the American political process? I mean, yes, I support Big Bird and I had a good laugh tracking Twitter during the debate, but at what point do the candidates get serious and move from offering sound bites and zingers to actually talking about and debating the real issues? There are important decisions to be made by the next president, and the American public deserves real discourse about them.
Known on Twitter simply by the hashtag #SudanRevolts, the protests that erupted in Khartoum nearly a month ago now do not seem to be fading. In fact, the movement is gaining momentum, with those involved hoping to finally see real change in the country. Calling for the removal of current President Omar al-Bashir (among other demands), the movement’s goals are ambitious to say the least. Yet as daunting as it may seem, success is crucial both for the people of Sudan and their new neighbor South Sudan.