Left Forum 2010 is off to an insanely, if not chaotic, positive start. It’s a beautiful day in downtown New York City. The bright sunshine outside is apparent in the bright ideas echoing through the halls of Pace University, and on the bright and cheery attidues of the many attendees.
I haven’t done a count, but the heft of the printed program indicates there are dozens upon dozens of panels happening throughout the weekend, stacked with hundreds of panelists, as well as a book fair, exhibition hall, art show, theater performances and the requisite motley crew of pamphleteers.
One of my earliest memories of foreign affairs from my childhood was the brief war between Argentina and Great Britain over the small, wind-swept Falkland Islands in 1982. In response to the Argentine seizure of the islands, which they call Islas Malvinas and claim as their own, the British sent a naval flotilla halfway around the world to retake them. Without GPS, YouTube, broadband satellite uplinks or any of the other tools of modern journalism, I remember watching the progress of the British fleet on the nightly news as a red dot on a map slowly, very slowly, making its way down the length of the Atlantic Ocean towards the Falklands.
For policymakers seeking an entry-point to engage the Middle East in dialogue, there may be an opening created by the apparent disillusionment of many ME societies with both Islamist groups and Muslim leaders.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev covered a lot of ground in his annual state-of-the-nation address on Thursday, but the after-speech reports were dominated by talk of time zones, YouTube clips and the body language of Vladimir Putin.
It was all suppose to turn out so differently. The Orange Revolution, was suppose to be the birth of a true and lasting democracy in Ukraine, a peaceful uprising in late 2004 against what were widely seen as rigged presidential elections. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians took to Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (“Independence Square”) and in similar places around the country with a simple demand – to have their votes fairly counted. A young, Western-leaning president was swept into office in what has held up as an example of people power to all the pseudo-democracies o
By now you’ve likely heard that there will be a run-off election in Afghanistan between the current President Hamid Karzai and his former Foreign Minister, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.
An email from the PEN American Center on the plight of recently arrested Liu Xiaobo says, "Recently we learned that Liu is going to be tried on charges that could result in a 15-year prison term. I am now asking you to add your voice to the chorus of Liu’s supporters around the world by sending a letter to Chinese authorities protesting the charges and urging his immediate release." Liu is one of the originators of Charter 08, a document calling for greater openness, democracy, and respect for human rights in China.