U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
Reading the various reports coming out of South Sudan this week, it is still difficult to be sure what exactly happened and what this outbreak of violence means for the future of the country. It remains to be seen whether this was a plotted coup attempt, or a retaliatory response that has escalated. What we do know is that in the country’s capital city of Juba, approximately 500 were killed and over 700 were injured in a matter of a few days.
The decision to use force, in political contexts, deserves to be held to the highest evidentiary standards. While it is certain that a chemical attack against Syrian civilians occurred on August 21, the authors of the attack have not been definitively (and independently) identified. That is a minor irrelevance, however, to the U.S. and its traditional allies (Britain and France), who reserve the right to threaten and posture in ways contrary to international law.
It was barely over a month ago that newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power gave her first public address as Ambassador. She chose to do so at the Invisible Children Fourth Estate Leadership Summit, speaking to young activists.
Power gave an impassioned address to the young crowd, calling on their new breed of activism.
“...we need your positive moral vision more than ever.
When speaking about international development, one may envision a starving child rustling under the brush of a deserted paramilitary compound somewhere in East Africa, his life forever changed as rations are first delivered to the village. Or, maybe the vision is of a young Pakistani girl, ripe with potential, experiencing her first year in grade school following its construction. These images proliferate not only in the media and ad campaigns seeking our donation dollars, but in the psyche of the West, its history beholden to histories of colonial legacy.
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.
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.
While the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) has been gaining traction, particularly with its recent implementation in Libya, the international community is still a far cry from actualizing the doctrine's true potential. Beyond the obvious difficulty of motivating states into a coordinated action, there are additional factors that continually block the implementation of R2P in particular and civilian protection in general.
by Taylor Hom
On Halloween, the United Nations Population Division reported the world’s population had reached seven billion. But as global population soars, many governments and communities struggle to accommodate rapid urban growth. People flock to cities as refugees of conflict, victims of natural disasters, or seekers of job opportunities. In 2008, for the first time in world history, more people lived in cities than in rural areas, and today, nearly one billion live in urban slums with that number projected to double by 2030.