Prior focus: Global Views

Robust Peacekeeping – A Desirable Development?

Image: flickr/Irish Defense Forces


This article was originally published by E-International Relations on 2 September, 2014.

A UN-sponsored report recently concluded that more than 191,000 people have now been killed in the Syrian conflict. Commenting on the report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay strongly criticized the Security Council for its inaction. The case of Syria has once again raised the question about the relevance of the UN and its ability to protect civilians. While civilians are being slaughtered on the battlefield, the UN Security Council fails to agree on an appropriate reaction. It may remind us of historical failures of the UN, like in Rwanda and Bosnia. What happened to the promises that “never again” would this happen? » More

The Future of the Organization of American States

Image: Mark Morgan/Flickr

This article was originally published by E-International Relations on 28 August, 2014.

The Organization of American States (OAS) is set to appoint a new Secretary General in 2015. The new leader will replace José Miguel Insulza, of Chile, who will soon finish his second consecutive term. Since the OAS charter states that a Secretary General cannot serve more than two five-year terms, the position will soon be open to a new candidate. Regardless of which Latin American figure is chosen for the position–– Uruguay’s Foreign Minister Luis Almagro and former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein are two recent nominations––the next Secretary General will have the critical responsibility of maintaining the agency’s status as a relevant player in the evolving inter-American system. » More

Prior focus: Our Perspectives

Truce in Mozambique Offers Tentative Peace And a Return to Politics

Mozambique's opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama

Lider da Renamo/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by IPI Global Observatory on 26 August, 2014.

Following months of conciliatory talks, Mozambique’s Frelimo ruling party and the Renamo opposition party agreed to a ceasefire on Sunday, August 24. The deal between the government and the former rebel group formalized a peace agreement brokered between the two parties earlier in the month. It provides for the implementation of a number of measures aimed at finding a binding and peaceful solution to the recent political impasse, ahead of presidential elections due to take place in October. » More

Prior focus: Partner Insights

China’s “Historical Evidence”: Vietnam’s Position on South China Sea

Propaganda poster for Vietnam's maritime claim over the Paracel and Spratly Islands

Ngo Quang Minh/flickr

This article was originally published by RSIS on 27 August, 2014.

In their joint RSIS Commentary entitled “South China Sea Disputes: China has evidence of Historical Claims”, Dr Li Dexia and researcher Tan Keng Tat asserted that “China’s territorial claim is based on centuries of verifiable historical records, long-term use, treaties, international/customary laws plus records from the prodigious sea voyages of the Yuan and Ming dynasties”. I argue, however, that these evidences are unconvincing in the framework of international law. » More

Prior focus: Academic Perspectives

Chávez vs UKIP? How Latin America Has Reinvigorated the European Left

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP

This article was originally published by SPERI on 13 August 2014.

The numbers speak for themselves. Though currently in opposition, both its plurality in European elections and recent polling suggest that Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) will soon become Greece’s largest political force. Only founded in March, Spain’s Podemos (We Can) took five seats and 8 per cent of the vote in May’s European elections. Its support now stands at 15 per cent, compared to 25 per cent apiece for the traditional parties. How did both manage it? Surprisingly, the answer is by emulating the Latin American left. Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has undertaken numerous fact-finding missions to Venezuela over the past decade and considers Hugo Chávez a personal hero. Podemos, meanwhile, was established by a group of longstanding advisors to the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, all based at Madrid’s Universidad Complutense. So central has their experience been that Podemos cite ‘thorough analysis and learning of recent Latin American processes’ as one cornerstone of their approach. » More

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