The flag of the African Union. Image: wikimedia
This article was originally published by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on 12 June 2015.
A Solemn Declaration at the 50th anniversary of the African Union (AU) in 2013 outlined the vision to ‘end all wars in Africa by 2020’. However, prospects for ‘silencing the guns’ are fast eroding. With only five years remaining, no significant progress has been made.
The success of Vision 2020 is also crucial for achieving Agenda 2063 – the AU’s ambitious development plan that seeks to transform Africa into a prosperous, integrated, well-governed and peaceful continent by 2063.
Achieving Vision 2020 depends on Africa’s ability to successfully tackle the root causes of conflicts, putting an end to impunity and eradicating piracy, and also whether it manages to combat extremism, armed rebellions, terrorism, transnational organised crime and cybercrime. The AU is yet to roll out a comprehensive plan with targeted deadlines on how to eliminate these issues at various levels. This raises concerns about how serious the organisation is about accomplishing what many would see as an impossible task. » More
The crew of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) loads boxes of food and water into helicopters during humanitarian aid missions to Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia. Image: Tyler J. Clements/Wikimedia
This article was originally published by Harvard International Review on 11 March, 2015.
Public opinion on United States foreign aid varies widely depending on who is being asked. However, one domestic opinion on the matter is clear: we spend too much on foreign aid. In a 2013 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans wanted to either maintain or increase spending for almost all US government initiatives. Foreign aid was the only exception. Facing a national debt of more than sixteen trillions while news of humanitarian initiatives in foreign nations proliferate, it is not surprising that so many Americans believe the US should be cutting back on foreign aid. However, much of this sentiment is based on an ongoing misconception — the majority of Americans believes the US government spends 28 percent of its federal budget on foreign aid. In reality, foreign aid accounts for only 0.7 percent. Military aid, which is accounted for separately, makes up another 0.5 percent. » More
Pakistani children play with a toy helicopter at Jabba Farm tent village in Shinkiari, Pakistan, Nov. 21, 2005. Image: US Navy/Wikimedia
This article was originally published on 2 March 2015 by New Security Beat, the blog of the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) at the Wilson Center.
In 2009, the U.S. Congress passed a five-year, $7.5 billion aid package for a country it had all but abandoned just 10 years earlier. Indeed, if one word can summarize the U.S. relationship with Pakistan, “volatile” might be it. Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. has appropriated nearly $61 billion in aid to Pakistan – more than twice what it received since independence in 1947.
Though some remaining funds may still be disbursed, the latest round of aid came to a close last September amid growing dissatisfaction on both sides. The Department of State billed the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (or Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, also known as KLB) as an “innovative approach” to aid because of its attention to Pakistani priorities, its support of visible infrastructure projects, its focus on areas most susceptible to violent extremism, and its whole-of-government coordination. » More
This article was originally published by 38 North on 4 September 2014. Republished with permission.
At first glance, last week’s wrestling exhibition in Pyongyang seems to have been a one-off event similar to others with which North Korea has used in the past to try to shift attention away from its nuclear program. As such, it could be dismissed as little more than a dose of regime propaganda. However, this interpretation seems inaccurate. Instead, Kim Jong Un appears intent on actually developing the tourism sector to attract much needed capital inflows. Seen in this light, a group of international wrestlers fighting inside a North Korean ring and holding arm-wrestling competitions with local children can be interpreted as in line with recent efforts to attract more visitors. » More
Image: Presidential Press and Information Office/Wikimedia
This article was originally published by the East Asia Forum on 2 August 2014.
The BRICS countries met for their sixth annual summit in Brazil this month, setting out to establish a counterweight to Western-dominated global financial institutions.
The summit’s key achievement was the establishment of the long-awaited BRICS New Development Bank. The bank will press for a bigger say in the global financial order — which is centred on the IMF and the World Bank. While China won the race for the bank’s headquarters, set to be located in Shanghai, India secured the presidency. The bank is a sign of the growing influence of the BRICS which together account for 18 per cent of world trade, 40 per cent of the global population and a combined GDP of US$24 trillion. » More