The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has long been a function of the North American security environment. Initially established during the Cold War, NORAD was intended to fulfill a homeland defense role by looking outwardly to identify and interdict threats approaching Canada and the United States. In the post-9/11 period, NORAD’s focus has evolved and the institution has shifted from looking outwardly to include participation in homeland security operations taking place within the United States and Canada. NORAD’s participation in North American homeland security operations has resulted in the redefinition of the institution’s role in defense and security operations. In recent years, NORAD has provided airborne security at major sporting events, government conventions, and other large public gatherings. This homeland security support role has been buttressed by the institution’s appropriation of popular cultural icons, such as Santa Claus and Superman. These examples are symbolic of a broader shift away from strategic defense, towards a public relations’ role. In the post-9/11 period, NORAD’s primary function has been to affirm U.S. dominance over North American skies, and to convey to the public audience that the potential for future terrorist attacks remains a threat to domestic security.
When Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo stepped up to the podium at the African Union (AU) this week to sign up to the AU’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), it was not clear whether this was a high point or a low point for the initiative.
Was it a great triumph for the 11-year-long effort by the APRM to reform the political, economic and social governance of Africa that it had managed to entice one of the continent’s most notorious autocrats into its democratic embrace? After all, when the APRM was launched in 2003, it was strongly criticised for being a voluntary mechanism that would leave the least democratic African leaders untouched. And yet, here was one of them joining.
Or was Obiang’s signing onto APRM a Groucho Marx moment instead: as one journalist quipped, a case of ‘who would want to join any organisation that would have Obiang as a member?’
Myanmar has been implementing a lot of reforms in the past years which included the release from prison of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, the suspension of a controversial dam project and the unprecedented release of hundreds of political prisoners. And now, it’s time for by-elections.
Two major parties, namely National League for Democracy (NLD), which is led by Aung San Suu Kyi and Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) dominated by former military generals are competing for all 45 places in parliament while some other parties such as The Democratic Party, New National Democracy Party (NDP), National Unity Party (NUP) and so on are competing for fewer places.
Myanmar Facebook users are overwhelmed with different news regarding the election which is coincidentally on April Fools’ Day.