LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - Reporting on President Donald Trump’s new energy policy which plans for a big increase in domestically produced oil and gas, the Financial Times reported: “Exports of gas have begun, with the first shipments of Liquefied Natural Gas leaving the Sabine Pass facility on the border between Texas and Louisiana a year ago. Since then trade has grown and the U.S. now supplies a dozen different gas markets around the world.” The U.S. is all set to speed this up.
HMGS Palihakkara is Sri Lanka’s former Permanent Representative to the UN and a former Foreign Secretary at the Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
COLOMBO (IDN) - Commentators may have a rich diversity of views about costs and benefits of the American footprint on world affairs. That apart, there is no denying that America remained the major role player in the global scene in its many dimensions – strategic, security, economic, technological and more.
Rightly or wrongly, the American outreach and influence over global affairs has been so complex and overarching, any attempt to define it, let alone analyze and assess it, on a brief time frame, would indeed be a very ambitious enterprise even when conditions are normal in Washington DC. Anyone having TV access will know that conditions are far from normal these days in that powerful Capital. This naturally renders any quick-fire, balanced assessment of the U.S. global role in the current context, an even more complicated proposition.
PARIS (IDN | SWAN) – The world is becoming “more violent, and violence is occurring in surprising places,” says a recent report by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Some 3.34 billion people, or almost half of the world’s population, have been affected by violence over the past 15 years, according to the report. But many regions have also known violence for decades, if not centuries, and the arts have particularly borne witness to the issue.
In the Caribbean, writers and other artists are known for portraying societal violence in their work, and this depiction is now increasingly the subject of scholarly research.
LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - So what does President Donald Trump think about NATO? Twice during his campaign he rubbished it publically, saying it was “obsolete”. Yet early February when he met the UK’s prime minister, Therese May, it was all hunky dory. He told her he supported NATO 100%.
There are some – a few – influential people who have argued that NATO is indeed obsolete. One of these was William Pfaff, the late, much esteemed, columnist for the International Herald Tribune. Another is Paul Hockenos who set out his views in a seminal article in World Policy Journal. Their words fell on deaf ears.
"Geographic facts do not change, but their meaning for foreign policy will." – Nicholas J. Spykman,
COLOMBO (IDN) - A new world order has begun with roles interchanging. United States as the leader of the free world and the architect of globalization is advocating nationalism in a close of its borders while China who earlier spoke about national values is now praising globalization.
President Xi during his visit to Davos clearly gave leadership toward the case of globalization. According to President Xi, “There was a time when China also had doubts about economic globalization, and was not sure whether it should join the World Trade Organization. But we came to the conclusion that integration into the global economy is a historical trend. To grow its economy, China must have the courage to swim in the vast ocean of the global market.
BANGKOK (IDN) - On February 4 each year Sri Lanka celebrates the gaining of independence from British colonial rule. 69 years since then, it is appropriate to ask: “what independence?” The country is currently in a real mess brought about by a successful regime change campaign orchestrated by “civil society” groups, which toppled the government of “war-winning” President Mahinda Rajapakse in January 2015.
Today, the country’s foreign minister acts like a colonial era British Viceroy and not as the country’s top diplomat safeguarding the nation’s interests and dignity. The Prime Minister while trying to drum up foreign “investments” acts as if he is willing to sell any part of the country to the highest bidder and the President roams around the island like a colonial-era “gate mudaliyar” attending functions and trying to assure the natives that they are in good hands.
LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - In a press conference on January 27 President Donald Trump said he believed in the worth of torture but then added most surprisingly that using it wasn’t going to be his decision. It would be decided by the Secretary of Defence, General James Mattis, who, as Trump said, is against torture.
Three years ago the US Senate Intelligence Committee published a summary of a thorough report on the recent American use of torture. Its chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein, said the 6,000-page report is “one of the most significant oversight efforts in the history of the US”.
WASHINGTON, DC (IDN | LobeLog) – The most frightening commentary I’ve read in the run-up to the inauguration—and there have been many—appeared in a column identifying the four people whose foreign policy ideas were likely to be most influential with the then-president-elect. It was written by TheWashington Post’s Josh Rogin and entitled “Inside Trump’s Shadow National Security Council.”
Those four people, according to Rogin, are chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who “has been working on the long-term strategic vision that will shape the Trump administration’s overall foreign policy approach;” chief of staff Reince Priebus; Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and his national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.).
LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - The great flaw in ex-president Barack Obama’s record was his policy towards Russia. Going against everything he had said and written about before he became president, one action after another antagonised the Russians.
His early proclamation that he wanted Georgia and Ukraine in NATO, his de facto coalition of convenience for a crucial couple of days with the anti-democratic, anti-Russian, neo-fascist, demonstrators in Ukraine, the further expansion of NATO, despite an earlier promise not to, made by President H.W. Bush, to the Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, and his inability to cooperate with the Russians and Iranians over Syria.
COLOMBO (IDN) - Throughout my life I have had an abiding faith in the United Nations Organization which, three years hence, will celebrate its 75th anniversary. The foundation document of that unique world body – the Charter – is not only the bedrock of international law, but also the most inspiring document that can hold the international community together amidst its diversity and conflict.
Individual countries and Governments are dominated by their separate concepts of national security whereas the UN has to weave 193 of these national security concepts of member states into a tapestry that will serve the common security of the global community in a co-operative and credible manner.