On July 26, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William J. Burns appeared before the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.
Seven-and-a-half years after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect, the situation of Mexico’s migrant workers in the United States is still being approached as if it were divorced from the two countries’ trade relationship; and calls by labor, human rights organizations, church groups, and progressive political constituents in favor of a policy recognizing migration’s link to trade continue to fall on deaf ears.
The extradition of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague could be seen as a triumph for the worldwide movement for human rights. Never before has a sitting head of state been indicted for war crimes–nor been subsequently put to trial before an international tribunal.
Why We Must Open the Meetings of the IMF and World Bank Boards: The Case of User Fees on Primary Healthcare in Tanzania
One of the most controversial “structural adjustment” policies promoted by the World Bank and the IMF is the imposition of user fees on primary healthcare and education. These user fees have been associated with lower school enrollment and reduced access to primary healthcare. For some years, the World Bank, while acknowledging problems with the implementation of user fees, defended them in principle on the grounds that there were, or were supposed to be, exemptions for the poor, even though, as the World Bank was eventually forced to admit, the track record indicates that exemption schemes do not work.
The report on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the commission led by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell is a failed effort–not for what it includes but for what it does not include.
The U.S. veto of a UN Security Council resolution calling for the deployment of unarmed monitors to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip demonstrates the new administration’s contempt for human rights. The United States was the only country to vote against the resolution, which came before the Security Council on March 28 after five days of tortuous negotiations that moderated the wording of the original draft. Still, this was not enough for the U.S., which vetoed its first UN Security Council resolution in five years.
Earlier this month when the Bush administration announced the annual certification of countries’ performance in anti-drug efforts, there was little controversy about which countries would face sanctions due to their poor performance. Instead it has become clear that most policymakers feel that the process has outlived its usefulness, and the debate has focused on identifying the best vehicle for reform.
The guilty verdict against Libyan intelligence operative Abdel Baset Ali Mohamed Al-Megrahi may have finally established guilt in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988, yet it will not usher in a new era for U.S.-Libyan relations. Perhaps, however, it will lead the new Bush administration to re-evaluate the failed anti-terrorism policies of recent administrations.
For those who see George W. Bush as a dummy, the question is, who are his ventriloquists? Even those who claim to detect hitherto hidden reserves of intellect in the president-elect would not claim for him much in the way of interest in foreign policy, so the nature and views of his entourage are very important.
The people of Yugoslavia did what NATO bombs could not. As in 1989, it was not the military prowess of the western alliance bringing freedom to an Eastern European country, but the power of nonviolent action by the subjugated peoples themselves.