North America
START: Arms Affirmation Treaty

START: Arms Affirmation Treaty

The New START treaty should at best be called an “arms affirmation treaty,” confirming that expensive weapons systems, which include the nation’s nuclear arsenal, remain a national priority. Like the earlier Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, New START insulates nuclear weapons spending, as well as large budgets for other weapons systems.

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Is Obama a Turkey or an Eagle?

Is Obama a Turkey or an Eagle?

In 1784 Benjamin Franklin played the tongue-in-cheek naturalist and castigated the decision by the Congress of the Confederation to adopt the bald eagle as the symbol of the United States. The bald eagle, Franklin wrote, lives by “Sharping & Robbing,” watching a “diligent” hawk fishing, and then stealing its hard-earned booty. Rejecting this lazy thief, Franklin preferred that the national honor be borne by the proud but prudent (“tho’ a little vain & silly”) wild turkey.

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Worlds Collide at Cancun Climate Talks

Worlds Collide at Cancun Climate Talks

The debate over climate change generally transpires within the cloistered confines of expensive hotels, executive boardrooms, and diplomatic halls. As seen in the failure to arrive at binding agreements in Copenhagen, the talks are generally as sterile as the surroundings.

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Canada on Ice: at the UN

Canada on Ice: at the UN

Canada’s defeat in elections for a temporary seat in the UN Security Council has implications that reach beyond being an upset for Stephen Harper’s conservative government in Ottawa. It reinforces how far most UN members are from supporting other nations that unconditionally accept Israeli behavior in the Middle East. It also, ironically, lends some support to Ottawa’s longstanding opposition to increasing the number of permanent Security Council members.

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Military vs. Climate Security: The 2011 Budgets Compared

Military vs. Climate Security: The 2011 Budgets Compared

The gap between federal spending on military as opposed to climate security has narrowed since 2008. Compared to China, though, our progress is meager.

Though its military spending is not wholly transparent, it is estimated that China spends one-sixth as much as the United States does on military security, and twice as much on climate security.

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Postcard from…Mini Numa

Postcard from…Mini Numa

Ten Mixteco men led me across a stream and through a cornfield on a toilet tour of Mini Numa. At each adobe hut housing a shiny white flush toilet, I snapped a photo of a contented owner.  In recent years, six children had died in this small village from diseases rooted in poverty and lack of sanitation. With the support of the human rights organization, Tlachinollan, the Mini Numa community had forced the hand of the government to support the right to health.

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Spitting in the Face of U.S. Troops

Spitting in the Face of U.S. Troops

Anti-war protesters targeting individual troops for abuse, much less gathering at their funerals like the homophobic Rev. Fred Phelps, is as much of a myth as protesters spitting on returning Vietnam veterans.

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U.S. Military Aid Far Outpaces Democracy Assistance

Desperate to secure supply routes to Afghanistan, the United States has been spending at least six times more on military aid for the mostly authoritarian states of Central Asia than on efforts to promote political liberalisation and human rights in the region, according to a new report released here by the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

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A World Made by War

After the drums of war had begun to beat, after the first headlines had screamed their World-War-II-style messages (“the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century”), I had another thought. And for a reasonably politically sophisticated guy, my second response was not only as off-base as the first, but also remarkably dumb. I thought that this horrific event taking place in my hometown might open Americans up to the pain of the world. No such luck, of course.

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