Obama pleads for unity in Europe

The US President intervened in the EU referendum debate pleading the UK to remain in the European Union. His intervention made him be defined by the Mayor of London as a hypocrite part-Kenyan.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) and US President Barack Obama (L) attend a press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in central London

David Cameron and Barack Obama  attend a press conference on 22nd April. REUTERS/Andy Rain/Pool

During the 22nd April joint press conference with Barack Obama, David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, distanced himself from Johnson’s statement. In particular, Cameron did not share what the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wrote, on the Sun, about Obama. In the article concerned, Johnson stated that Obama’s plea to Britain was incoherent, inconsistent and completely hypocritical and that such a decision only regarded UK citizens. From his side Cameron underlined the long-lasting friendship and mutual respect that exist between the UK and the US adding that even though the decision about leaving or not the EU is in the hands of the British people they should take into account the opinion of their friends.

In the article published on the Telegraph, Barack Obama stressed how important is that Britain remains in the EU because, only together, the UK and the EU can tackle the economic crisis and prevent terrorist attacks. He also affirmed that the Britain’s membership in the EU has magnified it not only within the European Union itself but also at the international level enabling the UK to increase its influence abroad since a strong Europe accentuates United Kingdom’s global leadership. In his words “the UK’s powerful voice in the European Union ensures that Europe takes a strong stance in the world and keeps the EU open, outward looking, and closely linked to its allies on the other side of the Atlantic. So the U.S. and the world need your outsized influence to continue – including within Europe”.

In the joint press conference, which took place in London, the US President reaffirmed what he had written in the Telegraph asking, again, the UK citizens to vote to remain in the European Union. He also declared that the alliance between the US and the UK is one of the oldest and strongest in the world and that only together they make “the world safer and better”.

Obama continued his discourse saying that if it is true that the future of the United Kingdom within the European Union is in hands of the British voters alone, it is not possible to deny that this decision will affect not only the UK but also the United States. In fact, the US want a strong partner and the UK “is at its best when it’s helping to lead a strong Europe”. From its side, the EU has helped the UK not only “to spread British values and practices across the continent”, but also, it has improved British economy thanks to the single market created among all the countries members of the EU. To support his words, Obama added that “this ends up being good for America because we’re more prosperous when one of our best friends and closest allies has a strong, stable, growing economy”.

UNESCO: Voting For Values

“UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values. It is through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty”. That’s how the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization defines itself: besides all the natural and cultural beauty that they take under protection, they also involve in some social issues such as human rights and development of societies.

 After not paying their dues for two years, last Friday both the United States and Israel lost their right to vote in UNESCO. The reason behind this payment crisis was that UNESCO made Palestine a full member of the association in 2011. So because of the problematic relations between Israel and Palestine, these two major countries had have been protesting the association by not contributing financially.

This decision of not paying their dues, took the Obama administration by surprise too because it is due to two laws signed in the 90’s by President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton that entails an end of U.S. payments to any United Nations association  that recognizes Palestine as a full member.

For UNESCO this is a big amount of money loss -the 22 percent of their total income-, which has caused reduced-initiatives, frozen-hiring and canceled-programs. Of course, Israel’s contribution represents the 3 percent, which is not that little too. Nevertheless the economical struggles that they would have without these two important countries, UNESCO has not changed its policy or made an exception for Israel and the U.S.

“I believe all of our work to protect human rights and dignity as the basis for lasting peace and sustainable development is shared by the American people […] I will continue to work for the universality of this Organization, for the support of the United States, to the values we share, to the objectives we hold in common, of an effective multilateral order and a more peaceful, more just world.” Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the Loss of Voting Rights

The main point here is that UNESCO is an association that promotes the basic building blocks of our civilization, issues that affects every society. But it seems that in the case of U.S. and Israel, these countries political affairs are getting ahead the association’s main aims.

So while some voices in the U.S. agree with the non-paying policy by saying that “UNESCO is interfering with the prospects for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”, other voices –including Obama’s– said that UNESCO duties are related to world heritage development, which includes equality for all societies.

By regarding that powerful countries have the huge impact over these kind of socially responsible associations, the words of Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO,  aren’t  surprising :“This is not only about financing. This is about values”.

 

Unmanned, Unethical, Unconcerned.

People in the Middle East are living under drones since October 2001, when U.S. deployed the first ones in Afghanistan. A recent report of Amnesty International have brought to light this topic, condemning situations of civilian killed by drones. How could a government explain an act like this?

MQ-9_Reaper_in_flight_(2007)

Drones are aircrafts without a human pilot inside but controlled by computers. The government of the U.S. kept the drones program in secret until less than a year and after that its use has been increased.

The U.S. is defending as this is a situation of war, but even in the condition of war, governments and countries should have ethical and moral concerns. They should not attack innocent people. While war is a bad situation in itself already, a government shouldn’t use unbalanced force against weaker countries just because it’s economically profitable.

Not only US is increasing the number of drones, but also another countries like Israel are developing it. The question is if US will still defend drones when North Corea, for example, deploy them -if they aren’t doing it already-. And what does the population think about it?

Most experts in international relationships and journalists -specially in Europe-condemn this situation; but in the U.S. some voices say that this program continues and justifies the methods used by George W. Bush against terrorism. It seems that everything is all right when it is about “national security”. And the most population doesn’t know even what a drone is, so there is a part of the Occidental world that is completely unconcerned.

“Killing a civilian who is not directly involved in hostile action is an arbitrary deprivation of life.”Amnesty International’s report “Will I be next?”

An independent study from New American Foundation has revealed, that, during Obama’s administration, between 1507 and 2438 people has died, of which between 148 and 309 were civilians. And apart from the property damage, people in Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan is living day-by-day looking at the skies and wondering if the person who has next to them could be a target.

Is it really ethical for a government which has the economical power of destroying and damaging to use all their sources and supplies to damage a weaker country? As we all know, war is always between governments not between citizens although they’re the main affected. It’s impossible to conceive that in some part of the planet, right know, a civilian family can be terrified, hearing the sound of a drone above their heads. Even during war, Humanity should have morality issues.

A marine expelled from the U.S Army for insulting Barack Obama on Facebook

The U.S. Army expelled on Wednesday a Marine for criticizing President Barack Obama on his Facebook profile. Sergeant Gary Stein was dismissed “without honors” for violating the rules of the Pentagon to prevent members of the Armed Forces make political statements. The incident has reopened the debate on the right to freedom of expression of the military and if they can use social networks as citizens.

“Fuck Obama, I will not obey his orders,” Stein said in one of his comments in March and therefore Sergeant Stein is accused of violating the Pentagon policy that prohibits members of the Army rule in politics or participate in demonstrations while serving for the Army.

Members of the Army must obey the rules of the Armed Forces, which Stein has called into question. The sergeant responded to the military authorities to consider a lawsuit that was dismissed “for exercising their right to freedom of expression” when using social networking as a citizen, not as a member of the Army.

After several meetings with his lawyers, told by himself in his Facebook profile, Stein corrected by ensuring that it was his duty with respect to the U.S. Constitution, not its political authorities, “I will not obey any order unconstitutional (and therefore illegal) or immoral such as orders to disarm American citizens or imposing martial law that denied his right to trial. However, I will obey constitutional orders”.

Yesterday, Stein returned to use his Facebook profile to defend himself, “I have spent the last 9 years honorably serving this great nation and the Corps. Even though I will be discharged no one can take the title of Marine away from me. I thank my family and friends for their support and love. Today is just the start of the rest of my life. Semper Fi.”

Diana Cerviño

Paula Zapata

Celia García

Antonio Crespo

Space For You

Less than one and a half months before the Russian Federation held its presidential election and Vladimir Putin won more than 64 percent of the votes. The popularity of the current prime minister well indicates that the Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov obtained only 17.19 percent and the independent candidate Mikhail Prokhorov came in third with 7.82 percent of the votes. Putin’s return was never in doubt, who previously promised to increase defense spending and modernize Russia’s military. Therefore Moscow is planning to spend about $775 billion by 2022 for new and more professional armaments. He said the military investments are response to the U.S. missile defense shield.

The differences between two countries over this issue is not new; it began under the Bush administration. According to the previous U.S. government, the shield in Poland and Czech Republic was intended to provide protection from the potential missile threat posed by countries like Iran. In spite of this reasons Russia considered the plan a threat to its nuclear forces and national sovereignty and decided to develop an anti-missile system near the Polish border. President Obama later withdrew the plan of the shield system. The next sign of the warming in relations was in 2010, when Russia and the United States signed off the new nuclear arms treaty, which replaced the expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.  Although the difference remains between Moscow and Washington over U.S. plans for a missile defense shield; there are signs that Russia has a greater willingness to apply pressure on Iran due to the country’s nuclear program.

Now the issue is the lime light again. Two weeks ago the world leaders met in Seoul for an international nuclear security summit to discuss how to secure the world’s nuclear material and prevent nuclear terrorism. In South Korea the top officials from fifty-four countries vowed to continue the nuclear disarmament, but support the peaceful uses of the nuclear energy. U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also attended and met during the summit. The two leaders had a private conversion while their microphones were still on, which recorded their talk.  Obama ultimately asked for more space on the issue of the planned defense shield.

 Source: RIA Novosti

The recorded remarks according to ABC News is as follows:

“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama told the outgoing Russian President

“Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you,” Mr. Medvedev replied “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility,” said the US President

“I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.” responded Medvedev

After the talk was slipped out, Republicans didn’t waste time to criticize Barack Obama. The Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney even called Russia the number one “geopolitical foe” of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who saved the U. S. President and pointed out that Russia has been an ally in solving the current international problems.

Medvedev responded similarly: “I recommend that all US presidential candidates…do at least two things: that they use their head and consult their reason when they formulate their positions, and that they check the time – it is now 2012, not the mid-1970s.”

By  Crystal Blankenbaker, Irina Czakó, Ksenia Solovyova

Cooperation in North America

 

                       

 

The respective presidents and Prime Minister of United States, Mexico and Canada, Obama, Felipe Calderón and Stephen Harper, met last Monday, the ninth of April, in Washington DC in order to deal with the economic situation, the safety and security of the three countries. Inside these topics, they talked also about drug trafficking and organized crime.

This topic is not new for these countries, in special for Mexico, where this problem has caused a total of 50.000 dead during the administration of Calderón since 2006, and has turned Central Mexico in one of the most dangerous regions in the world. So the importance of its control and eradication is clear, because, in Obama’s words, “These cartels and drug traffickers are an exceptional threat to our Central American neighboring countries, so we are joining forces as it is the only way to success.” Moreover, Obama is committed to reduce arms sales to Mexico, and make efforts to decrease the demand of drugs in United States.

Meanwhile, Calderón is convinced of the urgency of stopping the problem, on the contrary, it will be impossible to stop the violence in Mexico and even it could affect the future of United States.

In addition, this meeting, which lasted a few hours, is  important because it will serve to lay foundations for the next Summit of the Americas – meeting of the head of states and governments of the American continent –  , which will take place in Colombia next fourteenth and fifteenth of April, and whose main motto is “Connecting the Americas: Partners for prosperity” . So, apart from the polemic in this summit – Cuba won’t be present, as US said it is not democratic enough to assist, and president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, in order to support Cuba, won’t do so too – the principal goals of the encounter are the physical integration and regional cooperation to improve the development and overcome the challenges of the regions, for example, drug trafficking. What is sure is North America knows its challenges and will cooperate to get over them.

Diana Cerviño
Antonio Crespo
Celia García
Paula Zapata

Obama leads the 2012 U.S presidential elections

As we all know the U.S. presidential election is really a milestone for the planet that is repeated every 4 years, that is why we decided to make the article of this topic which we consider as important and even more so considering we study a career of Foreign Affairs.

Firstly we´ll explain briefly how the U.S. election works, then we´ll explain in detail how they are evolving today and what conclusions can a normal citizen have.

To explain the U.S. presidential elections we´ll not be doing the word limit agreed so we´ll explain it briefly.

Initially we note that any man or woman affiliated to a political party, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent has a chance to be president, provided that initially he or she wins enough delegates through local votes in the states, in the famous caucus and important dates like “Super Tuesday” and have money to fund his own campaign. After being elected prime candidate to be president, citizens can vote who they want to be the president of the United States.

Below you find a story written by our real-time monitoring of the elections this year 2012

According to a survey published by Reuters, the fame he has acquired U.S. President Barack Obama due to the campaign has increased slightly, while increased its distance from the Republican candidates ahead of presidential elections next 6 of November.

For the first time since last July 1, 50% of Americans surveyed approve of Obama, this means an increase of two points on the survey conducted in February.
Also 37% of respondents believe that the U.S. leads to success, representing an increase of five points over the previous measurement.

Cliff Young, from Reuters, explained that the shift may be related to the creation of 227,000 jobs, a figure that indicates an improving economy. “Not by leaps and bounds, but people notice that things are starting to go better,” he noted.

ELECTORAL HORIZON

This increase of popularity led Obama to be in front of the Republican Party candidates for the presidential elections next 6 of November consolidating its leadership.

If there was a clash with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, favorite Republican candidate choice, Obama now will get 52% of the vote against 41% for Romney, who is twice the distance recorded in February measurement.

The same goes for the other two Republicans who have real options for being in office. Obama would get a 52% to 42% of former Senator Rick Santorum, and 54% versus 37% of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich representatives.

Diana Cerviño

Antonio Crespo

Celia García

Paula Zapata