Thursday, July 19, 2018

Read our Chair of the Board Ira Straus's article about why the U.S. benefits from NATO, a cornerstone of transnational organizations and global security: NATO: The Greatest Bargain America Ever Got (https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nato-greatest-bargain-america-ever-got-25626)


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Trump should use the Iran deal's provision for making sanctions “snap back”

by Ira Straus 

 The Trump Administration wants to hit Iran as hard as it can with sanctions. However, it has neglected to use the provisions of the Iran deal itself for doing this. In stating that it is withdrawing from the deal, it seems to be giving away for free its standing to invoke these provisions in the future. This is troubling, and self-defeating.

 Thanks to the pressures that skeptics had placed on the Obama Administration during the negotiations for the deal, a provision was included for sanctions to “snap back” if any major party to the deal insisted on declaring Iran in non-compliance. All other parties to the deal, and indeed the entire global community, would then be legally obligated to join in reimposing sanctions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What is the “snap back”?


The extent to which it solves the problem of the Iran deal; its merit as a precedent for better management of sanctions

by Ira Straus

(First Publish in 2015)

The Obama Administration stated many times, in the course of negotiating the Iran deal, that sanctions would "snap back" if Iran cheats. It did not however specify how this would happen.

A lot of people were skeptical that this could ever happen. They pointed out that it had been hard to get the necessary countries to agree on sanctions in the first place. It took years. Some of these countries have made it clear that they want to be rid of the sanctions and would not agree to reimpose them, were they ever lifted. These countries have a veto on the UN Security Council (SC). So if the sanctions are lifted now, they will in fact never be reimposed. Moreover: once sanctions are lifted, economic links will be developed rapidly, economic interests will become attached to these links, further preventing governments from agreeing to reimpose sanctions. So how could sanctions ever simply “snap back”?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

How we could still strike a deal with Russia and the UN Security Council to stabilize Syria:

Hold Referenda for Secession, and assure Russia a Warm Water Port 

by Lucy Law Webster 

There are common interests shared by Russia and the USA. One of these would be to stop the war in Syria, in return for assuring Putin and Russia its use of the warm water port that it has on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. This coast is fortunately in the part of Syria where Syrian President Assad is respected.

 Much of the rest of Syria is the home of people who want to change their government. The Kurds want a Kurdish homeland. Other groups, emerging from the Arab Spring, are working and fighting for a regime that would not be subject to President Assad; and, some of them, for a democracy. The UN should be instructed by the Security Council to organize referenda in the parts of Syria where the rule of President Assad has been resisted. There is or has been a small unit within the UN Department of Political Affairs that has the skills to do this. Once these steps are taken, the residual sympathy for ISIS among the Sunni majority in Syria will dissipate, making it easier to defeat all residual ISIS forces, and enabling the securing of the area against ISIS permanently.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem for the Palestinian Authority


How to turn the lemon into lemonade
by Ira Straus
The decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is not the first time countries have pre-empted the negotiations for peace. It follows in the footsteps of many another country undermining the peace process in the opposite direction. It could claim to be a corrective step as well as a simple recognition of reality.
However, if so, it needs to correct itself also. The way to do this is to announce a U.S. consulate explicitly assigned to the Palestianians.
This can be done easily enough, by upgrading the U.S. Consulate-General that is already in Jerusalem.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Separate Yet United, A Dialogue

by Andreas B. Olsson

A core goal of federalism is to unite and not divide. Therefore, it would seem that a good federalist should be against secession. But federalism is also about subsidiarity and limited Lockean government. Greater unity is not the only decisive factor in whether to be for or against secession. If a local population has been wronged – and their right to decide matters that affect only them overridden egregiously and repeatedly – then a federalist ought to support secession. On the other hand, like most theories of good governance federalism has as its end goal peace – not peace at any cost but peace nonetheless. So if secession risks plunging a relatively productive and prosperous region into destructive conflict, then a federalist ought to take this as a negative in their considerations on whether to lend support.

In light of these multiple considerations, should we support current global trends towards secession? I would argue that each secessionist cause would need to be considered somewhat sui generis. With other words, there is no one simple answer to all cases. Kurdistan is not Scotland and, though closer in case, Scotland is not Catalonia. What they all do share, however, is that they are all part of a nation state. They are not seceding from what is clearly a union of separate semi-independent states but from a singular nationalist entity.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Dual Motion of the Spirit that World Federalism Requires


by Ira Straus

Lord Lothian
British Ambassador to the US
(1939-40)
In a 1935 Oxford lecture that is often regarded as the ablest exposition ever of world federalism, a renowned British diplomat, Lord Lothian, outlined the complex motions of the human spirit that are needed for arriving at a viable world federation. His very title -- “Pacifism is not enough, nor patriotism either” -- indicated the two opposite motions of commitment that every spirit needs to go through, in order to arrive at the foundations for a viable world federalism. And he indicated above all a third motion of the spirit, for reconciling the first two.

The first motion of the spirit was: to imbibe the virtues of national citizenship. 

The second: to rise above national loyalties with a sense of global citizenship.

The third motion: to return to the actuality of national citizenship and all its responsibilities, realizing that global citizenship is as yet only aspirational as there is no global government of which to be a citizen, but modifying the national citizenship with the aspiration to creating a global citizenship.  

Believing in Peace

by Galen D. Kirkland

If humankind is to survive, we need to believe that peace is possible. We need to believe that we can prevent organized violence by nation states or non-state aggressors that inflict violence upon populations. While most people would assert that they want peace, they also do not think that it is attainable. We must identify the impediments to peace and decide how they can be overcome.  Violent conflicts between nations, religious groups, and different ethnic groups dominate world history because of repeated failures to accept differences in race, ideology, and faith. Very significant obstacles to achieving peace include conflicts related to nationalism, land claims and natural resources; the arms industry; historical grievances; and aggression stemming from the will to dominate. Most people are observers to the ravages of war that are visited upon other people. Because our world remains vulnerable to nuclear annihilation, we must act as if our lives and the lives of those we love are also at stake.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

TURNING POINT


by Galen D. Kirkland

The most important question facing us today is how we can make the transition to a greater global civilization before we destroy the planet and ourselves. At this critical juncture in history, we need to take our responsibility for world governance more seriously than ever. International systems for managing global problems and resolving conflicts have broken down. The United Nations failed to address the conflict in Syria while over 400,000 people were killed by the Syrian government and millions became migrants; Russia is conducting a cyberwar against the United States, France, the Ukraine and other nations in an attempt to undermine democracies; China is aggressively claiming islands in the South China Sea despite the ruling by arbitrators under international law that such actions are illegal; the NATO Treaty is being undermined by the Trump administration of the United States; the Venezuelan people are being denied food and medical care by a repressive government; millions of people are threatened by drought in Sub-Saharan Africa;  North Korea threatens other nations with nuclear war, and the destruction of the Islamic Caliphate established by ISIS is leading that organization to increase terrorist attacks in various nations.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Preventing Further Erosion to the EU: A United Schengen


by Andreas B. Olsson

First came the suspension of open borders within the Schengen area as the European Commission agreed to keep suspending free movement in the zone. Now, even worse, a major EU member nation has decided to exit the union completely. The dire state and threat to European unity cannot be overstated. The possibility of over half a century of peaceful integration risks unraveling. Now is the time to for the rest of the EU to not retreat from its promise to form a more perfect, peaceful union by letting nationalism spread like wildfire across the continent. The Marine le Pen’s and Alternative must not dominate the narrative of the next chapter in EU history. Letting them dominate the public space could cause the collapse of 21’st century European peace.