Monthly Archives: December 2011

Do Americans Care About the World Anymore?

I was reading a Foreign Policy blog post this morning when I came upon a startling fact: international issues are a priority for less than two out of ten Americans. More than eight out of ten, on the other hand, cited domestic policy as their number one voting issue.

The findings, from a Washington Post-ABC News poll, got me thinking: do Americans care about the world anymore? Have domestic hot button issues — underemployment, slow or negative job growth, immigrationgay rights, contraception and reproductionOccupy YouNameIt — taken over the political main stage and left the burning issues of the international landscape — fraudulent Russian elections, the Syrian crackdown, European disintegration, the transition of the Libyan government, clashes in Somalia, the DRC, and Sudan, to name a few — high and dry? And maybe, dare I say it, could that be a good thing for the United States?

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Filed under 2012 Election, Economics, Human Rights, U.S Foreign Policy, U.S. Politics

Standardized Testing for Presidential Candidates

Standardized testing has become a fact of life for students. To get accepted to Wes, we all took SATs and SAT IIs or ACTs and often AP tests or IB tests, not to mention an alphabet soup of state specific tests. Seniors preparing for further academic work are studying for or taking their GREs or LSATs or MCATs. These are not all that admissions offices look at – they are weighed alongside recommendations, grades, interviews, personal statements and more – but they provide one gauge of an applicant’s ability and readiness for school. After following the last few months of presidential primary season and attempting to prepare myself for the upcoming year of elections (yes, really, there’s another 11 months of this), I am increasingly of the opinion that we need to create another test, which I have provisionally named the PC GIT, or Presidential Candidate’s General Information Test.

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Filed under 2012 Election, General Info, U.S. Politics

Dictator on Trial: Gbagbo at the ICC

It’s official: Laurent Gbagbo is the first head of state to be sent to the International Criminal Court at the Hague. He is currently being charged with crimes against humanity, murder, and rape — the allegedly systematic attacks committed in the four months after Gbagbo refused to admit defeat to his long-time rival, Alassane Outtara, in the Ivory Coast’s 2010 elections. But the story is far more complex than just that. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Human Rights

What Should We Do With The Kyoto Protocol?

The annual U.N. climate talks, this year COP-17, began five days ago in Durban, South Africa. The major question this year is what we should do with the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012. John Prescott, former U.K. labor minister and one of the leading delegates at the Kyoto negotiations, is calling for the Durban delegates to “stop the clocks” on the Protocol, enabling the mechanisms to continue while a new international accord is reached. The UK’s former chief scientist, Sir David King, argues that the Protocol should be abandoned and in its place should be introduced a “muscular bilateralism”, whereby nations commit to voluntary emissions reductions in cooperation with each other.

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Filed under Climate Change, Environment, U.S Foreign Policy

Burmese Democratization: Slow but Steady Change

Rewind to Burma (otherwise known as Myanmar) in 2010. The government was ruled by an iron-fisted military junta, the democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was being wrongfully held under a 20-year-long house arrest, and the general elections were declared fraudulent by the United Nations and a variety of Western nations, including the United States. But, with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visiting the nation and speaking with Suu Kyi yesterday, how is democracy faring in the Southeastern Asian country today? Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, Human Rights