Tag Archives: US

Climate adaptation: Brown paints the big money picture – now to get the details right

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has stepped out in front of all the contending parties to state the UK’s position five months ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit in a speech today. Committing the UK to spend on helping poor countries adapt to the consequences of climate change on top of overseas development aid, Brown proposed “a working figure” for support for adaptation and mitigation from the world’s rich countries “of around $100 billion per annum by 2020.” Continue reading

Climate, conflict, peacebuilding and adaptation: a need for leaps and links

To assist poor countries facing the double and connected problems of climate change and violent conflict, adaptation to climate change has to be combined with peacebuilding. For this to be possible, organisations – governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental alike – that work on development, the environment and peace issues have to move out of their boxes and make more than one leap of imagination and policy so the links are visible between both problems and solutions. It is not inevitable that the Obama administration will succeed in this. Help is needed! Continue reading

Counting the most peaceful countries – and the least

How do you recognise how peaceful countries are and systematically compare them to each other? And how do you work out what makes countries peaceful? And if we all knew the answers to these questions would we be more able to make the world more peaceful? Figuring the answer to the third question is yes, the Global Peace Index tries to answer the first two. It is now published for the third successive year. Continue reading

Britain’s international standing

 Ever since the end of the British empire, some of us British have been pondering and picking over the question of what is our place in the world. For the British, it is so much part of the condition of being British that for the most part we don’t realise we’re doing it and, when it’s pointed out to us, we assume that it’s simply part and parcel of having a national identity. But it’s not. And our obsession with it says something about us. As our Parliament merrily implodes before our eyes, the question is coming back again but in the end the answer may be surprisingly banal. Continue reading

So far, new US security strategy seems odd mix of continuity and change

As we keep on trying to weigh up Obama’s now over-100-day-old presidency and its meaning for the world, maybe it’s useful to shift focus off the man and onto some other parts of his administration. The New Security Beat blog-site has usefully picked up an interesting speech by Under Secretary for Defense Michele Flournoy, which shows how old and new elements are might be blended in the US security strategy. The mix thus far combines encouraging and thoroughly disappointing elements. Continue reading

Obama in power (7): when disappointment gets plain silly

According to Naomi Klein in yesterday’s Guardian and the current Nation, there is a new vocabulary of dashed hopes about Obama. On the Guardian‘s ‘Comment is Free’ site, she got a walloping from some of the blograts for despairing and criticising too soon though, to be fair, it’s not clear whether she was setting out her loss of belief in Obama or merely reporting  how others feel. Either way, it strikes me as plain silly. Continue reading

Obama in power (6):policies clarifying, pattern still hazy

By the time Obama was inaugurated, he had promised so much, there was a risk that he could only disappoint. Let’s not get too carried away in these tough times, but there is some much needed good news: perfect his administration is not, but the first signs in foreign policy are far from negative. This extended post surveys the key issues. Continue reading

Obama in power (5): does he need to be bipartisan?

Obama’s approach to the challenges of government is fascinating. Not yet 100 days into power, he seems to retain that combination of the cerebral strategist and the practical politician that, combined with clearly enunciated principles, made him such an attractive looking candidate. Whatever else you’re going to say about him, however you’re going to characterise him, “Same old, same old” is not it.

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Obama in power (4): challenges, doubts and the G-20

Barack Obama comes to London this week – the heads of 20 other governments do too because G-20 has suddenly grown into G-22 but of course it’s Obama who sets the pulse racing. Everybody knows his host, Gordon Brown, needs the G-20 to be an all-out success; anything less – mere solid achievement, for example – will be spun as failure by the UK government’s army of critics. But is Obama in a similar situation?

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The economic crisis and world power

Moments in history when the world power balance has shifted decisively – or when the result of a slowly accumulating shift has been revealed to general view – have usually been related to war, economic crisis, or both in tandem. Is today’s combination of economic crunch and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan such a moment for the US? And if so, who gains – China? Continue reading