The shockingly high prices of one of Africa's most impoverished countries
The shockingly high prices of one of Africa's most impoverished countries.
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] Isn't it nice that diamonds are not being used to fund horrific civil wars in Africa anymore? Isn't it nice that so-called "conflict diamonds" are not flooding the world market? Now, instead of fueling conflicts, diamonds are being used to prop up gross human rights violators like Zimbabwe. The roots of the current problem have been clear for some time. After a decade of bloodshed and atrocity, the diamond industry was finally shamed into agreeing to a process whereby diamonds would be deemed "conflict-free" before being sold on the world market.
On May 1, Pope John Paul II was beatified. The second-to-last step in the road to sainthood, beatification occurs when the Catholic Church declares that a deceased person has intervened on behalf of someone who worships in his or her name.
Many critics of the Libyan intervention make their case based on moral consistency: We didn't intervene in Congo or Zimbabwe, so why are we intervening here? My former colleague Peter Beinart, writing at The Daily Beast, answers: The consistency argument, it’s important to understand, has nothing to do with Congo and Zimbabwe. Most of the people who invoke those ill-fated countries showed no interest in them before the Libya debate and will go back to ignoring them once Libya is off the front page.
A key question looming over the operations in Libya is just how effective air power can be. After checking with a few people who know this subject better than I do, the short answer seems to be that (a) it can be more effective than I would have thought (b) it's still not as effective as I would like it to be. According to these experts, the relatively low skills of loyalists forces and the geography of the war zone should make (and, based on the available evidence, have made) air power particularly useful against Qaddafi.
There are certain shibboleths in presidential politics that even the most forthright candidates feel obliged to repeat, certain topics they feel compelled to avoid. Yet talk to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the unorthodox 2012 GOP hopeful, and those rules go out the window. Ask about church, and he says he doesn’t go. “Do you believe in Jesus?” I ask. “I believe he lived,” he replies with a smile. Ask about shifts in position, and he owns up to one. “I changed my mind on the death penalty,” he tells me.
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] Wedding season has been upon us for a couple of months, thus making it a good time to examine the latest news in conflict diamonds. This is an issue that received an enormous amount of publicity at the end of the 1990s, and again in 2006 with the release of Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond. Unfortunately, while there are nowhere near as many conflict diamonds on the market as there were a decade ago, the problems that outraged many human rights activists and discriminating consumers over the past 15 years still persist. In 2003, a U.N.
Whenever somebody gets attention for an opinion that has a heterodox quality to it, inevitably admirers will describe it as "brave." The perception of ideological "bravery" has a relentlessly partisan cast. Conservatives never consider it brave when one of their own attacks a conservative, and liberals never think it's brave for a liberal to do the reverse.
The last few months have seen a disquieting lull in news of political dissent from Iran. On the surface, at least, Ahmadinejad’s government seems to have outlasted the furor that erupted in the wake of last June’s election. Does this mean that the Green Movement is dead? Not necessarily.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) yesterday elected Iran to a four-year term, beginning in 2011, as a member of the Commission on the Status of Women. Lucky Iran! Or is it lucky women? Other members elected were Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Zimbabwe, joining Belarus, China, Cuba, and Libya. A full report can be read in today’s “EYE on the UN.” So is not the U.N. a horrible joke?