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During the Arab Spring Egyptians covered the streets in protest of President Mubarak and demanded a leader change and access to a democracy to give power to the people. After a long wait, the military rule gave power to the elected President Morsi. An operating democracy is a major step for Egypt and the people got what they wanted. Or did they?

On November 22nd, President Morsi decided to give himself sweeping powers that destroyed checks and balances and any real accountability. This led to more protests by the people who demanded the democracy that they thought they had already won. Once again, Egyptian protests were seemingly successful despite 7 people dead and hundreds wounded in a clash between protesters and Morsi’s support, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Mursi renounced his unstoppable powers and ceded to the wishes of the people. However, in doing so he issued a decree that gave the military permission to arrest protesters and hold them and refer them to prosecutors. On top of this, a constitution was written that clearly supports the agenda of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, liberals see it as a stab in the back from Morsi but so far a peaceful vote has been the result. The vote looks to be in favor of the constitution which may cause for more instability.

Morsi is accredited with much of the work that brokered the ceasefire between Israel and Palestine over the Gaza Strip. This could be an indicator that Morsi plans to step up as a major peace maker in the region but at this point he seems a little difficult to get a beat on. His domestic policy and foreign policy approaches appear to be polar opposites. 

Egypt can play a major role in the region and having influence on conflict between Israel and Palestine is not easy to come by. How should the United States judge this? Is Morsi a leader that we can trust and include in future regional peace talks? Many leaders have had differing grand strategies when gears shift from domestic to foreign policy, is that an excuse to accept Morsi for the leader he showed himself to be when dealing with Gaza?

 

Articles:

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-12-10/news/35726305_1_arrest-civilians-mursi-presidential-spokesman-yasser-ali 

http://bostonglobe.com/news/world/2012/12/17/morsi-backers-predict-victory-new-charter/2utc0G2wIABbGUdrkgAb3N/story.html

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ILO had a very interesting discussion about climate change policy in chapter 2. The U.S. must consider the perception it has to the international community. Being a model for other countries and hoping that they follow suit in becoming democracies, having better human rights standards, and helping the environment are all things that we hope to influence. How is it that we can tell other countries to help the environment and to slow pollution rates if he fail to sign and ratify the single most influential agreement in that department? The Clinton administration signed the Kyoto protocol but failed to ratify it, a step in the right direction, but not quite enough to avoid hypocrisy. The Bush administration seemed to support the ratification of Kyoto and other emission reduction policies but abandoned everything when the economy was threatened by these policies. This was most definitely a step in the wrong direction but definitely fixable. Obama came into office with a goal to pass policy that reduced emissions and hoped to pass Kyoto. Appointing Steven Chu and focusing on China were two very important things that Obama did and everything looked to be in place to get ground breaking changes through. However, China refused to sign any internationally binding agreements to reduce emissions and cited Annex II as the reason why Kyoto did not apply to their country. This ruined the good vibe at Copenhagen and stalled all progress on the issue. 

Bush cited the economy as the reason for scrapping policy change and Obama won’t act without China. A deeper look at this reasoning may reveal that these are actually the same reason for the same decision. China and the U.S. are the biggest polluters and change would be very dramatic and impact-full. Obama is probably shying away from giving reasons like: I am avoiding climate change policy because the economy cannot handle it. However, blaming it on China is a legitimate excuse and also expresses the same message. Without China on board with strictly enforced emission reduction policies the Unites States would be putting its businesses at a huge competitive disadvantage with China and China would massively benefit from avoiding policy change that helps the environment. Also, without China on board, progress by the U.S. and other countries in helping the environment could be erased by China’s lack of cooperation as well as the probable increase in demand for Chinese goods once they are benefited by U.S. policy change that damages its own businesses. Can internationally binding climate change policy pass for the U.S. absent China being on board or will China always be a prerequisite for major change in this area?

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