Category Archives: Asia-Pacific

GlobaLab weekly round-up: 24/02/07-02/03/07

A whimsical image of the blogosphere from the edge of the core - via Datamining

This (late) update is a hasty one because over the last 2 weeks the real world is distracting me from the virtual… but this is what I collected from my feeds…

Africa

Middle East & North Africa

Globalisation debate

  • A couple of exchanges on Demos’ Greenhouse about a recent event they hosted with John Ralston Saul, a renowned philosopher, novelist, political penseur, who has provocatively pronounced the “end of globalism“. A quick scan, and it seems this provocative statement could simply be re-phrased as the rejection of neo-liberalism. Had he framed the debate in these terms, it would have sounded less plausible, slightly rehashed and probably less marketable than the grand statement above. But then, we all need to make a living.

ICT and creativity

International Development

  • Suzanne Smith on PSD blog puts an end to years of heated debates about the role of private finance investment in reducing poverty: ‘If you have ever doubted the importance of the finance sector in reducing poverty, a new paper will set your mind at rest. More finance sector development leads to more investment in tractors and fertilizers, leading to more food‘. If only we had more World Bank experts telling us children what’s right and what’s wrong, we’d all sleep better at night…
  • Meantime, always on PSD, new research reveals that privatization in 2005 has hit new records, with ‘transactions concentrated in China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine and the top ten deals are largely in banking and telecommunications‘.

Russia

Environment

Corporat Social (ir-)Responsibility

Blog Babble and random weird stuff

Dr Mohamed ElBaradei on Global Security – Challenges and Opportunities

The Bomb 

Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), gave a lecture this afternoon at the LSE, in which – talking aloofly and rather uninspiringly about the challenges and opportuniteis of global security – he initially came across as the usual hardened UN diplomat and civil servant. But it was during the Q&A session that ElBaradei the man captured with refreshing frankness and a tinge of humour the LSE audience’s hearts.

I am reproducing some of the remarks I found most interesting below for your consumption.

  • On multilateralism: it is often said that multilateralism is dying. This is imprecise. Security multilateralism has suffered significant drawbacks over the last 10 years, but functional multilateralism – the one that created the WTO for example – appears well alive and kicking.
  • On North Korea: the ‘deal‘ wasn’t just due to Chinese sticks, but to a committment to renewed engagement by the US, together with hefty donations of fuel aid and food provisions, provided the vital carrots.  
  • On the rationale for still having an IAEA: the big boys (read: US, China) might be striking deals with the naughty kids (read: N Korea, Iran) on the block, so the IAEA might appear to be doing the dishes (read: be kept out of the negotiating table), but in fact it’s doing more than that, it’s cooking the dessert (read: monitoring compliance), and it’s the only one who has the qualifications for cooking it (read: it’s still recognised as the only impartial actor in the international nuclear security scene) and everyone loves a dessert (read: er…).
  • On nuclear energy and climate change: switching to nuclear energy that is clean, well controlled and safe might be a way to address the global warming challenge while meeting the energy needs of the world. Nuclear energy does not automatically lead to nuclear proliferation as some have argued. These are quite distinct for several reasons, including the fact that the technology to achieve nuclear weapons (such as fuel enrichment processes) is quite different to the one needed to produce atomic energy.
  • On Iran’s Bushehr deal with Russia: this is not illegal and for the reasons explained above it does not mean Iran is acquiring nuclear weapons.
  • On nuclear weapons: these should become a global taboo like slavery and genocide. Full stop.

And finally, the 3 key priorities for an enhanced IAEA:

  1. Stronger legal powers to enforce its mandate;
  2. Stronger committment by the political elites to move towards global nuclear disarmament;
  3. More cash.

We heart ElBaradei.

Blog-hopping: Pienso (Luego Existo)

Think...

Another very interesting discovery, Pienso is an English-speaking blog on ‘development, economics, international business, social enterprise, latin america and more dismal thoughts‘. Tons of links to really interesting sites and blogs and weekly link-drops with tens of articles and occasional editorials, such as these:

Development:

Africa:

Social Enterprise:

International Affairs:

Economics:

A slightly economistic, pro-private sector and anti-third sector bias, if I spotted correctly, but certainly an informed author. Check him out.Update: on second thought, this guy’s right up my alley. I love almost all his links, now that I’ve checked them properly. Will keep a close eye on his posts.

North Korea tests nuclear weapon

Military Parade, Pyongyang 

In an important Sense, there is no ‘Third World’ in respect of weaponry, only a ‘First World’… Even the possession of nuclear weaponry is not confined to the economically advanced states. ” Antony Giddens, 1990 

The field of scientific research in the DPRK successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on October 9, 2006, at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great, prosperous, powerful socialist nation.” -Pyongyang, Oct 9, 2006

See BBC, Bloomberg, MSNBC, NYTimes, Guardian, Independent.

Also, a very insightful article on the Washington Monthly by Fred Kaplan on How the Bush Administration let North Korea get nukes and his subsequent analysis of the crisis on Slate.