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Archive for September 30th, 2006

Turkey and the EU

Two articles about the possibility of Turkey entering the Union. The first one, from Newsweek: Second Thoughts:

Once, Europe was a sweetshop, and Turkey was an eager kid with his face pressed to the window. Just two years ago, polls showed that more than 70 percent of Turks wanted to join the European Union, convinced that following the road to Brussels would make them richer, healthier and freer. Now, only months after long-delayed negotiations finally began, support for the EU has slipped to just 43 percent, and is falling fast.

Why? The cost and hassle of implementing the EU’s 80,000-page Acquis Communautaire—the vast canon of rules and regulations on everything from air quality to the size and shape of bananas (imports must not be “abnormally bent”). A new study by the politically powerful Turkish Industry and Business Association estimates the cost of reforming Turkey’s huge agriculture sector alone at up to $76 billion over the next decade, a significant hit for a $382 billion economy. Almost every clause of the Acquis Communautaire comes with a giant bill—for example, implementing European drinking-water standards will require digging up vast swaths of Turkey’s often haphazardly planned cities to replace crumbling piping.

Le Monde: For Jacques Chirac, Turkey must recognise the Armenian Genocide:

The French President Jacques Chirac has judged, on Sunday September 30th, in Erevan, that Turkey must recognise the Armenian Genocide before being able to adhere the European Union. Questioned at a Press conference if Turkey should recognise the character of genocide to the massacres of Armenians committed between 1915 and 1917 in the Ottoman Empire, he has answered that “honestly, I believe it”. “All the countries grow when the recognise their drames and errors”, he added.

Según Newsweek, los índices de apoyo de la población turca a entrar en la Unión Europea han decrecido de manera muy importante, de 70% hace dos años hasta un 43% ahora. El coste y la molestia de introducir en el país el “acervo comunitario” se ha estimado, por ejemplo, en la agricultura, en 76 billones de dólares sólo en la próxima década, lo que es excesivo para una economía con un valor estimado de 382 billones de dólares.

De viaje en Armenia, Jacques Chirac ha declarado que “honestamente cree” que Turquía debe reconocer el Genocidio Armenio.

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For Spanish-speaking readers

From now on, I will try to sum up each post at the end in Spanish for people who are not able to understand English.

De ahora en adelante, trataré de resumir al final de cada post la noticia en español, para aquellos que no entiendan el inglés. La parte en español irá con este formato.

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From The Times:

An investigation by The Times has disclosed that the South Koreans have been waging an aggressive campaign on behalf of Ban Ki Moon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the front-runner to replace Kofi Annan as UN chief at the end of the year. The inducements range from tens of millions of pounds of extra funding for African countries to lucrative trade agreements in Europe – and even the gift of a grand piano to Peru.

Well, I do not think that the ballot should be modified by giving money or incentives to the countries who will vote. I would rather ask for someone really interested in assuring that Human Rights are really respected and Countries which do not respect them are punished. I would rather ask for someone who would strongly recommend a modification of the present UN, to make it an organization really fighting for democracy and freedom of all human beings. And of course, to really develop these values in under-developed countries, where UN is making very little, but protesting about First World’s injustices, but never about tyrans, dictators and so on, who are primarily -with few exceptions- the real reason of their state.

But that’s got nothing to do with UN nowadays. A place in which Chávez can insult another state’s President and people, instead of just critisizing him, just laugh about his ocurrences. In which Mr Morales, Bolivian President, who showed out a coca leaf, pondering his properties. When speaking before the UN General Assembly! So all the important people go somewhere to talk and all they speak about is nonsense.

South Korea is not interested that their candidate is stained by that alleged aid to countries which are going to vote, so they have denied it:

South Korea denied yesterday that it was using foreign aid as a means of buying votes in the Security Council. “I would like to stress that theallegations against Mr Ban Ki Moon and, moreover, the integrity of the Korean Government do not correspond with the facts,” In Joon Chung, the spokesman for the South Korean Embassy in London, said. He added that Seoul had decided in 2002 to increase aid to the developing world. He added that the state visit to Greece was planned a year ago because Athens had been an ally of Seoul in the Korean War.

But:

David Mepham, the associate director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, described the selection process for the secretary-general’s post as “untransparent and unprofessional”. He said: “Given the sensitivity and importance of the post we need root-and-branch reform to ensure that we get the best candidate.”

I agree. Only look back to Koffi Annan’s importance in all the conflicts of the last times. For example, the case about the map which eliminated Israel, the Oil-for Food Scandal or his denial to receive Cuban dissidents, because they were not “aligned with truth, liberty and justice” in the recent Non-Alligned Countries Summit -via La Ventanita-. In this comment, you can see some of the very important things Mr Annan has been involved in.
It strucked me that the ousted Prime Minister of Thailand was a candidate.

CSM is writing about what kind of leader the UN should have now.

“The UN under Kofi Annan has begun to adapt to a very different world and a very different mission” than that of the world body’s first half century, says Lee Feinstein, a UN expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. “It’s much less a talk shop, much more a place that does things.”

But the UN’s reputation is also badly tarnished in the wake of the oil-for-food probe and other scandals. Some critics believe the UN under Annan has aligned itself too closely with American foreign policy, while others, notably among US conservatives, say Annan has presided over the transformation of the UN into a den of inefficiency, corruption, and anti-Western thinking. President Bush recently noted that support for the UN among Americans is at it lowest level ever.

Annan has not shied away from addressing previously “taboo” topics for the secretary-general, such as the promotion of democracy, individual rights versus those of government, the individual’s right to protection, inequitable wealth distribution, and genocide, Mr. Feinstein says.

Yet despite that, the UN has suffered from failing to operate effectively or efficiently as it has expanded its workload, he adds. “And part of that is because Kofi Annan has not been an effective and efficient manager,” he says.

That view, widely held among Annan admirers and detractors alike, has led many analysts to conclude that what the UN needs most now is not so much the “world’s top diplomat” as a manager with a laser focus on internal operations who will make the organization work better.

“Yes, you need the well-respected international figure, but beyond that, what is needed as secretary-general is someone who is tremendously focused on reforming a highly flawed institution,” says Nile Gardiner, an expert in international institutions at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

“You need someone who won’t just preside over a deep well of corruption but will dig in and do something about it,” he adds, “someone who will challenge time-honored practices like hiring and promotion rules that too often yield the lowest common denominator.”

I agree.

BBC -we know its tendency by now…- reports:

A consensus has developed that it will be Asia’s turn to provide a new secretary general, Jordan counting as part of the Asia group at the UN.

If the Jordanian ambassador [eventually in the 4th place] were eventually to beat the other candidates, he would be the first Muslim to head the world body.

Is it me or looks like BBC wants a Muslim to head the world body? Has any shintoist/confucian… or whatever religion Ban Ki Moon has -if he has any- been the head of the UN? Why that statement then?

You can also check: Sacredscoop.

Sent to Dumb Ox Open Trackbacks, Third World County, Right Wing Nation, Pursuing Holiness, Basil’s Blog, Blue Star Chronicles.

UPDATE: Thanks to a comment in the About page, I discover that Washington Post is handling a debate about the new UN Secretary General. There are several commentators about this issue. The first of them, King-Min Liu writes:

For a failed organization like the U.N., it doesn’t really matter who becomes its next Secretary General, especially when the world body seems to have adopted affirmative action in selecting the candidate. Ban Ki Moon, South Korea’s foreign minister and the forerunner, should ask himself: Am I the favorite because I’m good or simply because I’m Asian?

Among all the factors contributing to the UN as a failed organization, China is a key obstacle. And as long as China remains one of the five permanent members with veto power at the Security Council, the UN has no hope of becoming a more decent body. One example: When China finally invades Taiwan, do you expect the Security Council will be able to discuss this “domestic affair” before the eyes of Beijing?

Christine Ockrent considers that Indian candidate should be granted the job. And, lastly, a Palestine from Jordan, Daoud Kuttab, praises the Jordanian candidate -what can he do, hein?-.

From my part, I would not consider the Muslim Jordanian candidate. It is true that Jordan has played an important role in the Middle East, but I would never trust him as been really impartial in the solution of the Middle East problem. What is more, there are a lot of problems caused by Islamic population nowadays -Chechenya, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, etc…- and we cannot forget the Iranian question with nuclear weapons and the Iraqi war.

Anyway, that is my view. I encourage my readers to think what would be their best candidate and, if they can, to comment about it in the blogs of the mentioned journalists.

UPDATE 2 : There are two things I have to add:

  1. the anti-Americanism breathed by South-Koreans, even if it was USA who freed them from communists in the 50’s. Looks they are even planning to end the permanence of US Army in South Korea. You can also read The Korea Liberator’s opinion about Ban Ki-Moon. He says South Korea is not interested in how this man will do his job, but in how South Korea will look in an international level.
  2. Secondly, I forgot yesterday to speak about another of the UN’s lack of action, which is going to be inherited by Koffi Annan’s succesors: the situation in Darfur, from the Telegraph [via EN] . Nothing has been done, but genocide continues and looks like inaction is going to be the ongoing policy of the UN.

UPDATE 3: INSTAPUNDIT links to a Sunday Times’ article about Srebrenica and Ruanda disasters:

Annan was the head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) between March 1993 and December 1996. The Srebrenica massacre of up to 8,000 men and boys and the slaughter of 800,000 people in Rwanda happened on his watch. In Bosnia and Rwanda, UN officials directed peacekeepers to stand back from the killing, their concern apparently to guard the UN’s status as a neutral observer. This was a shock to those who believed the UN was there to help them.

[I am sorry: a part of the article was lost when I was trying to correct some expressions. 😦 )

Parece que el sucesor de Koffi Annan será el surcoreano Ban Ki-Moon, que ha obtenido 14 y 13 votos de 15 en las votaciones ya realizadas. The Times informó de que Corea del Sur, muy interesada en que se elija a su candidato ha pagado donaciones millonarias a países del Tercer Mundo, sobre todo en créditos al desarrollo, acuerdos lucrativos comerciales con Europa (¡!) e inclusive ha regalado un piano a Perú.

Por supuesto, los surcoreanos lo niegan y señalan que ya habían planeado incrementar la ayuda al desarrollo desde hace mucho, lo que, sin embargo, no parece muy probable dada la coincidencia de las fechas.

El problema es determinar qué características debe tener el nuevo Secretario General de Naciones Unidas. Después de una dirección que ha dejado bastante que desear por parte de Koffi Annan, la ONU se enfrenta a la necesidad de adaptarse a los nuevos tiempos, con la incorporación de nuevos miembros -India o Japón, entre otros- y la necesidad de controlar a los soldados destacados en misiones humanitarias -conocidos como los cascos azules- y su propio presupuesto, después del escándalo financiero del Petróleo por Alimentos. También necesita clarificar sus ideas frente a los disidentes que estén a favor de la democracia y de los derechos humanos, a diferencia del todavía Secretario General, que incluso se negó a recibir a los disidentes cubanos señalando que “no estaban cerca de la verdad, de la justicia y de la paz” o que posó al lado de un mapa del Próximo Oriente en el que Israel había desaparecido.

Entre los candidatos se encuentra el depuesto primer ministro de Tailandia, Surakiart Sakirathai, y el príncipe Jordano Raad Zaid al Hussein. La BBC, en otra muestra más de su alienamiento ideológico, indica al final de su noticia, que, al estar considerada Jordania como país asiático, si saliera elegido alHussein -ha quedado cuarto en la votación- sería el primer musulmán en dirigir las Naciones Unidas.

Por un comentario en la página “About” de este blog, me entero de que en PostGlobal, el Washington Post está llevando a cabo una discusión sobre el próximo Secretario General. Tres periodistas han dado su opinión. King Ming Liu considera que la ONU está acabada desde el momento en que China todavía tiene veto en el Consejo de Seguridad. La periodista francesa Christine Okhrent alaba al candidato indio, mientras que el jordano Daoub Kouttab considera que deben elegir al candidato jordano “por su gran conocimiento del conflicto del Medio Oriente“. Os animo a todos a participar en la discusión.

Podeis leer también El Diario Exterior.com.

ACTUALIZACIÓN 1: Ayer se me olvidaron dos cosas: la primera es el anti-americanismo que Corea del Sur ha venido desarrollando durante los últimos tiempos, hablándose desde hace tiempo que se quieren retirar de allí el contingente que todavía queda, eso sí, muy reducido. La segunda, es que el “heredero” de Koffi Annan herederá el conflicto de Darfur, convertido ya en genocidio, del que no se habló seriamente en la 61 Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas y que continuará olvidado a pesar de que cada día es peor.

ACTUALIZACIÓN 2: Annan era el jefe del Departamento de Operaciones de Paz (DPKO) entre marzo del 1993 y diciembre 1996. La masacre de Srebrenica -8.000 hombres y niños fueron asesinados- y el asesinato de 800.000 personas ocurrieron bajo su mandato. En Bosnia y Ruanda, los oficiales de Naciones Unidas ordenaron a los cascos azules que se apartaran de los asesinatos, aparentemente preocupados por conservar su status de observador neutral. Fue un shock para los que creyeron que la ONU estaba allí para ayudarles. [artículo en The Times].

(Lo siento: he tenido que volver a copiar el post porque una parte había desaparecido al intentar corregir unas faltas 😦 ).

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