INTERNATIONAL


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Can leadership change revive the UN?

6 Comments
31 July 2016 | Fatima Measham

Helen ClarkThe United Nations Security Council is in the process of selecting its next secretary-general. There is intense interest, not least because the General Assembly has made efforts to make it more transparent via an open nomination process and televised debates. The UN is seen in some parts as an edifice to bureaucratic ineptitude. But the internationalism that stitched the world back together after two calamitous wars has frayed. We need the UN as ballast against future instability.


Israeli voices raised against hatred and division

10 Comments
27 July 2016 | Na'ama Carlin

The separation wall in Qalqilya in the Occupied Territories (West Bank). Photo by Na'ama CarlinIt was two years ago this month, in July 2014, that my flight touched down in Ben Gurion Airport half an hour later than scheduled. There were rumours of Hamas missiles landing in the vicinity of the airport. A few days later multiple airlines announced they were ceasing travel to Israel. What would become Israel's deadliest offensive in Gaza since the Second Intifada, 'Operation Protective Edge', was entering its second week. How did it come to this?


Religion and violence in Australian-Indigenous history

2 Comments
26 July 2016 | Frank Brennan

COV&R ConferenceThe violence at the pastoral frontier of the British colonies here in Australia was all pervasive. 228 years after it commenced, we are still experiencing the after-effects. When I started advocating Aboriginal rights here in Australia almost 40 years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that the missions and missionaries were all bad news. It will come as no surprise that I have always doubted that Aborigines were well rid of religion and the missionaries in all circumstances.


Trump vs Clinton: Americans' unpalatable choice

9 Comments
26 July 2016 | Justin Glyn

Hillary ClintonAs the US goes through its convention season, it is becoming increasingly clear that the choice is between someone spouting decidedly undemocratic and possibly fascist rhetoric and someone for whom democratic decision-making is, at best, something to be evaded with as little scrutiny as possible. Both parties are moneyed and both seek foreign scapegoats upon which to direct media attention. November is shaping up to provide a distinctly unpalatable choice.


Frank Brennan on John Molony's Don Luigi Sturzo: The Father of Social Democracy

3 Comments
25 July 2016 | Frank Brennan

Frank Brennan and John MolonyJohn traces the political ascent and descent of Sturzo whose first public office was as mayor of his own town. The chapter headings mark each step up and down the Everest of Italy's experiment with democracy and fascism: the emergence of political Catholicism in Italy; the dream takes shape; democracy without direction; democracy in decline; the search for a leader; the stick and the carrot; the voice of the watchman; and enter the night. Sturzo goes into exile; Mussolini takes over; and the Vatican is well pleased because the Roman Question is finally resolved in 1929 with the Lateran Treaties negotiated by Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, each of whom got what they were looking for.


Closing the gates of violence in Colombia

1 Comment
25 July 2016 | Antonio Castillo

Juan Manuel SantosIt has been little more a month since Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and Timochenko, the nom de guerre of the leader of the FARC, the oldest guerrilla group in the world, proclaimed a cease-fire. In La Habana on 23 June, the two concluded four years of negotiations to end the 50 year old Colombian civil war, the longest armed conflict in the western hemisphere. The development is hopeful, but Colombian peace attempts are nothing new, and the conditions won't be easy to meet.


Home is a place that you leave behind

8 Comments
03 July 2016 | Gillian Bouras

House in mistEvery migrant, and every ageing person, loses a home and the past: that is simply the way things are. Fortunate people have the chance to make another home, and to write a series of additional chapters in their personal stories. We look back at the past, but can never revisit it. And would we really want to? We should always be careful what we wish for, as many British people who voted to leave the EU may now well be learning only too painfully.


Beyond the myth of the rational voter

8 Comments
30 June 2016 | Fatima Measham

Ballot box in front of Australian flagWhen the democratic exercise is no longer the aggregate of informed, reasoned choices, but a matter of mood, then the business of persuasion - politics - becomes far less about ideas and more about momentary catharsis. This shifts the function of politicians and government, from leading and dispensing equity to masturbatory aid. Even so, there are questions worth asking. But at whose expense are public moods assuaged? After catharsis, what happens next?


Leave Europe arguments betray cultural amnesia

19 Comments
22 June 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Union Jack and EU flag divided by crackSome commentators in the Australian media have welcomed the prospect of Britain's leaving the EU. The founders of the union would recognise these commentators' hoped-for changes. They are precisely the conditions that contributed to the wars that they so feared: the xenophobia, disregard for human rights, chauvinism, military adventures entered by individual nations and competitive economic policies that alienated citizens and so bred authoritarian and ideologically inspired leaders.


What if the PM went to Manus Island?

15 Comments
22 June 2016 | Samuel Dariol

Turnbull on QandAIt is one thing to sit at a desk and make policies that will impact on individuals across the sea whom you do not know. It is another thing to cross the sea, to look into the eyes of people abandoned there, to meet the children and see the pictures they have drawn, and to see in their eyes terror, despair, depression and contempt. For a prime minister to go to Manus Island would require him to throw off the shroud and stare affrighted at the maggots in the flesh of the body politic.


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