The Transnational W I R E

Links to Facts & Views, December 3 1999


You want to find interesting analyses, reports, articles and papers on peace and conflict issues from around the world?

Now we do the job for you. This page provides links to a selection of the best critical and constructive materials - the essential stuff we benefit from ourselves and want to share.

Just click below at what catches your interest - read, download or send on to a friend.



Nonviolence & forgiveness

Real peace builds on people, from the ground-up as well as by top-down peace agreements:
Peace that starts in the hearts
In October, millions of Colombians - perhaps a third of the population - took to the streets in the country's largest protest against a decades-long civil war and in support of fresh peace talks between the government and Marxist rebels.

Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, President of the Buddhist organisation, Soka Gakkai International, SGI, who is also a TFF adviser reflects on the necessary peace culture we must learn to develop:
Towards a Culture of Peace. A Cosmic View
"...I suggest that for the sake of overcoming the identity crises undermining the soul of modern humanity we must attempt to discover a new cosmology. Unless we raise our sights this high, hopes of nurturing true world citizens must inevitably prove illusory."

A global inter-generational dialogue initiated by young people:
The G 21 Initiative
This website is a fruitful way to understand for whom we are making decisions today...


Human rights  

This is a thought-provoking perspective on the country which has made humanitarian issues and human rights a top priority on its formal foreign policy agenda:
United States stands in the way of a world ban on child soldiers
"The United States is one of a minority of countries that still recruits minors, although it has fewer than 7,000 minors in its 1.5 million active duty force," Human Rights Watch reported. "Five years of U.N.-sponsored negotiation have failed to produce a comprehensive ban on the use of child soldiers, largely due to U.S. opposition."


Militarization, New Cold War - and the EU

Stratfor monitors US Secretary of Defence Cohen's visit to Europe and his statement about the United States feels that NATO should have a "first option" before Europe takes independent military action - which means having a veto right:
Europe's new defence force
- but there is a bit more to it...

Kosovo - the mantra of European turbo-militarization,,,
Eurocorps to replace NATO as Kosovo force
Europe's defence ambitions were given a boost when Britain and other key Nato nations backed plans to put the Franco-German Eurocorps at the heart of peace-keeping operations in Kosovo as early as next year. The ministers' approval comes one week before leaders unveil their plans for a rapid-reaction force, and reinforced the EU's determination to play a greater role in "crisis intervention" and peace-keeping.

NATO's Secretary-General pushes for ever higher military expenditures everywhere and tells us that life is fine in Kosovo:
Lord Robertson's statement to the press, December 2, 1999
"The time for a peace dividend is over because there is no permanent peace - in Europe, or elsewhere. If NATO is to do its job of protecting future generations, we can no longer expect to have security on the cheap."
Keep an eye on next NATO ministers meeting and the EU meeting in Finland in a few days. These militaristic views will most likely be reflected there.

And remember to always check one of the best sources to military affairs anywhere:
The Centre for Defense Information in Washington
CDIs Weekly updates are extremely useful.


Conflict-resolution - Burundi

Nelson Mandela succeeds Julius Nyerere as mediator among the conflicting Burundi parties:
Mandela to head Burundi peace process



A leading intellectual of Kosova reflects on theAlbanian hardliners and their relations with the international community:
Kosova's independence abandoned?
Ethnic Albanian demands for independence and continued reprisals against Serbs are undermining the morale and sense of purpose among international organisations operating in Kosovo.

Is France involved in an attempt to kill Milosevic - and KLA leaders? Or is it just "little more than fantasies"? See well-researched articles from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, IWPR:
Alleged 'Assassins' Were No Strangers To France and Belgrade's French connection

So Clinton's pathetic appeal for reconciliation and co-existence in a virtually mono-ethnic Kosovo was given an answer. The mob Albanian terror continues in Kosovo. When will the international community's see that as a problem?
Serbs shot in mob attack
Ethnic hatred flares on the streets of Kosovo, where peacekeepers are powerless to protect minorities, reports the Guardian. But how on earth can NATO be powerless, is the US this powerless? Is this the response.

Kosovo is a legal vacuum, with uncertain laws, missing judges and ill-equipped courts. Crimes go unpunished, cases are delayed, and the entire legal framework has become politicised.
Justice delayed in Kosovo
Nearly half a year after NATO troops entered Kosovo, the international community is still struggling to establish the rudiments of a judicial system. Under-funding, bureaucratic labyrinths, institutional rivalries, and a lack of qualified staff have complicated the already difficult task of bringing justice to a post-war environment.

Peace in Kosovo is not worth the money half a day of bombing cost...The American press - in contrast to most - seems fully aware that the UN does not function well - or at all - in Kosovo. Who is listening?
The UN needs helps in Kosovo
The United Nations administration in Kosovo, what there is of it, cannot pay teachers, doctors, lawyers more than a minimal stipend, and then only every other month. The police force remains embryonic, garbage is not collected in Pristina, and people still have not received new identity papers to replace the ones forcibly taken away when they were expelled.Officials estimated that there is still a shortfall of $25 million for this year's scrimping budget and an estimated gap of $150 million next year. ''That is the price of half a day's bombing,'' a UN official told Steven Erlanger of The New York Times.


Globalisation & WTO

Civil society is coming together in Seattle:
For opponents of WTO, this is a kind of Woodstock
They are pouring into Seattle this weekend in vans and on buses, by air and on foot - the college students and the church groups, the environmental campaigners, the Teamsters, Ralph Nader, Chinese dissidents and a man who became a hero in France for defacing a McDonald's. All of them say they are outraged at the growing power of a group that few had even heard about five years ago..writes David E. Sanger in International Herald Tribune

Is there a new 'protectionism' or is it legitimate concerns about the environment, child labour, consumer rights etc?
The protection myth
These concerns miss the point. It's true that environmentalists wish to protect biodiversity, consumers fear genetically modified foods, and unions are concerned about child labor and poor working conditions. But efforts to use trade sanctions to enforce labor, environmental, and health standards only confirm that trade now touches more lives in more ways.

Here are the main alternative sources to understanding globalization and WTO's role in it - conveniently different from mainstream media coverage:
Alternative press sets sight on WTO
Protests - what protests? Corporate media close ranks. From the "Media Channel. Eye on Global Media." And of course, there is ZNet.

No matter the protests, free trade rolls on...
No halting the trade juggernaut?
But beneath the tear gas and nightstick imagery lurks a fundamental question: In the end, will any of it make a difference? The short answer is probably no. The subject of the protesters' displeasure, the World Trade Organization, will continue to meet through the week to set a trade-liberalization agenda for the next millennium.


Media in war and peace

Satellite images can help us monitor humanitarian catastrophes and human rights violations. It depends on what Pentagon wants us to know - and on the price. A new perspective for governments as well as NGOs
From Kosovo to Chechnya, selling images from above
Images from the satellite are clear enough to distinguish objects on the ground no larger than 1-by-1 meter. And while the defense community uses spy satellites to look at hot spots such as Chechnya as a matter of course, the utility in the NGO [nongovernmental organization] community is not realized yet.

The WTO meeting, like the Kosovo war, conveys messages about media and news coverage of the future. And from this interesting article, you can visot the Independent Media Centre in Seattle:
War of words: virtual media versus mainstream press
They are part of the new virtual media and, without the help of the mainstream media - ABC, NBC, Reuters, Associated Press - they are sending hundreds of accounts from the riotous streets and orderly seminars to thousands tuning in around the globe. If the mainstream media are like elephants, then these eclectic independents are like mosquitoes.


Militarism versus development

If you read only one, let this be it:
So much for the West's humanitarian concerns - did YOU ever hear about the thousands of dead in Orissa? ...In where??...
The West squanders billions in Kosovo, while a life in India is valued at 30 cents.Weep for poor Orissa
"I can tell you why. Orissa is far away and boring. The whole ritual of Western humanitarianism, boasted so bravely in Yugoslavia, is a sham, cover for the exploitation of foreign affairs for domestic ends. "Humanitarian intervention" is code for political and military meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign states - and damn the consequences," - writes Simon Jenkins in The Times of London and calls the whole affair obscene.

No, we should not expect a real human, humanitarian intervention that could help where it is most needed...
U.S. Grows Stingier on Foreign Aid
Amid Prosperity, Country Is World's Least Generous in Helping Poor. In 1997, the U.S. government spent about $7 billion on traditional, nonmilitary foreign aid, or less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the $8.1 trillion gross national product. That was the lowest percentage of any donor country and less than half the proportion that the United States spent just 10 years earlier.


Arms exports

The United Arab Emirates gets advanced F16s in a multi-billion dollar deal with the US. Part of a larger strategic build up...
Pentagon backs an unusual sale in which an ally gets better planes than US pilots fly.
A spectacular news report by the Christian Science Monitor. Look at a map, look at the oil, combine NATO expansion, Kosovo, Macedonia, Turkey and the new oil pipelines and it begins to look like a grand strategy.




WIRE Editor

Jan Oberg with TFF Associates













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