05/27/2010 - 1:53pm
Posted by Jason Whitney
On May 21st 2010, during Citizens for Global Solutions’ annual meeting, long-time member Edward Rawson was honored with the first recipient of an annual named in his honor, the “Edward Rawson Global Citizen Award.” The boards of directors created this award “to honor the lifetime of energy, the outstanding service and the financial support that Edward Rawson has contributed to Citizens for Global Solutions and its predecessor organizations, the World Federalist Association and the Campaign for U.N. Reform.” This award shall each year “recognize an individual who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to the mission and vision of Citizens for Global Solutions: An individual who has committed his or her life to education and advocacy for a world in which nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms, and solve the problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone.”
Watch Ed's speech:
05/27/2010 - 12:23pm
Posted by Don Kraus
Today the Obama administration releases its first National Security Strategy (NSS). The NSS is a document prepared periodically by the executive branch for Congress which outlines the major U.S. national security concerns and how the administration plans to deal with them. It’s a strong improvement over the last NSS issued by the Bush administration in 2006. Much of the language in the NSS could have been taken from globalsolutions.org. This is a strategy of an administration on the right track. It’s also a signal to civil society to both support the administration's efforts and to be willing to push the envelope of what is possible.
In a perambulatory letter from President Obama he says:
“We are clear-eyed about the challenge of mobilizing collective action, and the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation. We have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice – so that nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities and face consequences when they don’t….As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we will build new and deeper partnerships in every region, and strengthen international standards and institutions. This engagement is no end in itself. The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times – countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; resolving and preventing conflict, while also healing its wounds.”
"While this goal will not be reached during this Administration, its active pursuit and eventual achievement will increase global security, keep our commitment under the NPT, build our cooperation with Russia and other states, and increase our credibility to hold others accountable for their obligations. As long as any nuclear weapons exist, the United States will sustain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal, both to deter potential adversaries and to assure U.S. allies and other security partners that they can count on America’s security commitments. But we have signed and seek to ratify a landmark New START Treaty with Russia to substantially limit our deployed nuclear warheads and strategic delivery vehicles, while assuring a comprehensive monitoring regime. We are reducing the role of nuclear weapons in our national security approach, extending a negative security assurance not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against those nonnuclear nations that are in compliance with the NPT and their nuclear nonproliferation obligations, and investing in the modernization of a safe, secure, and effective stockpile without the production of new nuclear weapons. We will pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. And we will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in nuclear weapons."
“[W]e have an interest in a just and sustainable international order that can foster collective action to confront common challenges. This international order will support our efforts to advance security, prosperity, and universal values, but it is also an end that we seek in its own right. Because without such an international order, the forces of instability and disorder will undermine global security. And without effective mechanisms to forge international cooperation, challenges that recognize no borders – such as climate change, pandemic disease, and transnational crime – will persist and potentially spread....Indeed, our ability to advance peace, security, and opportunity will turn on our ability to strengthen both our national and our multinational capabilities. To solve problems, we will pursue modes of cooperation that reflect evolving distributions of power and responsibility. We need to assist existing institutions to perform effectively. When they come up short, we must seek meaningful changes and develop alternative mechanisms.”
“We are enhancing our coordination with the U.N. and its agencies. We need a U.N. capable of fulfilling its founding purpose – maintaining international peace and security, promoting global cooperation, and advancing human rights. To this end, we are paying our bills. We are intensifying efforts with partners on and outside the U.N. Security Council to ensure timely, robust, and credible Council action to address threats to peace and security. We favor Security Council reform that enhances the U.N.’s overall performance, credibility, and legitimacy. Across the broader U.N. system we support reforms that promote effective and efficient leadership and management of the U.N.’s international civil service, and we are working with U.N. personnel and member states to strengthen the U.N.’s leadership and operational capacity in peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, post-disaster recovery, development assistance, and the promotion of human rights. And we are supporting new U.N. frameworks and capacities for combating transnational threats like proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, infections disease, drug-trafficking, and counterterrorism.”
“The untold loss of human life, suffering, and property damage that results from armed conflict necessitates that all responsible nations work to prevent it. No single nation can or should shoulder the burden for managing or resolving the world's armed conflicts. To this end, we will place renewed emphasis on deterrence and prevention by mobilizing diplomatic action, and use development and security sector assistance to build the capacity of at-risk nations and reduce the appeal of violent extremism. But when international forces are needed to respond to threats and keep the peace, we will work with international partners to ensure they are ready, able, and willing. We will continue to build support in other countries to contribute to sustaining global peace and stability operations, through U.N. peacekeeping and regional organizations, such as NATO and the African Union. We will continue to broaden the pool of troop and police contributors, working to ensure that they are properly trained and equipped, that their mandates are matched to means, and that their missions are backed by the political action necessary to build and sustain peace.”
It’s worth noting that absent from the NSS is any commitment to engage US personnel in blue-helmet peacekeeping missions.
“The United States and all member states of the U.N. have endorsed the concept of the "Responsibility to Protect.” In so doing, we have recognized that the primary responsibility for preventing genocide and mass atrocity rests with sovereign governments, but that this responsibility passes to the broader international community when sovereign governments themselves commit genocide or mass atrocities, or when they prove unable or unwilling to take necessary action to prevent or respond to such crimes inside their borders. The United States is committed to working with our allies, and to strengthening our own internal capabilities, in order to ensure that the United States and the international community are proactively engaged in a strategic effort to prevent mass atrocities and genocide. In the event that prevention fails, the United States will work both multilaterally and bilaterally to mobilize diplomatic, humanitarian, financial, and – in certain instances – military means to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities.”
One item not mentioned in the NSS is a plan for the US military to develop a clear doctrine on civilian protection. This would help to achieve the plans goals.
“From Nuremberg to Yugoslavia to Liberia, the United States has seen that the end of impunity and the promotion of justice are not just moral imperatives; they are stabilizing forces in international affairs. The United States is thus working to strengthen national justice systems and is maintaining our support for ad hoc international tribunals and hybrid courts. Those who intentionally target innocent civilians must be held accountable, and we will continue to support institutions and prosecutions that advance this important interest. Although the United States is not at present a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and will always protect U.S. personnel, we are engaging with State Parties to the Rome Statute on issues of concern and are supporting the ICC’s prosecution of those cases that advance U.S. interest and values, consistent with the requirements of U.S. law.”
05/26/2010 - 4:38pm
Posted by Melissa Kaplan
As the United States works to pursue a “reset” of relations with Russia, culminating in the recent signing of the New START treaty, what does this new bond mean for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (the CEEs) and their relationship with the U.S.? This was among the questions addressed by Czech Republic Senator Alexandr Vondra during his presentation at the Atlantic Council on May 24th, as he discussed his county’s view on the future of transatlantic cooperation.
05/24/2010 - 3:04pm
Earlier this month, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, visited Kenya where he met with victims of Kenya’s 2007-2008 postelection violence. Hundreds of thousands of Kenyans were displaced and more than 1,300 Kenyans lost their lives as a result of the postelection violence. While in Kenya, Ocampo not only met with victims of the postelection violence but also with senior government officials, civil society groups and the business community.
Powerful politicians and wealthy business men were accused of organizing and fueling attacks on civilian after the vote. Even though rival politicians signed a peace agreement and established that they would set up a local tribunal to investigate the election and prosecute the individuals responsible for the violence, the International Criminal Court believed that it was appropriate to become involved in the court proceedings because politicians were obstructing the investigations. Essentially, the International Criminal Court is fulfilling its duty to exercise its jurisdiction over perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern when national courts are unable to ensure the preservation of integrity, accountability and credibility while guaranteeing that justice is served.
With the upcoming Kenyan elections in 2012, witness protection for the witnesses that Ocampo will be calling to testify is a huge concern. Ocampo was made aware of this concern and stated “My witnesses will be protected. We are talking about 30, 40, 50 or 60 people”. The protection of witnesses is also important because those victims of violence are essential to Ocampo fulfilling his duty “to understand the views of the victims”. Ocampo also stated “It was a short visit and we saw just a little group but this is the beginning. It is important for us to understand what happened to them and how they feel.”
05/19/2010 - 10:02am
Posted by Abigail Long
Good news! There is still time to sign up for...
Citizens for Global Solutions Annual Meeting
May 19-22, 2010
Washington Plaza Hotel, Thomas Circle N.W., Washington, D.C.
Join us activists, scholars and members for the Citizens for Global Solutions Annual Conference! This year's event will include a lobby day, as well as an groundbreaking simulation of the United Nations, developed in conjunction with the Model United Nations Development Organization (MUNDO).
Features of the Annual Conference
- Lobby Day - Spend Thursday lobbying your members about the critical issues we are facing right now. This year, we will prepare and concentrate on lobbying for issues like encouraging continued United States engagement with the ICC, finding champions for the UN women’s human rights treaty and supporting the ratification of the nuclear arms treaties.
- Speaker Series - Distinguished speakers at the event include:
- Activism Development - Education is a key goal of this year's annual conference.
- Network with global activists from across the country at the Citizens for Global Solutions Open House and Reception.
Attend as a delegate to a reformed United Nations! The Global Solutions Model United Nation is a program of the Citizens for Global Solutions Annual Conference, and is an exciting simulation of a United Nations that has undergone a number of Reforms that are suggested by world federalists. Furthermore, GSMUN will be run by the Directors of the Model United Nations Development Organization (MUNDO). MUNDO develops educational curriculum about international relations and also organizes the Chicago International Model United Nations (CIMUN), an annual high school-level conference that engages students with the innovative techniques and fully integrated simulations.
For this year's simulation of a reformed United Nations, Citizens for Global Solutions has worked closely with MUNDO in developing a custom simulation specifically for the Annual Conferece. The simulation will feature the a UN that has implemented the Binding Triad Weighted Voting Method. Developed by the Center for War/Peace Studies, the Binding Triad is advocated by world federalists as a crucial UN reform. The discussion topics at the conference will also be related to other UN reforms, such as a UN Emergency Peace keeping Service, as well as pertenant CGS issues like the Elimination of Genocide.
As an educational excercise, realistic portrayal of national interest is imperative if this simulation is to be a success. This simulation is an opportunity to test the ability of UN Reforms to influence policy making at the international level. The purpose of GSMUN is not only to provide an educational forum for participants to learn about crucial global issues and UN reforms, but also to learn about the limitations and flaws of our current system.
05/18/2010 - 4:53pm
Posted by Abigail Long
What is the New START treaty?
The New START treaty is a treaty that will, if ratified, “replace” the START treaty that was signed in 1991 and expired in 2009. Secretary Clinton stated today that the three goals of the START treaty are to promote stability, transparency and predictability between the U.S. and Russia on the topic of nuclear arms control.
Will the New START treaty cut the total number of nuclear weapons held by both the United States and Russia?
Yes. START will reduce the total number of nuclear weapons held both the United States and Russia. Essentially, START will place limits on the number of nuclear warheads and deployed nuclear delivery vehicles for both the United States and Russia. Each country will be permitted to have a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads and a maximum of 700 deployed nuclear delivery vehicles.
Will the New START treaty adversely affect our missile defense or compromise United States national security?
No. There is nothing in the treaty that will limit the United States ability to continue to cultivate the U.S. missile defense program. Additionally, the New START treaty will not compromise the United States ability to protect itself and does include a provision for a strong verification regime.
Will the New START treaty have any effect on Iran and North Korea?
Secretary Clinton stated, “I am not suggesting that this treaty alone will convince Iran or North Korea to change their behavior, but it does demonstrate our leadership and strengthens our hand as we seek to hold these and other governments accountable, whether that means further isolating Iran and enforcing the rules against violators or convincing other countries to get a better handle on their own nuclear materials”
05/17/2010 - 5:37pm
On May 12, 2010 the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court confirmed that that it has requested Judge Baltasar Garzon of Spain to assist the office in improving its investigation methods. Judge Garzon is a slightly controversial figure. Judge Garzon, in 2008, investigated the execution or disappearance of more than 100,000 Spanish civilians. These executions and disappearances are a reflection of the crimes committed during Spain's 1936-39 Civil War and under General Francisco Franco’s rule. In 1977 the Spanish Parliament granted amnesty over these crimes in an effort to move the county towards reconciliation. But as a result of Judge Garzon investigating these crimes which are covered by an amnesty he has been charged with knowingly going beyond the limits of his jurisdiction.
Despite Judge Garzon’s history, the Office of the Prosecutor has chosen to focus on the more positive aspects of Judge Garzon’s career. Judge Garzon is respected for targeting international figures which include the late Chilean military ruler Augusto Pinochet and al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, among others.
Additionally, Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo stated “Judge Garzon’s extensive experience in investigating massive crimes committed by States and non state organizations will be a great contribution to my office.”
Will Judge Garzon join Prosector Moreno-Ocampo at the ICC? The answer is still up in the air. Judge Garzon asked Spain’s Judicial Oversight Board if he could take a seven month leave of absence to join the ICC, but Spain’s Judicial Oversight Board has yet to make a decision to either grant or deny Judge Garzon’s request.
05/13/2010 - 9:50am
Is the idea of 'achieving energy security' an attainable reality or will it remain a mere proposal?
For those who deeply believe in the importance of energy security and want to see the United States take on a leadership role in the field of renewable energy, the American Power Act, the bill introduced yesterday, might represent a critical step towards making energy security a big priority and as leaders in this emerging field. The American Power Act addresses major topics which include: the expansion of the nuclear power industry, carbon capture and sequestration, and revenue sharing for states that want to conduct more offshore oil and gas production. The bill articulates the goals of reducing carbon emission by 17% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Furthermore, the bill offers multiple tax credits as incentives to encourage truck and heavy-duty fleets to use natural gas in addition to encouraging manufacturers of vehicles to create cleaner vehicles and adopt more energy efficient production methods.
What effect will the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have on the American Power Act?
Due to what has happened in the Gulf, the American Power Act permits coastal governments to veto exploratory oil drilling up to 75 miles from their shores.
Will it encourage the Senate to pass the energy bill that was unveiled today by Senators Kerry and Lieberman?
President Obama responded to this question by essentially saying that the recent event in the Gulf highlights why this bill must be passed by the Senate and added to our portfolio of energy legislation which includes the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed by the House.
05/11/2010 - 5:48pm
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is responsible for prosecuting individuals who have been charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes. Currently the crime of aggression is included in the Rome Statute of the ICC. However the Court can only prosecute aggression if the ICC's governing body, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), amends the Statute to define the crime and sets out the conditions for the Court's exercise of jurisdiction.
One year ago, the ICC issued a global arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir as a result of charges brought against him for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bashir's warrant has also caused diplomats to refuse to attend meeting if he is there and to get up from lunch tables upon his arrival; in essence many of our nations leaders avoid him at all costs. The most recent manifestation of leaders wanting to avoid Bashir has come from Paris who made it very clear that Mr. Bashir would be on the guest list for the upcoming African-French summit meeting in Nice, France. Each and every time a President or Prime Minister refuses to be in the company of Bashir, that President or Prime Minister is making a profound statement, a statement which says "we will not tolerate war crimes or crimes against humanity." For more information, CLICK HERE.
Do you believe that war should be abolished? Do think that everyone’s rights and freedom should be protected no matter where they live? Do you want to one day live in a world where the ICC will be able to hold individuals accountable for the 'crime of aggression'? Do you believe that it is time for justice to be served to those individuals who are survivors of one of the most heinous weapons of war, the weapon of rape? Or that the time has come to ensure that justice is bestowed upon victims of mass slaughter? If the answer is yes to any or all of these questions, then ACT NOW in Support of the International Criminal Court!
05/10/2010 - 4:54pm
Posted by Meg McDermott
As hopefully everyone remembered, Sunday was Mother’s Day!
This weekend, Citizens for Global Solutions held its May Partners Call, a nationwide conference call with CGS members and expert speakers on nuclear security issues. This call, we focused on the New START Treaty with Russia that will cut back strategic nuclear weapons in each country by almost one-third. During the call, we learned quite a bit about the prospects of the New START treaty being ratified by the Senate as well as the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review conference that is going on right now.
You might wonder why I’m talking about nuclear weapons in reference to Mother’s Day. As I learned this weekend from one of our members in Cincinnati, Fr. Ben Urmston, Mother’s Day was originally founded as a Women’s Day for peace and disarmament in 1870. Julia Ward Howe is famously quoted as saying “From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!" Of course these women weren’t talking about nuclear disarmament, but the quote is certainly prophetic.
In memory of the women that pioneered Mother's Day in the name of disarmament, let's continue to celebrate our mothers and grandmothers today.
We know that women and girls around the world face violence and discrimination daily. We also know that CEDAW, the Women's Treaty, helps women and girls to go to school, to own and inherit property, to take part in public life, and to fight violence and oppression. We need Senate action on the CEDAW Treaty (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) to give the U.S. greater clout to help women worldwide win these basic rights. Let's stand together for women and girls around the world. Click here to ask your Senators to support CEDAW today.
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