Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Trump’s Request for India’s Help in Afghanistan Rattles Pakistan

Trump’s Request for India’s Help in Afghanistan Rattles Pakistan - The New York Times

However, Maria Sultan, a defense analyst based in Islamabad and director general of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, said the Trump policy was “not as bad as we were expecting. The responsibility has been essentially shifted to Afghanistan.”

She warned that intelligence-based operations against groups inside Pakistan might increase. “This will further reduce the space for cooperation between Pakistan and U.S. and will be counterproductive for a long-term relationship,” Ms. Sultan said. More

Thursday, June 15, 2017

US Releases Long-Awaited Documents on 1953 Coup in Iran

Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, (undated photo).

Washington, D.C., June 15, 2017 – The State Department today released a long-awaited “retrospective” volume of declassified U.S. government documents on the 1953 coup in Iran, including records describing planning and implementation of the covert operation. The publication is the culmination of decades of internal debates and public controversy after a previous official collection omitted all references to the role of American and British intelligence in the ouster of Iran’s then-prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq. The volume is part of the Department’s venerable Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series.

For decades, neither the U.S. nor the British governments would acknowledge their part in Mosaddeq’s overthrow, even though a detailed account appeared as early as 1954 in The Saturday Evening Post, and since then CIA and MI6 veterans of the coup have published memoirs detailing their activities. Kermit Roosevelt’s Countercoup is the best known and most detailed such account, although highly controversial because of its selective rendering of events. In 2000, The New York Times posted a 200-page classified internal CIA history of the operation.
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Friday, June 9, 2017

The Relentless March of Drought – That ‘Horseman of the Apocalypse’

ROME, Jun 7 2017 (IPS) - By 2025 –that’s in less than 8 years from today– 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, and two thirds of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions. Now it is feared that advancing drought and deserts, growing water scarcity and decreasing food security may provoke a huge ‘tsunami” of climate refugees and migrants.
No wonder then that a major United Nations Convention calls drought ‘one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.’ See what the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) says in this regard.

By 2050, the demand for water is expected to increase by 50 per cent. As populations increase, especially in dry-land areas, more and more people are becoming dependent on fresh water supplies in land that are becoming degraded, the Bonn-based Convention secretariat warns.

“The world’s drought-prone and water scarce regions are often the main sources of refugees.” Monique Barbut.
Water scarcity is one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century, it underlines, adding that drought and water scarcity are considered to be the most far-reaching of all natural disasters, causing short and long-term economic and ecological losses as well as significant secondary and tertiary impacts.

To mitigate these impacts, drought preparedness that responds to human needs, while preserving environmental quality and ecosystems, requires involvement of all stakeholders including water users and water providers to achieve solutions for drought, explains UNCCD.

“Drought, a complex and slowly encroaching natural hazard with significant and pervasive socio-economic and environmental impacts, is known to cause more deaths and displace more people than any other natural disaster.” More

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

South Asia's Turn: Policies to Boost Competitiveness and Create the Next Export Powerhouse


South Asia is undergoing a rapid economic transformation and has the potential to become the next major middle-income region of the world. More than a million young people are reaching working age every month, and the population of the region’s mega agglomerations and sprawling cities is expanding at roughly the same pace. By 2030 more than a quarter of the world’s working adults will live in South Asia. But the region has not been particularly successful in integrating within itself and with the global economy. The demographic transition and urbanization on the one hand, and poor competitiveness on the other, are South Asia’s greatest opportunity and greatest challenge. View PDF

Sunday, December 11, 2016

WATER SECURITY, CONFLICT AND COOPERATION

Strategic Security Analysis - 2016 n°13
Key Points * Growing populations and economies, unsustainable consumption practices and mounting environmental challenges exert increasing pressure on the world’s freshwater resources. Many observers fear that shortfalls between rising demand and shifting supplies could foster sharpened competition among nations or communities attempting to secure increasingly scarce water resources. * History furnishes little evidence of actual water wars, but violent international water-related confrontations do occur, and frictions over water can also fuel internal conflicts within countries. * A range of indirect factors such as political institutions, economic conditions, and social perceptions affect the relationship between environmental pressures and conflict risks. Inequitable allocation of water development costs or benefits and lack of access to decision-making processes around water often generate conflict more than the unequal allocation of or inadequate access to the resource itself.   * International treaties and integrated water resource management approaches provide important tools for collective risk reduction and dispute resolution. Policymakers should further develop these cooperative governance mechanisms, effectively adapt them to new challenges such as climate change, and extend them to regions where they are currently lacking. Read More   Download Report

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Advanced Nuclear Power

Advanced Nuclear Power

17 August 2016

James Hansen

There is a dearth of objective discussion of the role of advanced nuclear power in the future of clean power and the phase-out of fossil fuels.  I will write on this topic as expeditiously as possible, but first we must finish a paper “Young People’s Burden” that is highly relevant to legal cases aimed at getting responsible government action to avert dangerous climate change.

In the meantime, free access to “China-U.S. cooperation to advance nuclear power”, published in the 5 August issue of Science, is available from my web site (www.columbia.edu/~jeh1): you need to click on “Scholarly Publications” on the top line of the web site.

I thank Gary L. Russell for financial support of the workshop, the Chinese Academy of Sciences for funding all local costs, and the Chinese hosts led by Prof. Junji Cao for their wonderful hospitality.  Acknowledgements in the paper are below as is a photo of workshop participants.

Note that the Supplementary Materials to the Science article include alternative versions of the two figures as well as discussion of those figures.

Acknowledgements: Our essay draws upon discussions at the Workshop on Advanced Nuclear Energy to Address Climate Change and Air Pollution, Dec. 17-20, 2015, Wanning, Hainan, China. The Chinese Academy of Sciences funded local workshop costs.  Travel costs of a majority of non-Chinese participants were paid by the U.S. non-profit Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, Inc. with funding from Gary L. Russell.  Per Peterson’s research group receives funding from the U.S. Dept. Energy and the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (via a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between SINAP and Oak Ridge National Laboratory) to work on advanced molten salt reactor technologies. More

 

Participants: Workshop on Advance Nuclear Energy to Address Climate Change and Air Pollution, held December 17-20, 2015 in Wanning, Hainan, China

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Syria's Chemical Weapons Scourge

  The terrible odor of chlorine gas drifts on the wind in the Syrian city of Aleppo. On April 7, four civilians were poisoned by this unpredictable and indiscriminate weapon, reportedly used by Islamist rebels against Kurdish fighters in the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud.   Ever since Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemi- cal weapons in the Ghouta suburb of Damascus killed upwards of 1,700 people in 2013, the terrible, chaotic nature of weaponized gas has be- come representative of the chaos of the conflict itself. When the winds When the winds switch direction, chemical switch direction, chemical weapons kill combatants and civilians alike, and weapons kill combatants and civilians alike.   And in the chlorine-scented fog of war, all sides can—and do—claim that others fired the imprecise weapons. The use of chemical weapons is a war crime that demands investigation, but in the multi-faction Syrian and Iraqi theater of war, reports conflict as to who is using the weapons and from where they being acquired. More (PDF)