2010 #13 Fall ~

   

This upcoming election on November 2, 2010 is no ordinary election.

It will determine whether our country continues on the path set out by

President Obama or whether it reverts to the unilateralist policies

followed by the Bush administration. “We could go from seeking to

cooperate with other nations back to insisting that all nations follow

U.S. dictates regardless of their national interests or what is good for

the whole world community in the long run.” 

In our 2010 election we are voting for all the members of the House of

Representatives and one third of the Senate, and the winners will be

important in determining which policies this country follows. Some of

the most critical elections are taking place right here in the states of

Missouri and Illinois. Fortunately, in deciding for whom to vote we have

the help of the CGS Political Action Committee (PAC), and their

evaluations and recommendations can guide us.

One obvious place to get relevant information is from the bienniel rating

of members of Congress done by the CGS PAC. In its non-partisan 2010

CGS Congressional Report Card [which came to you in your national

newsletter and which you can see at <http://www.globalsolutions.org

/reportcard>], we can find the grades for U.S. Representatives in

Missouri and southern Illinois. The grades go from A+ to F. The letter D

indicates Democrat while R indicates Republican. The particular roll-call

votes used for the ratings are given in the paper report card and also on

the CGS website under “politics” and “report card” and “voting guide.”

Here are the grades given by the CGS PAC.

MO-1 Clay (D): A; MO-2 Akin (R): F; MO-3 Carnahan (D): A+;

MO-4 Skelton (D): A; MO-5 Cleaver (D): A; MO-6 Graves (R): F;

MO-7 Blunt (R): F; MO-8 Emerson (R): C-; MO-9 Luetkemeyer (R): F;

IL-12 Costello (D): B+; IL-19 Shimkus (R): D.

The CGS Political Action Committee has endorsed Clay, Carnahan, and

Cleaver and has contributed money to the campaign of Russ Carnahan.

In fact, Carnahan was one of two Representatives awarded the 2010 title

of “Legislator for Global Solutions.” You can see the whole list of all

candidates endorsed by CGS PAC in 2010 at the CGS website under

“politics” and “elections” and “2010?action=endorsed.”

In the Senatoral races in Missouri and Illinois, there are no incumbents

running, so there are no ratings for the candidates. Such candidates are

asked to fill out questionnaires on our issues, and on that basis the CGS

PAC has endorsed Robin Carnahan in Missouri and Alexi Giannoulias (D)

in Illinois, and it has contributed money to both.

You can make contributions by credit card to the CGS PAC on the CGS website

<http://http://www.globalsolutions.org/> or you can send a check labeled for the

“Political Action Committee” to CGS, 420 Seventh St. SE, Washington DC

20003. Please help us to support our endorsed candidates, and don’t forget

to vote!

YOUR VOTE IS NEEDED ON NOVEMBER 2, 2010


Another Report on the Citizens for Global Solutions 2010 National Convention

By Mary Lee Ptacek

Saint Louis University

The Citizens for Global Solutions 2010 National Convention held May 19-22 in Washington DC was a very exciting and informative experience for me. Lobby Day, the first full day of the convention, provided a close look at the workings of Washington; our Missouri delegation had the opportunity to meet Representative Russ Carnahan and talk to him about our satisfaction with his work in Congress.

We also met with aides from the offices of Senator Claire McCaskill and Senator Kit Bond and discussed the issues of funding for genocide prevention and the ratification of START III, the newest of the nuclear arms reduction treaties between Russia and the U.S.

After our meetings, we were able to listen to a speech by Jim McGovern, a representative from Massachusetts, who has been a strong supporter of CGS and its policies. Jim McGovern’s speech was perhaps one of my favorite moments during the convention. He seemed to me to be one of those few politicians who not only follows through with his promises, but also someone who hasn’t forgotten his broader visions for the world. Knowing that  people like Jim McGovern are in office makes me have a little more confidence in our government and in the future of America, and knowing that he is also concerned with CGS’s issues is truly encouraging. During the following two days of the convention, I participated in the Model U.N. simulation, where I represented Egypt. At the simulation, I learned about the Schwartzberg plan, a new proposal for voting in the United Nations General Assembly, from Joe Schwartzberg himself. It was an exciting experience to meet and listen to someone who was intimately acquainted with the workings of the United Nations and who had a detailed plan for improving the current system.

I had an amazing time at the CGS National Convention; I learned a lot about the issues the organization is concerned about and what can be done in resolving those issues. I met many interesting people from all over the country with great ideas for improving our country and the,world. Thank you, CGS, for giving me such an eye-opening and inspiring experience; I truly appreciate this amazing opportunity you’ve given me.

CGS newsletter tech is in film about Ozarks

Marideth Sisco, who does the layout for our CGS/STL newsletter and who maintains our CGS/ STL website, is the music consultant and sings Ozark music on-screen in the award-winning movie “Winter’s Bone.”

The movie, based on the novel of the same name by Daniel Woodrell, won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize and the 2010 Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Festival. It is an artistic and gripping story of methamphetamine and its affect on a family in the Missouri Ozarks. It had an extended run in St. Louis at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema. An independent film directed by Debra Granik and starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Lauren Sweetzer and Garrett Dillahunt, the film, its director and screenwriters Granik and Anne Rosellini, have won numerous awards including the Humana Prize for best screenplay.

Lawrence and Granik have been named two of the top 10 breakout artists likely to win Oscar nominations in January. Sisco, 67, of West Plains, Mo., said the opportunity to work on the film, which she praised for its honest portrayal of rural Ozarks life, has been the high point of her musical and professional life thus far.

“Winter’s Bone” will be featured at the Cinema St. Louis International Film Festival, Nov. 11-21.

GREET ANOTHER WINNER! Contestants in the essay contest were advised that the winning essays were to have two parts. In the first part the students were to tell us why they would be a good choice to attend our national convention with all expenses paid. The second part is to indicate at least one global problem that needs attention and discuss how they would deal with it. This is the second of the two winning essays.

Making the United Nations Work for Us

By Ben Stephan

St. Louis University student essay contest winner Global problems are “global problems” because they can and do affect everyone. Poverty, substandard or a lack of education, child mortality, corruption, environmental crises (to name just a few) are problems that involve superpowers to failing states. Although they affect a smaller portion of the population of the developed world in comparison to a huge portion of the population in the developing world, no single country, rich or poor, is immune to them. For this same reason, anyone anywhere has the potential to contribute to the advancement of this common bond of humanity that unites all of us as individuals. 

To begin, allow me to challenge a social ideal: Community service, or charity, is not an end-allcure- all. Although it is essential in the short-term, we must develop policies and strategies of implementation that focus on the long-term. In other words, community service is a necessary, immediate fix to chronic and constant problems which demand a long-term mindset in order to solve them. To eliminate or minimize global problems, I suggest a larger emphasis on policy creation and policy change rather than just the outdated, impractical, and ineffective policies that already exist. 

My studies, in large part, have helped me nurture this policy-centered worldview. I am triple majoring in Public Policy/Urban Affairs, International Studies, and French. In addition, I also have a minor in Political Science and a concentration in the Foreign Service. That being said, I have taken courses from Social Work and Social Justice, to Physics and Biology, to International Politics and Diplomacy. In one of my current courses, French and International Relations, I am participating in a Global Simulation Conference (modeled around a UN conference) of which I have been elected president for the theme of Sustainable Development. Apart from doing research, I have acquainted myself with the structure and protocol of such a conference in order to make it function professionally. I establish the order of the day, call upon delegations (comprised of other students) to share their own ideas and research, manage debates, adhere to and enforce protocol, and pass motions so as to reach a resolution involving policy creation and implementation (French being the official language). Besides presiding over this simulated conference, I have recently been elected to the position of Senator for my College, the College of Education and Public Service, on Saint Louis University’s Student Government Association. I am honored to be designated with all of the responsibilities and duties which this office requires. I will deliberate and work with the administration of my college while representing the interests of the student body. Lastly, I am the president/captain/coach/player of SLU Men’s Club Soccer, which involves intense organization and demands outstanding results. 

Along with my involvement in the SLU community, I had the privilege of working with the Queen of Peace Center, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for women and their children in St. Louis, Missouri. Seeing these women, the words “homelessness,” “neglect,” “debt,” “abuse,” and “poverty” became personified, and I was ashamed that I was part of a society that allowed this to happen. I became a policy advocate for these women by conducting research, dialoguing with legislators, interviewing prestigious experts in the field of social development, networking, and raising awareness. Above all, though, I came to learn the painfully true stories of these women, of their journeys through hell and back and their uphill battles of survival. One of these stories, which pushed my previous limit of comfort, I published in Saint Louis University’s Live OneWorld magazine (2010) in order to raise awareness. It is a story of empowerment which inspires anyone to realize their individual potential to help eradicate Poverty. 

In my opinion, Poverty is the foremost plague that we, as a human race, must confront. It takes on many guises: Poverty of mind is a lack of education; Poverty of health is a lack of health care; Poverty of morals is corruption; Poverty of food and water is starvation; Poverty of equality is injustice. Furthermore, the existence of Poverty is tantamount to the failure of society to look after its (often marginalized) people. The global community needs to address universal problems with a holistic approach. Because these problems are so deeply intertwined (as we see with Poverty), attempts to solve them one at a time would be futile. Education is an indicator of maternal health; corruption is an indicator of poverty. Put simply, these “separate” problems feed each other; thus we must combat them on all fronts.

The good news is that steps are being taken. Foreign aid and assistance from NGOs, IOs, and governments are characteristic of the international system. From grassroots programs to the Millennium Development Goals, we see that the world community recognizes the priority of both the need for aid and the aid itself, and this is often given in the form of monetary contributions (e.g. loans, grants, debt relief) and technical assistance (e.g  technical expertise, know-how and knowledge transfer). Needless to say, foreign aid is the topic of much debate on the international scene. Most experts do agree, however, that affluent nations, now more than ever, have the financial, intellectual, technical, and human (i.e. man power) resources tocompletely eradicate global extreme poverty (defined as living on $1 a day or less) in the nearfuture.

When I think of potential solutions to Poverty, the debate between top-down and bottom-up approaches comes to mind. In theory, top-down approaches are the answer to global problems. Unfortunately, foreign aid pledges in this respect are not often materialized, and I attribute this to human intervention (e.g. Political Corruption). Too often, money does not reach target destinations; instead, it is diverted and/or hoarded by society’s corrupt elite. Ironically, this, in turn, only increases the disparity between rich and poor.

Another criticism of top-down, big-push approaches cites that they reflect the interests of the West, the donor governments. The installation of Democracy is a somewhat lethal irony of the modern era in that forced Democracy contradicts those ideals upon which it is predicated. The alternative, a sort of laissez faire policy on the side of the developed world, is characteristic of bottom-up approaches. Advocates of this “intervention” (or lack thereof) agree that an evolutionary, trial-and-error, process of modernization and development would best suit the needs of the developing world. Bottom-up tactics diverge from top-down strategies in the methods of implementation, favoring standoffish rather than interest-driven techniques. Only when countries/ governments/peoples are free to decide what is best for them and are held accountable for their decisions can they grow.

So how might we, the global community, deal with Poverty more effectively? Personally, I am a staunch supporter of top-down approaches in theoryUnfortunately, although I do believe in the goodness of humanity, I cannot place the responsibility of Poverty Eradication in the hands of the potentially corrupt, political elite. At the same time, however, I think that bottom-up methods are somewhat impractical. We live in a world of globalization and complex interdependence in which both time and space are diffusing. A full belief in bottom-up approaches is a denial of the reality of personal interest that will exist as long as humans exist.

I like to think of Globalization and Foreign Aid in two separate spheres: Foreign Aid in theory and Foreign Aid in practice. The former is an endall- cure-all yet idealistic; the latter is often corrupt yet realistic. Solving the problem of Poverty requires great thinkers to continue coming together; for  instance, as occurs at a United Nations conference. These gatherings should be a participative process, which include aid recipients, reflecting on a few specific issues. Simple solutions must be proposed, and actions should be clearly and easily laid out for implementation. Indicators and monitors, as well as safeguards (for transparency in disbursement of funds) and standards, must be created in order to facilitate a measurable, tangible process and guarantee sound governance in the distribution of funds to targeted destinations. Moreover, I believe that the use of incentives would encourage productive performance. Lastly, there must be a supervising/managing mechanism in place to oversee these tools on a regular basis. Both Foreign Aid donors and recipients must be held accountable for their administration of these standards. 

Finally, Foreign Aid must be seen as more than a mere economic investment because this mode of thought fosters exploitation and thus a growing disparity between rich and poor. Instead, it must also be seen as a moral investment, fostering creativity in the search for new and effective methods of alleviating poverty while promoting accountability and contribution to those members of the global community who need help most. In this respect, the UN, sometimes criticized for being bureaucratic and paper and procedure-oriented, would have much to gain by infusing a human dimension to its endeavors. Care of those for whom projects are implemented (i.e. the Poor) would have as much precedence as interest in the successful implementation of these projects. Even the neediest person does not want to feel pitied but rather provided with opportunities to care for his or her self.


APOCALYPSE NEVER:  FORGING THE PATH TO A NUCLEAR WEAPON-FREE WORLD

By Tad Daley, Rutgers University Press, 2010

Book review by Ronald J. Glossop

Apocalypse Never is a masterful combination of fact-filled cogent argumentation on the urgent need for and the available means to get a world free of nuclear weapons with a passionate presentation of the reality that the fate of humanity requires that this absolutely essential task be undertaken now. The great writing style filled with memorable quotations makes for easy reading about this serious subject. Daley succinctly summarizes the whole book in the sixth paragraph: “Apocalypse Never reveals why we must abolish nuclear weapons, how we can, and what the world will look like after we do. I insist that if humanity hangs on to nuclear weapons indefinitely, some kind of nuclear catastrophe will ensue almost certainly. I illuminate the towering hypocrisy behind the nuclear double standard (according to which our nation possesses thousands of nuclear weapons but insists that others cannot aspire even to one) and contend that such a standard is not only morally indefensible, but also politically unsustainable. I confront humanity’s fundamental long-term choice, bleak but inescapable: zero nuclear weapon states and zero nuclear weapons, or dozens of nuclear weapons states, thousands more nuclear weapons, and nuclear cataclysm only a matter of time.” 

In subsequent paragraphs Daley adds some other specific points he defends—that the present nuclear powers have already “absolutely committed themselves” to getting rid of all their nuclear weapons when they negotiated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), that for all the nuclear weapons states including the USA “nuclear weapons are militarily both unnecessary and useless,” that it is a mistake to believe that if nuclear weapons were eliminated some nation might secretly develop nuclear weapons and hold other nations “hostage,” and “that nuclear weapons abolition can indeed come to pass.” It is not only the argumentation dedicated to the overall points that is impressive but also the massive amount of detailed documentation of specific events and references to the relevant literature on every topic. This informative and logically persuasive account goes from the U.S. development and first use of nuclear weapons (pp. 5-7) to the spread of nuclear weapons to several other nations (pp. 17-37) to the more recent threat of the use of nuclear weapons by terrorists (pp. 38-64) to the dangers of an accidental attack using nukes (pp. 66-95) to the possibility that some nation might coolly decide that launching a nuclear attack makes good sense (pp. 96-110) to the development of the promising but partially unfulfilled Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968 (pp. 111-24) to the fact that overwhelming U.S. conventional military superiority makes nuclear weapons militarily unnecessary for the United States (pp. 125-54) to the specifics of how to get a nuclear free world (pp. 155-88) to the argument that there is in fact no danger that in a nuclear-free world some nation would acquire nuclear weapons and use them to impose its will on all the other nations (pp. 189-202) to the way that a nuclear-free world could come about (pp. 203-27) to the plea for a transition from national patriotism to allegiance to humanity (pp. 228-39). Although this book is full of details and careful argumentation, it is anything but dull reading.

To fully comprehend the force of Daley’s overall argument, one must distinguish two separate parts of it. The argument that nuclear weapons are of no use to the United States because of its conventional military superiority applies only to the United States. Daley makes it clear over and over again (pp. 126, 138, 144-45, 147) that for smaller and weaker states even a few nuclear weapons make a lot of sense as a way of deterring military attacks, nuclear or nonnuclear. That is exactly the reason that an important ingredient in persuading these countries to not try to develop nuclear weapons is to create a trustworthy global system with reliable inspection which can eliminate all nuclear weapons, a system which necessarily will need to be able to also inspect within the United States (and other nuclear powers). The United States and these other powerful countries must be ready to give up that little bit of their national sovereignty in order to get rid of all nuclear weapons (pp. 156, 187) and save them and all of humanity from eventual nuclear disaster (p. 223). Past experience has shown us that international inspection can uncover the production of nuclear weapons without eliminating the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and materials (pp. 164-176). Daley recognizes that eliminating all nuclear weapons will require persuading the smaller and weaker states that they won’t be taken advantage of because of their lesser conventional military power once they no longer have nuclear weapons. One initiative to be used to try to persuade them would be adopting “foreign and defense policies that assure weaker states that stronger states do not intend to attack them” (p. 126) That may be quite difficult to do. Among other things it would require a much less belligerent foreign policy on the part of the United States (pp. 152-53). Daley has a message for his fellow world federalists who may be upset that he doesn’t devote more attention to that idea. “Humanity may not ultimately solve the problem of war with anything less than a true world government. Yet before that day dawns, states might conclude that, as regards the nuclear question, it is in their interest to cede some of their freedom, and allow the kinds of limited intrusion on sovereignty thatthis book advocates” (p. 186).

One aspect of Daley’s book which is bound to impress even those who know a great deal about the subject of nuclear weapons is the amount of detailed information provided not only in terms of facts and figures but also in terms of little-known relevent incidents. Another aspect of the book worth mention is the character of the ”Acknowledgements” at the end. It wonderfully displays the personality of the author just as do the many personal incidents and observations that enhance the rest of the book.

NAT IONAL CGS HAS NEWLY REVISED WEB-PAGE

Our national CGS organization has revised its web-page, but the old address has been retained, namely: <http://www.globalsolutions.org>. Information about the World Federalist Institute can be found under “About Us” on the left.



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