Sunday, August 13, 2006

TNI-News Aug 10th 2006

The Transnational Institute offers a good fortnightly bulletin with interesting left commentators. Here's the one from August 10th 2006.
TNI-News is a bi-weekly e-mail service from the Transnational Institute. If you wish to view a complete version of this bulletin with direct links, please visit http://www.tni.orgFeel free to forward this message

In this issue:
1. Lebanon: struggle at the UN Security Council
- Phyllis Bennis
- Tanya Reinhardt
- Mariano Aguirre
- Immanuel Wallerstein
- Saul Landau
- Praful Bidwai

2. New Report on the financial industry by Myriam Vander Stichele

3. Crisis in the Philippines, by Joel Rocamora

4. From our network:
- Susan George on debt and development
- Hilary Wainwright on independent media
- Saul Landau on the effects of globalisation in Juarez, Mexico
- Heidi Bachram on carbon trading
- Boris Kagarlitsky on police action at the Russian Social Forum
- Boris Kagarlitsky on the new coalition government in Ukraine

Israel's halt to the enlarged offensive in Lebanon, just approved by its government to give diplomacy a chance, didn't stop it from capturing new towns in the south of Lebanon, giving clear signs for Israel's preferred ways for resolving the crisis. Meanwhile the negotiators at the UN Security Council are still trying to modify a draft resolution that would be acceptable to all sides, but the chances of reaching a deal are slim, since the US is not willing to give up on Israel's militarised solution that plays well into its plans for the region. Below, we bring a series of analytical pieces giving a broader perspective on the crisis.

The Lebanon War and the Failed UN Resolution by Phyllis Bennis
The draft UN resolution on the Lebanon crisis is very much Washington's resolution, playing into its drive to build unrivalled US global empire, that requires a militarised, expansionist Israel to play that same role on a regional level in the Middle East, writes Bennis.

Israel's "new Middle East" by Tanya Reinhart
Although it was presented as a response to the Hezbollah attack, there are all indications that Israel has been planning massive war on Lebanon for a long time, and was only waiting for the 'international conditions to ripen'. Israel's plans fit well with those of its sponsor - establishing the full US domination in the Middle East.

ResoluciĆ³n limitada y posiblemente ineficaz by Mariano Aguirre (In Spanish)
Aguirre analyses the draft UN resolution on the conflict in Lebanon and finds that it will be difficult to accommodate all the sides - Lebanon, Israel, and the main mediators, US and France. The UN should reach a n agreement and approve a resolution calling for an immediate cessation of fighting, but such an outcome is not very realistic, writes Aguirre.

Los derechos en Oriente Medio by Mariano Aguirre (In Spanish)
A key, almost forgotten question in the conflict in Lebanon and Gaza is the violation of International Humanitarian Law that explicitly prohibits attacks on civilian population. Israel, and to much smaller extent Hezbollah, have been violating this rule continuously. Aguirre makes the case.

What Can Israel Achieve? by Immanuel Wallerstein
Israel's current military campaign is a direct parallel to Bush's invasion of Iraq, heading for similar directions - the US towards a humiliating withdrawal from Iraq, Israel towards a humiliating truce arrangement, writes Wallerstein.

Peace in the Middle East? End the occupation! by Saul Landau
The media barrage of carnage reports from Lebanon and, to a much smaller effect, Israel, obscures causes and possible solutions to the new Middle East war: Palestine, not terrorism, remains the central conflictive issue in the area, says Landau.

Fighting terror with terror? by Praful Bidwai
Those who call for India to emulate Israel regarding Mumbai bombings are asking to copy a disgraceful model, rooted in illegality, gross immorality, and the terrorising of innocent civilians, writes Bidwai.

A disastrous by Praful Bidwai
attacks on Pakistan in response to the Mumbai bombings wish to emulate Israel's aggression. That is the worst model India could follow, says Bidwai

India hamstrung on Israel by Praful Bidwai
There is a major rift between Indian government and segments of the public over Israel's actions in Lebanon and Gaza strip, writes Bidwai.

SOMO Financial Sector Report by Myriam Vander Stichele
The private financial industry plays a pivotal role in the functioning of many economies in the world and is key to the international financial system. Banks, insurance companies and other financial services providers mediate capital flows for governments, corporations and individuals, which affect peopls's lives and the choices available in society. This report focuses on trends, structures, regulations and corporate responsibility initiatives at the international level. It explains the terms used in the private financial sector with the aim of increasing public understanding of its functioning. for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)

From Regime Crisis to System Change by Joel Rocamora
The crisis of the Arroyo administration manifests the cumulative impact of a long simmering crisis of representation. It is not just Pres. Arroyo who is being challenged, it is the capacity of the whole political system to select leaders capable of responding to the needs of the Philippines in the 21st century. Rocamora analyses the current sitation in the Philippines.

Constitutional Reform in the Philippines: Out of Crisis, What? by Joel Rocamora
The ongoing crisis of the Philippine political order is going to bring constitutionalreform much sooner than we thought possible, or push it back many years into the future.For President Arroyo, offering constitutional reform can be a way of undercutting calls forextra-constitutional change. For Arroyo opponents on the Right, constitutional reformforms part of the promise of a more stable future even as they work to destabilize thepresent political order. All key political players from Pres.Arroyo, to former presidentRamos, the heads of both the Senate and the House, the leagues of local officials, theanti-Arroyo opposition among politicians and civil society alike have all declared supportfor constitutional reform. Rocamora analyses the debate.

Down the Great Financial Drain How Debt and the Washington Consensus Destroy Development and Create Poverty by Susan George
The "financialisation" of capitalism means new hardships for those who canleast afford them. The South, in particular, needs to get its destinyback under its own control.

The interplay of the independent media and radical politics by Hilary Wainwright
The independent media has a distinctive importance at times like the present when parties have lost their monopoly as political subjects and progressive forces are searching and experimenting with new ways of organising for social transformation. Wainwright recounts experiences of Red Pepper and a new collaborative initiative, Eurotopia.

Weekend in globalized Juarez by Saul Landau
While US companies previously moved to Mexico for cheap labour, now they leave for China, where labour is even cheaper, and non-unionised. Landau visits border town Juarez for a first hand experience of the social costs of globalisation.

Carbon rational? by Heidi Bachram
With some MPs now considering carbon rations as the cure-all for climate change, Heidi Bachram explores the effect it might have on the fuel-poor.

A St Petersburg Tale by Boris Kagarlitsky
The Russian Social Forum was held in St Petersburg, just after the G8 Summit. Kagarlitsky reports on the efforts the Russian police invested into disrupting the forum as well as on the aimless strategy of the left. Russian leftists need to draw lessons from this event. Political and economic changes are impossible without the understanding and support of society, concludes Kagarlitsky.

The Defender of the People by Boris Kagarlitsky
The political bankruptcy of the Communists and Socialists after the new Ukrainian coalition government was formed will leave Yulia Tymoshenko as the only opposition leader that will take up issues of social justice. So the left will either join forces with an ideologically doubtful populist opposition, or stay in the background of political life, says Kagarlitsky.


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