Heroes and Zeros: Global Winners and Losers for The Week
If you're like me, there's nothing quite as much fun as making a list. And listing "winners and losers" on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis is something of a D.C. tradition. So I'm going to start a regular blog series on "Heroes and Zeros" around the globe-commending those leaders, governments, or ordinary people who did something great that positively impacts the global issues that Globalsolutions.org cares about, and calling out those whose actions have hurt the cause of creating a better world.
Here's the first edition-and feel free to let me know what you think and provide feedback!
Hero of the Week: The Nation of Malawi
As someone who follows the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) closely, I feel that all too often I'm writing about how some new nation has flouted ICC arrest warrants by inviting a convicted war criminal for a visit. But happily, this week indicates the tide may be starting to turn on this loathsome practice, as illustrated by Malawi's refusal to host Sudanese president--and ICC indictee--Omar al-Bashir. Malawi was scheduled to hold an African Union summit, but got into a dispute with the AU because it refused to allow Bashir to attend. Despite protests from the AU, Malawi held firm to its no-Bashir stance, and the summit was moved to another country.
It seems Malawi's decision was based partly on considerations that international donors might frown on its welcoming Bashir-that was the specific reason cited by Malawi President Joyce Banda. But nonetheless, the country stood up to the African Union and demonstrated support for the ICC and for bringing war criminals to justice. And if the possibility of donor aid being withheld encourages ICC member states to live up to their responsibility to cooperate with the Court, that's good news too. Well done, Malawi!
Zeroes of the Week: Russia and China
But it wasn't all good news this week. By now, everyone has heard the horrifying stories about yet another massacre carried out by the government of Syria against its own civilians. The Annan peace plan seems to be failing, and every new tragedy prompts outrage around the world and calls for the international community-mainly in the form of the U.N.-to take real action to stop Assad's butcheries. But despite all this, Security Council members Russia and China continue to stand in the way of meaningful efforts to help the Syrian people. While expressing support for the Annan peace plan, the two countries remain opposed to any military intervention or mandated regime change in Syria, despite the abundant evidence that Assad has lost all legitimacy as a leader and needs to go, one way or another. Russia and China have already twice vetoed Security Council resolutions condemning the Syrian government and proposing sanctions and other actions against the Assad regime.
It may be a bit ironic to tell Russian and Chinese leaders to stop coddling dictators, but I'm doing it anyway. It's time for the Security Council to take meaningful action on Syria, and Russia and China need to get on the right side of history and stop shielding Assad.
Stay tuned for more Heroes and Zeros blogs in the future!
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