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"We Gotta Get That Done!" - John Kerry

"We gotta get that done!" was a statement made by Kerry on May 5, 2009, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hosted a round table event to discuss the future of the Arctic titled The Global Implications of a Warming Arctic.

Legislation for Modern Solutions

A House of Representatives Resolution (H.RES.363) was introduced on April 23 by Lynn Woolsey of California. The resolution calls for a "smart security platform for the 21st century," and its ideas and suggestions run parallel to the goals and ideas of

The resolution calls for:

1. Strengthening international institutions by working with the UN and other international institutions.

2. Adhering to, supporting, and strengthening existing and future nonproliferation treaties and, more importantly, for the US to set an example for the rest of the world by taking the lead on renouncing nuclear weapons tests and the development of new weapons.

3. Addressing the root causes of violent conflict in the world by integrating peace-building and conflict prevention into US development programs and engaging the international community in post-conflict reconstruction and political transition processes.

4. Greater investment in long-term sustainable and renewable energy sources to confront the threat of global warming.

5. Pursuing to the fullest extent alternatives to war through early warning systems, human rights monitoring, and multilateral rapid response mechanisms

Council on Foreign Relations Report Calls Law of the Sea Ratification in the National Interest

CFR LOS ReportThe Council on Foreign Relations just released a report, The National Interest and the Law of the Sea, written by Scott Borgerson calling for Senate approval of the Law of the Sea convention.  The report is a well written and detailed document that methodically examines the treaty and the pros and cons of ratification.  Borgerson comes down strongly on the side of ratification for many reasons.  He says that the treaty will:

"Enhance U.S. global credibility -- by matching action to rhetoric regarding the rule of law. Joining this particular convention sends a powerful signal of commitment to this principle. The undeniable semantic message of the title "Law of the Sea" and the practical effect of officially becoming party to a legal regime over the vast expanse of the world's oceans combine to reinforce the strength of this signal."

Borgenson makes a strong case why joining the treaty now is strongly in the national intererest:

Is the United States the new France?

In a panel discussion at the Brookings Institute on April 28, 2009 four experts spoke about the differences and similarities between the U.S. and France. To be specific, the topic of social democracy and Obama’s “revolution,” and how it is similar to what France has already implemented in their government.

This new idea of changing the current U.S. system into a social democracy has been called the “Obama revolution” and involves the popular topic of universal healthcare for all U.S. citizens. The panel had made a point to say that it was a good idea for the U.S. to implement a more universal healthcare system. In France, the average person lives longer and is also very happy with the high quality of healthcare. Although it was also pointed out that in recent polls taken, many people in the U.S. did not want to front the bill for such a system that would include those who would otherwise not be able to pay for healthcare. It seemed that when confronted with the idea of healthcare for all, many people were happy about the idea, but when asked if they were comfortable with paying higher taxes to make sure everyone could have this, less than 50% said they would like it.

In addition to talking about healthcare reform, the panel mentioned the fact that the French also have a free Pre-Kindergarten system for all children. This could be another possibility for the U.S. if it decided to continue with the idea of a social democracy since the schooling would also be funded by the state.

43 Organizations Send Letter to Protect Peacekeeping Dues

Yesterday, 43 international policy, humanitarian, and religious organizations sent a letter to the chair and ranking members of the House and Senate full appropriations and foreign operations sub-committees calling on them to support the $886,900,000 requested for United Nations and other peacekeeping accounts included in President Obama's FY 2009 Supplemental Funding request.

The IMF and Aid to Africa

Currently, 65% of the world is in recession, an amount greater than at any time since 1960. The International Monetary Fund [IMF] recently stated that the downturn is likely to be “unusually severe and long-lasting.” The recession is likely to starve developing countries of their resources and the Fund predicts that these fledgling economies may face shortages of investments for many years to come.

The Road to Zero Nukes

George Perkovich, the Vice President of Studies and the Director of the Non-proliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, spoke on April 20, 2009 about the prospects of reducing global nuclear stocks to zero. He discussed the numerous issues that must be resolved in order to even begin a discussion on going to zero nukes, but focused on one central issue that needs to be the first step: Bilateral negotiations between the US and Russia and between the US and China.

Obama Requests $836M for U.N. Peacekeeping Operations was thrilled to see that in the recent FY 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Bill that was just released by the White House, President Obama requested $836,900,000 for U.N. Peacekeeping operations. By supporting U.N. peacekeepers, the United States is able to address regional instability throughout the world, prevent pandemics, reduce the spread of terrorism, and avoid refugee crises. The total debt that the United States owes the United Nations is $1.56 billion; therefore, $836 million represents extraordinary action to catch up on this debt. The $836 million, a mere 1% of the overall Supplemental request, includes the maintenance of current U.N. peacekeeping operations and the funding of an expanded mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also, money from that fund will go to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad [MINURCAT].

When the United States falls so deeply into arrears, the U.N. is not able to send as many troops on the peacekeeping missions. For example, the United Nations is authorized to send 31,569 personnel to Darfur but the actual number is 17,692 because of the low level of funds. insists that Congress maintain this level of funding in the Supplemental Appropriations Bill to U.N. Peacekeeping Operations and encourages you to express this same sentiment to your Congressperson. This significant contribution will help generate goodwill toward the United States and restore our financial standing at the United Nations.

ACT NOW to make sure the U.S. pays its peacekeeping dues

The Push to Ratify CEDAW

All over the world, millions of women are denied equal access to property, legal action, civic life and public participation on a daily basis. Seventy percent of the poorest people in the world are female. Of a total of 771 million illiterate adults, two-thirds are women. One out of three women will experience physical abuse or violence and one out of five will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.