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CGS Urges Secretary Clinton to Support Arms Trade Treaty

From July 13-17, 2009, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs will host the second session of an Open Ended Working Group on an Arms Trade Treaty to establish an international, legally binding agreement on how conventional arms should be imported, exported, and transferred., along with other organizations, have signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton petitioning U.S. involvement in the development and enforcement of a strong, effective Arms Trade Treaty. While the previous administration was the sole opponent against the UN process on an Arms Trade Treaty, the Obama administration has expressed some openness to the project.

The upcoming Open Ended Working Group meeting will provide an excellent opportunity to address the issue of a largely unregulated international trade system. The lack of restrictions and supervision have fueled violent conflicts, facilitated serious violations of human rights, and helped armed insurgent groups around the world. However, if properly regulated, the global conventional arms trade could further the efforts of peace by providing weapons to states for legitimate national self-defense, peacekeeping, and law enforcement endeavors. As the world's largest exporter of arms, and as a nation with one of the most comprehensive arms export laws in the world, the United States could have a significant impact on the Arms Trade Treaty. The U.S. should not miss this opportunity to exercise its influence as a responsible, engaged partner in the treaty and as a respected advisor in global politics.

Next America

On June 22nd, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a summit for Next America, an organization of young professionals who are just beginning their careers in the foreign policy arena. Discussion at the summit revolved primarily around the challenges that the new generation will be forced to confront as they advance into positions of leadership in foreign policy.

Keynote Speaker Derek Chollet of the State Department opened the summit by briefly talking about the new administration's efforts to combat the obstacles that the younger generation is just starting to deal with. Issues such as climate change, nuclear proliferation, and economic integration were at the top of the list. Most welcome among Mr. Chollet's talking points was his emphasis on President Obama's strong desire both to engage the world through organizations like the UN, and to work cooperatively with other nations.

Mr. Chollet was followed by a panel of six prominent members of Next America, who discussed their ideas for the future. The panel ranged from the very liberal, to the very conservative. Yet while the political viewpoints among the speakers may have varied, there was one idea they all had in common. The panel agreed that America must confront its challenges by working with the world, not against it. All seemed to view themselves not only as young Americans, but as citizens of the world.

Citizens for Global Solutions Applauds Passage of Peacekeeping Payments

Recently The 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Bill was passed by both chambers of Congress. This bill will repay the U.S.'s debt to the United Nations which has accumulated since 1999 and appropriates $906 million for peacekeeping operations. This bill is an important demonstration of President Obama's commitment to showing U.S. leadership through diplomacy as well as his commitment to engaging effectively with the United Nations.

The actual amount of money appropriated from the bill to peacekeeping represents 1% of the whole, which demonstrates how relatively little it costs the US to maintain it's commitment to UN peacekeeping.

Citizens for Global Solutions applauds not only the United States paying back this debt but also many other sections of the bill. These include money given for international food, refugees and disaster assistance as well as prevention of the flu-pandemic, nuclear non-proliferation and an expansion of credit lines to the International Monetary Fund. All of these things will increase the U.S. involvement in the world and provide much needed assistance to other countries.

Link to the Press Release.

International Leader Wanted

In a recent Foreign Affairs article written by Dartmouth Government Professors Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, the U.S. is named as the nation with the ability and the need to cooperate with other nations and reform international institutions in a way that would be mutually beneficial for America and the world.  The article, called Reshaping the World Order, describes how current international institutions such as the U.N.

Committee on Foreign Affairs Hosts Hearing on Approaches to Engage North Korea

On June 17, 2009, the Committee on Foreign Affairs hosted a hearing on North Korea's nuclear missile tests and the 6-Party Talks, along with an expert panel of witnesses to advise on the issue. North Korea's aggressive actions with regard to ignoring international calls for denuclearization and the arrest of two American journalists earlier this month have caused much stir in the political field.

White House Releases U.S. Report on Climate Change.

On June 15, 2009, the White House released a comprehensive report on climate change, explaining that its affects are already being felt. It desertification in the USacknowledged the role played by humans in causing the phenomenon, and warned that coastal U.S. waters are already suffering.

Panel on Healthy Solutions to Climate Change Hosted by the Wilson Center

On the 16th of June, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a panel to discuss healthy solutions to climate change with Dr. Paul Esptein and Dr. Amanda Staudt.

The first issue raised was the realization that the current development path exceeds worst-case scenario models that were previously projected. The developing world's emissions are growing faster than was expected, and the efficiency of carbon sinks (oceans and forests) is less than what was thought. At this rate, the south-west U.S. and other places are on track to become arid, and 50% of the world's wildlife species will be extinct in the next few years. Dr. Staudt warned that this was the critical moment to avoid many of the irreversible effects of climate change, and she called for solutions such as the provision of wildlife corridors to allow species to migrate when their habitats are threatened, and support for H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act.methane in Arctic ice

Swine Flu: The W.H.O. Declares a Pandemic:

The 2009 outbreak of swine flu has been caused by a new strain of subtype H1N1. On June 12th, 2009, the World Health Organization raised the threat level of the influenza to phase 6- its highest alert level- thereby declaring a global pandemic. This was prompted by the recent surge in cases across Europe, Chile, Australia and Japan. This is the first global pandemic we have faced in 41 years.

European Union - The Light at the End of a Long, Long Tunnel

"The European Union is the world's first and only multinational democracy.  This is nothing short of remarkable," proclaimed the EU ambassador to America, John Bruton.  Mr. Bruton, along with a diverse panel of scholars, met at the Brookings Institution on June 11, 2009 to offer their predictions on the future of the EU in the wake of the recent parliamentary elections and economic crisis.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali calls for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations and current president of the Egyptian National Council on Human Rights, has called for the creation of a direct, democratic relationship between citizens of the world and the world's international institutions through the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly, a goal that has long advocated. He stated that such an assembly is necessary for the strength and expansion of democracy, saying that, in this era of globalization, "democracy within the state will diminish in importance if the process of democratization is not extended to the system of international governance as well.

He also expressed the urgency of this issue, noting the abundance of "problems which can only be solved effectively at the global level" and the threat they pose to democracy. He cited economic concerns at the top of the list.

"The last time an economic crisis of such magnitude occurred, it ... contributed to the rise of fascism, the outbreak of the Second World War, and genocide," Mr. Boutros-Ghali remarked. "During the current global economic crisis, we should not turn a blind eye to this lesson."

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