Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Foriegn affairs developments

Today two interesting and potentially important foreign affairs developments evolved.

Firstly, Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, sent a letter to President George W. Bush, the translation of which has been released by United Nations diplomats, where it critizes American policy on many fronts.
I see many anti-Bush people agreeing with the letter and its tone. I nevertheless encourage you to remember that it is written by the leader of a state that does not accept international law, has repeatedly stated its desire for one of its neighbouring countries to be wiped off the map, restricts the rights of its citizens for most of freedoms (the bill to allow women to top sports events was recently vetoed), and wants to develop nuclear weapons.
Also, the letter poses many questions, but does not give any positive content, any practical suggestions. Although, it repeatedly calls for Mr. Bush to lead his country by the teachings of Jesus Christ, i think that citing a Holy Book does not amount to constructive foreign policy. It does, however, work well as populist tool for rising anti-American sentiment home and abroad before the expected Security Council resolutions against Iran.
It is nevertheless worthwhile reading, as it is the first first direct communication from an Iranian leader to an American president since 1979, when the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran. The text aslo gives interesting insight into the thinking and populism of President Ahmadinejad. I believe we can expect more active foreign policy from Iran in the future, which of course is a worrying trend.

On a separate development, UN elected members to its new human rights body. The newly established UN Human Rights Council was ment to replace the Human Rights Commission, discredited for having members with terrible rights records. Indeed, Sudan and Zimbabwe were among the last members of the body.
Although, each country needed a majority vote in the 191-member General Assembly to be elected into the new body, countries like China, Cuba, Pakista, Russia, and Saudi Arabia got elected. It clearly shows two worrying trends. Firstly, that majority of countries in the world do not consider these five as opressors of human rights. And secondly, that the body may well prove to be as ineffective in dealing with human rights violations as Human Rights Comission was.
On a more local note, i am curios to know (and dissapointed that it has not been discussed in the media) whether and why did Estonia not stand for the elections, and how did we vote.

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