Israel Should Make Amends to Civilians

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It’s hard not to be inspired by the story of Izzeldin Aboul Aish. A doctor who received his Master’s of Public Health from Harvard, Aboul Aish returned to Gaza to raise his daughters and help his people. He is widely known from his television appearances and practice in Israel. Aboul Aish had always preached peace and bridge building. So it was a special outrage and injustice that Israeli tanks fired on his home as part of an operation to demolish…

Kerry to Move Soon on Law of the Sea

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That most famous and frustrating of oceans treaties looks to be back on the Senate agenda. Again. The momentum is building. Scott Borgeson at the Council on Foreign Relations released a report last week that comprehensively makes the case for U.S. accession to the Law of the Sea Convention. I confess I’ve only given it a quick skim, but I did notice it hits on all the key points. Sen. Kerry said last week that he’s “gotta get that done.”…

ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Bashir

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The International Criminal Court just issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC’s first indictment of a sitting head of state is likely to be a game changer, both globally and in Sudan. Globally, the ICC has served notice that the days of impunity from the world’s most heinous crimes are coming to an end. For Sudan, the indictment should ratchet up international pressure on Khartoum as well as…

Koh to L?

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Rumors are flying that Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh is under consideration to be State Department Legal Advisor. That would be a welcome development. The Office of the Legal Advisor, or “L,” as the bureau is known at State, is unique in its charge to promote the development of international law and compliance of U.S. policy with international law. John Bellinger did yeoman’s work as Legal Advisor during the latter part of the Bush Administration and managed incremental…

Quick Hits on Clinton Confirmation Hearings and QFRs

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Hillary Clinton did a great job answering questions directly without over-promising in her confirmation hearing and Questions for the Record. Fortunately, she left behind a few clues as to where we’re headed. Clinton’s plan to aggressively pursue U.S. accession to the Law of the Sea Convention, as noted earlier, is wonderful news. There seems to be a lot of momentum behind this at the moment. As recently as two weeks ago, John Kerry didn’t know if there were enough votes…

A New Age of Liberalism?

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I don’t think that Barack Obama’s election signifies the coming of a new liberal era any more than I think the United States was a center-right country during the majority of the Bush years. But it doesn’t matter what I think. It’s more significant that there’s a widespread perception that American attitudes — and perhaps even “American culture” — have changed fundamentally over the past six months. Interestingly, Random House and The Nation are banking on this change in their…

Transition Team Needs to Reach Out to Poznan

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As I’m sure the Obama Administration transition team is aware, Poznan, Poland is currently hosting a very important UN-sponsored climate change conference. At stake is nothing less than the next round of emissions reduction commitments (a Kyoto successor) — which Barack Obama has said he wants the U.S. to participate in. If they haven’t already, the Obama folks need to make contact with the U.S. delegation in Poznan immediately. One would think that the U.S. Del. would take the initiative…

I Spit My Last Breath at Thee

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Apparently, John Bolton isn’t the only one who didn’t get the message that he’s irrelevant. Harlan Watson, chief climate negotiator under the Bush Administration, is up to his old tricks. This time, he’s not just distorting science — he’s misrepresenting Barack Obama, dismissing prospects for progress, and ignoring the tone of his own boss, all in an official diplomatic capacity representing the United States of America. According to a friend who’s in Poznan, Poland for this year’s conference on the…

Anonymity Goes Thud

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Over the weekend, Andy Revkin posted a very smart memo to the President-Elect from a group of “specialists on climate, energy, and technology policy,” who have decided to write under the nom de plume “Justinian” reveal their identities in a few weeks. The release sparked such widespread interest that two blogs (Unity College and Local Warming) and zero mainstream news sources have referenced its existence. I think it’s safe to say that Steve Clemons’s weimaraners have received substantially more attention…

Seen Yesterday On a Handmade Sign in West Philly

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Rosa had to sit so Martin could walk, Martin had to walk so Barack could run, Barack had to run so our children can fly. I have little to add. Hopefully, President-elect Obama will select a team that can meet the promise of his inspirational campaign and thoughtful policies. — Scott Paul Note: I can’t post today without acknowledging deep disappointment in Florida, Arizona and (probably) California voters, who chose to write discrimination into their respective state constitutions. Government has…