Today’s appearance of Kofi Annan at UCLA was a chance to go and hear from one of the drivers of IR norms and reforms at the beginning of the last decade. It continues UCLA’s (short) tradition of having luminaries attend the Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton who kicked it off last year.
Kofi Annan of course championed the IR norm of responsibility to protect (R2P) that he first brought to the UN Security Council in the late 1990s and eventually became codified in 2005. He anticipated the question from the audience about R2P and Syria and headed it off by saying that Syria is much more complicated and there is no international consensus on the path forward. It makes one question the salience of the R2P norm if disagreement among the Permanent 5 on the Security Council can hinder its application. The conflicts that were the impetus for R2P in Rwanda and the former Yugoslav states didn’t have universal international agreement on the way forward, only in retrospect. In Rwanda, France wanted to hold off intervention so their allies could escape to the east. In the Balkans, Russia’s historical ties to the Serbs caused their hesitation.
It is interesting to have the pioneer of the R2P concept try to distance its implementation from the most pressing humanitarian crisis of 2013. I wonder how much it has to do with Annan’s failure at mediation of the conflict, or his desire to one day in the future work with Russia and China on a major issue. Continue reading →
The week in Africa was dominated by the State of the Nation by Jacob Zuma in South Africa. His speech on the future projects of South Africa was generally well received and lots of links are provided below on the build up and recap. The Africa Cup of Nations decided the two finalists in fairly ordinary fashion. The defense orientated Cote d’Ivoire relied on a great individual goal from Gervinho, and Zambia rode its luck against Ghana after saving a penalty to get a place in the final. All this seemed to overshadowed the building tension in Sudan, and it’s possible cool down. The best story in tech is definitely out of Kenya this week. Read below for how a traditional leader is using Twitter to interact with his community. Continue reading →
As a researcher at the Center for Public Diplomacy, I came to appreciate the need and the convenience of a timely recap of the news. With so much going on in many different fields, and various mediums through which to receive and explore news and information, having one source with a quick summary and commentary on the current events is invaluable.
The Week That Was
The African File will begin to publish a weekly recap of news from the African continent, with a focus on my three areas of interest/specialty: technology, politics, and sport. The weekly digest isn’t meant to cover the biggest news stories, but examine a range of topics that might be interesting for those who are interested in keeping up on events from the continent. It will contain links to the stories so that readers may gain a deeper inside, and The African File will attempt to add thoughtful, or at least satirical, commentary to the news each week. It will publish under the title: ‘The Week That Was’ (TWTW).