Sanctions do more harm than good

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 11 January, 2013 | 3:51 pm


Article by CIWI Member Ramesh Thakur, published in

The Australian

January 4, 2012

(Access published article here)

SANCTIONS became popular as a bridge between diplomacy and force for ensuring compliance with UN demands, yet their track record in ensuring compliance is pitiful. They inflict pain on citizens while imposing questionable costs on leaders.

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan acknowledged that “humanitarian and human rights policy goals cannot easily be reconciled with those of a sanctions regime”. Sanctions all too often are a poor alibi for, not a sound supplement to, a good foreign policy. They are ineffective, counterproductive, …

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Australia strengthening sanctions against Iran

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 11 January, 2013 | 3:39 pm

Comment by Paul Barratt

It is ironic that, as announced in this morning’s edition of The Age (see here), the world champion payer of kick-backs to Saddam Hussein now has “key responsibility” for enforcing sanctions against Iran – the “crippling sanctions” which Hillary Clinton in particular has been so keen to see from the moment she became Secretary of State.

This development causes me considerable sadness because during the early years of the Islamic Revolution and into the 1980s I was involved as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Trade, reporting to a very strong Minister (and Deputy Prime …

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AUSTRALIA’S VIRTUAL VIETNAM: The importance of 17 December 1964

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 19 December, 2012 | 10:33 am

The decision to send troops into battle on alien terrain is usually said to be the most serious a government can make. Politicians do not deny it. The only exception I know is Sir Robert Menzies, who said of the Vietnam War in an oral history for the (President) Lyndon Baines Johnson library in 1969 that ‘it did not take five minutes to decide that when it came to the point of action we would be in it’[i]. The whole meeting would have taken about ten minutes.

The Vietnam War was our costliest defeat. The decision in principle …

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Late Night Live

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 7 December, 2012 | 10:53 am

On the evening of Tuesday 4 December 2012 Paul Barratt discussed the aims of the Iraq War Inquiry Group, and the background to its establishment, with renowned commentator Phillip Adams on his signature program Late Night Live, on ABC Radio National.

Access a podcast of the discussion here.

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Moves to codify US drone policy

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 28 November, 2012 | 11:14 am

The New York Times 24 November 2012 reports that with more than 300 drone strikes and some 2,500 people killed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military since President Obama first took office, the administration is now pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified.

NYT  reports:

Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent …

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Richard Broinowski on Iraq and the War Powers

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 26 November, 2012 | 11:16 am

Letter to the editor of The Canberra Times by IWIG Member Richard Broinowski, published yesterday Sunday 25 November:

I REFER to Paul Malone’s article of November 18 disputing John Howard’s claim that his decision to invade Iraq had strong community support. It had nothing of the sort. The majority of Australians who expressed any opinion were strongly opposed.

On August 16 this year, a group of citizens led by Malcolm Fraser launched an appeal in Parliament House to hold an inquiry into why Australia went to war in Iraq. The appeal was dismissed by Prime Minister Gillard and Defence Minister …

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Rachel Maddow’s “Drift”

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 20 November, 2012 | 11:19 am

Paul Barratt has written the introduction to the Australian edition of Rachel Maddow’s Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. Here is a review, published in the online journal Slate. As a member of Congress, Cheney insisted that “Iran-Contra was no crime,” because nothing in the Constitution or anywhere else in America “could constrain a president from waging any war he wanted, however he wanted.” Read the review here.

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War Powers of President and Congress

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 20 November, 2012 | 11:18 am

Jules Lobel from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law writes a longform article: Conflicts between the Commander in Chief and Congress: Concurrent Power Over the Conduct of War.

The abstract reads:

The Bush Administration argues that the Commander in Chief has exclusive power to decide what military tactics to use to defeat a wartime enemy. The Administration’s constitutional position that Congress may not permissibly interfere with these Executive Commander in Chief powers has been heavily criticized, particularly with respect to the Executive power to interrogate prisoners or engage in warrantless wiretapping on American citizens and its argument that Congress …

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Paul Malone on the Iraq War

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 19 November, 2012 | 11:21 am

Paul Malone writes in the 18 November edition of The Canberra Times of John Howard’s “sketchy memory on Iraq”, a war which was opposed by the vast majority of the Australian people, and which on the most conservative estimate of puts the figure for civilian death at between 109,726 and 119,886 people between 2003 and 2011.

He writes: The war was a misguided idea, developed by extremist politicians in the United States who lied to the world about Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction. Howard said just six weeks before the invasion, ”The Australian government knows that Iraq still …

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Richard Tanter on “Is Australia too close to the US?”

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 18 November, 2012 | 3:31 pm

On Friday 16 November Iraq War Inquiry Group Committee member Professor Richard Tanter was interviewed on ABC 612 Brisbane by Steve Austin, presenter of the station’s Mornings program.

The theme of the interview was “Is Australia too close to the US?” but it starts with a discussion of what the Iraq War Inquiry Group is all about. Catch it here.…

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