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The Ragazzines

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U.S. policy toward Cambodia is conflicted, contradictory, and unsustainable. Is Cambodia an authoritarian pariah to be punished until it undergoes systemic political change? Or is it a necessary partner on the front lines of great-power competition? The U.S. government has spent the last decade torn between righteous indignation over democratic backsliding and pragmatic engagement given U.S. interests in the region.


US President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" over its human rights failings, but observers say the oil-rich Arab powerhouse still holds enough leverage to deflect a major rupture in relations.

The people of Burma/Myanmar have suffered for two generations under military dictatorships. Their economy, legal and social orders, cultural diversity and political freedoms have all steadily declined during that time. The country's human rights record is considered by many to be one of the worst world-wide. In the West, responses have ranged from diplomatic condemnation, to the imposition of economic sanctions, and to the withdrawal of aid and international co-operation. Countries in the region, on the other hand, have been typically less robust, more accepting of assertions of sovereign rights and concerned to promote engagement and dialogue rather than isolation and punishment. Neither approach appears to have had any discernable impact on the attitude of Myanmar's military Government or on the plight of its people. Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest, her pro-democracy party banned and its members persecuted; the rule of law is non existent, and the once flourishing economy is in terminal decline. New strategies to break the impasse are now being contemplated in both the West (more conditional engagement) and the East (more strident conditionality). This article analyses a controversial Australian human rights initiative that ran in Myanmar from 2000 to 2003, which might be considered a forerunner to these new 'third way' approaches. The article describes the objectives, nature, composition and implementation of the program; it assesses its advantages and disadvantages, its risks and potential, and explores some of the criticisms and praise the program engendered. It also provides a detailed backdrop against which one might draw some tentative lessons in terms of the protection and promotion of human rights in both the specific context of Myanmar, and also, by implication, in the global community's approach to intransigent, pariah states.

Khalilzad: Well, the agreement necessitated, committed the Taliban to negotiations for a new Islamic government in Afghanistan and a comprehensive cease fire. And there is this agreement that the government also has had challenges or difficulties in terms of agreeing to or embracing the idea of a new Islamic government and the Taliban have used force to see if it could coerce the government into agreeing to a formula for a new Islamic government, a new constitution as they see it as well. And that there has got to be a political formula. The government cannot get rid of the Taliban, it's our assessment. And the Taliban cannot conquer Afghanistan and have a government and that has the support of the overwhelming majority of the Afghans and international support. Maybe some Taliban think there is a military solution to the conflict although they tell us otherwise. When they speak to us the Taliban says there is no military solution. But if some commanders or some military leaders think that they are miscalculating because there will be resistance and even if they take over the country, there will be resistance and there will be international opposition that they won't be recognized that they will not receive international assistance, and they will become a pariah state which they say they don't want. And the wise thing is for both sides to engage seriously and quickly, urgently to respond to the wishes of the people of Afghanistan for a political agreement. The history of Afghanistan over the last almost 45, 50 years indicates that an effort by one side, one party to impose its will, its formula on others leads to war and intervention. I hope that the leaders of Afghanistan have learned that lesson and that they need to agree to a formula that has broad support, accepts that all Afghans have legitimate rights, that those rights have to be respected and the people have to have a say ultimately in how they are governed. I hope that that's the lesson they have learned, although the current situation is discouraging, it's heartbreaking given the level of violence and the suffering, the pictures one sees coming out of places like Lashkar Gah.

"President Biden said he would make the kingdom of Saudi Arabia a pariah state. That was an enormous mistake," Pompeo said on "Fox & Friends." "But let's look at the facts. They are an important security partner for the United States." 041b061a72


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