Later this month, the world will mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 bombings. This date is now understood to mark a seismic shift in our perceptions of our own security. The terrible events of September 11th 2001 catapulted the debate over the relationship between security and human rights into the public eye. It also placed this debate – about whether a security policy that departs from human rights norms on issues like detention and interrogation can ever be justified by heightened threat – at the heart of policy-making.
In order to generate discussion among a generation of young people who become politically aware during the last decade, and for whom the ‘war on terror’ paradigm is effectively the norm, ECFR has joined with Central European University, IDEA, and the Open Society Foundation to launch a Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge on the theme of ‘Securing
The big news for us as we enter the autumn is the opening of a new ECFR office in Warsaw, under the guidance of Konstanty Gebert. Click here for more details. Welcome to our new team!
Meanwhile, there are two big stories in the news. First, Libya:
As the Libyan war enters its final phase, a lot of European diplomats will want to declare victory and move on. While the fall of Gaddafi is a cause for celebration, the fact that the EU and NATO split over how to respond to the crisis in the spring is a cause of embarrassment. There’s little doubt that the episode has left the EU’s status as a foreign policy actor in question. The Economist cites a British official’s dismissive claim that “we didn’t even consult the EU” when it came to the UN resolution on the use of force.
It would be nice to erase all memories of this painful diplomatic episode. But it would also be an error. If the EU is to evolve as a global player, it will have to learn from its mistakes. This might sound like common sense, but anyone who has spent time in Brussels knows that the diplomatic community there is very good at forgetting failures.
The EU is
Western leaders flocked to Paris yesterday for a ‘friends of Libya’ gathering, shoring up the fragile legitimacy of the National Transitional Council. This time, however, there was an additional participant at the table: China came along for the first time, although with a low-key, vice-ministerial presence. This once again highlights the meandering path that China is following with regard to Libya.
The official state news agency, Xinhua, still carries no mention that China participated in yesterday’s conference, and still has a special section on ‘foreign military intervention’ which dismisses the meeting as Western dominated. China Central Television (CCTV) uses the caption: "War and chaos continue in Libya". Internally, China wants to convey the message that foreign military intervention is a bad thing and only leads to turmoil.
Meanwhile, China’s large commercial interests
The last German “Heißer Herbst” (hot autumn) was in 1983, when Chancellor Kohl pushed through the controversial deployment of US missiles on German soil despite huge protests. In deciding to go ahead, Kohl had received great support from François Mitterrand, who became the first French President to speak in the German Bundestag when in January 1983 he delivered a speech warning against Europe decoupling militarily from the US in the face of the Soviet threat. France helped convince the Germans of the right thing to do.
This year, Germany is again entering a ‘hot autumn’ and all eyes are turned to Berlin. The crucial issue this time is not missiles, but the legal framework of the EFSF and the eurozone agreements of July 21st, which are nearly as explosive as the missiles in 1983.
The prelude to this will come during September, when major hurdles are awaiting Merkel's government.
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