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The Future of Intervention
Derek Chollet is the Principal Deputy Director of the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff. Prior to joining the State Department, he was a Senior Fellow at The Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a non-resident fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development Program and an adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University. During the Bill Clinton administration, he served in the State Department in several capacities, including as Chief Speechwriter for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke, and Special Adviser to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. Mr. Chollet also assisted former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher with the research and writing of their memoirs, Holbrooke with his book on the Dayton peace process in Bosnia, and Talbott with his book on U.S.-Russian relations during the 1990s. He was foreign policy adviser to Senator John Edwards (D-N.C.), both on his legislative staff and during the 2004 Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign.
Mr. Chollet has been a Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin and a visiting scholar and adjunct professor at The George Washington University. He is the author, co-author or coeditor of five books on American foreign policy, including The Road to the Dayton Accords: A Study of American Statecraft (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11, coauthored with James Goldgeier (PublicAffairs, 2008). His commentaries and reviews on U.S. foreign policy and politics have appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Washington Monthly, and many other books and publications. Educated at Cornell and Columbia, Mr. Chollet was raised in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Question: Will the next American president need to act unilaterally, or is the UN prepared to collaborate?
Derek Chollet: It’s not prepared to do it, it needs more reform, but I’ll do more than that. Another sort of thread throughout the story of these years is coming to grips with the potential but also the shortcomings of multilateralism, particularly the United Nations. Remember, this era begins with George H.W. Bush pronouncing the New World Order and expressing high hopes for the United Nations for working. George H.W. Bush had been an ambassador of the United Nations in the early 1970s. He loved being an ambassador to the United Nations so for him this was a dream come true. But then throughout that era we see sort of a story of people having to come to accept that the U.N. has real limits. The cost of maybe putting too much hope and too much power in many ways to an institution like the U.N., but at the same time we couldn’t get rid of it. When Clinton leaves office, the United Nations is an institution that we’re still working in and Kosovo was a classic example in which the United States had tried very hard to get U.N. Security Council authorization to act in Kosovo, to be able to stop Milosevic, the dictator’s repression of a Muslim minority in Kosovo. They were never going to get U.N. Security Council authorization to do so because Russia and China would veto the U.N. Security Council. So they used another institution like NATO. I think the difference is between Bush and Clinton, Bush 43 and Clinton, and I think the next president, whether McCain or Obama, will face and I think we are seeing differences with McCain and Obama, is that Bush came in office believing that the U.S. really didn’t need any U.N. authorization or any kind of international blessing, so to speak, to legitimize its actions. Of course it would be fine if we had partners but we don’t really need partners. We’re powerful enough. It would be nice just to share the burden but there’s no sort of inherent legitimacy that the U.N. lends. The Clinton administration had a different approach. They cared more about having partners, not just for instrumental reasons to share the burden but because they believe that having partners bestowed a certain sense of legitimacy on American power essentially. But that didn’t mean that they would sort of only work with partners. I think with Clinton the mantra was together if we can, alone if we must. And with Bush it was the opposite. It was alone if we can, together if we must. The impulse for Bush was that they didn’t want to work with allies that much because they weren’t interested in having any kind of hindrances on the use of American power and moreover, they didn’t think we really needed it. I think what’s interesting looking at the current campaign, Obama I think is squarely within this sort of Democratic tradition, big D, Democratic tradition, when it comes to multilateralism. He’s made very clear he believes in strong global institutions, he believes in having the U.N. work as well as it can, but he’s also realistic about its potential not to work. But he’s committed to try to fix it as well as think about building other institutions. John McCain is also interesting on this. He’s talked more about global institutions than any Republican presidential candidate has for quite some time. It’s interesting, in 1996 the campaign, we recount this in the book, then the Republican nominee, Bob Dole, used the U.N. and the U.N. Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, as like a punch line. He would sort of purposefully mispronounce Boutros-Ghali’s name on the campaign trail. They really tried to use the U.N. as a stick to beat up Clinton with, and now you have McCain saying much different things about the U.N. He’s clearly more in the conservative tradition but he’s gotten the message, I think, that we’d learned in the last seven or eight years but unfortunately I think we knew in the ‘90s and then the Bush administration came in and didn’t want to accept it, but I think the Republicans had gotten the message that institutions do matter. We have to be realistic about what they can actually be, and we have to be true to ourselves in the sense of no U.S. president should ever let any international body have a veto over what he deemed to be an American interest, particularly when our security’s at stake. But I think people understand that institutions matter. It’s good for our actions to be seen as legitimate in the world and it’s good to have partners.
Question: What is the viability of the new Alliance of Democracies?
Derek Chollet: Well McCain has actually floated it. Obama has not although some of his more prominent advisors have been in their own personal capacities supportive of it. I think that it’s both less and more than we should make it. I personally give McCain some credit for being a conservative who’s willing to talk about global institutions and as someone who is a liberal and who believes in making global institutions stronger and that that’s in America’s interest to do so. I think it’s significant that a Republican feels the need to talk about institutionalism. Now what McCain is saying, and I think this point is true and I don’t think many would argue on either side of the political aisle about this, is that our current architecture, institutional architecture for the globe: the U.N., the G-8, is not really relevant to the current power configuration _________________. The G-8 doesn’t have countries like China and India and Brazil, and it’s supposed to be the leading economies of the world. The U.N. Security Council is, in many ways, the permanent members with a veto, the permanent five members, were the powers who won World War II. So it’s reflective of the moment 1945, not 2008. So the first part of McCain’s message, which is we need institutions to be more relevant to today’s challenge, I think everyone agrees with it. His only answer so far is this league of democracies. Again, on the one hand I give a conservative credit for talking about the importance of global institutions and I think my view is the more institutions, the merrier, but here’s the reality. I don’t know of many other leading democracies who are really enthusiastic about the idea of joining or creating a league democracies. Without that I think it’s hard to see how something like this gets off the ground just as a practical matter but I think it would be unwise for liberals to sort of discount it completely because you don’t want to look as though you’re sort of defending the rights of authoritarian regimes, who sort of used their special role in councils like the U.N. Security Council to thwart action in places like Darfur, where there are many liberals who believe, as do I, that we probably need more of an international role in ending the genocide in Darfur.
Recorded on: 07/08/2008
The UN is not yet prepared to handle international crises, leading Derek Chollet to consider McCain's plan for a new international organization.
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Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
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- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
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- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.