Le blog de Daniel Warner

  • (Un)Usual Swiss Politics

    Imprimer

    Only in Switzerland? That’s what the protagonists claim. And it’s worth repeating the story to show how different Swiss political leaders are from some of their counterparts in the United States . Two Swiss German newspapers have revealed a most human story that it is marked contrast to the insults coming from Donald Trump during the U.S. presidential campaign.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 1 commentaire
  • Some Thoughts on Updating Neutrality

    Imprimer

    Neutrality demands constant updating. For example: When Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis met his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz, did Cassis take sides in the Israel-Palestine stalemate? When rumors float in Israeli newspapers that they discussed an alternative to the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), did Cassis cross the neutral red line by favoring Israel’s position?

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 2 commentaires
  • School Recess and the “Friend Bench”

    Imprimer

    According to a recent article in the Tribune de Genève, a primary school in Eaux-Vives has decided to try to limit the space for soccer in the schoolyard to favor different types of games among students. This seems a worthy goal. At the least, it shows that attention has been given to what happens in the schoolyard between classes.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 3 commentaires
  • Algerians Patiently Protest

    Imprimer

    On February 22, thousands took to the streets in Algeria to protest the ruling regime, triggered by the infirmed President Bouteflika’s candidacy for a fifth mandate. The April resignation of the long-time president did not stop the demonstrations. Au contraire: the demonstrations have continued. August 16, 2019, marked the twenty-six consecutive Friday of protests in Algiers and elsewhere in the country. For the moment, there has been no violence similar to clashes in France between the police and Gilets Jaunes and no obvious external interference. But no resolution of the crisis is in sight.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 0 commentaire
  • Is Hong Kong Important? For Whom?

    Imprimer

    Hundreds of thousands in the streets of Hong Kong protesting the anti-extradition bill for now over ten weeks; thousands closing down the busy international airport; an influential British parliamentarian proposing to return UK citizenship to Hong Kong residents; Chinese students supporting the government and those supporting the protesters clashing in foreign countries; videos showing Chinese armored personnel and troop carriers moving closer to the border with Hong Kong threatening a military intervention.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 7 commentaires
  • UNRWA Accusations: (Im)Perfect Timing

    Imprimer

    A damaging internal report has cast a dark shadow over the ethical behavior of top officials of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). As disclosed by Al Jazeera and AFP, the report cites "credible and corroborated reports" that members of an "inner circle" at the top of UNRWA, including Swiss Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, have engaged in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.” The report was sent to UN Secretary-General António Guterres in December.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 9 commentaires
  • U.S. Behind the Times: Is It Ready for a Woman President?

    Imprimer

    The confirmation of Ursula von der Leyen, the former Minister of Defense of Germany from 2013-2019, as the first woman European Commission President is a stark reminder that the United States has never had a female president in its history, let alone a female Secretary of Defense. Look around: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany since 2005; Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 2016-2019; Christine Lagarde, Chairman of the International Monetary Fund since 2011 and now President of the European Central Bank. And there are numerous examples of women presidents around the world.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 10 commentaires
  • U.S. Women’s Soccer Triumph Was More Than Just About Sports

    Imprimer

    The United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Lyon, France, last week. Their victory was no surprise. The pre-tournament favorites had won three of the previous tournaments and four Olympic gold medals, although they were upset by Sweden in the last World Cup. On the 20th anniversary of the 1999 World Cup where they defeated China in a thrilling shoot-out in front of 90,000 spectators in the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, the U.S. women’s squad dominated the tournament.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 0 commentaire
  • Doing it on the cheap and real philanthropy

    Imprimer

    Two recent events in Geneva point to disappointing cost cutting. First, the United States national holiday is July 4. For over two hundred years, Independence Day has been commemorated to celebrate the Congress’ Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Geneva used to have the largest July 4 celebration outside the country. It has not taken place for several years (lack of sponsors? security?). This year, as in the recent past, the official celebration at the U.S. Mission was not on July 4; this year it was on June 27.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 2 commentaires
  • Trump’s Playing Chicken vs. Pacta Sunt Servanda

    Imprimer

    “She signals. We head for the edge. Whoever jumps first is chicken,” are the immortal words of James Dean’s challenger in the film classic Rebel Without a Cause. Natalie Wood raises her arms; the two drivers accelerate their cars towards to the cliff. Dean jumps out and sees his opponent go over the edge, his jacket sleeve caught in the door handle.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 0 commentaire
  • Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle

    Imprimer

    The New York Times International Edition has decided to no longer publish political cartoons. The decision follows a scandal about a cartoon that appeared last April in which a blind President Donald Trump is holding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – depicted as a guide dog – on a leash. Trump is wearing a yarmulke; Netanyahu has a Star of David around his throat. Some critics deemed the cartoon offensive and anti-Semitic, the Times apologized, and the responsible editor was sanctioned. Now the paper of record – “All The News That’s Fit To Print – has decided to stop publishing political cartoons. 

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 3 commentaires
  • Why is Switzerland on the U.S radar?

    Imprimer

    They say that paranoia is the secret to survival. Without being paranoiac (I hope), I am trying to understand why Swiss president Ueli Maurer had a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in the White House, the ultra-secret Bilderberg Group Meeting including Henry Kissinger and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner met in Montreux, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Bern, Fribourg, Gruyeres, Montreux and Bellinzone, all in 18 days. 

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 7 commentaires
  • Does Truth Matter?

    Imprimer

    Donald Trump has told 4,140 false stories, made 12,538 untrue statements, and proposed 1,177 unfulfilled promises as of late May 2019, according to PoltiFact, The Washington Post announced that Trump reached the “unthinkable milestone” of 10,000 bogus claims on April 29, 2019. Yet, Trump continues to have 42% popularity ratings and a Yale economist, who predicted that Trump would win in 2016, predicts he will get 56.1% of the popular votes in 2020. And he is not alone in that prediction.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 5 commentaires
  • To be or not to be a Good Samaritan

    Imprimer

    During my commute on a Geneva tram one morning, a woman started to faint. Everyone standing around her tried to help, first to sit and then to lie down. The alerted driver stopped the tram. An ambulance arrived shortly. In another world, a government official in Texas was arrested for helping three young Central American migrants. They had flagged her down on a Texas highway and she went into her “total mom mode” by letting them into her car. While the woman was calling friends for advice about getting medical help - one of the siblings appeared to be seriously ill - a sheriff’s deputy pulled up to her car shortly followed by a Border Patrol officer, read her the prerequisite civil rights, and then took her to a holding cell where she was detained for three hours. She was informed that she could be found guilty of transporting illegal aliens.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 1 commentaire
  • Swiss President Maurer Meets President Trump in the Oval Office

    Imprimer

    Swiss President Ueli Maurer’s meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump was a unique bilateral event at a moment of increasing tensions between the United States and Iran. While it’s not clear what exactly was discussed in the forty minute meeting in the Oval Office – progress towards an eventual free trade agreement between Switzerland and the U.S? the role of Switzerland in representing the U.S. in the Venezuelan crisis? – the Swiss press has focused on the role Switzerland could play in avoiding a U.S./Iranian confrontation.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 3 commentaires
  • Free and Fair Elections

    Imprimer

    The recent accusations of potential fraud in local elections call into question what everyone had assumed to be a well-functioning system; the capacity of Geneva citizens to cast their ballots in elections and to have those ballots properly counted. At the same time the evermore authoritarian president of Turkey is trying to overturn municipal elections, and there continues to be questioning about Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. elections and potential for interference in 2020, free and fair elections are a worthy subject of reflection.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 1 commentaire
  • U.S. Elections: Should I Feel Guilty That Joe Biden Speaks to Me?

    Imprimer

    Former Vice-President Joe Biden has several clouds hanging over his candidacy, if not skeletons coming out of the closet. He’s 76 years old. If elected president, he would be the oldest elected president in U.S. history. He’s touchy-feely with women, many of whom have complained about how he made them feel uncomfortable. He can’t apologize enough for his overbearing, insensitive moderation of the Clarence Thomas hearings. He might have prevented Silent Clarence from being a conservative stalwart on the Supreme Court for 27 years. His treatment of Anita Hill was unacceptable. He supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq; his support of capital punishment and harsher anti-crime legislation have proven counter-productive if not politically out of tune.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 6 commentaires
  • China Visit Exposes Cracks in Swiss Neutrality

    Imprimer

    Swiss President Ueli Maurer’s recent visit to China shows the complexity of Switzerland’s neutrality in the face of current geopolitical realities. The Swiss President and Finance Minister spent seven days in China, part of the time attending the second Belt and Road Forum on international cooperation. He also signed a memorandum of understanding with China focusing on finance and trade and even had a bilateral official meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 3 commentaires
  • Walking Thoughts

    Imprimer

    Some thoughts after a strenuous week walking 100 kilometers along the Northern Way to Santiago de Compostela, from Bilbao to Laredo:

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 3 commentaires
  • A Personal Story of Service Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

    Imprimer

    “Peace through pieces,” David Mittrany wrote. In a world of increasing violence, now even in Geneva junior high schools, one appreciates more and more small acts of generosity. For all the advantages of technology, there has been a loss of positive face-to-face interaction. Ordering with Amazon is not the same as visiting the neighborhood bookstore. Buying by catalogue is not the same as negotiating with a local salesperson. Calling out for pizza is not the same as being greeted with a friendly smile by a familiar waiter in your favorite restaurant. Driving alone in a car with the radio blasting separates one from any contact with the surroundings.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 2 commentaires
  • Are Academics Academic?

    Imprimer

    The dictionary defines academic as “educational, scholastic,” as well as “not of practical relevance; of only theoretical interest.” After spending a week at an academic conference with eminent university scholars of international relations, I find it appropriate to question the relationship between the two definitions. Were the scholars and their scholastic writings “not of practical relevance” and “only of theoretical interest”?

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 2 commentaires
  • And Now Algeria

    Imprimer

    It has now been nine years since protests broke out across the Middle East and North Africa. After citizens took to the streets, the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen were deposed during the Arab Spring. What about Algeria - the tenth-largest country in the world, the largest in Africa and a country with the tenth-largest reserves of natural gas? Up until now, there has been no change of government since 1999, no calls for revolution despite a gross inequality of wealth and no overthrow of its leader. Understandably, Algeria has been off the media’s radar.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 1 commentaire
  • Switzerland Refuses to Condemn Saudi Arabia: Its global status continues to be jeopardized

    Imprimer

    The recent meeting of the Human Rights Council and the current annual International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights justifiably put Geneva and Switzerland in the forefront of human rights. What other city, what other country has such a concentration of institutions, non-governmental organizations and events devoted to human rights? Geneva rightfully prides itself as being the human rights capital of the world.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 10 commentaires
  • Trump: The Art of the No Deal

    Imprimer

    Last week Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed Master of the Deal, walked away from his second summit with the North Korean leader empty handed. There was no agreement on denuclearization and ending sanctions. For all the pre-meeting hype, there was no deal.


    What’s the big deal?

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 2 commentaires
  • Should detainees in Syria and Iraq lose their Swiss rights?

    Imprimer

    My son – an American who grew up in Switzerland and is now a bi-national - once asked me who he was. As I dismissed the question as being too complicated, he interrupted saying he was only asking about his citizenship. “Am I American or am I Swiss?” he wanted to know. The inquisitive adolescent wanted a clear definition of his public identity, something easily answered in legal terms but not easily answered in subjective terms about how one feels.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 11 commentaires