Le blog de Daniel Warner

  • The Hillsborough Football Tragedy: Who is Responsible?

    Imprimer

    Who was responsible for the deaths of 96 people and the hundreds injured in the collapse of stands at a soccer match in England in 1989? A jury at the Preston Crown Court in England last week exonerated David Duckenfield for responsibility for the Hillsborough tragedy. A 1991 inquiry said it was accidental and not caused by the rush of Liverpool fans; a 2016 inquest said it was disorganization and negligence by the police who ordered one of the exit gates to be opened, and David Duckenfield, the match commander for the local police, was judged not guilty.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 0 commentaire
  • Three Presidential Crises

    Imprimer

    When I was invited to speak at a meeting a while ago about “my” president, I began by saying how honored I was to speak about Ueli Maurer, the current Swiss president. When the laughter died down, I tried to explain Donald Trump, my fellow New Yorker, as best I could. Now, sometime later, during the U.S. impeachment hearings, there are also serious questions being raised about what it means to be president in Switzerland. Ueli Maurer’s “autocratic world tour 2019” to Saudi Arabia, Russia and China (should we include his Oval Office meeting as well?) has made headlines. And there is even a debate in Geneva about a five-year term for the president of the Conseil d’Etat.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 1 commentaire
  • Repentant Jihadists: What Does it Mean to Say, “I’m Sorry”?

    Imprimer

    “I’m sorry for what I did,” avowed a captured American apologizing to a journalist in a camp in northern Syria. “I now realize that I made a wrong decision,” he confessed. Was he hoping for some form of clemency? Was he hoping to be returned to the United States or to be defended by an American lawyer wherever he is tried because of his citizenship? Whatever the reasons for the apology - I assume we will never really know beyond his declaration – the case of apologetic, captured “jihadists” poses an ethical question.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 1 commentaire
  • Sadako Ogata: A Deceptively Tough Lady

    Imprimer

    Tributes are pouring in for Sadako Ogata, who died on October 22 at age 92. The first woman and Japanese to be United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), she was also the former president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency as well as Japan’s first representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Although less than five feet tall, she earned the nickname “the diminutive giant” in fighting for refugees, the internally displaced, and even for standing up to the UN Secretary-General during the Bosnian war.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 0 commentaire
  • Syria Talks: Is Jaw Jaw Better Than War War?

    Imprimer

    The opening of Geneva talks of a Syrian constitutional committee organized by the latest UN representative for Syria, Geir Pedersen, brings to mind the famous adage attributed to Winston Churchill; “It is better to jaw jaw than to war war.” One hundred fifty Syrians from the government, opposition and civil society are meeting in the city of Calvin to work on a document that will form the basis of a future “credible, inclusive, and non-sectarian” government.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 0 commentaire
  • Is the Green Wave Sustainable?

    Imprimer

    The “Green Wave” in the recent Swiss elections is most impressive. Together with the Liberal Greens, they have enough backing to potentially ask for a seat on the Federal Council, upsetting the Magic Formula dividing the seven executive seats of the Federal Council between the traditional four ruling parties that has been in effect since 1959

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 2 commentaires
  • Greta the Disturber

    Imprimer

    Greta Thunberg has become an international figure. The sixteen-year-old Swedish environmental activist has gone from a lonely student skipping school on Fridays to protest for more action on global warming to being nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Greta has become a global player. The New York City Board of Education officially excused over one million students from school if they participated in a Manhattan climate change protest with her. Students from around the world have joined her Friday protests.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 3 commentaires
  • Sarajevo Library: A Passion for Reading and an Inspired Geneva Donation

    Imprimer

    Remember the Yugoslav wars? The wars ended in Bosnia in 1995 and since then – away from the headlines – countries like Bosnia Herzegovina have tried to reconstruct as best they can with little outside assistance. A Geneva citizen, Eugene Schulman, with the help of a few friends, has managed to breathe hope into a small but important part of Bosnia, its National and University Library.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 0 commentaire
  • Richard Holbrooke: Present at the Demise of U.S. Foreign Policy

    Imprimer

    President Barack Obama and the Guardian described him as "a true giant of American foreign policy." Others, including the Economist, described him as the most influential and effective American diplomat of his generation. Richard Holbrooke was certainly present at most of the hot spots of his era: a young diplomat serving in Vietnam during the Vietnam War as well as part of the United States negotiating team in Paris; ambassador to Germany during its reunification; the leader who held out the carrot and brandished the stick that finalized the Dayton Agreement ending the Bosnian War, and the special representative of the United States to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Lire la suite

    Lien permanent 2 commentaires
  • (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