Le blog de Daniel Warner

  • Pope Francis’s Visit to Canada: What Does It Mean to Say You’re Sorry?

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    Psychologists and family counsellors recommend that being able to say one is sorry is a necessary prerequisite for healthy relationships. But the recent “penitential pilgrimage” of Pope Francis to Canada’s Indigenous people was more than a personal, relationship journey. The trip represented an institutional recognition of past wrongdoing. While the Pope is an individual, he represents the entire Catholic Church. His mea culpa was an admission of guilt for past transgressions by the entire Church. 

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  • Sergei Karaganov Reveals a Russian Elite’s World Vision

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    The cancel culture has hit high level diplomatic discussions. U.S. Russian negotiations are in the deep freeze. Even the head of the humanitarian International Committee of the Red Cross was severely criticized for talking to and shaking hands with the Russian Foreign Minister. Dialogue or contact with Russians is nyet, nyet. We have little knowledge of what Russians are thinking.

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  • NATO’s Partnerships 360 Symposium: A Fatal Attraction?

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    “This is just perfect for Switzerland,” exulted a high-level Swiss defense official when Switzerland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) in 1996. “We can have access to the bar without being full country club members.” He added: “I don’t like playing golf anyway,” an allusion to Swiss neutrality which forbids Switzerland from joining any military alliance such as NATO.

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  • Witnessing and Celebrating a Unique Win-Win Moment

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    Sports, like politics, is a based on binary win-lose calculations. Games and elections are summarized in sports and front pages by W and L. Who won? Who lost? The excluded middle, or more conventionally consensus, cooperation or compromise, have gone the way of black-and-white television and Sony Walkmans. In our current polarization, we only want to know who’s up, who are the winners. Tradition now has it to go to Disney World to celebrate whatever victory one has accomplished. Prepare the downtown ticker tape parade, let the loudspeakers blast “We Are The Champions,” winning and celebrating are today’s accepted symbols of success.  

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  • Ukraine Reconstruction, Peace and Justice

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    Is it possible to speak of reconstruction while a war is still going on? The Swiss government and Ukraine co-organized an international conference in Lugano July 4-5 to deal with rebuilding Ukraine. Although not as high-level as the recent G-7 or NATO summits, the aim of the conference, according to Ignazio Cassis, the Swiss Foreign minister who also holds the rotating Swiss presidency, was to have a “Lugano Declaration” similar to the Marshall Plan that described the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. One thousand participants from 40 countries and representatives from international organizations attended as well as almost one hundred representatives from Ukraine. 

     

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  • Susan Collins Embraced Mendacity

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    I was raised in the Bronx; Susan Collins grew up in Caribou, Maine. She graduated from Caribou schools; I graduated from Public School 95. Caribou was once a thriving potato shipping hub – her parents were successful lumber merchants - and home to Loring Air Force Base. It has a population of 7,900 according to the latest census. My old neighbourhood alone now has an estimated population of 50,000. The Bronx, one of New York City’s five boroughs, has a population of close to 1,500,000, roughly the population of the entire state of Maine.

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  • Lugano, New York, Brussels: A Busy Time for Swiss Diplomats

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    Swiss diplomats are juggling with planning for the July 4 and 5 reconstructing Ukraine conference in Lugano, the upcoming presence of Switzerland on the UN Security Council and finding an institutional agreement with the European Union. The three represent major challenges to traditional Swiss neutrality as well as work overload. 

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  • MBS and Putin: What is the value of talking to one and not the other?

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    President Biden is confronted with two decisions: The first is whether to go to Saudi Arabia this summer to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to try to persuade him to increase his country’s oil output. The second is whether to speak directly with Vladimir Putin to try to end the war in Ukraine. Neither outreach is a form of recognition; it is a necessity for much larger considerations.

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  • Cold War 2.0: Trauma and Nostalgia

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    Remember the Cold War? Remember its most dangerous thirteen days when the world was dramatically close to a nuclear confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over the latter’s missiles in Cuba? Remember the Bay of Pigs failed invasion to overthrow the communist Fidel Castro’s government? Remember sirens frequently blasting in New York City, with young students huddled under their desks in rehearsal for an actual Soviet attack?

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  • Guns in the U.S.: The Chronic Nightmare

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    In 1968, during my first year teaching in the South Bronx, the frequently absent Raymond walked into my junior high school English class holding a pistol, looked at me and announced: “Motherfucker; I’m going to blow your fuckin’ head off.”

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  • How Russian Exclusion Threatens the West

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    Exclusion has been one of the major policies used against the Russian Federation for its invasion of Ukraine. On April 7, Russia was suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by an overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly. “The barbaric actions of Putin’s regime in Ukraine and the mounting evidence of war crimes mean Russia can no longer have a seat on the UNHRC,” argued U.S. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield in New York.

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  • Is Vladimir Putin Part of the Solution?

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    Vladimir Putin has been demonized, compared to Hitler, excluded from multilateral meetings and institutions, regularly mentioned as a war criminal, and considered by the West to be an international pariah. All of the above are polite descriptions of how he is being presented. Other narratives are not fit to print. 

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  • Is Ukraine a War Crime or Business as Usual?

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    The war in Ukraine intensifies. This looks like a protracted conflict with the potential for a larger global confrontation. Although stated aims and actions on both sides have evolved and will evolve, two clarifications show the dangers of oversimplified popular accounts of what is taking place. 

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  • Can We Be Neutral About Neutrality?

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    The Swiss are debating their traditional neutral role in the light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Swiss government is divided about how strongly to condemn Russia. But neutrality poses challenges beyond Switzerland. Is the world becoming divided between those strongly condemning humanitarian violations and those trying to remain neutral? Beyond the obvious dichotomy between democracies and autocracies lies a host of positions ranging from Sweden and Finland considering joining NATO to China’s continuing support of Russia. 

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  • President Zelensky is in a Hurry; Justice Isn’t

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    Efforts to change Russia’s behavior during the Ukraine crisis have failed. Rounds and rounds of harsher and harsher sanctions, investigations into war crimes, crimes against humanity and an act of aggression have not stopped the Russians who are continuing their assault on Ukraine. On the diplomatic front, excluding and suspending Russia from multilateral institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council and recalling Russian ambassadors from different countries have had no effect.  
    Why not?

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  • Peter Maurer in Moscow, June 16 and the Fragility of Pacta Sunt Servanda: How Does One Deal With Endless Lies?

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    The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, just completed a two-day visit to Moscow where he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Only a few months earlier, on June 16, 2021, Presidents Putin and Biden met in Geneva. Both high-level meetings reveal the limitations of a fundamental principle of law, pacta sunt servanda, that all agreements must be kept. 

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  • Putin, Like Luther, Abandons Mankind

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    Has Vladimir Putin lost contact with any reality outside his own self-perception? Has he gone so far tactically and psychologically that no exit ramp from the current conflict is possible? Is he so firmly entrenched in his own reality that no compromise can take place? If the answers to all these questions are yes, then an analysis of another charismatic leader caught up in his own self-identity, Martin Luther, would be pertinent.

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  • Vladimir Putin and the Grand Question: Was He a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing and a Continuation of Russian History?

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    For Russia, the grand question the last thirty years has been what happened between 1917 and 1989. Was Communist rule an anomaly or a continuation of Russian history? For Germany, the grand question has been what happened between 1933 and 1945. Was National Socialism an anomaly or a continuation of German history? Today, the grand question is whether Vladimir Putin was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and a continuation of Russian history. 

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  • Inclusion, Integration and a Shattered Myth: Who Says Diplomacy Works?

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    The Russian war against Ukraine has shocked, not only because of its viciousness with flagrant violations of accepted norms, but also because it has refuted many assumptions of how the West ought to deal with Russians and Russia. Numerous attempts at including Russia in the international order have failed. President Putin has not only invaded Ukraine, he has nullified a myth that inclusion and dialogue will prevent wars. 

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  • Putin Attacks the World Order

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    Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine has had many victims. Physically, there have already been a significant number of dead and wounded Ukrainian soldiers and civilians as well as Russian soldiers. In addition to the dead and wounded, there is the physical destruction wrought by bombing and street fighting. Beyond the physical, there is the shock for Ukrainians who had their day-to-day lives upended and the numerous Ukrainians who quickly packed and left.

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  • Vladimir Putin’s Dangerous Imagined Community

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    President Putin’s speech to the Russian nation and subsequent invasion of Ukraine are being deconstructed by diplomats, international relations specialists, and psychologists. In a passionate defense of his positioning of military forces on the borders of Ukraine and his recognition of the two separatist regions, Putin spoke about the history of Russian-Ukrainian relations in terms of the creation of Ukraine by Russia and their tribal affinities. “Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia…” he said. “Ukraine never had a tradition of statehood.”

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  • A Controversial Taliban Visit to Geneva

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    The presence of a Taliban delegation in Geneva last week caused quite a stir. In what was billed as a humanitarian visit, they met with various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the International Committee of the Red Cross, the head of the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, and representatives from the Swiss government. 

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  • A Hypocrisy Scorecard: Welcome to the Brave Old World

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    Amid the negotiations over the massing of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, the sending of more American troops to Europe, and President Biden’s threats of “swift and severe” sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine, more attention should be given to history to highlight hypocrisy in the current crisis.

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  • Russia/U.S. Clash: Where Was a Positive Cassandra?

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    The recent confrontation between the Russian and American representatives at the United Nations Security Council had all the makings of a high Cold War drama. While no shoes were bashed on the lectern or statements that the then American Ambassador Adlai Stevenson would wait “until Hell freezes over” for a response from the Soviet ambassador about whether Russia had missiles in Cuba, the exchanges were sharp and “harsh.” Moscow had even attempted to block the meeting.

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  • U.S/Russian Negotiations and Getting to Yes

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    “This is not a negotiation,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken solemnly declared at a press conference during his recent meeting with the Russian minister of foreign affairs, Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva. He went on to say that during their meeting each side merely presented its position, making a distinction between just presenting one’s position and a negotiation. Following previous meetings between the two sides in Geneva, Brussels, and Vienna, Blinken was apparently only trying to put forward what was possible to negotiate and what was not. In other words, he articulated what were “non-starters” or non-negotiable.

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