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South American Regional Integration in the labyrinths of a Globalized World April 8, 2009

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by David Díaz

The potential of South America’s regional integration is enormous. Yet, it’s a process that stales indefinetely. Such it is the promise of uniting the continent that even back in 1824 the Libertador Simon Bolivar made it its priority. Back then, most of South America shared the fact of being oppressed by the Spanish. Yet, not even Bolivar’s firm fist could prevent the Gran Colombia to implode, and with it, his ambitions of a united continent. Eventually, South America became a fragmented mosaic of different entities, different pieces of a same puzzle.south_america_map3

      The US’ progressive rise to world hegemony has had an impact in South America like none other factor. The United States’ foreign policy towards the continent has shaped in many respects the structure in which countries evolve; from explicit military interventions to tacit neoliberal domination, the US have effectively organized the Americas mosaic in their own interest. “Pan Americanism” as an ideal of collaboration, of mutual respect between The United States and the rest of the nations of the Americas has proven to be an elusive chimera. In spite of the rhetoric, an undeniable hierarchical relationship has linked the United States with the South American continent.

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France is back – let’s call them “NATO fries” February 26, 2009

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by Anita Kirpalani

Nicolas Sarkozy hit again with his politics of reform. But this time, by deciding to bring France back into NATO’s military command, he struck against the mythology of his own political family. It is too bad that, for once, the Gaullist narrative of independence from the United States is, in France, actually shared by both the left and the right.

NATO Summit: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. (Photo: AFP)

The fearless President is trying to bring down what appears to be a national monument, creating havoc at a particularly dreary time of strikes and plummeting public support, and not so long after a French NATO soldier was killed in Afghanistan. At least, one must grant Sarkozy that he finally managed to bring consensus amongst the French political elite – against him.

But if Charles de Gaulle would probably turn in his grave in protestation, US President Barack Obama might hope for more. Will France finally become tame and docile and pull the curtain on its dissident period of the opposition to the war in Iraq? Will she take important position in NATO in exchange for sending more troops to Afghanistan, answering Obama’s call? Will she nip in the bud the nascent attempts to create a European defense she actually advocated for? Is this the long anticipated reconciliation between French fries and Freedom Fries? Did somebody actually win?

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Obamamania 2 weeks from D-day October 22, 2008

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by Vera Quina

Who will win the election in two weeks time? If you wander around New York City, the question is straightforward: Barack Obama. What is interesting of this candidate, virtually unknown to the outside world and even to most Americans as early as two years ago is its mediatized campaign. He is a true master of communication and is the first politician to take full advantage of our marketing society in this beginning of the XXIst century. (more…)