The Great Debate UK

From afar, G8 seeks a handle on Afghanistan

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Luke Baker- Luke Baker is a political and general news correspondent at Reuters. -

The mountains and deserts of southern Afghanistan are far removed from the elegant charms of Trieste in northern Italy, but there will be a link between the two this weekend.

Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight nations meet in the Italian city on the Adriatic on Thursday for three days of talks, with the state of play in Afghanistan, as well as developments in Iran and the Middle East, front and centre of their agenda.

Nearly eight years and tens of billions of dollars on from the U.S.-led invasion that overthrew the Taliban, the United States and its allies appear no closer to bringing long-term stability to the country, with the Taliban resurgent throughout the south and west and the instability expanding across the border into Pakistan.

One of the major areas of unrest is Helmand, a vast desert and mountain province in the far south where around 8,000 British troops have been deployed for 3-1/2 years and 10,000 U.S. Marines are steadily being sent in as reinforcements.

UN resolution on women, peace and security: anniversary worth celebrating?

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Donald Steinberg- Donald Steinberg, Deputy President for Policy of International Crisis Group, is a board member of the Women’s Refugee Commission and served on the UNIFEM executive director’s advisory council. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Preparations are now starting for the 10th anniversary of the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. This groundbreaking resolution was passed unanimously in October 2000 to address abuses against women during armed conflict, including sexual violence and displacement, and to bring women more fully into conflict prevention and peacemaking.

Germany’s political and economic phoney war

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paul-taylor– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Germany is becalmed by a political and economic phoney war five months before this year’s most important European general election. But a lack of real economic debate now risks prolonging the political stalemate and delaying much needed reforms.

from The Great Debate:

Killer robots and a revolution in warfare

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

They have no fear, they never tire, they are not upset when the soldier next to them gets blown to pieces. Their morale doesn't suffer by having to do, again and again, the jobs known in the military as the Three Ds - dull, dirty and dangerous.

They are military robots and their rapidly increasing numbers and growing sophistication may herald the end of thousands of years of human monopoly on fighting war. "Science fiction is moving to the battlefield. The future is upon us," as Brookings scholar Peter Singer put it to a conference of experts at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania this month.

from UK News:

Iraq cabinet minutes remain secret

So we're not going to know the full details of what the cabinet thought about going to war in Iraq.

Justice Minister Jack Straw has blocked the release of cabinet minutes on the subject on the grounds that to open them up would undermine democratic decision-making. If ministers thought everything they said in cabinet was going to be made public, his argument ran, they might be reluctant to express their full and frank views and therefore the principle of collective cabinet responsibility would be undermined.

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