keywords: Obama

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Iraq needs a local solution, not another intervention

    • Donna Mulhearn
    • 23 June 2014
    9 Comments

    Standing on an overhead bridge in Ramadi on Iraq's main highway to Baghdad just over a year ago, I witnessed the extraordinary sight of about half a million people gathered — as they did every Friday — to peacefully protest the sectarian policies of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki. Understanding the context of today's turmoil is the key to any de-escalation of violence and a guide to the type of assistance foreign nations can bring.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's eating Syria and Iraq

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 17 June 2014
    11 Comments

    In October 2013, Jesuit Fr Frans van der Lugt wrote about the suffering of the besieged people of Homs in Syria: 'Despite these difficulties, we keep grasping onto hope.' On 7 April 2014 he was executed outside his home. The rout of Iraqi forces in Mosul by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant must be a worry to the Iraqi authorities and the US and Western countries that have invested so much in the new post Saddam Iraq.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Understanding the climate change battle of attitudes

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 June 2014
    20 Comments

    As Obama took steps to deal with carbon emissions, Abbott walked away from them. Beneath the complex political considerations in these responses stir deep passions. Human flourishing requires that we recognise the interdependence of human beings and our common interdependence with the environment. That recognition marks out the boundaries of the field within which our autonomy and initiative should play.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The Pope, the President and our pro-coal PM

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 06 June 2014
    13 Comments

    During Abbott's forthcoming visit to Obama he will find a president not only willing to take strong action in relation to climate change, but doing so with the public support of the US Catholic bishops. This is not a situation he will find comfortable given that in the Australian context he has always previously been able to count on the support of Cardinal Pell to muddy the waters on climate change.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Kidnapped Nigerian girls put the lie to Western freedom

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 12 May 2014
    7 Comments

    It would be foolish to believe that female liberation can occur in a vacuum: as long as there are girls and women being brutalised in the DRC, schoolgirls being sold into slavery in Nigeria's border regions, girls around the world are being subjected to female genital mutilation and women being supressed by religious ideology, then the acquisition of our own freedoms — flawed as they are — is a hollow victory indeed.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A plague of killer robots

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 April 2014
    6 Comments

    Killer robots — drones in an advanced stage of development — are now a daytime reality. They will be autonomous in their operation, able to identify targets, track them down, work out the best way to destroy them, and learn from their failures, all without the need for human direction. These qualities raise serious ethical questions. Obama's use of just war theory to defend such drones was misguided at best, pernicious at worst.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Obama's cannabis defence illuminates NSW booze laws

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 03 February 2014
    7 Comments

    In a nation still divided bitterly along race lines, blacks, and to a lesser extent Hispanics, bear the brunt of America's prisons-for-profit program. The perils of mandatory sentencing should serve as a warning to NSW, which has announced mandatory minimum sentences as a response to alcohol-fuelled violence. The question is not which drug is more dangerous, but how society chooses to deal with each one and why.

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  • RELIGION

    Is the pope a Marxist?

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 17 December 2013
    27 Comments

    Pope Francis' vision for the church of the poor is now joined to a stinging critique of our globalised economy which promotes a 'new tyranny' of unfettered capitalism and an attack on the 'idolatry of money'. While such language has not been uncommon, buried in the riches of Catholic social teaching, this pope has made it up front and centre stage of his message.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    US gun lobbyists miss the logic of feeling

    • Fatima Measham
    • 13 December 2013
    14 Comments

    I woke up to the news on a Saturday morning. One year ago tomorrow, a man walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and opened fire. In the aftermath, gun lobbyists seethed with high indignation that President Barack Obama was politicising a tragedy. It goes to show that the ones who complain about the politicisation of tragedy tend to be the ones who do not want to do anything about it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Who killed the car industry?

    • Ray Cassin
    • 13 December 2013
    33 Comments

    The immediate responsibility for this looming economic disaster rests with the Abbott Government, and not merely because of its use of a bullying speech in Parliament by the Treasurer, Joe Hockey, to goad Holden into announcing a decision that its masters in Detroit had probably already taken. In the longer term, this should be seen as a bipartisan disaster. What happened this week was the culmination of a process that began under Hawke.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Standing on Mandela's shoulders

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 12 December 2013
    6 Comments

    People respond well to heroes, especially those people who have had their rights subjugated by others. But Obama, with his swagger and rhetoric, was basking in the reflected glow of Mandela's hard-won glory. His address fulfilled the collective expectation that the almost-saint Mandela be eulogised by a man of comparable stature, but it also afforded him a global platform on which to polish his own ego, to reinforce his importance on the world stage. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Spies like us

    • Bill Calcutt
    • 25 November 2013
    6 Comments

    The recent observation by a close Asian ally that 'spying on friends is amoral' belies an apparently growing gap between the illusion of civility and honesty and the reality of our suspicious relations with 'foreigners'. While the justification for the development of ubiquitous electronic surveillance capabilities is counter-terrorism, the greatest beneficiaries may be private business interests gaining a competitive advantage in a global free market.

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