important in a world whose rules they did not write,
allege that human rights and humanitarianism represent the soft-power version of Western
modernity, another vector for the transmission of liberal-capitalist values and interests that
threatens their hold on national power and resources. China, with its muscular conception of
sovereignty and its no-questions-asked relationship with other authoritarian states, leads the
way. These non-Western states can hardly be blamed for their scepticism given the degree to which
humanitarians often attend crises
identifies the threats to American national interests ( ibid .:
25–6): 1) Russia and China, the two great ‘revisionist powers’; 2) North
Korea and Iran, two ‘rogue states’ that undermine geopolitical equilibrium in
Northeast Asia and the Middle East; 3) ‘Jihadist terrorist groups’ and
international criminal organisations that propagate violence and traffic drugs and arms.
The document offers an extensive list of actions to be undertaken by the US to achieve
strategic objectives and confront rivals, from controlling borders to increasing military
obligation to provide humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed’ ( International Committee of the Red Cross, 1994 : 1).
Humanitarian Situation in the DPRK
The DPRK made its first large-scale appeal for international humanitarian aid in 1995. Prior to this, the country was a habitual recipient of fraternal aid from the Soviet Union, China and Eastern Europe. North Korean founder Kim Il Sung’s economy needed aid at first to rebuild after the Korean War, and then to sustain itself. While Kim Il Sung’s son and successor Kim Jong Il, and grandson and current
Strategy of 2017 proposes that ‘the American way of
life cannot be imposed upon others, nor is it the inevitable culmination of progress’
( White House, 2017: 4 ). Renouncing progressive
historical narratives, the Trump administration signals the end of the ‘American
century’ and discards the particular universalism that has sustained liberal order.
Posing direct, if distinct, challenges to US power, China and Russia do not seek to create an
alternative to the multilateral system. On the contrary, they now become defenders of the
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister
madness, but there are objectives. There is a strategy. Trump seeks to deconstruct the existing
order and anything that might limit American power, even institutions created by the US.
This change in strategy happens at a moment when rivals are on the rise. Russia perhaps
doesn’t want to be a world leader, but it wants to affirm its regional position. And
China, yes, has another plan for the world, which it develops with subtlety, in specific
negotiations, always prepared to accept otherness.
JF: What are the likely implications of this
Planned Obsolescence of Medical Humanitarian Missions: An Interview with
Tony Redmond, Professor and Practitioner of International Emergency Medicine and
Co-founder of HCRI and UK-Med
As an academic and practitioner for more than forty years, we asked Tony for his take
on innovation from a personal perspective and how this might have changed throughout
his career. Tony has worked with medical emergency teams in a range of disasters and
conflicts including earthquakes in Armenia (1988), Iran (1990), China (2008) and
Haiti (2010), conflicts in Bosnia (1991–96), Kosovo (1999–2000),
Sierra Leone (2000) and Gaza (2014
US, the EU
and other Western donor governments has at least generally come with certain stipulations about
human rights and relative autonomy for international relief NGOs in the field. The Chinese have
no such agenda, and governments in the Global South have come to understand this perfectly. In
short, there is no need to apply to Washington or Brussels when making the same application to
Beijing comes at a considerably lower cost in terms of what has to be conceded vis-à-vis
humanitarian access, let alone human rights guarantees.
encouraged late-capitalism to move beyond the South’s
enclaves and the special economic zones established during the 1980s as part of the
North’s deindustrialisation ( Amsden, 1990 ).
Private finance is investing in what are called infrastructural ‘mega-corridors’
( Hildyard and Sol, 2017 ). With China’s Belt
and Road Initiative just one example, this is a huge near-global expansion. Except Antarctica,
no region is excluded with continental – even transcontinental – infrastructure
plans in existence that seek to reappropriate the biosphere
medical supplies to some of these areas, but only by negotiating with Damascus would
it be possible to get aid through in sufficient quantity and of acceptable quality.
Various attempts were made to contact the Syrian authorities using a number of
channels that I have split into three categories: attempts at direct contact, the
‘BRICS’ (Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa) card and the
Russian option. This article does not cover the full range of initiatives undertaken