15
May
09

On Air: Are some countries deaf to world opinion?

_45776009_007318447-1Are some countries out of reach of world opinion? The Burmese opposition figure, Aung San Suu Kyi is facing trial, accused of breaching the terms of her house arrest, despite an global  campaign calling for her release.  Burma’s junta has traditionally ignored international pressure on human rights issues, but this critic argues that things are starting to change

_39539539_kim_jongil_apNorth Korea, a country renowned for its isolation from the international community,  has announced the trial date of two US journalists who had been detained for nearly two months.  The announcement comes in the same week as the decision by Iran to release US- Iranian journalist Roxanna Saberi.  The New York Times debates as to whether Saberi’s release signals a thawing of Iran’s position towards the West.

_41237007_closeup_body_apAre countries like North Korea, Burma , Iran and even Sri Lanka  interested in relations with the international community? Or do some countries not care about world opinion? Or are they just very good at manipulating world anger to win domestic arguments ?


72 Responses to “On Air: Are some countries deaf to world opinion?”


  1. 1 Peter SC
    May 15, 2009 at 11:38

    The world is out of touch with Myanmar. The West created Aungsan Suukyi to be their icon to promote the downfall of Myanmar’s govt . Yet they ignore the reality of Myanmar. An unstable peace exist in Myanmar. The divide amongs the different ethnic groups in different states is deep with animosity lasting centuries. Even as different states having to share the same water source , they will still be at war. Given the Union a fragile truce exist. The other ethnic group does not support Aungsan Suukyi.

    • 2 Manoj(US)
      May 15, 2009 at 18:54

      Are the United Nations united enough and represented proportionatly ,capable enough to deal with varied world situation??………Or has it become a forum where time is spent more on prolonging discussion rather then formulating actions?……common people hear more about discussions then actions?….

      • 3 Peter SC
        May 15, 2009 at 19:14

        Look at what is happening in Iraq after regime change. Rosy eh? Blood red roses.

  2. 4 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    May 15, 2009 at 12:01

    WHY SOME COUNTRIES ARE OUT OF REACH OF PUBLIC OPINION

    The world has had unfinished businesses all the time from time immemorial. The countries in question are nothing more but products of attrocities committed in the past by factors ranging from the cold war, colonialism or even their own societies where things where coverup either happened or continues to be the status quo. This is where you will find Iran, Cuba, North Korea, the Palestine, Pakistan, Turkey, Georgia, Somalia, Elitrea, the Yugoslavia etc. There is unfinished business in all these cases because the opinion shapers only see what is in their own mind instead of reality. Societies take a long time to heal and they do in the end. The rest of us have to recognize this before we rush into conclusion.
    Secondly some countries may have concluded that they have been unfairly removed from the mainstream aspirations by others hence resistance. The statment on North Korea is about isolation which tells us that these countries are cautious in their approach to trust in relation to isolation. Having said that, these countries are however showing symptoms of change bearing in mind that no country can be said is beyond cange. It is good to learn about the mitigating factors which can be exploited to enhance faster change. Those who doubt should look at Iran and Cuba, Libya etc in this category. Change can be slow but it is not inevitable though we might fail when we misjudge their cautious gait to mean hostility. Terms like rogue states should be used with caution because they may result in resistance.

  3. 5 Meir Avrahami
    May 15, 2009 at 12:03

    Ban Ki-moon should definitely go to Burma – as he has been told to do

  4. 6 Jim Newman
    May 15, 2009 at 12:35

    Hello again
    The countries who can flout ‘international opinion’ fall into two categories. Those who are too powerful to care and those who have not enough natural resources to bother about.
    Jim

  5. May 15, 2009 at 12:56

    There are many countries that don’t care about world opinion as they consider their policies a matter of sovereignty and the defence of their interests and security. In Africa, there is Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who , despite international sanctions and condemnation, continues to go ahead with policies. His apparent sharing of power with the Prime Minister is just a strategy t continue his grip on power.

    In the Middle East, Israel’s latest attacks on Gaza showed that the international community has only words but lacks firm actions to prevent human catastrophes.

    There are regimes as in North Korea and Burma which are callously ready to defy international sanctions and condemnations and to enslave their people for the sake of their ideology.

    History has shown that in face of international determination, regimes can be toppled as it was the case with Saddam in Iraq and Slobodan Milosevic in ex-Yugoslavia who were toppled despite their strong armies because they were real danger for the West, respectively to the USA and Europe.

    Regimes can survive as long as they have the means to control their people with iron fist and foreign policies to divide world opinion. If one of these pillars crumble, this is the signal of their downfall. Leading countries like the USA have the policies of wait-and-see for apparently benign regimes and swift actions for those which look beyond repair.

  6. 8 Konstantin in Germany
    May 15, 2009 at 12:57

    In terms of public domestic opinion, the North Korean goverment adopts a policy of isolation because of their so called supremacy. To the outside, the North Korean goverment is interested in relations to the international community to a certain extend. They try to use events like for example the recent rocket launch as bargaining trumps to have a better negotiating position when facing “the rest of the world”. In fact, they try to blackmail nations such as the Japan, South Korea and the USA into giving them more aid in form of food, energy or currency in exchange for not following their nuclear program or any other atrocious behaviour. Any concessions made to North Korea are being passed off as achievements to the North Korean public.

  7. 9 Crispo
    May 15, 2009 at 13:14

    It’s true much of the remaining vestitudes of countries we tend to refer to as ‘non-democratic’ and dictatorial are out of reach esp as regards foreign influence. This is because they too have friendlier countries that do not look at them as anarchist. In these countries outside influence and anything of the sort is almost sacrilage. N. Korea is a classical example.
    However, we have long learnt that, change is permanent whereas other factors are not. It’s quite easy to see that; given time, pressure will yield a desired effect, Lybia is a true testimony of this. Myanmar is already showing signs of crumbling under this pressure, thou we shouldn’t expect much at this infancy stage of the ‘change’ revolution. Hopefully this savage way of acting by a government will come to an end.

  8. 10 Rob (UK)
    May 15, 2009 at 13:28

    China is out of touch with world opinion in several matters because of the state control of the media and censorship of the internet. For example, when Chinese delegates visited the university at which I worked in the UK (we had close ties with China) and the topic of Tibet came up, they openly and jovially denounced the Dalai Lama. They had no idea how popular he is in the West whatsoever.

  9. 11 Hao from China
    May 15, 2009 at 13:45

    The world, or to be exact, the western countries, sometimes are too nervous to those countries like North Korea and Iran. It’s no question that it would be great if these countries can make some changes. But this is their internal affair and I don’t think that other countries have right to interfere in too much. Also, I believe that reform in those countries is irresistible, though it may be slow at the present time. Sanction can do no good to these countries but results in resistance.

    Hao, now in Tokyo.

  10. 12 A.R.Shams, Pakistan
    May 15, 2009 at 13:48

    International Communities are considered as neutral having equal eyes for all nations/countries irrespective of their differences and if they are in reality like that, they should be empowered to exercise their authority to have investigative report about some countries, which do not care about other nations’/countries’ opinion about them.

    The International Communities should confirm how and why some countries do against human rights etc.

    Countries like Burma etc. being in the same world where all others are, should care about the rules and regulations framed up for all the global countries.

    If any of them is found guilty of violating the standing rules of the UNO or its allied organizations, should be waned. Even then, if it does not care to follow the advices given, needful action may be taken against them.

  11. 13 ejembi eche j.
    May 15, 2009 at 14:22

    Most countries with dictatorial regimes and flagrant disregard for the principles of fundamental human rights such as Burma hardly sucumb to word opinion.

  12. 14 Kakule kiza celestin
    May 15, 2009 at 14:41

    Of course there are many of such, but i can’t put any blame on african countries for that if an african country is deaf do world opinion doing what ever things coming to mind like what Rwanda and Uganda have been doing to Congo, that is simply to say there should be something stronger supporting this behind, the matter is not the doer but the supporter. We all know that the International community allows a lot of devilish things to happen in African yet it is enoufh stronger to put an end to every bad thing happening but it hardens its position, pretending to bring some so called warlords to the International court . It is a pity for the world God is there watching all happening, some day this will be judged.

  13. 15 Patti in Cape Coral, FL
    May 15, 2009 at 14:42

    I’m reminded of an Israeli official’s comment when a BBC interviewer questioned her on allegations made by Israel’s own soldiers that there were atrocities commited by the Israeli military during the Gaza war. She said (paraphrasing) We investigated these allegations and they are false, our soldiers are very disciplined and do not act in an inhumane manner, we have not found any wrong doing by our soldiers. Big surprise there! Their own people’s statements weren’t even worrisome to them, much less the world. So the answer to your question is yes, some countries are deaf to world opinion. Some will try to appear as if they care, though, others don’t bother with the pretense.

    • 16 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
      May 15, 2009 at 19:03

      You are right Patti once more for your say. The world has been lead by fear from time immemorial but ironically fear is the precursor of the biggest business aimed at reversing of all our civilization. Everyone wants to establish god’s kingdom on earth and yet look at how the armament industry is growing – the devil’s kingdom on earth. It is the only industry not starved of cash. We are aware that big cash is no longer in computers and agriculture or medicine (what is the latest antibiotic?)but in military hardware. Every country now wants its own niche in this lucrative trade. Every country sees this as its very yardstick of national health and, ironically, it might be.

      We rightly chided Hitler for the war machine he created; and yet look at all those countries that took on him including the Israelis who suffered under his legislations. There is even talk of some of his clothes fetching a high price at actions – who are we fooling? See the owesome power of destruction that countries continue to increase in order to outsmart him. These are the only practical lessons from that dark chapter of the world. Surely you must expect some or negative offshoot of or part of what you see because we have led by example of the bad. Look at Burmese soldiers marching on those beautiful parades. Who do they march like and whose tradition is this? Burmese?

  14. 17 Roy, Washington DC
    May 15, 2009 at 14:47

    It depends largely on the leader. Few would likely disagree that George W Bush was deaf to world opinion, for instance. As for North Korea, the personality cult centered around the Kim clan is so deeply entrenched that the will of the “Dear Leader” is the only thing that country is going to care about.

  15. 18 Justin from Iowa
    May 15, 2009 at 14:54

    No one cares, and no one will care, until a world body exists that can apply real consequences to a country or people that violate international laws and internationally approved rights.

    And since I don’t see that happening any time soon…. no one cares, and no one will care.

  16. 19 Tony from Singapura
    May 15, 2009 at 15:11

    There was a flurry of interest in Myanmar when the military jaunta hammered the monks. Sanctions were implemented and the UN visited. Seems a while since Myanmar was in the news, however all of these issues have not gone away – except from the front pages of our newspapers.

    The only way to influence change in Myanmar is to keep up the presure, our 24×7 news hunger drives issues like this off the front pages and out of our minds.

    • 20 Peter SC
      May 15, 2009 at 19:31

      Which is more important , getting richer , financial crises , global warming or some poor monks who got whacked. The world has got to many problems. By the way Tony , do u know we are related in a way.

  17. May 15, 2009 at 15:12

    Hey this question is biased. How could you ask if some “countries” (including Burma) are out of touch with world opinion when it was in Burma that Monks (of all people) led virtually the whole country in a nationwide protest? Should you rather be asking if some GOVERNMENTS are deaf to world opinion?
    Secondly, the question is presented as if Aung San Suu Kyi should be freed only on account of ‘public opinion’. Is it not bad enough that the government has been holding her under house arrest for so many years? Shouldn’t they do what is right, instead of obeying some public opinion? If we work with your line of thought, it will mean that should public opinion be silent on any particular issue/evil, governments should go ahead and do as they please. Laws, human right, and ordinary right/wrong should not be replaced by public opinion.
    I think our call to the Burmese government should not be to honour public opinion that would be self serving; our call to Burma is to do what is right, and let this lady have a peaceable life.
    As for Iran and the journalists in North Korea, these are not so similar issues. I don’t know the charge against those journalists in Korea, but I believe that everyone travelling abroad should be familiar with the laws (and possibly the temperament of the government) of the country they are going to, if some foreign journalist broke the laws of my country, I want to see them face the judge no matter how loud the ‘public opinion’ may be.

  18. 22 John in Salem
    May 15, 2009 at 15:18

    Totalitarian regimes like North Korea depend on keeping their citizens isolated and ignorant in order to maintain control whereas countries like Myanmar or China, which allow some exposure to the outside world, have to rely on brute strength. Iran plays a more dangerous game, trying to balance religious and state control over a young and culturally aware population, but all of them recognize that information is power.
    If I had to guess who can hold out the longest I would have to say North Korea, which has refined the “cult of personality” around Kim Jong Il to a degree that even Mao Tse Tung or Stalin would have envied. If his son succeeds him as the next “Glorious Leader” it could remain cut off from the world for many decades to come.

  19. 23 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    May 15, 2009 at 15:37

    ON IRANIAN ROGUE STATESMANSHIP
    At one end of ‘rogue’ leaders there ought to be some scrutiny in order to gain some insight into the intriguing platforms that he occupy now. I have had to listen to the Iranian president on few occasions when he is abroad since it is only in such forums that an interpreter is made available. What I seem to see is a man whose outbursts are derived from a troubled past that we may not be aware of which now dictates the meanings that he assigns to his own realities. History seems to shape our speeches and this fact is evidence in all of us too. We should not lose sight of the fact that here is a man; a very much grounded person in the Iranian culture, its own evolvement and probably carrying unperceived scars. He could be a rogue but no one can deny that the man is an intellectual and through these outbursts of his, negative as they may be, he has continued to be the only strong voice through which the cultural Iran; the Iran that we do not know-fully has been talking back to the world. He is a former lecturer too and probably he enjoys thoroughly engaging our mind in continuous assessment tests and our throwing shoes at him turns us into simpletons in his eyes. Iran is not yet a write-off case in the light of changing attitudes of its growing generation made up of an increasing minority of people who are continually acquiring a global outlook plus our attaching too much importance to it. The president is about to go off stage and probably Iran will be a changed country after the exit of Guy Jad.

  20. May 15, 2009 at 16:08

    Because in their own self interests they are running their country like a prison, the people in their country are prisoners and the leaders in Burma are the jailers, whereby the same leaders have everything they need and its no matter if their people had little or nothing of their needs.
    As long as they can get away with their dictatorial way of life, why should they listen to protests from the outside world. It can be better discribed as ‘gangsterism politics’.

  21. 25 Andrew in Australia
    May 15, 2009 at 16:24

    Sadly it comes down to money. Burma has resource deals with powerful nations and they will not jeopardise those economic links, as such Burma, the Burmese people and the winner of the last truly democratic elections the – Suu Kyi come a far distant second to the dollar. Sri Lanka also does not have anything of worth, anything worth investing serious diplomacy or troops, etc to resolve that conflict otherwise there would have been movement decades ago.

  22. 26 Morf
    May 15, 2009 at 16:26

    I would have to say that ANY country can be deaf to world opinion – when it serves their interests.

    China, for example, loves to use the term “It is an internal affair” as justification for virtually any human rights abuses. The USA, on the other hand, at least under President George W. Bush, just presumed that everything it did had some sort of divine authority and therefore any of those who did not agree we not only enemies of the USA, but of history, democracy, freedom and, of course, God.

    I am convinced that “going it alone” whether out of paranoid isolationism (like North Korea) or super power arrogance (like the USA) is inherently self-destructive and violates the core premise of what it means to be Homo Sapien. After all, isn’t “civilization” the working definition of the best of what humans can do when we work together toward a common goal?

  23. 27 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    May 15, 2009 at 16:28

    The North Korean regime wants, and has, absolute power of its people; the regime appears to be demented, if crafty at bargaining. The Burmese generals are motivated by both power and greed, The Iranians believe that God is on their side Somalia has torn itself apart by tribalism, as has Afghanistan; now Pakistan is getting sucked into the mire.

    The populations of North Korea and Burma are held hostage by their governments. Unless disease or natural disaster causes governmental collapse, there doesn’t appear to be much the outside world can do. Because the Iranian regime really believes god sanctions its actions, it will go on with its murderous meddling in Lebanon, the Palestinian areas and elsewhere, and will do anything it can to destroy the state of Israel. As for Somalia, Afghanistan and, now, Pakistan, the only thing that will bring improvement is for the people themselves to change ancient attitudes, and that seems unlikely.

  24. 28 Anthony
    May 15, 2009 at 16:31

    Haha, YES. OK U.K., you and I went into the Middle East when everyone else was saying “No you big bullies!!!”. The funny thing is, when Russia went into Georgia, we we’re the worlds biggest hippocrates.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  25. 29 Michel Norman
    May 15, 2009 at 16:36

    To state that Israel does not care about world public opinion is completly wrong – we do care.

    The problem is that when world public opinion wants to sacrifice us on the the alter of political expediency and kowtowing to bullying and terrorism, to be a quite little Czhekoslavakia, and we think of the horrors of 2000 years when we did not have our country, then we actually put survival first.

    The current accepted wisdom is that it is Israeli intransigence that is preventing a two state solution, when in fact all that our “hard line” government is saying is that 2 states for 2 peoples means 1 each.

    We could have done nothing with Gaza, we could have fallen in line with public opinion and just had another couple of thousand rockets land on our schools, but sometimes a country has to defend itself even if that is not politically correct.

    Before casting aspersions such as this one, perhaps the BBC would like to compare British actions in the period 1940 – 1958 and stop calling the kettle black.

    • 30 pattii in cape coral
      May 15, 2009 at 17:34

      @ Michel – I wasn’t addressing whether Israel’s actions were right or wrong, just that the world’s opinion doesn’t affect their actions. I was also addressing the fact that the Israeli officials put on blinders when it came to investigating their own wrongdoing, then told the world that none was found. To be sure, you are fighting terrorists, but that is not an excuse to become one.

  26. May 15, 2009 at 16:36

    It is not that some countries are actually deaf to World opinion. The problem is that they just dont want to take lawful advise because they want to do just what they like, whether it is embraced by the world or not. Public opinoins some times weaken them of their cruel activities.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  27. 32 Tom K in Mpls
    May 15, 2009 at 16:36

    I agree that the question is narrow minded and biased. It basically asks ‘why don’t others believe as we do?’. Simply put there is no proof in belief/faith/opinion. To me it is a grand natural experiment in human nature. What is right is only momentary. So far, it would seem that Judaic philosophy is the most successful, but technology is challenging it strongly. Personally, I’m with technology.

    The best we can do is to do what we feel is right at the time. History will tell us what is right. Human nature may never change even when nature and our actions constantly changes how we live. There have always been rulers, pragmatists and idealists coming into power and I think it will always be that way.

  28. 33 deryck/trinidad
    May 15, 2009 at 17:10

    Many countries are deaf to world opinion simply because those countries leading the voice of world opinion have in their own right violated the same terms and conditions that the West seeks other countries to operate by. Why haven’t the Americans signed on to the International Criminal Court or placed themselves before the justice system for atrocities committed in Iraq,Afghanistan or countless countries?
    As far as I know there hasn’t been a great outcry of world opinion concerning Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Because many countries depend on the American economy for their very existence hence their is a conflict of interest and these countries remain silent for fear of being victimised.
    Another important factor in world opinion is the power of the media which is dominated by the Americans and the British. So it is no surprise that media of this type will be blind to atrocities committed by their own countries as well as their allies because that is human nature.

  29. 34 deryck/trinidad
    May 15, 2009 at 17:13

    Indeed people all over the world are suffering but the world judges must first get things right in their own countries before pointing fingers. If this is done they will have a greater power to influence other nations because of superior moral authority.

  30. 35 Michel Norman
    May 15, 2009 at 17:16

    Did Britain listen to public opinion when it invaded Iraq in search of weapons of mass deception? Did Britain listen to world opinion when it tested its nuclear weapons in the 50s on pacific atolls – did Britain listen to Polish public opinion at the end of WW2 when after declaring war over the invasion of Poland it then abandoned Poland to Soviet occupation. No, it followed its own national interests, and World public opinion is very much each nation expressing its own national interest and expecting other countries to fall in line even if that goes against their national interest. Too much “political correctness” here.

  31. May 15, 2009 at 17:21

    is it that opinion is disregarded or that the outward opinion doesnt fit into the context of the country?

  32. 37 Paris
    May 15, 2009 at 17:28

    Yes, some countries are definately deaf to world opinion; though I wouldnt count Iran amongst their number.

  33. 38 viola
    May 15, 2009 at 17:34

    I think countries only worry about world opinion if world opinion results in world action against them. Otherwise, their only interest is in the propaganda value and resulting material benefit to them that a positive world opinion of them provides.

    Canada

  34. 39 Freddie
    May 15, 2009 at 17:41

    The issue here is sovereignity, countries are believed to act in their nationals’ interests at all times (albeit some have have been tyrannical, including USA & UK). Deaf they are, they do litsen, but also take precedence to what the so-called west do in their areas of interest and influence. Take the case of USA in Afghanistan and Iraq, Last week US occupation forces bombed and killed ‘innocent women & children in north-east of Afghanstan. The USA at the UN has condemned the Sri Lanka army for killing Tamils in the current campaign.

    how then does one distinguish between being deaf and insolent?

  35. 40 Michel Norman
    May 15, 2009 at 17:42

    The point about the hypocracy with which some countries are treated is painfully obvious – China and Russia are exempt from Criticism – because they are so big and so powerful nobody wants to criticise them because of their size and importance – tough if you happen to be Tibetan or Georgian. The abuse of women in the moslem world is above discussion, the apalling chummying with the Sudanese Despot at the recent Arab League summit is above criticism, because the west wants the oil to flow. America is above criticism, because if Britain does not have the special relationship what does it have to say for itself?
    Taking Germany as an example public opinion was massively behind the Nazi party – did that make it anything other than the incarnation of Evil?

    • 41 Jim Newman
      May 18, 2009 at 19:11

      Hello again
      And hello Jim Newman. In principle I am for total freedom of speech and that means that if someone writes something and someone else disagrees then that person should have the right of reply. In that way one may arrive at some kind of understanding. However sometimes a debate is interupted by third persons who don’t really understand what it’s all about and jump to the wrong conclusions. These people, although well meaning, are a pain in the backside and the upshot of their meddling is deception all round.
      Anyway Jim I find solace in the old saying:’it’s not for us to wonder why, we are there to do and die’.
      Apart from that I agree with most of the things you say.
      Jim

    • 42 Jim Newman
      May 20, 2009 at 13:53

      Hello again
      And hello Michel Norman. Because of the strong pro- zionist bias of WHYS you will probably not get to read this. Any way here goes. You range at large through all the problems of the world except the one nearest you. That is the cruel occupation of Palestine by the zionist squatters. And in this context I would like to say to you. Don’t look for grains of sand in the eyes of others before you have removed the boulder from your own.
      The zionist squatters can thumb their nose at world opinion because they are protected and armed by the most powerful country in the world but that does not make zionism less criminal or less morally bankrupt.
      The zionists unashamedly use the holocaust to justify their cruelty against the Palestinian people but nazism was a holocaust for everone not least the soviets.
      The holocaust lasted for 12 years and the nakba has lasted for more than 60 years.
      In my opinion zionism has taken over from nazism as the incarnation of evil.
      Jim

  36. 43 Gabriel
    May 15, 2009 at 17:42

    I am sorry my previous commentary should refere to other show. I just thought that it was WHYS on air.

  37. 44 Deryck
    May 15, 2009 at 18:10

    Many countries are deaf to world opinion simply because those countries leading the voice of world opinion have in their own right violated the same terms and conditions that the West seeks other countries to operate by. Why haven’t the Americans signed on to the International Criminal Court or placed themselves before the justice system for atrocities committed in Iraq,Afghanistan or countless countries?
    As far as I know there hasn’t been a great outcry of world opinion concerning Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Because many countries depend on the American economy for their very existence hence their is a conflict of interest and these countries remain silent for fear of being victimised.
    Another important factor in world opinion is the power of the media which is dominated by the Americans and the British. So it is no surprise that media of this type will be blind to atrocities committed by their own countries as well as their allies because that is human nature.

  38. 45 Count Iblis
    May 15, 2009 at 18:13

    I agree with Morf. No country in the world would tolerate being overruled by another country regarding internal affairs. The issue with Burma and some other countries is their disrespect for human rights. So, the wrong question is asked.

  39. 46 Tom K in Mpls
    May 15, 2009 at 18:22

    Think of this. Should we run countries any differently than we run our personal lives? Do we want others to run our lives? Are you qualified to run the lives of others? If we could run others lives, should we? Are our values better than others? Is this enough basic philosophy to last you a lifetime?

  40. 47 Maame
    May 15, 2009 at 18:23

    I 100% agree with Deryck it is like he reahed out of my head and put my thoughts to paper

  41. 48 Cris in El Paso, Texas
    May 15, 2009 at 18:31

    I would say that most countries are deaf to international opinion when it is convenient to them. We see it in Western and non-Western countries. Right now, this disregard for world opinion is being led by the United States, just as much as any other country. The U.S. is even ignoring the international treaties it has signed, especially about torture. If the leading country in the world is engaging in this type of action, what example does that set?

  42. 49 A.J.
    May 15, 2009 at 18:32

    Of course some countries are deaf to world opinion. Many, many, many nations could not care less about what the rest of the world thinks. Until the latest presidential election, the United States could be put into that category as well. It is less about a countries opinion than it is the opinion of the GOVERNMENT of that country. Most often, the citizenry, especially when they are ashamed of their governments’ actions, care very deeply about what the rest of the world thinks of them. It is the Governments that have such disregard for world opinion, usually to the detrement of their populace. All governments will do whatever they can to forward their agenda. That’s why they run for office or overthrow governments to gain power. Power corrupts and to the powerful; opinions of others don’t matter at all.

  43. 50 sulayman Dauda
    May 15, 2009 at 18:39

    where superpowers are deaf to world opinion so also all other countries too. by looking at chronology of the fast events we can testify the fact that United State alone have undertaken severals defiant in relations to world opinion. for the Burmese, the question to ask was the woman given the right to romantic relationship, if No? certainly she cant cheat nature and thus, the government should make a departure from thinking something sinister. finaly it seems western government and the Medias seems biassed in the international coverage. they concentrate only to few countires they feel the government is not friendly to them. please if any one want to see defiances to world opinion, all sort of Human Right abuses curroptions and impunity measures please come to Nigeria.

  44. 51 Peter SC
    May 15, 2009 at 18:46

    Bao Tong the man behind the Zhoa Ziyang memoirs has no credibility when he published a memoirs transcribed from a deceased man recording. The poor soul will not be able to affirm or deny statements made . Unless Zhoa Ziyang wrote the memoirs , what is said may not be sourced from a lucid mind. He challenge anyone to deny statements made in the recording. The 1st challenge I can make to him is . The ring leaders of the TianAnnMen pro democracy movement were sponsored by the National Endowment for democracy ,

  45. 52 Peter SC
    May 15, 2009 at 18:48

    the National Endowment for democracy , is technically CIA .

  46. 53 Ubani, Nigeria
    May 15, 2009 at 18:48

    Popular opinions today is muted by sound of the guns, most countries understand this and prefer to champion their interests and the interests of their leaders at the expense of the popular world opinion. The countries with security council veto is morally obliged to lead the way in respecting world opinion. Might will always be right in this world as long some countries and individuals defy popular opinions and sometimes international laws without repraisals

  47. 54 Dayna
    May 15, 2009 at 18:51

    I think countries that are perceived as not caring about world opinion actually care very much. They do not want to be seen as weak and following what others want, so they seem to be going their own way. Yet they are really showing how much they care about world opinion…they want to be viewed as powerful and decisive.

  48. 55 Cris in El Paso, Texas
    May 15, 2009 at 18:54

    Seems like this is really a question about accountability. Bush hasn’t been held accountable, neither has Burma, Sri Lanka, Israel, Britain, and so on. From time to time, the international community can bring very disagreeable characters to account for their actions, but for the most part, most leaders get away with their actions. So if there is no accountability, why listen to international opinion?

  49. 56 Roy, Washington DC
    May 15, 2009 at 19:04

    Minor clarification to my earlier post — I wasn’t trying to equate Bush with Kim Jong Il. Neither seems to care much about world opinion, but of course the Kim regime is far worse on human rights.

    • 57 Tom K in Mpls
      May 15, 2009 at 19:45

      Don’t be so sure. Bush didn’t have as much time. Plus, Bush had to hide much of what he was doing. We have the poorly named “Patriot Act’ and the secret prisons engaged in torture. If he would have had more time, I believe we would have seen much more.

  50. 58 Jiyoung Song
    May 15, 2009 at 19:36

    Yes, all countries do care about world opinion including countries like North Korea. North Korea is indeed highly sensitive to what the international community says about it. Let me give you a couple of examples.

    First, quite badly, when the former US President Bush named North Korea as one of the exis of evil, the North Korean government declared that it possessed nuclear weaponary capacities, becoming even more evil than before.

    Second, when the international human rights community accused the authority as having the worst human rights records and of being the most notorious dictatorial state, the North Korean government amended its constitution and the criminal law, and enacted new laws in accordance with intenraitonal standards. It introduced limited market reforms to gain personal property, agreed to hold humanitarian family reunions between South Korea and North Korea, allowed some of the UN officials to visit the country, and accepted international humanitarian assistance. The regime wanted to show its concerns about its people’s material well-beings and willingness to coopearte with the international society.

    Third, when there was growing international speculation that Kim Jong Il was seriously ill, the regime released a series of photos of healthy Kim Jong Il in order to show that he’s well enough to run the country for the next coming years.

    North Korea do listen to what others say in the six party talks or the foreign media, and is indeed highly sensitive, dictated by world opinion.

  51. 59 Banky
    May 15, 2009 at 21:06

    Its still going to be a long, slow, creep to the point where there is substantial agreement on how much, and what quality, ‘free speech’
    will be allowed intranationally and internationally. Nations are at different levels of development due to historical realities, and so some which are now leading champions of free speech reached such a desirable state by using force of arms to brutally supress free speech and indeed supress all human rights for segments of their populations[ such as for e.g. blacks imported from Africa for forced labour] for long periods of time.
    Media entities are beholden to owners, sponsors and advertisers, funding agencies and government-provided funding, and must ,most often, report with an eye to these benefactors. In the current impasse concerning Lee and Ling , I am of the feeling that the North Koreans are going to hold to a tougher line than the Iranians did with Saberi. These women may actually do hard labour time before the North may be sufficiently mollified to release them, in exchange for benefits. The desperation of the N/Korean regime is well known, so i cannot understand why two defenseless females sought to become world-famous by capturing ‘breaking news’ along such a dangerous border, between two hardline communist countries . Now a nice witch’s brew of international political frenzy is in the offing. But perhaps that is what they wanted. Memoirs can be worth a lot these days.

  52. 60 Jack Hughes
    May 16, 2009 at 01:59

    Maybe world opinion does not exist outside the 4th floor at Broadcasting House.

  53. 61 Des Currie
    May 16, 2009 at 07:13

    Opinion is not an unconsidered and random option. It all has a to come from somewhere, some individual has to voice his opinion. Countries are not guilty. Only the people are.
    Des Currie

  54. 62 Joe Polly
    May 16, 2009 at 11:08

    No, they just need a hearing aid inserted.

  55. May 16, 2009 at 12:05

    Is our “world opinion”, even that coming from the UN, as neutral as we think it is? Governments may choose to disregard “world opinion” on the argument that actions recommended are not in line with or even completely against their interests.

    Even if global opinion were impartial, would governments listen? It would be both domestically and internationally humiliating on any government to admit that the global community was right and they, wrong.

    But these reasons shouldn’t stop the international community from caring. The global community is concerned on issues of global proportions – human rights, freedom etc. etc. Problem is – what’s “right” and “wrong” differ among regions, countries, and even individuals.

  56. 64 globalcomedy
    May 17, 2009 at 05:20

    Yes. One example (depsite Obama’s election), the States.

    It seems almost comical that other countries go after war criminals. We deport a Nazi war criminal back to be tried. But when it comes to prosecuting war cirminals here, nobody can be bothered. And apparently the politicians couldn’t care less. Including Obama.

  57. May 17, 2009 at 07:59

    Looking back on the history of the past half century or so, as what is referred to as “world opinion” in the wake of the evolution of communication facilities gradually took shape internationally it is clear that those nations which had decided to take some action which were deemed improper and were criticized or condemned by the others in the name of their virtue and which had the economic and or military power to go ahead with their project virtually never payed attention to any opinion or even warnings given by the condemners under the name of the UN or otherwise.
    Exceptions can be counted among small, vulnerable or isolated nations, always after years of the so called sanctions applied when the did not do too much damage to the authors whilst being the preferred field of action of the so called “sanction busters” , mercenaries etc.
    Let’s hope Mrs AUNG SAN SUU KYI does not suffer the fate of Mr NAGY in Europe some sixty years ago. Who remembers him?

  58. 66 Phillip Kihumuro
    May 17, 2009 at 15:24

    Please, let’s not implicate some countries and leave others. What every one wants is to be “the only bull in the kraal” especially in their regions. FOr instance Uganda wants to be a bull in the Great Lakes Region which is quite dangerous( cases of Rukwanzi ISland, wars in Congo and now recently, Migingo Island saga). I think its true that some countries ignore international pressure even when they know that they are in the wrong!!

  59. 67 Samikshya
    May 18, 2009 at 09:28

    The world is getting is very narrow because of the internet, radio and television facilities. We are utilizing these facilities at most and majority of the people lack these facilities. We watch the political activities and talk about human rights every day and everytime. We do have human right activists more than thousands in each country. But I want to ask to UN and other activists what are you doing when Suki was arrested and put under house arrest? So speak as you do or speak what only you can do?

  60. 68 Bob
    May 18, 2009 at 13:04

    It’s not just Burma, North Korea, Iran, or Sri Lanka. One can add the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel to the list. It’s often all about circumstances, internal and external, and the corresponding impression of a threat to national security. Ultimately, the decision to listen to a global community first begins with the resolve not to be scared of the rest of the world.

  61. 69 Dennis Junior
    May 18, 2009 at 15:57

    Yes, some countries are deaf to the wishes of the international community and the opinions…But, I think that there are many other countries that should be mentioned to the list.

    ~Dennis Junior~

  62. 70 Michel Norman
    May 18, 2009 at 17:28

    The Sri-lankan government ignored world opinion, did what needed to be done and now looks to ahve purged itself of the terrorist attacks that have plagued it for decades. We listened to public opinion and halted our attack on Hammas, the result is a disaster for the Palestinians and for us who are now condemned to decades more of terorism and counter terrorism – still world public opinion must be right!!

  63. 71 Jim
    May 22, 2009 at 05:20

    I may be too late to be noticed on this issue, but I think it is all too easy to criticize countries such as China, North Korea, Myanmar, and Iran for being deaf to world opinion. What about The US and UK for invading a sovereign nation – Iraq – against the clearly stated wishes of world opinion as represented by the UN? It was done under the pretense of eliminatiing terrorism in the wake of the 911 attacks – in which Iraq had no part at all! I do have to agree that Sadam was a nasty man, but if you want to make a list of the world’s nastiest men I’m not sure he would have made the top 10. And more people have died in Iraq since the “liberation” than were ever killed by Sadam, in addition to which the “terrorists” have been given more oxygen than they could have hoped for. Right or wrong Iran was a strong secular state acting as a buffer between Iran and the west. Now it is irrevocably on it’s way to being an extremist Islamic state. I was so ashamed – I am an ex-pat Brit – that I cut up my British passport and mailed it off to the embassy.

  64. 72 T
    May 25, 2009 at 02:42

    Yes. One example: the States is deaf to world and local opinion. Example: Obama refuses to release more torture photos. The public can see these online from intl. sources.

    Why the refusal when the rest of the world sees these? Because of “national security”? Since the rest of the world can see these, that’s a bit daft, isn’t it? Or maybe it’s because Obama doesn’t think we’re mature enough to handle it?


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