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The responsibility to protect comes of age

By Gareth Evans NEW YORK: Good news not only sells less well than bad news, but also often seems harder to believe. Reaction to Harvard psychologist Stephen Pinker’s majestic new book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature”, is a case in point. In 800 meticulously argued and documented pages, Pinker shows that, over the course of …

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Israel and America on the wrong side of history

By Gareth Evans MELBOURNE: Shortly before Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination by a right-wing Jewish extremist in November 1995, I met him in Tel Aviv. I was visiting Israel as Australia’s foreign minister to argue the case for rapid implementation of the Oslo peace accords — all the way through to negotiated acceptance of Palestinian …

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Taming bigotry

By Gareth Evans MELBOURNE: At a time when the horrific events in Norway remind us how much murderous bigotry there still is in the world, perhaps a story from the other side of it can restore a little optimism that some positive, historically significant, changes in attitude really are occurring. Last month in Australia, a major-league …

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Too Much Information

By Gareth Evans CANBERRA: As a British court weighs whether Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden, and American prosecutors weigh the criminal charges they will file against Private Bradley Manning, the alleged major source for the disclosures by Assange’s WikiLeaks, global debate continues on whether such revelations do more good than harm. But, too often, …

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Bombs away

By Gareth Evans LONDON: One of the most dispiriting features of today’s international debates is that the threat to humanity posed by the world’s 23,000 nuclear weapons — and by those who would build more of them, or be only too willing to use them — has been consigned to the margin of politics. US President …

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Hypocrisy and war

By Gareth Evans MELBOURNE: All the world hates a hypocrite. When states preach virtues they do not practice, or set lower hurdles for allies, trading partners, or co-religionists than they do for others, irritation and non-cooperation are the least they can expect. International policymaking is a hardheaded, cynical business, but tolerance for double standards has its …

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Stick to the resolution

By Gareth Evans MELBOURNE: The international military intervention in Libya is not about bombing for democracy or for Col. Muammar El-Qaddafi’s head — let alone keeping oil prices down or profits up. Legally, morally, politically, and militarily, it has only one justification: protecting Libyans from the kind of murderous harm that Qaddafi inflicted on unarmed protestors …

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