TED Conversations

Lindsay Newland Bowker


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What are the limits of sovereignty? Are we clear on international norms?

Present debate on what to do about Syrias use of chemical weapons on rebels/government opponents takes us back to the broader issue of the limits of sovereignty. It seems apparent that we don't have shared global values on a country's interior use of chemical weapons or what to do about it even though this ostensibly has been a matter of global consensus since the end of World War II. .What action is justified and is it ok for anyone nation to act alone without a global consensus on the basis of "protecting its national interests"?

(I will add links to several TED convesrations we have had in the past on global values and global governance)


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  • Sep 11 2013: Lindsay Newland Bowker
    Jumping to conclusions, by assigning guilt to the Syrian Government is a bit of a stretch.

    The alleged use of chemical weapons upon the innocent men, women and wee children of Syria,
    by party's unknown, would seem to be more truthful a statement to base your debate upon..
    The United States Government has a rich history of Lying to Start WARS.
    Most of us are aware of the bogus CIA intelligence that led to Colin Powell's
    persuasive false statements at the United Nations, resulting in WAR with Iraq.

    The week before Obama's "Call to Arms" against Syria, he'd already began to
    move his Navy Destroyers into place, and shifted his Aircraft Carrier fleet to assist.
    With 200 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles at hand, he had his own Weapons of Mass
    Destruction to threaten Syria.

    Obama shot himself in the foot.
    He went on national TV to advise the American people of his plans to punish the
    Syria's government, and said plainly that he didn't need the Congress's approval
    to make a "limited strike upon Syrian soil.

    In Politics, like everything else. "Timing is critical".
    Obama had recently been a guest on the Jay Leno TV show. Jay asked him
    a tricky question about the NSA spy-surveillances of Americans. He lied
    when he said that the NSA did not do such things. A simple statement,
    that would then haunt him. Like Richard Nixon, he stuck his foot in his mouth.

    Most Democrats and Republicans had heard about it.
    Now when it mattered most, Obama's credibility was called into question.
    The Directors of DNI, NSA, and DHS had not been truthful themselves with
    the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
    More "inaccurate statements were surfacing. And, at the wrong time.

    Big mistake.
    Does anyone else wonder why the congress doesn't jail those who lie under Oath.
    I must just be blood-thirsty.
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      Sep 12 2013: Hi frank

      I think if you read the whole conversation you'll see we are all pretty much in agreement with what you have said here.

      No question I bring to TED contains my version of what I think the answer is. Those kinds of questions never lead anywhere fruitful.

      My question was an open one more prompted by than about Syria alone and all who have contributed here have evolved the exploration to places well beyond anything institutions will reach right now. It has been very fruitful and many many wonderful insightful comments and respectful exchanges..

      I thank you for being part of that process too .
      • Sep 12 2013: Thank you Lindsay.
        I'm falling asleep, will respond afterwards. lol

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