Behind the Scenes Look Into International Politics

There two interesting things I have seen and read with regard to international UN level conferences.

The first one was a documentary called The Island President. It’s about how the former president of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed, tried to make politicians of other states aware of the consequences of global warming, which in the case of the Maldives is quite dramatic. So it follows Mohammed Nasheed and his delegation meeting several foreign country representatives in preparation for and during the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The second one is about a totally different topic: telecommunications and internet policy. ArsTechnica had an interesting piece about the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) 2012 in Dubai titled Behind closed doors at the UN’s attempted “takeover of the Internet”. It follows recounts of Eli Dourado as part of the US delegation participating in committee discussions drafting documents for regulating international telecommunications (and trying to get hold of the internet 😛 ).

Its interesting to see how politicians interact on the highest level. A common theme is the importance of choosing the right “words” both in negotiations and in drafting treaties/documents. Also interesting were where the front lines are and how the process of aligning interests, building alliances and persuasion works. From two very different standpoints, on two very different issues.

A note on the Maldives:
Being the lowest-lying country (1.5m above sea level, at the moment 😉 ) on the planet, it will be submerged under water within our lifetime with the current goal of limiting global warming to 2° at the end of the century (which looks like we we won’t be able to meet 🙁 ). Making its inhabitants the first nation of ecological refugees. 🙁

Update: ArsTechnica took a look at the IPCC’s climate predictions back from the 1990s … seems like they were mostly right with predicting the temperature rise and a little (too) conservative with the sea level rise.

Wir haben Dinge gesehen, …

Trotz all ihrer Schwächen hat diese neue Generation mehr als alle anderen vor ihr ein tiefes, inneres Bewusstsein davon, was ihr bevorsteht. Sie ist bombardiert worden mit den lautesten, größten, gleißendsten, stärksten, leckersten, übelsten, besten und schlimmsten Angeboten des Marktes. Und trotz all diesen Konsumlärms, oder vielleicht gerade deswegen, ist diese Generation am empfänglichsten für die sanften, natürlichen, wahren Qualitäten des Lebens. Ihre Imaginationskraft ist atemberaubend kreativ, denn ihnen sind extreme Formen des “edutainment” aufgetischt worden, die weit über das Vorstellungsvermögen ihrer Vorgänger hinausreichen. Ihre Fähigkeit, Vielfalt zu tolerieren, ist enorm und für immer mehr von ihnen ist diese Mannigfaltigkeit der Erfahrungen etwas, wonach sie suchen, statt sie zu bekämpfen.

Joe Firmage über die nach 1980 geborenen – aus Telepolis: Die Geldelite verselbständigt sich

“You’re not anonymous. I know your name, email, and company.”

This is how Websites know your name, email and company even if you didn’t submit any information and weren’t logged in through social media.

The analogy at the end is the point:

A real-world analogue would be this scenario: You drive to Home Depot and walk in.  Closed-circuit cameras match your face against a database of every shopper that has used a credit card at Walmart or Target and identifies you by name, address, and phone.  If you happen to walk out the front door without buying anything your phone buzzes with a text message from Home Depot offering you a 10% discount good for the next hour.