On Thursday, July 7, 2011, Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, will hold a conversation with podcasts on iTunes. Comments Comments P. F. | District Of Columbia, USA July 1, 2011 P. Winston in Washington, D.C. writes: I and many other Americans are truly distressed at the situation in Bahrain. The moral issue seems clear, but my question is whether the relative inaction of the U.S. is actually undermining our interests. Wouldn't strong action against the crackdown earn legitimacy for America in MEMA? service65 July 1, 2011 W.W. writes: Presidential project will take 8 years from now if presidential workers won't act now to achieve targets and goals. A serious and voters committed administration act and lead toward voters expectation for the future. There are a lot of people generating Idea and vision but still few of them pursuing and produce em into reality even when dreams got approved. Say no to NGO'S around the globe but say yes to an American corn field in Libya cost76 July 1, 2011 W.W. writes: Ant-theory:The future starts today, not tomorrow.As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live. Investing in Today's Investing in Human Evolution. What is happening it is not Human Evolution. Peter W. | Virginia, USA July 1, 2011 Peter in Virginia writes: How do you explain to foreign audiences how the growing gap between the haves and have-nots in the United States impacts the democratic process? Eric | New Mexico, USA July 1, 2011 Eric in New Mexico writes: @Maria Otero, Let's see,...how about we start with the definition of "Open", and how that might relate to "interactive" when referring to government in this concept you've rolled out for folks seeking "accountability". And more importantly, how does this address the percieved "closed" dysfuntionality of the status quo that was apparently by inference of logic; State's "onus" for introducing the concept in the first place? Thanks, EJ J.E.Quashie | District Of Columbia, USA July 1, 2011 J.E. in Washington, D.C. writes: The cos (per person )to apply for an appointment, (which is paid to the bank prior to securing the appointment)seeking a visa in Trinidad & Tobago from the America Consulate is between $600.00 - $1,000.00 TT$'s. The revenue generaed from "want to be visitors to the U.S", what are these funds used for? If a person was not successful in securing/obtaining a vias, why isn't there a full refund or a partial refund given to the applicant? mansoor | Pakistan July 1, 2011 Mansoor in Pakistan writes: My only message is why america is leaving afganistan, because osama bin laden is no more....? i dont think so America will leave sub continant, because she thinks its not in its favour, but if could infilter in pakistan directly or indirectly John | Canada July 4, 2011 John in Canada writes: The foreign affairs of every nation will be only as strong as that nation is domestically. With the extreme challenges that the United States is facing at the moment with debt and all the negative dominoes that follow such a debt situation. How long do you think the United States will be able to continue contributing to worthy causes? Do you foresee a declining role for America in the world because of this? How can this be addressed? Some nations notably China are making the right kind of noise about succeeding in their future challenges, a noise that seems to be missing from most western nations including America. Do you think that nations like china or Russia that have changed in many ways are in a better or more robust position than America and other western nations at least in terms of being able to adapt to future changes? After all they have had to adapt and are really somewhat of a hybrid of their former selves in a manner of speaking. (Far from perfect) Something the west has not really achieved or acknowledged at this time as even being needed. The change necessary for future successes seems not to be on the radar, the pathways for long term prosperity are just not there; I wonder if the United States has what it takes to innovate in the ways necessary? After all if success is not happening on the home front, is it realistic to believe success can be achieved outside of American borders? While America has values (timeless) that are immensely important and should never be changed some beliefs that are held or enshrined in the declaration of independence and such for example, were written in a different time period. Today we operate in many ways in a fashion that would be alien to your founding fathers and most certainly beyond the scope of their vision at the time of their important writings. Do you think that in some way America is trying to apply old concepts that do not fit with today’s world? Do you think that this may hamper American progress both at home and abroad? If so do you think that America can or could ever move beyond this while at the same time remaining strong at home and abroad? now77 July 5, 2011 W.W. writes: On politics and art, religion and science, justice and medicine, virtue and vice, crime and punishment, pleasure and pain, rhetoric and rhapsody, human nature and sexuality, love and wisdom...Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophise, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils,... nor, I think, will the human race... Freedom Promoter NGo's cost34 July 5, 2011 W.W. writes: as a Leader of an hypothetical NgO called Freedom Promoter International Headquartered In Switzerland and Financed from ???????? Shall I support the freedom Flottilla or Shalit cause of freedom? Shall organize the American cup in Gaza gulf or shall arrange and Hire a navy seal operation in order to free shalit? Emma | District Of Columbia, USA July 5, 2011 Emma in Washington, D.C. writes: Of the areas in which governments are encouraged to make commitments as part of OGP, about half concern the environment (extractive industries, environmental access, energy, forests, fisheries etc). Citizen engagement, transparency and accountability is embodied in principle 10 of the Rio Declaration (1992). In your mind, what is the significance of environmental access rights commitments and their relevance to Rio+20 scheduled to happen in Brazil next year? For example, do you envisage that OGP governments will push for language in the Rio+20 outcome moving from access principles to rights or at least concrete government commitments? Stanwood N. | North Carolina, USA July 5, 2011 Stanwood in North Carolina writes: Navi Pillay is â€œdeeply troubled by reports of use of live fire by Israeli security forces against civilians protesting along the ceasefire line between the occupied Golan Heights and Syria on 5 June,â€.... â€œBetween 30 and 40 protestors have reportedly been killed by Israeli security forces in the past three weeks,â€ she said. Question- After the above and after what has happened this week to the Freedom Flotilla #2, why is Israel not considered a pariah state? Flavio O. | Brazil July 5, 2011 Flavio O. in Brazil writes: Corruption is the major cause of underdevelopment and lack of access to basic resources. How the US is contributing to fight corruption and how this policy is being implemented? Austin | Iowa, USA July 6, 2011 Austin in Iowa writes: Throughout the course of our history, the US has been rather loathe to share information or responsibility with other governments, due to our notion of our own exceptionalism. In your opinion, are we finally getting to a place where the US is simply one of a panoply of powerful developed nations, or will we continue to push the notion of a US (or other nation) "superpower" above all others? Toby M. | District Of Columbia, USA July 7, 2011 Toby M. in Washington writes: Please explain what will happen after transparency commitments are made. Will there be reports on progresss, etc? Reynaldo M. | Mexico July 7, 2011 Reynaldo in Mexico writes: Dear Maria Otero and Warren Krafchik respectfully ask you to allow me to refer briefly to some background. To be truly open government, I propose "The Preventive Fighting corruption in Mexico from the municipalities, as an imperative reason of state." Since 1985 I promote these ideas and in March 1982 coincided with Rocio Campos in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, the Global Forum, where I discussed this proposal and I am fighting for is worth it to improve democracy and accountability in Mexico, from the municipalities. The opportunity I had to work at the Interior Ministry for seven years from 1995 to 2001, allowed me to strengthen my conviction that in Mexico regardless of partisan stands, we all need to overcome the great national problems. The experience gained in the General Government, initially as an adviser and later as Director of Policy Analysis and Forecasting, reaffirmed an investigation that took me over 15 years on the municipal building to promote transparency in the source and destination resources from public municipalities to consolidate democratic governance. One result of this work, a draft decree to amend Article 115 of the Constitution (Annex copy) by which, I propose creating the Councils Citizens Coalition, to fight corruption proactively, through Citizen Participation properly bounded, Transparency and Accountability in Public of the three orders of government from the municipalities. I have traveled different paths and presented at various national and international forums my book and my proposal, my effort to advance the proposed constitutional reform is strong and I feel confident to ask you respectfully, you know this proposal and encourage discussion and possible approval , which would be a structural reform to strengthen the democratic and transparent system of government, the relationship between society and government shared responsibility, regardless of party acronyms. I put my ratings following consideration: 1. In the international context there is a greater demand for business partners and government financial and political bodies like the IMF and World Bank, IDB, OAS and others, more transparent economic and political processes in our country and unfortunately we must recognize the longstanding lack transparency, the delay in rendicÃ³n accounts and the failure of current federal government in this matter. 2. To combat extreme poverty and misery in which millions of Mexicans are, must be assumed as imperative reasons of state: The Preventive Combat Corruption in Mexico from the municipalities. 3. The transparent use in source and target public resources, should boost growth in the domestic market, the political economic, social and human Mexicans, from the municipal structure to generate wealth by taking advantage of the potential of people and achieve an equitable distribution of national income. Consequently, having a better chance to compete in globalization. 4. It is undeniable that the face of enormous subejercicios federal spending, the scandals of corruption in different political parties, the Federal District government, several states and the largest number of municipalities, fully justified the urgency of both society and the government, we must boost structural reform to mandate transparency in the public service of three orders of government, from municipalities. 5. We must take firm steps to prevent discouragement and disappointment of millions of Mexicans, resulting in choices that lead to violence, and in different historical and recent times has been demonstrated. 6. To promote this initiative would help build consensus among the society and the Government and the legislature to achieve structural reforms benfician throughout the country and give legal certainty and transparency in public service for investors, officials and citizens . . Assess and accept my offer to you to be promoters of these ideas, in exchange for my contribution respectfully ask you to respect me recognition of my authorship, which is registered with the Copyright, as part of my book: Transparency in the source and destination of public funds from the municipalities to consolidate democratic governance. Luciana Publishing, September 2001. Could be promoted in different forum and a national survey in Mexico with only one question you agree to go ahead with the comabte Preventive Corruption in Mexico as an imperative reason of state? To the socidad validate or reject an effective preventive control against the corruption, from municpios to promote the development of our Mexico. Awaiting your kind reply, I send a cordial greeting. Reynaldo Castro Melgarejo EscucharLeer fonÃ©ticamente Emmanuel W. | South Sudan July 7, 2011 Emmanuel in South Sudan writes: A new nation is born in Africa "The Republic of South Sudan',it is being born in an environment full with high level of corruption the government machinery and institutions.Transparency is very low and accountability institution do not have the capacity to bring those involved in corruptions to books,civil society are occupied by sympathizers of the ruling party.My question is will USA ensure that all the funds being directed to this new nation do not fall into the hands of this corrupt government? How will the USA ensure that the fund reaches the grass roots(the poor) to alleviate poverty which is deeply rooted all over.