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Global Viewpoint

The international community must intervene – in Japan

Just as the international community had to come together to stem the financial meltdown from contaminating the entire world economy or prevent massacre in Libya, it must now intervene in Japan to prevent radiation from poisoning the planet.

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Now, in order not to admit that they covered up the truth to the outside world they have endangered, these same officials are refusing the cooperation of foreign experts.

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Why isn't the international community involved?

On the other hand, it is bewildering that the “international community,” which is so quick to intervene at the slightest violation of human rights, remains, in this case, totally complacent. When the facts were finally known in the subprime mortgage crisis, coordinated action was swift on a global scale.

In this case, Japanese officials are merely asked in their own polite etiquette what the real facts are. No one insists when they refuse outside help in order not to spread panic, and to salvage their costly investment.

All of this is absurd. The nuclear industry as a whole, like global financial markets, cannot possibly be saved if the disaster is not brought under control quickly. The recent German elections that turned on that country’s nuclear exposure only foreshadowed the reaction to come across the globe.

World has a responsibility to protect people

There is thus an urgent need to establish a global consortium of nations and experts with the competence to intervene to stem the damage. Our Japanese friends must accept such intervention as quickly as possible without feeling offended or humiliated by our insistence. Confidence can only be restored when the real facts are known through an objective “stress test.”

As this consortium is assembled, the international community should not wait to send in planes, helicopters, fire hoses, robots, drones and cement mixers to contain the disaster before a total meltdown takes place.

To draw on another analogy in today’s news, the world has the “responsibility to intervene” when a sovereign nation cannot or will not protect its own people and when the danger extends beyond borders.

Jacques Attali, the founding president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is president of PlaNet Finance.

© 2011 Global Viewpoint Network/Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.

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