Mr. Obama, speak up for human rights in China

Posted by osurce, 19th January 2011

Barack Obama and Hu JintaoYang Jianli
1/19/2011

The author makes an appeal to President Obama to consider human rights and the democratization of China when he meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao this week. He suggests that President Obama politely but pointedly ask President Hu about his father’s denunciation by the Communist Party and draw the parallel between Hu’s father and political prisoners like Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Obama could ask why Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo, remains under house arrest without being accused of any crime (Chinese law makes no provision for imprisonment without cause). Obama could then press Hu toward a more democratic approach to government, which would be in the best interest of the United States, China, and “all humanity,” says Yang Jianli. While the writer understands the potential awkwardness of such an encounter between Obama and Hu, he also recognizes the opportunity.

The writer is president of Initiatives for China and a Harvard fellow. He served a five-year prison term in China, from 2002 to 2007, for attempting to observe labor unrest. He is the liaison to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee on behalf of Liu Xia, the wife of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is serving 11 years in prison for his writings.

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When Congress Was Armed And Dangerous

Posted by osurce, 13th January 2011

CongressJoanne B. Freeman
1/12/2011

From the 1830s-1850s, members of Congress wore weapons on the House and Senate floor and often used them, Freeman says. She looks at the history of violence in Washington, including an incident when Senator Henry Foote of Mississippi pulled a pistol on Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri during a debate. Things began to change after the invention of the telegraph, which promised instant publicity of these deeds. Now politicians are considering carrying weapons again to protect themselves against the public. Freeman says we are reminded that words matter and communication should be fruitful and civil.

Freeman, a professor of history at Yale, is at work on a book about violence in Congress.

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Climate of Hate

Posted by osurce, 10th January 2011

Gabrielle GiffordsPaul Krugman
1/10/2011

Krugman says he is not surprised by the Arizona shooting. He cites an upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing, the frenzied crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, and a Department of Homeland Security internal report in April 2009 that warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence. The calls for violence in political rhetoric has contributed to this, and this act should not be treated as an isolated event. Decent people should shun those that are purveyors of hate, and it is up to GOP leaders to accept the reality of what’s happening and take a stand against eliminationist rhetoric, otherwise this is just the beginning of the violence.

Krugman is a New York Times columnist.

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General Petraeus’s Surge Map

Posted by osurce, 22nd December 2010

General PetraeusMatthew Kaminski
12/22/2010

The surge in Afghanistan is a wager that we can make the country a less violent and more stable base for America. Kaminski notes that America’s forces aren’t leaving anytime soon and probably not in this lifetime. Where the US military has gone in robustly, the Taliban has folded. The Afghan government’s shortcomings feed the insurgency. President Karzai squandered nine years, but the Taliban is hated. Only a tenth of Afghans tell pollsters they prefer them, and their sympathy is often as much practical as ideological. Afghans want the state to protect and serve them. In the many places it fails, the Taliban steps into the gap. Kaminski argues that giving up prematurely on our Afghan surge could make the fantasy of failure real.

Kaminski is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

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Bring ROTC back to elite campuses

Posted by elvira, 22nd December 2010

ROTCEliot A. Cohen
12/22/2010

During Vietnam, a number of elite universities removed ROTC programs from their campuses, citing the military’s stance on homosexuals as their excuse. Now, however, the social, political, and military climate is different, and there is support among both political parties to bring ROTC back. However, academia (traditionally liberal) and the military (traditionally conservative) have been at odds for many years, and bringing them together is not without difficulties. But these differences, says Cohen, are all the more reason to mingle the two groups. Students at elite universities are intelligent and hardworking, and as America’s future businessmen and women, they “should share the burden of national defense.”

The writer teaches at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and received his commission through Army ROTC.

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In Belarus, a slide toward Eastern aggression

Posted by osurce, 21st December 2010

LukashenkoAnne Applebaum
12/21/2010

In Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko was “elected” to a fourth term as president after a violent crackdown by his regime. The violence, says Applebaum, was evidence of Lukashenko’s weakness. Truly popular leaders do not need to resort to bloodshed and beatings to intimidate their opponents and shut down communication. Lukashenko rejected a deal with the European Union that involved Belarus receiving, among other things, more open borders in exchange for free elections. He did, however, sign an oil deal with Moscow. This represents the decline of the West. The United States and Europe are “out of money and out of ideas” and can not offer any “carrots” as attractive as Russian oil.

Applebaum is a weekly columnist for The Post, writing on foreign affairs.

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Obama and the Pakistan Dilemma

Posted by osurce, 16th December 2010

Pakistani FlagMatthew Kaminski
12/16/2010

Pakistan is becoming more like Afghanistan, only with a more advanced economy and nuclear weapons, writes Kaminski. The idea that Islamabad’s leaders can control the Taliban is probably a necessary fiction, but the reality is that many extremists have slipped their leash. Pakistan’s military has yet to show that it wants to–or that it can–control the Islamist wave. Gen. David Petraeus, the American commander in Afghanistan, certainly has contingency plans for Pakistan that go beyond extra doses of drones or diplomacy. Putting American boots in Waziristan is an obvious idea. But, Kaminski concludes, this is unappealing, as the fallout in Pakistan would be hard to predict. So for the moment America gets to pretend that Pakistan can do this on its own.

Kaminski is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

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Drawing a Line in the Water

Posted by osurce, 13th December 2010

Lee Myung-bakSelig S. Harrison and John H. Cushman
12/13/2010

The North Korean shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island was just the latest act in a long series of naval clashes between the two Koreas resulting from a dispute over the Yellow Sea boundary imposed by the United Nations forces. The authors say to end the dispute the United States should redraw the sea boundary, called the Northern Limit Line, moving it slightly to the south. They show how President Obama has this authority as a result of a 1950 United Nations Security Council resolution. This would help defuse tensions and keep the peace and can help lead to the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and establishing diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Harrison, the author of “Korean Endgame,” is the director of the Asia program at the Center for International Policy. Cushman, a retired Army lieutenant general, commanded the United States-South Korean First Corps Group from 1976 to 1978.

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A case for trying pirates before a U.N. tribunal

Posted by osurce, 9th December 2010

piratesDavid B. Rivkin Jr. and Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky
12/9/2010

International law classifies pirates as “enemies” of all mankind, but developed countries have been reticent to try and convict pirates, choosing instead to funnel suspects to Kenya for legal action. But the Kenyan government is running out of funding for the large number of prosecutions, and the international community needs to develop a comprehensive framework for dealing with piracy. The authors suggest an international tribunal by the United Nations as a long-term solution, and they believe that Washington should be a legal and military leader in the effort to secure the freedom of the seas.

Rivkin, a Washington lawyer, served in the Justice Department and the White House counsel’s office in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. Ramos-Mrosovsky is a New York-based attorney whose practice focuses on international and federal litigation.

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