Everything starts with repeal

Posted by osurce, 21st January 2011

Obama HealthcareCharles Krauthammer
1/21/2011

As HR 2 (Republican health-care repeal) comes up for debate, Democrats are touting a “$230 billion deficit reduction” as a selling point for Obamacare, when in fact the “reduction” is merely a mathematical difference between a massive increase in spending and a bigger increase in taxes. A similarly elusive “surplus” is also supposed to be created as entitlement to long-term care (CLASS Act) is achieved by paying for benefits now that won’t kick in for a decade. Krauthammer encourages Republicans to expose the “flimflammery” upon which the health-care bill was built and to explain the phony numbers or have the Congressional Budget Office director explain them. The “insanely complicated” and deceptive health-care bill is beyond reform; it must be repealed, concludes Krauthammer, and only then can Republicans present their own plan.

Krauthammer is a weekly columnist for The Post, writing on foreign and domestic policy and politics.

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Hu Jintao meets the free press

Posted by osurce, 20th January 2011

Hu JintaoDana Milbank
1/20/2011

American reporters had a unique opportunity on Wednesday to question Chinese President Hu Jintao directly on his country’s human rights record. The very first question at the state dinner press conference addressed the matter and Hu Jintao attempted to deflect by claiming difficulty in translation. But a persistent press corps forced him to address the matter, however mildly, in a way that would have been plainly impossible in any other circumstance.

Milbank writes about political theater in the nation’s capital.

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Sharing the Burden of Peace

Posted by osurce, 20th January 2011

PeaceRobert Wright
1/19/2011

Wright says if America wants to actually cut defense spending it should correct the disproportionate role America plays as the world’s police. We not only foot the monetary bill for this role, but we also pay for the ill will as a result of playing this role. The United Nations Security Council is the mechanism through which threats to peace should be recognized, the military action necessary to deal with them authorized, and the burdens of that military action shared. Wright also suggests non-military ways for global governance to share peace. As our days of global hegemony are passing, we should craft instruments of global governance to assure security in a world we don’t dominate that will equitably distribute the costs of that security.

Wright blogs on culture, politics and world affairs for The New York Times.

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Silvio Berlusconi’s Virtue

Posted by osurce, 21st December 2010

Silvio BerlusconiRachel Marsden
12/21/2010

When Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi won a confidence vote last week by a mere three votes, it proved that in politics you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be better than the other guy. And in Italy right now that’s a pretty low bar. The only people in Italian politics who are worse than the prime minister are everyone else. Unless the various opposition parties are able to find an actual issue or reform on which they profoundly disagree with Berlusconi, and so can mount a campaign on substantive issues, then they’re just wasting everyone’s time. Marsden notes that the socialist left hasn’t done much better: the traditional left-wing approach of doling out favors to their constituents is no longer viable.

Marsden is an international political and communications strategist and writer who teaches at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris.

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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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A democratic test for Venezuela

Posted by osurce, 20th December 2010

Hugo ChavezJackson Diehl
12/20/2010

Leopoldo Lopez, an optimistic political challenger of Hugo Chavez, is well aware of the regime’s unhesitating manipulation of elections: Lopez was once banned from the gubernatorial ballot by government fiat. Nonetheless, he remains hopeful that Venezuelans are mobilizing to unseat Chavez in 2012. A major key to the opposition’s electoral success is support from the United States. But Lopez does not see “a clear policy” from the Obama administration that indicates a focus on a democratic transition in Venezuela. Diehl says this will have to change if the opposition is to continue having hope of voting out Chavez and ushering in democracy.

Diehl is deputy editorial page editor of The Post. He is an editorial writer specializing in foreign affairs.

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Heroic, Female and Muslim

Posted by osurce, 16th December 2010

Celebration_of_the_humanitarian_work_of_Hawa_Abdi_image002Nicholas D. Kristof
12/16/2010

Kristof looks at the heroic life of Dr. Hawa Abdi of Somalia, who has confronted armed militias there and forced them to back down. Today she runs a camp and hospital that serves 90,000 displaced people. She provides them with food and water and trains the people whose roots are in herding to farm and fish. She also runs a school, literacy and health classes for women, and a small jail for men who beat their wives. Kristof says she is an example of the tolerant and peace-loving side of Islam and what people can do when they tap into courage, compassion, and tolerance.

Kristof is a New York Times columnist.

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We’ve Only Got America A

Posted by osurce, 16th December 2010

usaThomas L. Friedman
12/15/2010

We have only one America so we have to make this work. If it fails, our children will grow up in a different world and we will not like who picks up the pieces. Friedman looks at the role of China in the future–a country that tried to intimidate its trading partners from sending representatives to attend the Nobel award ceremony at Oslo’s City Hall after it rejected the Nobel Peace Prize given to one of its citizens, a democracy advocate who has been imprisoned. On the other end of the spectrum, Friedman wonders what the world would be like if individuals feel empowered to change the world by dumping state secrets at any time. He says a stable world requires that we get the best from both extremes while limiting the worst; it will require smart legal and technological responses. That job requires a strong America.

Friedman is a New York Times columnist.

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China’s Global War on Human Rights

Posted by osurce, 9th December 2010

zhongnanhaiJamie F. Metzl
12/9/2010

Wherever human rights are massively abused today, China is the main protector of the abusing government, writes Metzl. Beijing is promoting a world-wide rejection of postwar international norms. This is in part because China’s concept of sovereignty stands in sharp contrast to the norms of the human rights system. And China’s rise poses challenges to the international community’s ability to effectively confront rights abusers. Metzl concludes that those unlucky souls around the world who find their rights massively abused by their own governments can, thanks largely to China, expect little or no help from foreign states.

Metzl, the executive vice president of Asia Society, served in the State Department during the Clinton administration and as a United Nations human rights officer in Cambodia.

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