When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the UN General Assembly this week, neither Secretary of State Kerry nor even our UN Ambassador, Samantha Power, was present.
Why not? The State Department has said Kerry was involved in some kind of conference call or video conference with the White House. OK, let’s call that plausible. What about Power? Read more »
The hostility between the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and the Miskito Indians of Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast was sharp during the 1980s, and many Indians joined the contra effort against that regime. They wanted little more than to be left alone, but the Sandinistas wanted to conscript them into the revolution. To the Marxist Sandinista leaders they were relics of a pre-capitalist age, and had to brought into 20th century Stalinist reality. Read more »
What do Andrzej Duda and Benjamin Netanyahu have in common?
The answer is Russia.
Duda is president of Poland and Netanyahu is prime minister of Israel. For Poles, Russia is a never-ending problem and has been one throughout Polish history. Watching Putin maneuver against Georgia and Ukraine, take Crimea and part of Georgia by force, and threaten NATO countries, all of Poland’s traditional fears of its big neighbor are called to mind. So the Poles rely on both their membership in NATO and their own arms buildup for national security. They have under way a multi-year arms program, increasing defense spending each year and exceeding their NATO peers in percentage terms over and over again. Read more »
The Pope’s visit to Cuba is of course a test of the regime: how much of a crackdown will it undertake to prevent him from seeing a single demonstrator or dissident?
But it is also a test of Pope Francis. He is visiting a vicious and brutal dictatorship that has largely eviscerated the Cuban church–closing its schools, for example, including those attended by Fidel Castro as a child. There have been plenty of news reports in the last week of round-ups of dissidents throughout the island. Today there are more. Jon Watts reported for The Guardian in London as follows: Read more »
Watching the Republican debate last night, I was very glad to see the field (with Rand Paul as the only real exception) acknowledge George W. Bush’s foreign policy achievements– not least keeping America safe, and providing global leadership of the sort so badly missing in the last seven years. In a recent trip to Australia, I was struck by the degree to which that leadership is missed on the Left as well as the Right. There were of course many references last night to the leadership provided by Ronald Reagan. Read more »
Just a few days ago I wrote here about “Leopoldo Lopez, John Kerry, and the Uses of English.” My point was that the State Department’s tepid reaction to the outrageous and farcical “trial” of the Venezuelan political leader (and thirteen year sentence) was embarrassing. As usual the State Department, in this case the Secretary himself, said this was “troubling,” of “concern,” and other words no normal human being uses–and that were wholly inappropriate for this vile fake “trial.” Read more »
In Venezuela, Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced this past week to 13 years and 9 months in prison. Lopez, a successful political leader who threatened the vicious and repressive Venezuelan regime, is Venezuela’s most famous (but not its only) political prisoner. This grotesque sentence follows a grotesque “trial” that violated every definition of due process and fair play. Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.