The current flap over President Obama’s comment on the killings in Paris would, in an ordinary administration, never have happened.
To review, the President gave an interview in which he said “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.” Read more »
In an interesting article at the Foreign Policy website and entitled “The World War Inside Islam,” James Traub asks whether there’s a central American role in the struggle against violent Islamist extremism. His answer is delivered in the subtitle: “Why the United States can do very little to alter the course of events in the Middle East right now.” Read more »
The shortcomings of the new Obama administration policy toward Cuba have been sharply described in a recent blog post at the Cuban civil society web site SATS, by Antonio G. Rodiles. Rodiles, a human rights activist, was beaten and arrested in 2012, and released after Amnesty International and other groups protested this arrest. Read more »
How does this seem, for basic fairness:
A judge presides over a trial. The defendant complains about his bias, but the judge does not recuse himself. He runs the trial, and at its end he writes his verdict and decides on the sentence. Then, because he does not want his own biases to become a matter of controversy again, he decides to step aside at the last minute so that another judge can read out what he has written. Same trial, same verdict, same sentence, different voice. Read more »
The recent violence between Hezbollah and Israel elicited a statement from the State Department yesterday. It’s a marvel of moral equivalency and confusion.
Here it is, in full:
The United States strongly condemns Hezbollah’s attack today from Lebanon on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in blatant violation of the cease fire between Lebanon and Israel and UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks. We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation. Read more »
The invaluable annual report on “Freedom in the World” from Freedom House has just been published.
The bottom line is grim:
More aggressive tactics by authoritarian regimes and an upsurge in terrorist attacks contributed to a disturbing decline in global freedom in 2014. Freedom in the World 2015 found an overall drop in freedom for the ninth consecutive year. Nearly twice as many countries suffered declines as registered gains—61 to 33—and the number of countries with improvements hit its lowest point since the nine-year erosion began. Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.