Monday, February 14, 2011

Foreign Digest: Haiti, Portugal, The European Union, Sudan, Lebanon, Egypt

     Former Haitian dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to Haiti after more than two decades in exile in France, to which he had fled after being overthrown. The Haitians rightly arrested the man who had oppressed and terrorized them during his rule from 1971-1987 after succeeding his father.

     Portugal’s conservative President was reelected. Although he disagreed with the increased taxation of the poor by the government of the Socialist Prime Minister, he has not blocked the government’s austerity program. As I have been noting, Portugal is the next most vulnerable member of the European Monetary Union to financial collapse.

     Italy has been attempting to get the European Union to condemn the persecution of Christians in foreign states, but the Europeans have become so secular that they have been unable to bring themselves to specifically condemn the persecution of “Christians,” instead of the persecution of “minorities,” according to ANSA, the Italian news agency. As I have noted, the E.U. refuses to acknowledge the contribution of Christianity to Western Civilization.

     The results of the referendum for the independence for Southern Sudan have been announced. An extraordinary, but not unexpected, 98% of Southern Sudanese voted for independence in the referendum, in which voter turnout was high. The northern Sudanese government has accepted the results, although, as I have posted before, citizenship, boundaries (especially over the region of Abyei) and oil remain unresolved issues between the Christian and animist Southern Sudan and the Islamist Arab Sudan to its north. The referendum was the result of the mediation between the parties by the United States during the Administration of President George W. Bush after a two-decade long war that killed one-to-two million people. Southern Sudan will become independent in July.

     Lebanon’s pro-Western government collapsed after the Prime Minister supported the United Nations inquiry into the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The pro-Iranian terrorist organization Hezbollah and Syria are believed to have been complicit in the murder. Fearing its findings, Hezbollah withdrew as a minority member from the coalition government, thereby precipitating its collapse. A wealthy businessman it supported was named the new prime minister. Syria and Iran now once again dominate politics in Lebanon, which is a vassal state. Hezbollah’s political success underscores the danger of which I have been warning of anti-democratic forces who use the democratic process to gain power.

     The military takeover of Egypt was an outcome that I suggested as preferable in my January post, Analysis of the Egyptian Revolution. The Egyptian people are to be congratulated for their accomplishment and the military for its restraint. It is hoped that the military transitions to a representative democracy, as long as anti-democratic forces, such as the Islamists, are not allowed to take advantage under the guise of being democratic, as in Iran in 1979 or Lebanon most recently. A broad base of the Egyptian people must participate in the process, including the Christians, who comprise a tenth of the country’s population. The Obama Administration was right to support freedom, but after initially backing dictator Hosni Mubarak, instead of calling for liberalization and working behind the scenes to nudge Mubarak from power, the Administration abandoned him publicly to such an unnecessary degree that it appeared disloyal to an ally. The Administration’s humiliation of Mubarak undermines other allies’ confidence in the U.S.

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