Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Foreign Digest: Cambodia, Russia, Israel, Yemen, Afghanistan

Cambodia has been continuing to prosecute more and more former Khmer Rouge regime members for crimes against humanity, in addition to the ones I posted about in August of last year in my post, Cambodian Tribunal Convicts Communist Khmer Rouge Leaders of Crimes Against Humanity, http://williamcinfici.blogspot.com/2014/08/a-cambodian-tribunal-convicts-communist.html .  The Maoist Communists conducted a brutal reign of terror against much of the Cambodian population during their 1975-1978 rule, including mass murder, starvation, imprisonment, torture and slavery.

           The recent murder of a major opposition figure in Russia is the latest in a series of killings of political opponents of Communist dictator Vladimir Putin, a former Soviet secret services agent.  Many other dissidents have been subjected to harassment, including phony criminal investigations, or have even been imprisoned or  forced into exile, amidst a climate of a lack of judicial independence and rule of law, and a diminishment of the freedoms of assembly and the press, as few independent media have been tolerated by the regime.  As a result, there are relatively few opposition politicians in office or even willing to seek election.  The argument by the legions of Russian propagandists active both in Russian and global media, many of whom are employed by the Russian government, that Putin could not possibly have authorized the murder because it would have made him “look bad” would, if believed, allow him to escape blame for any crime he wished to commit, while these propagandists conveniently blamed every foreign or domestic opponent of Putin for the murder. 
            The governing center-right party won the Israeli parliamentary elections, despite interference from associates of liberal Democratic President of the United States Barack Obama, and has formed a coalition government with various right-wing parties.  Israel will continue its anti-terrorist policies as a strong ally of the U.S., as well as its opposition to the Islamist terrorist Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program.  Israel’s governing party also benefited from a prosperous economy.

 I had posted last month about possible intervention in Yemen in my post, Calls for the United Nations to Intervene in Libya and Yemen, http://williamcinfici.blogspot.com/2015/02/calls-for-united-nations-to-intervene.html, in which I specifically mentioned the role of Egypt and Saudi ArabiaEgypt and most members of the Gulf Cooperation Council are now participating in a Saudi-led military intervention against the Iranian-backed Shi’ite rebels in Yemen.  The rebels, who are backed by forces loyal to Yemen’s previous longtime dictator, who had been ousted as a result of the Arab Spring, overthrew the internationally-recognized Yemeni government that had been an ally of the United States in the War on Terrorism.  The U.S. has worked with Yemen against al-Qaeda’s branch there, which has been its most dangerous.  The rebel takeover has been an obstacle to American counter-terrorism efforts.  The U.S. is supporting the Arab effort against the pro-Iranian Yemeni rebels. The Arab states deserve praise and gratitude for their efforts.

           President Obama has slowed down the timetable for the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, at the request of the Afghan government and based upon the advice of U.S. military leaders in regard to the conditions in theater in this critical battle in the War on Terrorism, in order to prevent Afghanistan from once again being taken over by the Taliban and becoming a safe harbor for terrorists, such as al-Qaeda, who plotted the September 11 Terrorist Attacks from there.  Obama has decided not to repeat the mistake he made in withdrawing from Iraq prematurely after failing to secure a status of forces agreement, despite warnings from military leaders about the conditions there and the possibility of a takeover by Islamists, such as al-Qaeda and its offshoot, the “Islamic State” and remnants of the Baathist regime who are in alliance with them.  These insurgents promptly seized large swaths of Iraq after the American pullout, which has necessitated the U.S.-led air campaign against them, supported by infantry from the Iraqi government and allied militia.  It is hoped that the American-led effort in Afghanistan will be more successful.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Republican Wins a Special Election for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

           A Republican won a special election this week for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, picking up a seat vacated by a Democrat.  The GOP win gives residents of the City of Philadelphia their second Republican State Representative for the first time in nearly 30 years.  The Republican majority in the lower house of the General Assembly will now reach 120 seats, to the Democrats’ caucus of 83.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Foreign Digest: Terrorism, Human Rights Abuses, Persecution of Christians

In addition to all the African states I mentioned in a post last month that have been deploying their armed forces against Islamist terrorists, Djibouti has also recently sent troops to Somalia.

There were reports from human rights monitors that the “Islamic State” has used chlorine gas in Iraq.

The Obama Administration lightened sanctions on Sudan, despite its horrendous human rights record, including its ongoing genocide in Darfur, as well as killings in rebellious Blue Nile and Khordofan provinces.  The Islamist Sudanese leader is wanted for crimes against humanity and his government is a sponsor of terrorism.

The United States increased sanctions further on Venezuela because of its continued crackdown on political dissent, while the Obama Administration continues to dialogue with Venezuela’s patron, Communist Cuba, another dictatorial state with a poor human rights record.  The Administration is trying to legitimatize the Cuban regime with diplomatic recognition and to trade with it, despite Cuba’s harboring of American fugitives, its theft of billions of dollars of American assets and its status as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration continues to negotiate with the worst state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, and to offer lifting sanctions on the Islamic Republic.  It fails to recognize Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons itself as a form of terrorism – one that ought not to be rewarded with legitimacy and trade. 

A study by a reputable foundation found that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

M. Stanton Evans, In Memoriam

           Conservative journalist, author, founder and activist M. Stanton Evans died today at the age of 80 at a nursing home in Leesburg, Virginia, after a long illness.

            Born in Kingsville, Texas in 1934, but raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Washington, D.C. area, Evans graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University with a degree in English in 1955.  He studied economics under Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises at New York University.

            Upon graduation from college, Evans became the assistant editor of the Freeman.  He then wrote for the new conservative magazine National Review, serving as associate editor from 1960-1973, and thereafter as the managing editor of Human Events, the national conservative weekly, where he remained a contributing editor until his death.  In the meantime, Evans became head editorial writer of The Indianapolis News in 1959 and by the following year the youngest editor of a metropolitan daily in America.  He served as the newspaper’s editor for fifteen years.  Evans was a syndicated columnist across the Union from 1974-1987.  Over the years, he won numerous awards for journalism.  Evans’ writings were characterized by his elegant, but accessible style that became increasingly appreciated with the decline of good writing, as well as by his wit.  During his journalistic career, he was also a political commentator on television and radio.

            In 1960, Evans co-founded, together with William F. Buckley and others, the Young Americans for Freedom and drafted its charter, the Sharon Statement of conservative principles of political and economic liberty, limited government and strong defense, which is regarded as a founding document of the American conservative movement.  He supported Buckley’s fusion of conservative political and economic ideas with moral and religious conservatism. 

            Evans was Chairman of the American Conservative Union from 1971-1977, during which he criticized United States President Richard Nixon and promoted the presidential candidacy of Ronald Reagan.  He founded the Education and Research Institute, where the pioneer of conservative reporting mentored numerous popular conservative writers.  Evans served as President of the Philadelphia Society and on the boards of several major conservative organizations over the years.

            From 1961-2012, Evans authored ten books, including two meticulously-researched books on Communist infiltration of the United States government, media and entertainment by the Soviet Union, based upon documents declassified after the American victory in the Cold War with the Soviets.  His most significant work was Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joseph McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies, published in 2007, through which, together with his columns, he restored the reputation of Joseph McCarthy by disproving charges of “McCarthyism” against him and others.  Another important book by Evans, published in 1994, The Theme is Freedom, in which he made the case that America’s Founding Fathers were conservatives, as they had conserved virtues, based upon religion and morality, in promoting the dignity and liberty of man. 

            The election of a conservative as President and of a conservative-Republican majority in Congress are two of the legacies of Evans. 

           May M. Stanton Evans’ model of journalism, his books and commentaries continue to inspire conservatives to become outstanding reporters, columnists and authors and may his conservative ideals be conserved in the pursuit of liberty.