Recently in International Affairs Category


I'm always intrigued by the way that George Friedman ties geography to current affairs. Here is writes about the centuries-long hostility and ambivalence between Christian and Muslim cultures along the Mediterranean Sea in light of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

There is here a question of what we mean when we speak of things like Christianity, Islam and secularism. There are more than a billion Christians and more than a billion Muslims and uncountable secularists who mix all things. It is difficult to decide what you mean when you say any of these words and easy to claim that anyone else's meaning is (or is not) the right one. There is a built-in indeterminacy in our use of language that allows us to shift responsibility for actions in Paris away from a religion to a minor strand in a religion, or to the actions of only those who pulled the trigger. This is the universal problem of secularism, which eschews stereotyping. It leaves unclear who is to be held responsible for what. By devolving all responsibility on the individual, secularism tends to absolve nations and religions from responsibility.

This is not necessarily wrong, but it creates a tremendous practical problem. If no one but the gunmen and their immediate supporters are responsible for the action, and all others who share their faith are guiltless, you have made a defensible moral judgment. But as a practical matter, you have paralyzed your ability to defend yourselves. It is impossible to defend against random violence and impermissible to impose collective responsibility. As Europe has been for so long, its moral complexity has posed for it a problem it cannot easily solve. Not all Muslims -- not even most Muslims -- are responsible for this. But all who committed these acts were Muslims claiming to speak for Muslims. One might say this is a Muslim problem and then hold the Muslims responsible for solving it. But what happens if they don't? And so the moral debate spins endlessly.

This dilemma is compounded by Europe's hidden secret: The Europeans do not see Muslims from North Africa or Turkey as Europeans, nor do they intend to allow them to be Europeans.

It's easy to get caught up in the present and forget the path that brought us to today.


Havana before Communism. The pictures are amazing.

It was during the presidency of Gerardo Machado in the '20s that Cuba's tourist trade really took off. Hotels, restaurants, night clubs, golf clubs and casinos sprung up in Havana catering to the rich jet-setters seeking luxury. Socialites, debutantes, celebrities like Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, and American mobsters came to play in the Cuban paradise.

Tourism, and the growing and selling of sugar, was making some Cubans rich, but not all Cubans. What the tourists didn't see, or didn't want to, was the underclass, people of poverty like the macheteros -- sugarcane cutters -- who worked only during the four month season, and the rest of the year were unemployed, and angry.

That degree of income inequality as well as accusations of corruption within the government of President Fulgencio Batista laid the groundwork for the Cuban Revolution, prompting an enduring economic embargo by the United States and the rapid end of Havana's high-life.


Victor Davis Hanson decries multiculturalism and reminds the world of the prescription for national success:

For Muslims of the Middle East, there is a clear pathway to economic prosperity and a secure lifestyle; countries as diverse as South Korea, Japan, and Chile are proof of it. Within wide parameters, success only asks adherence to a mostly free market, some sort of freedom of expression, religious tolerance, a separation of science from orthodoxy, the rule of law, and consensual constitutional government -- along with a cultural ethos of rough parity between the sexes, merit-based evaluation instead of tribal favors, and tolerance for ethnic and religious minorities.

If a country chooses to follow this pathway then success will follow almost inevitably regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or skin color.


I've been away from the computer for a while over the holidays! So, why not jump back on in time to join the chorus berating President Obama for ignoring the unity rally in Paris.

More than 40 heads of state came together in Paris to denounce a wave of terrorism that defiled the City of Light last week -- yet there was one glaring exception: The U.S. sent only a low-level official.

French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and dozens of other world leaders all took part in the powerful denunciation of last week's terror attacks that left 17 innocents dead.

Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set aside their differences to march together on Boulevard Voltaire.

But the nation that stands as the symbolic face of the war on terror was nowhere in sight.

Neither President Obama nor Vice President Biden showed up -- and in fact, America's only representative was its relatively unknown and low-profile ambassador to France.

In all fairness, this is what ambassadors are for. Maybe the President completely misread the mood of the world and decided that this rally was nothing special?

Obama and Biden had empty public schedules Sunday, but the White House declined to comment on why they didn't go.

Presumably by the time it became clear that 40 world leaders would be attending, it was too late for the President and Vice President to get to France.

Attorney General Eric Holder did go to Paris -- but only for an anti-terrorism summit convened by Hollande ahead of the unity rally. Holder left Hollande and the others sometime after the group exited the Elysee Palace. Around the time other world leaders and dignitaries boarded buses to get to the front of the march, Holder was taping an interview for "Meet the Press," NBC confirmed.

Maybe Holder didn't even know about the world leaders when the march was about to start?

Still, "no one told us" is only excuse if you need to be told when to express unity.


I've been away from the computer for a while over the holidays! So, why not jump back on in time to join the chorus berating President Obama for ignoring the unity rally in Paris.

More than 40 heads of state came together in Paris to denounce a wave of terrorism that defiled the City of Light last week -- yet there was one glaring exception: The U.S. sent only a low-level official.

French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and dozens of other world leaders all took part in the powerful denunciation of last week's terror attacks that left 17 innocents dead.

Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set aside their differences to march together on Boulevard Voltaire.

But the nation that stands as the symbolic face of the war on terror was nowhere in sight.

Neither President Obama nor Vice President Biden showed up -- and in fact, America's only representative was its relatively unknown and low-profile ambassador to France.

In all fairness, this is what ambassadors are for. Maybe the President completely misread the mood of the world and decided that this rally was nothing special?

Obama and Biden had empty public schedules Sunday, but the White House declined to comment on why they didn't go.

Well, football.

According to an administration official, President Obama spent part of his Sunday afternoon watching a National Football League game on television. Both games were broadcast hours after the march.

Presumably by the time it became clear that 40 world leaders would be attending, it was too late for the President and Vice President to get to France. The world leaders who showed up didn't have to travel very far on short notice.

Attorney General Eric Holder did go to Paris -- but only for an anti-terrorism summit convened by Hollande ahead of the unity rally. Holder left Hollande and the others sometime after the group exited the Elysee Palace. Around the time other world leaders and dignitaries boarded buses to get to the front of the march, Holder was taping an interview for "Meet the Press," NBC confirmed.

Maybe Holder didn't even know about the world leaders when the march was about to start?

Still, "no one told us" is only excuse if you need to be told when to express unity.

Says Jake Tapper:

There was higher-level Obama administration representation on this season's episodes of "The Good Wife" on CBS.

And it's not like other American luminaries of either party did better than the President:

I find it hard to believe that Speaker of the House John Boehner and new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had more worthy pursuits on Sunday than standing side-by-side with our French brothers and sisters as they came together in an inspirational way. ...

And I'm frankly floored that not one of the people who is contemplating running for president in 2016 has yet to even tweet on the subject of the momentous demonstration in Paris, much less attend France's biggest rally in the history of the republic.

I imagine that Hillary Clinton and her husband are kicking themselves for not hopping on a corporate jet to get here. Can you picture Hillary and Bill walking in the front row, arm-in-arm with Netanyahu and Hollande?

Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Paul Ryan attended the Green Bay-Dallas football game Sunday and at least one of them sent his potential rivals mischievous tweets as if they were contemplating running for president of Beta Theta Pi.

And Jeb? Mitt? Crickets.


Many private security firms seem to think that the Sony hack was was perpetrated by a disgruntled insider, but the FBI is standing by it's initial assessment that North Korea is behind the attack.

US cybersecurity experts say they have solid evidence that a former employee helped hack Sony Pictures Entertainment's computer system -- and that it was not masterminded by North Korean cyberterrorists.

One leading cybersecurity firm, Norse Corp., said Monday it has narrowed its list of suspects to a group of six people -- including at least one Sony veteran with the necessary technical background to carry out the attack, according to reports. ...

Kurt Stammberger, senior vice president at Norse, said he used Sony's leaked human-resources documents and cross-referenced the data with communications on hacker chat rooms and its own network of Web sensors to determine it was not North Korea behind the hack.

The United States may have a lot invested in the FBI's assessment being correct: we may have already struck back at North Korea.

North Korea's connection to the Internet was essentially inactive Monday just days after the U.S. said it would consider a "proportional response" to a hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment related to the comedy flick "The Interview." The U.S. would not confirm if it was behind nearly hourly outages that occurred Sunday and Monday in North Korea. U.S. Cyber Command, which handles the U.S. military's unified defensive and offensive capabilities online, could not immediately be reached for comment.

UPDATE 3:25 p.m. EST: The U.S. State Department did not confirm nor deny any involvement in the outage, and spokeswoman Marie Harf had this to say:

"As the president said, we are considering a range of options in response. We aren't going to discuss publicly operational details about the possible response options or comment on those kind of reports in any way except to say that as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen. So I can't confirm those reports, but in general, that's what the president has spoken to."

North Korea isn't likely to get much sympathy, but the U.S. will look pretty foolish if it becomes obvious that we were baited into a "counter"-attack on false pretenses.

Bruce Schneier has more thoughts on the perpetrators and doesn't think the job was done by insiders.


The attack by the Taliban on a school in Pakistan is abhorrent and inhuman; their refusal to stand by their actions is cowardly and deceitful.

niformed militants attacked a school, killing at least 126 people and taking hostages on Tuesday, an official said - an atrocity condemned by the U.S. as "senseless and inhumane."

"The gunmen entered class by class and shot some kids one by one," a student who was in the school at the time told local media.

Provincial official Bahramand Khan said at least 126 people were killed and 122 injured. More than 100 of the dead were school children, he added. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault, which appeared to be targeting the the children of senior military officials. ...

Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani told Reuters his group was responsible for the attack. "Our suicide bombers have entered the school, they have instructions not to harm the children, but to target the army personnel," he said.

Emphasis mine. If you think you're justified in massacring children to strike at your enemies at least have the balls to say it.


I just filled up my car for under $20, so despite dire warnings about the death of green energy I'm going to say that cheap oil is awesome.

The collapsing oil price that is reshaping the global economy could derail the green energy revolution by making renewable power sources prohibitively bad value, experts have warned.

Oil tumbled below $60 a barrel for the first time in more than five years yesterday - a fall of 44 per cent since June. It is forecast to fall further.

A new "era of cheap oil" would be good news for consumers and motorists - but analysts say the consequences for politics, industry and the climate could be even more radical.

It's important to note that the "green revolution" has always been completely dependent on public subsidies. Cheaper oil would make those subsidies much more expensive to allow green energy to compete with brown energy. Maybe we should use some of the money we're saving to develop climate-mitigation technologies?

Bank of America says that OPEC is dead and oil is going to $50 a barrel -- great news all around. Who's hurt? Petro-funded enemies like Russia, Iran, and Venezuala. Who wins? Europe, America, and everyone who has to buy oil from the cartel.

The Opec oil cartel no longer exists in any meaningful sense and crude prices will slump to $50 a barrel over the coming months as market forces shake out the weakest producers, Bank of America has warned.

Revolutionary changes sweeping the world's energy industry will drive down the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG), creating a "multi-year" glut and a much cheaper source of gas for Europe.

Francisco Blanch, the bank's commodity chief, said Opec is "effectively dissolved" after it failed to stabilize prices at its last meeting. "The consequences are profound and long-lasting," he said.

The free market will now set the global cost of oil, leading to a new era of wild price swings and disorderly trading that benefits only the Mid-East petro-states with deepest pockets such as Saudi Arabia. If so, the weaker peripheral members such as Venezuela and Nigeria are being thrown to the wolves.

I'm loving the $2 gas.

Victor Davis Hanson says that conditions are ripe for a large European war:

The world is changing and becoming even more dangerous -- in a way we've seen before.

In the decade before World War I, the near-100-year European peace that had followed the fall of Napoleon was taken for granted. Yet it abruptly imploded in 1914. Prior little wars in the Balkans had seemed to predict a much larger one on the horizon -- and were ignored.

The exhausted Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires were spent forces unable to control nationalist movements in their provinces. The British Empire was fading. Imperial Germany was rising. Czarist Russia was beset with revolutionary rebellion. As power shifted, decline for some nations seemed like opportunity for others.

The same was true in 1939. The tragedy of the Versailles Treaty of 1919 was not that it had been too harsh. In fact, it was far milder than the terms Germany had imposed on a defeated Russia in 1918 or the requirements it had planned for France in 1914.

Instead, Versailles combined the worst of both worlds: harsh language without any means of enforcement.

The subsequent appeasement of Britain and France, the isolationism of the United States, and the collaboration of the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany green-lighted Hitler's aggression -- and another world war.

I hope he's wrong! I also hope that someone in our government is working to prevent and prepare.


General John Kelly makes an astute point: if Ebola breaks out in Central America millions of people will flood the United States to escape the epidemic. We must make much stronger efforts to contain Ebola in West Africa.

Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, predicted last week that the Ebola virus will not be contained in West Africa, and if infected people flee those countries and spread the disease to Central and South America, it could cause "mass migration into the United States" of those seeking treatment.

"If it breaks out, it's literally, 'Katie bar the door,' and there will be mass migration into the United States," Kelly said in remarks to the National Defense University on Tuesday. "They will run away from Ebola, or if they suspect they are infected, they will try to get to the United States for treatment.

Not that we should just throw money at the problem, but if the U.N. and W.H.O. are right that only $1 billion is needed to contain the epidemic then it's pretty foolish not to write a check.


Walter Russell Mead writes (the day before I did) that President Obama doesn't understand the emotional side of leadership. Read the whole thing if you can bear it.

ISIS is a master of the pornography of politics and the pornography of perverted religion: slave girls, heads on spikes, executions uploaded to the internet, naked defiance in the face of its enemies. ISIS isn't trying to win a conventional geopolitical chess match, it wants to electrify millions of potential supporters and change the nature of the game. The execution of American hostages succeeded brilliantly, from an ISIS point of view. It has made President Obama look weak, forced him to change his entire Middle East policy and brought the jihadi movement back into the world spotlight. The politics of spectacle has eclipsed Al-Qaeda, weakened Assad's position, drawn the awe and admiration of jihadi wanna-bes and funders, and elevated 30,000 thugs and nutjobs to a major force in global events. Yes, that elevation carries with it the risk of serious pushback and even conventional military defeat, but jihadi ideology has benefited enormously from what ISIS has accomplished so far. ISIS still isn't going to conquer the world, but radical Islam is closer than ever to launching the clash of civilizations of which bin Laden dreamed.

ISIS has much less money than President Obama does, many fewer fighters, much less equipment and in every other conventional measure of power it is a pipsqueak compared to the Leader of the Free World. But who is acting, and who is reacting? Who is dancing to whose tune?

ISIS doesn't need President Obama's advice; it clearly knows its job better than he does. The same thing is true of Putin; the Russian president has a much weaker hand, objectively speaking, than President Obama, but in part because President Putin understands the importance of spectacle and momentum in politics, he has been able to run rings around the Vulcan-in-Chief.

Drama and spectacle are among the assets that successful world leaders employ; that doesn't mean that those leaders are hotheaded or stupid. The impression, hopefully inaccurate, that the Baker piece gives us is of a president who knows things aren't working but doesn't think he has anything to learn. If that is really where this president is, he and we have some hard times ahead.


Is it ever better to make a quick decision than to take your time and be more deliberative? This anonymously-sourced account of President Obama's deliberations about ISIS portrays the President as very thoughtful and concerned with making "the right decision", and he seems keenly aware that his opponents (myself included) view him as indecisive. In my opinion, the President is wrong to ignore the emotional dimension of leadership -- sometimes you can make the best decision at the wrong time and come out worse than if you had made a worse decision at the right time.

"Oh, it's a shame when you have a wan, diffident, professorial president with no foreign policy other than 'don't do stupid things,' " guests recalled [Obama] saying, sarcastically imitating his adversaries. "I do not make apologies for being careful in these areas, even if it doesn't make for good theater." ...

It was clear to the guests how aware Mr. Obama was of the critics who have charged him with demonstrating a lack of leadership. He brought up the criticism more than once with an edge of resentment in his voice.

"He's definitely feeling it," said one guest. At one point, Mr. Obama noted acidly that President Ronald Reagan sent Marines to Lebanon only to have hundreds of them killed in a terrorist attack because of terrible planning, and then withdrew the remaining ones, leaving behind a civil war that lasted years. But Reagan, he noted, is hailed as a titan striding the earth.

"He's not a softy," Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter and attended the dinner Monday, said of Mr. Obama. "I think part of the problem with some of his critics is they think he's a softy. He's not a softy. But he's a person who tries to think through these events so you can draw some long-term conclusions."

President Reagan was a master of the emotional side of leadership, a talent that President Obama appears to completely lack -- or intentionally avoid. I can relate to the President: acting on emotion is not something that comes naturally to me -- my tendency is to sideline my emotions and attempt to make decisions based on reason alone. However, I've come to realize that when it comes to leading others it's critical to engage emotionally with your team, and decisiveness is an important component of that engagement.

Apparently I'm not the only one:

The new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal/Annenberg Poll finds 62% of Americans support Obama taking action against ISIS.

But fully 68% of his countrymen say they have "very little" or "just some" confidence that Obama will achieve his newly-discovered strategic goals of degrading and defeating ISIS through bombing and an international coalition.

Perhaps worse, only slightly more than one-in-four (28%) have "a great deal" or "quite a bit" of confidence their president will achieve the murderous group's demise.

Part of the faith deficit stems from Obama's chronic tardiness, in person and in policy. You may recall for years now, even after the deadly Benghazi attack proved him delusional, Obama's been touting how badly al Qaeda's leadership had been "decimated" and how dead Osama bin Laden was.

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak may be connected to infected bats.

The genomic sequencing also offers hints as to how the Ebola "Zaire" strain at the heart of the current outbreak -- one of five types of Ebola virus known to infect humans -- likely ended up in West Africa in the first place. Researchers said the data suggests that the virus spread from an animal host, possibly bats, and that diverged around 2004 from an Ebola strain in central Africa, where previous outbreaks have occurred.

One of the easiest ways to weaponize the virus wouldn't require any sophisticated technology: simply gather bodily fluids from Ebola victims, bring it to your target area, and scatter it on some native mammals. Some of the animals might die from Ebola, but other species might be resistant and might carry the virus as easily as the bats did.

Dogs in one community in Liberia are reportedly eating the remains of dead Ebola victims lying on the streets. ...

Dr. Stephen Korsman of the University of Cape Town's medical virology division tells News 24 that dogs can be infected with the Ebola virus but that "infections appear to be asymptomatic."
"This means that dogs won't get sick, but they still could carry a potential risk through licking or biting," Korsman explained to News 24.

Now you've created a native reservoir of Ebola in your target area that will periodically break out and infect humans and might be impossible to eradicate.

The UN is now saying that the Ebola outbreak could hit 20,000 people, but if it hits that many how could it possibly hit so few?

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is accelerating and could grow six times larger to infect as many as 20,000 people, the World Health Organization said Thursday. The U.N. health agency unveiled a new road map for containing the virus, and scientists are fast-tracking efforts to find a treatment or vaccine.

Ebola has menaced Africa for 40 years, but previously struck in remote villages and was contained fairly quickly. This time, it has spread to major cities in four countries, provoking unrest as whole neighborhoods and towns have been sealed to the outside.

Absent a vaccine (which is being worked on) I don't see how a highly contagious virus could be contained among 20,000 people. With that large a population of infected people the security perimeter just seems too big.

Furthermore, many of the infected Africans are Muslim, and the Hajj is in October this year. If there are thousands of known infections -- and many more unknown -- how likely is it that Ebola won't be carried to Mecca? The Hajj could very well be an inflection point for the outbreak, allowing Ebola to spread rapidly around the world.

hajj.jpg


Dr. Sebastian Gorka claims that there's a Christian Holocaust going on in Iraq now, with Christians being eradicated by Islamic terrorists across the region. The United States should act in some way to prevent or mitigate this religious cleansing. Fellow Christians should pray for safety for these brethren and pray that this adversity is an opportunity for the gospel to reach new corners of the world.

When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in 2003, there were at least 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Over the last ten years, significantly in the last few months with the emergence of ISIS, that figure has dropped to about 400,000.

In a region where Christians predate Muslims by centuries, over one million Christians have been killed or have had to flee because of jihadi persecution, while America is basically standing by and watching. This is the sad news that Breitbart's National Security Editor and one of the world's leading experts on asymmetric warfare, Dr. Sebastian

Dr. Gorka explained that "in the last 48 hours, ISIS, which is now called the Islamic State in Mosul, has painted the letter "N" for Nazarene on the houses of all the surviving Christians in the city. ISIS has basically given an ultimatum to all the Christians left: You can either flee or convert to Islam, or we will kill you."


Charles Krauthammer proclaims Israel's moral superiority over Hamas, but it's important to note that the Palestinians in Gaza are victims as well as aggressors -- they're victims of Hamas just like Israel is. To the extent that the civilians support a murderous, self-destructive terrorist government like Hamas they bring destruction on themselves, but let's not forget who bears the bulk of the guilt.

Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.

"Here's the difference between us," explains the Israeli prime minister. "We're using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent "cycle of violence." This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d'etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.


Walter Russell Mead has some great thoughts on what happens if America reaches a deal with Iran that successfully limits their development of nuclear weapons and lifts sanctions. Rather than looking at whether or not such an agreement is possible, WRM points out that Iran doesn't need nuclear weapons to establish itself as a regional power and exert a lot of influence on the world's oil supply.

Thus, the people in Iran arguing for a nuclear deal could be making a very realpolitik, power-maximizing argument saying that Iran should prioritize establishing a regional hegemony over acquiring nuclear weapons. Then, when the regional hegemony is established, the U.S. will be even less willing or able to oppose Iran's nuclear drive than it is now, and a nuclear Iran that is also a regional hegemon would have immense power over the world's oil supply. Iran's dream of becoming a true global great power would have been reached.

What's extremely troubling and alarming about the establishment press debate over the nuclear agreement with Iran is that the deal's partisans by and large simply don't engage with this absolutely vital and indispensable question. This is the kind of silence that frequently occurs when a political establishment is about to make a truly monumental blunder; history's worst decisions are made by people with blinkers on, who ignore the wider implications of the choices they are making and concentrate of a limited and narrow set of considerations. To think about the Iran deal solely as a question of non-proliferation is to miss the essence of Iran's national strategy and its potential consequences for U.S. interests. Americans need to know whether the administration has really thought this issue through and, if it hasn't, there needs to be strong pressure from Congress and elsewhere for a serious and in depth reappraisal to begin.

So how does this play out well for America? I hope some smart people are figuring it out.


Ali Khedery gives an insider's view of why Iraq is collapsing, and it's all because America stuck with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

It seems like it takes at least one generation of occupation to really tamp down the flames of religious/ethnic civil war. The victors' military presence needs to outlast the most violence-prone years of the men who fought against them (basically ages 20-50 or so).

I have known Maliki, or Abu Isra, as he is known to people close to him, for more than a decade. I have traveled across three continents with him. I know his family and his inner circle. When Maliki was an obscure member of parliament, I was among the very few Americans in Baghdad who took his phone calls. In 2006, I helped introduce him to the U.S. ambassador, recommending him as a promising option for prime minister. In 2008, I organized his medevac when he fell ill, and I accompanied him for treatment in London, spending 18 hours a day with him at Wellington Hospital. In 2009, I lobbied skeptical regional royals to support Maliki's government.

By 2010, however, I was urging the vice president of the United States and the White House senior staff to withdraw their support for Maliki. I had come to realize that if he remained in office, he would create a divisive, despotic and sectarian government that would rip the country apart and devastate American interests.


So Detroit has fallen so far that the United Nations is stepping in to advocate access to clean water for residents. This is obviously ridiculous because the majority of delinquent utility accounts can certainly afford to pay their bills. However, despite my antipathy for the collection of despots and bureaucrats we call the UN, it's not clear whether they or Detroit comes out of this looking more foolish. Detroit is still a major city in the richest, most powerful nation in the history of the world, right?

WND has learned that after issuing a statement last week condemning Detroit's decision to send water shut-off notices to tens of thousands of customers behind in their payments, the U.N now plans to conduct confidential policy discussions with the Obama administration to be followed by a formal public report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

On Monday, the U.N. Human Rights Council's office in Geneva confirmed to WND that the U.N. plans to intervene directly in the Detroit water crisis, determined to apply international law to judge the U.S. in violation of human rights to safe water.

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, DWSD, announced in March it would send shut-off notices to customers with balances more than $150 overdue or who are more than two months behind in their payments. The department, which said nearly half of the 324,000 water and sewerage accounts are overdue, has put out 46,000 notices since March. About 4,500 accounts have had their water shut off.

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