By Michael Portillo (THE TIMES, 12/08/07):
Gordon Brown is receiving lessons in what it is like to be American. Whatever you think of our allies in Washington, they bear a burden for the world that lesser powers like Britain rarely experience fully. For example, they have attracted global opprobrium for locking up without trial in Guantanamo Bay some very dangerous men who might otherwise wreak mayhem in our cities. Also, Americans have for years had to watch mournfully as the star-spangled coffins returned home.
Now our government has agreed to take five former UK residents from Guantanamo. It must wrestle with the no-win problem of how to handle men against whom it may be impossible to bring a charge, but who could nonetheless be dangerous.… Seguir leyendo »
By Simon Juenkins (THE TIMES, 12/08/07):
The statement could not have been clearer. On ratifying a new European constitution, Labour said in its 2005 manifesto, “We will put it to the British people in a referendum and campaign wholeheartedly for a yes vote.”
Tony Blair added: “That is an issue of trust for me with the electorate.” Nor would there be any fudging over the abortive 2004 constitution rejected by the French and the Dutch. Blair said, “You can’t have a . . . rejection of the treaty and then you just bring it back with a few amendments and say we will have another go.”… Seguir leyendo »
By Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist and the author of «Taliban» and «Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia» (THE WASHINGTON POST, 12/08/07):
President Pervez Musharraf was on the verge of imposing a state of emergency in Pakistan last week before being stopped by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and civilian advisers. It is clear to all in this extremely tense country that power is rapidly flowing away from Musharraf, even as he desperately tries to find a way out of an impossible political impasse.
Declaring a state of emergency would have suspended fundamental rights, placed restrictions on the Supreme Court and delayed this year’s elections.… Seguir leyendo »
By Charles a Krohn, deputy director of public affairs for the American Battle Monuments Commission (THE WASHINGTON POST, 12/08/07):
Muslims are obliged to make at least one trip to the holy city of Mecca during their lifetime. This pilgrimage is known as the hajj. It is mandatory for men, voluntary but encouraged for women. A basic dress code ensures that there’s no visible difference between rich and poor, weak and powerful. This simple requirement unites the faithful.
I started thinking about the hajj in the spring, when my wife and I visited nine American military cemeteries in Europe. With the exception of the Normandy American Cemetery, which attracts thousands, others are virtually devoid of visitors, especially American visitors.… Seguir leyendo »
By Jim Hoagland (THE WASHINGTON POST, 12/08/07):
Estragon: Let’s go.
Vladimir: We can’t.
Estragon: Why not?
Vladimir: We’re waiting for Godot.
Samuel Beckett sets » Waiting for Godot» on a country road where two tramps desperately await someone or something that never comes. I now wonder if Beckett was somehow foretelling this summer of inferno along the banks of the Potomac, where politicians wait in mixed dread and hope for an Army general to come and tell them whether the nation should continue the war in Iraq.
The general is David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq. President Bush says the report that Petraeus will deliver in mid-September will become the centerpiece of his Iraq strategy.… Seguir leyendo »
By Sam Dealey, who reports on Africa for Time magazine (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12/08/07):
JUST last month, the House of Representatives passed the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act and the United Nations Security Council decided to deploy up to 26,000 peacekeepers to Sudan. Both actions were due in no small way to the work of the Save Darfur Coalition. Through aggressive advertising campaigns, this group has done more than any other to focus world attention on the conflict in the Sudanese region.
But with a ruling Wednesday from Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority, Save Darfur now finds itself in the spotlight.… Seguir leyendo »