J. Peter Pham

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de mayo de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

The Tom Hanks movie “Captain Phillips,” which opens Friday, will focus attention — again — on piracy off the coast of Somalia. The movie, in which (spoiler alert) the bad guys get caught, unfortunately might lead you to think that this is a problem that’s been solved. After all, since the April 2009 seizure of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, recounted in “Captain Phillips,” there has been only one hijacking of a U.S.-flagged vessel by Somali pirates, the February 2011 seizure of a U.S. yacht in which the Americans were killed. And Somalia’s other evils — the Shabab and its terrorist activities, for example — have taken over news headlines.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Democratic Republic of Congo, which erupted in violence again earlier this month, ought to be one of the richest countries in the world. Its immense mineral reserves are currently valued by some estimates at more than $24 trillion and include 30 percent of the world’s diamond reserves; vast amounts of cobalt, copper and gold; and 70 percent of the world’s coltan, which is used in electronic devices. Yet the most recent edition of the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index ranked Congo last among the 187 countries and territories included in the survey.

Instead of prosperity, Congo’s mineral wealth has brought only an endless procession of unscrupulous rulers eager to exploit its riches, from King Leopold II of Belgium to Mobutu Sese Seko, who was allowed by the logic of the cold war to rule the same area as a private fief.…  Seguir leyendo »

People can, and undoubtedly will, argue for some time about whether President Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, though, there’s a simpler and more immediate question: Does the Constitution allow him to accept the award?

Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, the emolument clause, clearly stipulates: “And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”

The award of the peace prize to a sitting president is not unprecedented. But Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson received the honor for their past actions: Roosevelt’s efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War, and Wilson’s work in establishing the League of Nations.…  Seguir leyendo »