At Large

At Large

Saving Niger’s Uranium Before Boko Haram Gets It

By and 7.30.15

Since February, Niger’s army has been battling Boko Haram in its Diffa region. It borders Nigeria’s northeastern region where Boko Haram is trying to establish an Islamic state. This terrorist organization has killed more than 15,000 people and created 1.5 million refugees, some 100,000 of which are in Niger.

Niger’s government has declared a state of emergency in Diffa. If Boko Haram could establish a base there, it would be within striking range of Niger’s Agadez region. The country’s uranium output is produced from three Agadez mines. Boko Haram, which has declared allegiance to the Islamic State, must not be allowed to control one of the world’s largest reserves of uranium ore.

In Van Hipp’s recent book, The New Terrorism, he proposes we help Niger deplete its uranium reserves before terrorists can get them. The author is a friend and his efforts to bring attention to this issue are commendable.

At Large

Moldova’s Missing Millions

By 7.2.15

When he was finally captured, the legendary bank robber Willy Sutton was asked why he robbed banks. “Because that’s where the money is,” he replied.

That stunningly simple truth must have been in the minds of those who contrived to steal approximately $500 million from the three largest banks in the small Eastern European country of Moldova.

Moldova is a country with only 3.5 million people and it is likely to be the next battleground between the European Union and Russia. The thieves stole what amounts to one-tenth of Moldova’s annual Gross Domestic Product. The only person who benefits from this scandal is Vladimir Putin.

The loss was discovered last fall, about the time of parliamentary elections. Suspicions arose that the timing might have been intended to influence the elections. The pro-European Union government survived, but barely, against the pro-Russian Socialist Party.

At Large

The Religion of Peace Spreads Its Good News

By 6.27.15

Islamic terrorists carried out deadly attacks on three continents yesterday. In all, over 60 people were killed following a call by ISIS for Muslims to go the extra mile in honor of the holy month of Ramadan. You might miss this story if you look for it in the Washington Post, as it is vastly overshadowed by an above-the-fold, screaming headline celebrating the Supreme Court’s gay rights decision.

In the past, Muslims got to heaven through fasting and prayer. Now it’s killing “infidels.”

At Large

Isaac Herzog’s BDS Comments Are BS

By 6.9.15

Nearly three months have passed since Benjamin Netanyahu shocked the world by winning re-election in Israel despite the best efforts of the Obama Administration to remove him from power in favor of left-wing Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog who headed up the Zionist Camp coalition.

We all know that Obama is still smarting, as he never misses an opportunity to bash Bibi. It was only last week during an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 that Obama said Netanyahu was endangering Israel's “credibility” because of his equivocation on a Palestinian state. (As if Mahmoud Abbas were a beacon of credibility.) Yet the same could be said for Herzog, who no doubt believed he would be Israel's next Prime Minister. How else does one explain his recent comments blaming Netanyahu for the ongoing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement? Also speaking with Channel 2, Herzog stated on Friday, “Netanyahu has failed in dealing with this boycott. He is incapable of overcoming it. Instead, he is leading us to a Jewish-Arab state.”

At Large

Time to Reboot Relations With Pakistan

By 5.29.15

If it is not too late in view of China’s embrace, the United States needs to reboot its relationship with Pakistan, our enigmatic ally in South Asia.

While the U.S. is focused on the success of ISIS, Iranian sponsorship of the Houthi rebels in Yemen, a nuclear agreement with Iran, and the emergence of Republican candidates for president, China has quietly made a strategic and monumental financial commitment to Pakistan to invest $46 billion in roads, railways, and energy pipelines connecting itself with Pakistan. To put this in perspective, cumulative U.S. aid to Pakistan since 9/11 has approximated $31 billion, based on a February 2015 summary by Congressional Research Services (CRS), and most of it was for the military, assuring U.S. access to the region.

At Large

Getting It Wrong in Britain, as Cameron Rocks

By 5.15.15

Who got it wrong in last week’s British election? The pollsters did, consistently concluding it was too close to call. The news media did—both there and here— by dutifully repeating the same message and predicting it would result in a shaky coalition of parties. Labour got it wrong by promising to take the United Kingdom backward. Only the Conservatives got it right: they won an outright majority of seats in the House of Commons. 

Now, Prime Minister David Cameron has another five-year mandate, having promised “renewal” after a period of austerity. In the campaign he promised he would appoint women to a third of the cabinet, and he has. The cabinet has several members who will provide a strong talent bench for the future.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives’ coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, were reduced to a shadow of their former representation in Parliament and their leader resigned. So did Ed Milliband, the leader of the Labour Party.

Labour’s one piece of business now is to find someone who will take his place and replace his yesteryear message with something more closely reassembling the years of Tony Blair: pro-business, and pro-growth.

At Large

It’s a Riot But It’s No Joke

By 5.1.15

3 demonstrators, 3 police officer wounded in riot; 2 arrested for assaulting police

MK Naguise: I will aim to solve problem of police violence against Ethiopians
—The Jerusalem Post

Should I cry or should I write? Maybe a little of both…

Racial upheaval in Baltimore, Maryland, on the heels of similar events in the Ferguson suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, has precipitated a state fraught with tension. Such episodes were supposed to be a thing of the past. We had been working long and hard as a nation to mend the rips in the social fabric. The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency was to be the final act in consigning racial conflict to the history books. Instead those books are burning and their subjects are on display in a ghetto theater near you.

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Saudi Arabia Rents U.S. Military, Courtesy Barack Obama

By 4.24.15

After killing hundreds of Yemenis, including many civilians, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) announced that it was halting its bombing campaign. Now Operation “Restoring Hope” is to begin. A cynic might wonder if that is the hope of the Saudi king for more subjects to rule and plunder. No doubt the KSA will kill more Yemenis for no cause before the war truly ends.

Apparently incapable of resisting the temptation to meddle in the Middle East, the Obama administration is part of Saudi Arabia’s ten-member “coalition” against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Said Secretary of State John Kerry: “we’re not going to step away from our alliances and our friendships.” The administration is providing intelligence, logistical aid, arms shipments, and even a naval flotilla including an American aircraft carrier to monitor Iranian ships. Apparently Washington wants to block any Iranian military aid for Houthi rebels while underwriting Saudi aggression.

At Large

The Pope and the Punches

By 4.23.15

I have only just discovered Pope Francis’s remarks (thank you Mark Steyn) in the immediate aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre: “Insult my mum and I will punch you.” Although this is fairly old news, it seems to me to be bizarre enough, coming from such a source at such a time, to warrant some further observations.

When I was at boarding school someone did insult my mother, and I did punch him, quite surprising myself. The sound of him sobbing over his broken teeth, and the cheers of the other boys, who had a sense of justice on that occasion at least, was music to my ears.

Of course it was dreadfully un-Christian and I suppose, many years later, that I am in a state of what the Catholics call imperfect contrition over it (sorry I’m not sorry). But then, I’m not the Pope.

However, there is a much more serious dimension to this. Here we are not talking about schoolboys in a bad and neglectful school where immature violence was common, but grown-up murderers who have declared war on Western civilization in the name of a blind, anti-rational, and of course anti-Christian fanaticism.

At Large

Nigeria’s Democracy Gets a Boost

By 4.17.15

It may be to Muhammadu Buhari’s advantage that his All Progressives Congress party did not take Rivers state in the gubernatorials that followed Nigeria’s presidential election last week.

Riding the general's coat-tails in his landslide victory last month, his party won a majority in the Senate and may come out even in the governorships of the nation's 36 states when the votes are all counted. State governments are powerful institutions in what is still a federal republic, with big bucks in their coffers. The Nigerian currency unit is the naira and it is broken down into kobos. A kobo is not worth much these days, nor is a naira, so it may be a good time to go short on it. The Nigerian economy’s bulls are a-snorting in the stables and it is likely a boom’s coming.

If.

If the federal structure stays solid, basically. The key to Nigerian success at present is: federation and union, now and forever. If he were not such a hard-nose, the president-elect might be something of a Henry Clay, devoted to the national idea but respectful of regional differences requiring patience on all sides. That is why it is, arguably, better his party did not make it in Rivers.

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