Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Economy not world's only issue
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|Economy not world's only issue|
While the world's recent attention has been rightfully focused on the continued plight of the global economy, there are some flare-ups in recognized hot-spots that exact attention. Some of these are ancient animosities while many are newly minted, but no less dangerous.
Clearly at the top of the list is the growing unrest in Pakistan. This turmoil comes at a time when President Obama is attempting to re-focus America's attention on the Afghan-Pakistan aspect of the 'war on terror.' Both Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari offered enthusiastic support for increasing the U.S. presence (that means more, not less troops, and about $1.5 billion in aid) along the two country's borders. Yes, the world is still dangerous despite a change in leadership in the U.S. And no, you cannot blame former President Bush for this.
Earlier this week, gunmen stormed a police station in the Punjab city of Lahore by those sympathetic to Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. As a note, Mehsud is also accused of plotting the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Regional paramilitary forces and the army were forced to use excessive force to put down this confrontation. This assault had all the same features as the one on the Sri Lankan cricket team last month.
In an interview with Reuters, Interior Ministry Secretary Kamal Shah claimed, "The operation is over. Four terrorists were killed and three arrested." Unfortunately, Pakistan has suffered more than 120 suicide attacks in the past two years.
In this hemisphere, protests are growing in the Dominican Republic over lack of government services, such as roads and utilities. Dominican President Leonel Fernandez had promised to make these changes during his reelection campaign. I guess lying politicians are demons needing to be exercised from many nations. If not for the coming of Easter, these protests could get out of hand quickly. That type of instability is unwelcome during the best of economic times.
Following the G-20 meetings, President Obama will travel to France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Turkey to expand support where possible and minimize dissent where able. As late as this past Monday, France was still threatening to walk out of any G-20 negotiations that included massive IMF funding. The U.S. will continue to press its allies to support a world stimulus package similar to that pushed through earlier this year. China's President Hu Jintao, on the other hand, has suggested that the IMF move away from the dollar as part of its entry into global finance policy.
All of this worries the Europeans, who feel increasingly left out. If they did not like Bush and unilateralism, imagine how they feel with a 'duopoly' lead by Washington and Beijing.
Staying in Asia for a moment, in Cambodia, five former members of the Khmer Rouge are on trial for war crimes that took place during the 1970s. But, this trial has become a complex reaction to national corruption, sovereignty and an appropriate international response.
And Benjamin Netanyahu was been sworn back in as Israel's Prime Minister? In light of his views toward a Palestinian state and a nuclear Iran, stability and peace in the near Middle East seems as elusive as ever. I am not suggesting that he is wrong about either, although I believe he could garner more international support for his position on the latter if he softened on the former.
And just for the record, I have not mentioned the political nightmares in Madagascar, the Ivory Coast, Libya or the Sudan! There are many issues out there.
How can any nation be expected to cope with such an assortment of complex issues simultaneously?
All of this is simply too much for one skimpy teleprompter.
John W. Sutherlin, PhD, is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He also is co-director at the ULM Social Science Research Lab. He can be reached by e-mailing Sutherlin@ulm.edu.