Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Diplomacy & Conflict

Quotation

Qatar’s citizens, today numbering 300,000, have become very rich, very fast. Their average income of $125,000 is the highest in the world, over twice that of the United States or Saudi Arabia. The state cocoons them with free land, cushy jobs and American universities. Gleaming supercars and limousines cruise along Doha’s palm-lined corniche. Poor Qataris are hard to find.

— The New York Times: Tiny, wealthy Qatar goes its own way, and pays for it

Recommended Link

Businessman paints a terrifying and complex picture of Vladimir Putin’s Russia

Required reading from NPR.

Recommended Link

Mexico: We will not pay for Trump border wall

Mexico’s political leaders have wisely chosen defiance instead of capitulation. In a nationally televised address, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto declared that his country does not believe in walls and will not finance the border barrier that Trump has vowed to build. If the last few days have taught us anything, it’s that by uniting together against Donald’s bigotry, we can stop neofascism in its tracks.

Quotation

Netanyahu doesn’t want anyone interfering as he destroys diplomatic relations with the countries, some friendly to Israel, that “dared” to vote for the resolution declaring the settlements illegal. The burial of the Foreign Ministry and the abandonment of diplomacy turns out to be part of a broad and dangerous plan to disengage from international law and stop playing by its rules.

— The UN settlements vote: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is dragging Israel into the abyss (Haaretz editorial)

Recommended Link

Canadians want Prime Minister Trudeau to stand up to Trump, poll finds

“Most Canadians want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stand up to Donald Trump as a champion of progressive values and the international order, even if it strains Canada-U.S. relations, according to a new poll from Nanos Research Group,” The Globe and Mail reports.

Recommended Link

Chilcot report: Tony Blair’s Iraq War case not justified

From the BBC: “Tony Blair overstated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, sent ill-prepared troops into battle and had ‘wholly inadequate’ plans for the aftermath, the UK’s Iraq War inquiry has said.”

Quotation

On this Fourth of July, while American violence continues to rain down on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, as we continue to support violent regimes in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and elsewhere by buying oil that we then burn and dump into the atmosphere, precipitously heating the planet, and amid a crucial presidential election, we should ask ourselves what we’re really celebrating with our bottle rockets and sparklers.

— Roy Scranton: ‘Star Wars’ and the fantasy of American violence

Video Clip

At around 11:05 PM Pacific Time (Sunday, May 22nd on the Left Coast; Monday, May 23rd in Asia), President Barack Obama is scheduled to hold a press conference with President Quang of Vietnam at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam. The press conference will be livestreamed and may be watched using the player above.

Aside

Must-see TV: Cubans marvel at rare questioning of Raul Castro

Yesterday, in a historic first, President Barack Obama held a joint news conference in Havana with Cuba’s Raul Castro, where they not only delivered statements to the press, but took questions — something Castro is not used to doing.

It made for a media event that was awkward and testy at times.

Reporting on the news conference, the Associated Press focused on the reaction of the Cuban people, beginning its writeup with these words: “Cubans were glued to their televisions on Monday, many watching in a state of shock as President Raul Castro faced tough questions from American journalists who challenged him to defend Cuba’s record on human rights and political prisoners.”

Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere, meanwhile, offered a more thorough recounting of what happened at the news conference, adding useful context.

PBS has posted the video of the news conference for on-demand viewing.

Lastly, The Huffington Post has a roundup of how the state-controlled Cuban mass media is covering President Obama’s visit to Cuba.

Recommended Link

Saudi Arabia breaks off ties with Iran after al-Nimr execution

Relations between Saudia Arabia and Iran deteriorated rapidly this weekend after Saudia Arabia executed a prominent Shia cleric, and angry Iranians stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in retaliation. Saudia Arabia said it was severing ties with Iran and expelling all Iranian diplomats from its territory.

Quotation

Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes… It’s all a charade. The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path. There are wars today everywhere, and hate. We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognise the path to peace. To weep for those who live for war, and have the cynicism to deny it.

— Pope Francis: Christmas festivities ‘a charade’ with world at war

Quotation

For instance, if there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably going to put your children out of the way… It doesn’t mean that you hate all dogs by any stretch of the imagination, but you’re putting your intellect into motion.

The fearmongering continues: Ben Carson likens some refugees to ‘mad dogs’ (via The Washington Post).

Quotation

We are not a nation that delivers children back into the hands of ISIS murderers because some politician doesn’t like their religion… and we are not a nation that backs down out of fear.

— Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, delivering a stinging critique of efforts to reject Syrian refugees (via The Huffington Post).

Recommended Link

UN and Red Cross scold world leaders over ‘conflict paralysis’

“The heads of the UN and Red Cross have issued a rare joint rebuke to world leaders, accusing them of ‘disturbing paralysis’ in the face of conflict,” the BBC reports.

Quotation

The questions are increasingly badgering, I would even say increasingly vicious… It seems to me that really, the majority simply wish to wear you down. It is clear that they are trying to attack you personally.

— U.S. Representative Adam Smith, of Washington’s 9th District (The Washington Post: GOP lands no clear punches while sparring with Clinton over Benghazi).

Aside

White House: President Obama has phoned Justin Trudeau to offer his congratulations

President Barack Obama phoned Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau today to congratulate him on his astonishing victory in the 2015 Canadian federal elections, the White House has announced, providing the following readout:

Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Minister-Designate Justin Trudeau of Canada

The President spoke by phone today with Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau of Canada to congratulate him on the Liberal Party’s victory in the October 19 elections. The two leaders agreed on the importance of deepening the already strong United States-Canada relationship and committed to strengthening the countries’ joint efforts to promote trade, combat terrorism, and mitigate climate change. In particular, they noted the successful conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and the need to move forward with implementing the high standards of the agreement, which promises to boost economic growth and support good-paying jobs on both sides of the border. They committed to work together to achieve an ambitious and durable global climate agreement in Paris in December. The President wished the Prime Minister-Designate well and noted that he looks forward to meeting with him in the near future.

Trudeau’s victory is a cause for celebration for the Obama administration, which has had a cool relationship with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Obama will now assuredly have a new and better partner north of the border for his final year and a quarter in office — and someone at the head of a majority in Parliament to boot. Trudeau supports construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but has vowed not to allow U.S.-Canadian relations to sour based on differences over that project.

Recommended Link

China’s Xi can’t compete with ‘rock star’ pope in U.S. trip

Writing for Bloomberg News, Andrew Davis and John Follain explain why Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States has been overshadowed by that of Pope Francis. Each man is a world leader with over a billion constituents.

Quotation

While it seems almost everyone is in thrall to the visiting pontiff, many in the Republican base dislike much of what he has to say: climate change and poverty deniers reject his encyclical on degrading the planet or his call to help the poor; hawks can’t abide papal advice to make love, not war; immigration hardliners find him too soft, the list goes on.

— Political columnist Margaret Carlson: Republicans will tune out half of what Pope Francis says (via Bloomberg View).

Chat Transcript

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell: JCPOA with Iran is “a good deal”

From the September 6th, 2015 episode of NBC’s Meet the Press….

NBC’S CHUCK TODD: General Powell, welcome back to Meet the Press.

COLIN POWELL: Good morning, Chuck, good to be back.

NBC’S CHUCK TODD: Appearance number thirty-three, let’s start right with Iran. Is this a good deal?

COLIN POWELL: I think it is a good deal.

I studied very carefully the outline of the deal and what’s in that deal. And I’ve also carefully looked at the opposition to the deal. And my judgment, after balancing those two sets of information is that it’s a pretty good deal.

(Transcript excerpt courtesy of NBC News)

Recommended Link

Stakes too high to delay action on Iran nuclear deal

Writing for The Seattle Times, Northwest Progressive Institute Vice President-Secretary and 36th District State Representative Gael Tarleton explains why we need to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Quotation

Our country doesn’t need another Joe Lieberman in the Senate, and it certainly doesn’t need him as Democratic leader.

— MoveOn Political Action Director Ilya Sherman, accosting New York Senator Chuck Schumer after he announced his opposition to the agreement with Iran negotiated by President Obama (via The Hill).