Globe Trot

Globe Trot 05.25


In the Unreported News of the Week category, a Stanford University School of Medicine study found that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, saved the lives of more than 740,000 people in nine African countries between 2004 and 2008. That would be President George W. Bush's initiative. It's hard to argue with the program's impact on Africa and the results of the study, which analyzed health and survival data from more than 1.5 million adults in 27 African nations. Here's more on the underrated achievement of the Bush presidency-and the efforts since by Republicans and Democrats to gut the program.

There's a tragic side to the Greek financial crisis we're all so tired of, as a 60-year-old Greek musician and his 91-year-old mother jumped to their deaths from their fifth floor apartment, driven to despair by financial woes.

But watch the language when it comes to parsing the European debt crisis, said former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton. When G8 leaders speak of promoting growth, "they are not advocating increased private-sector activity: more investment creating new wealth by adding value to material inputs, thereby generating more jobs and growing prosperity. Quite the opposite: They want to expand already enormous government sectors through even greater public spending." These are the kinds of policies that caused the current crisis, not the means to fix it.

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In another op-ed this week, John Bolton writes that Mitt Romney will keep us safer. The longtime diplomat puts forward good analysis of where President Obama has gone wrong, but actually doesn't say much about how Romney would be different.

Despite reports of Burma's new political freedoms, hundreds of political prisoners are still behind bars and the Burmese military continues to commit atrocious human rights violations. The coalition now named "United to End Genocide," composed of watchdog groups for Sudan, Libya, and others, issued that warning this week. "No matter what the headlines proclaim, things are bad in Burma right now," said president Tom Andrews, warning against Congress lifting sanctions. Momentum is building to keep in place sanctions, which must be renewed each year under a 2003 U.S. law, despite renewed contact between Burmese and U.S. officials.

I'm watching Syria-and Lebanon. I continue to believe that the United States will regret its simplistic approach to supporting so-called "freedom fighters" and giving tacit-and evidently tactical-support to jihadists. Stratfor reports, "A struggle is under way in northern Lebanon, a Sunni stronghold. The U.S.-Saudi-Gulf Arab axis is funneling money and weaponry through Lebanon to the Syrian rebellion-primarily through Tripoli via Akkar to Homs-while Syrian forces, together with their allies in the Lebanese military and security agencies, are determined to disrupt those supply-lines." We are heading to a wider war involving Syria and Lebanon (and no Americans should want another war in Lebanon), and one that with the present trajectory could pit the Obama administration against Israel.

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