President Barack Obama scored major political points for the successful rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from his Somali pirate captors. Media headlines hailed his “decisive leadership” in his baptism under fire. However, scuttlebutt from the Navy community claims that the rescue succeeded in spite of Obama’s indecisiveness and interference, not because of his leadership. A harsh critique of the standoff by an anonymous Navy veteran that is circulating widely claims that Team Obama attempted to micromanage the situation, overruling the on-scene commander (OSC) and imposing ridiculous Rules Of Engagement (ROE) that repeatedly prevented the Navy SEAL shooters from taking out the pirates.
Speaking to reporters while standing alongside Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City on April 16, President Barack Obama said he would push the U.S. Senate to ratify a treaty called the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials. The convention, known by Spanish acronym CIFTA, was by inter-American countries including the United States in 1997 and then submitted the following year to the U.S. Senate for ratification. Like all treaties, it would require a two-thirds majority (67 votes) in the upper house to secure ratification.
Is there another alternative to paying tribute to Somali pirates, other than sending a huge naval expedition force to route the pirates out of their lairs? Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) believes the Constitution’s long-neglected “marque and reprisal” provision may offer a viable option. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states: “The Congress shall have power … To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas,… To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.”
The White House announced on April 13 that the Obama administration will ease U.S. restrictions on dealings with Cuba, including allowing unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba. The news had been leaked earlier in the day by a senior administration official, who told news agencies such as the Associated Press and AFP on condition of anonymity, "Restrictions on the families will be lifted." A formal announcement was made at the White House in the afternoon, during presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs' daily briefing with reporters.