On April 30, Captain Richard Phillips, the heroic skipper of the pirated Maersk Alabama, told U.S. senators that “hardening” commercial shipping vessels, arming senior crew members of commercial ships, and employing armed military or private security details should be among the top policy options considered to combat the increasing wave of piracy in the troubled Horn of Africa region, and elsewhere on the high seas.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met at the White House with President Barack Obama on May 7 and also met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, before going on to meetings in New York where Russia will hold the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of May.
President Barack Obama met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on May 6, in what has been described as an attempt by the U.S. president to forge greater cooperation amongst America’s allies in the war against al-Qaeda terrorists.
“Senate Should Move Quickly to Join Convention on Law of the Sea,” says the heading of a May 4 press release from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). As noted here in April, it was to be expected that the usual lobbyists for world government would exploit the recent increase in Somali pirate activity to push for Senate ratification of the UN Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). And, as we pointed out here and here in February, the campaign to provide the United Nations with vast new legislative, judicial, and executive powers — including the power to tax all earthlings, Americans not excepted — is being led by the CFR, which has been in the forefront of this and other “global governance” power grabs.
After a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon last month, Barack Obama announced his support for the “Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms” treaty, also known by its Spanish acronym CIFTA. The gun-control treaty was signed in 1997 by former President Bill Clinton, but was not ratified by the Senate as required by the Constitution.
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.