A report in the British newspaper, the Guardian, for November 1 examined the plight of 17 members of a dissident ethnic Chinese group who have been incarcerated at the U.S. detention facility inside Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba for almost seven years. The men are members of the Uyghur ethnic group — Turkic-speaking Muslims who are seeking political autonomy from China.
On October 17, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) hosted a "Symposium on International Law and Justice" featuring actress Angelina Jolie, a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and co-chair, with her husband, actor Brad Pitt, of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation. According to the CFR website, the symposium "was made possible through the generous support of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation."
Hosting the White House Summit on International Development on October 21, President George W. Bush called on Americans to continue funding foreign-aid programs, saying it would be "a serious mistake" to cut back due to the current economic crisis. He also boasted that his administration has dramatically increased foreign aid.
The defense lawyer for notorious Russian arms merchant Viktor Bout argued in a court in Bangkok, Thailand, on October 10 that his client would not receive a fair trial if extradited to the United States. Bout, known as the "Merchant of Death" for providing massive shipments of arms to some of the world's bloodiest dictators, warlords, revolutionary groups, and terrorists, was arrested in Thailand by Thai police on March 6 in an elaborate sting operation carried out by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was welcomed to Philadelphia as the conquering hero on September 18 to receive America's Liberty Medal. Former President George H. W. Bush presented the medal to Gorbachev at a star-studded ceremony at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Historic Philadelphia, next to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
In the remote Caucasus, the Georgian crisis drags on, with Georgia's President Saakashvili, emboldened by Western support, continuing to goad the Russian bear.
The U.S. Constitution assigns the power to declare war to Congress. The North Atlantic Treaty issued by the United States and other founding members of NATO in 1949 states that an attack on any member of the military alliance must be viewed as an attack on all of the members. By becoming a party to NATO, our government subverted the congressional war power, for now an attack on any one of a group of nations would pull the United States into a war with or without a congressional declaration.
“Henry Kissinger instructed the CIA to continue diplomatic contacts with Yassir Arafat's PLO representatives before the 1973 Yom Kippur War, even after Arafat ordered the kidnapping and murder of the American ambassador and his deputy in Khartoum, Sudan.” So reported the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, on September 1, 2008.
Russia’s recent war with Georgia and the ensuing military occupation, which shows every sign of permanency, is a reminder of the folly of committing America to entangling alliances in areas of the world that are none of our concern. Both Georgia and the Ukraine, former Soviet republics, have been agitating for admittance into NATO, and although NATO denied them in March of this year, it has promised them membership at an unspecified future date, much to Moscow’s consternation.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. government has given Pakistan more than $10 billion in military aid to fight terrorism, despite the fact that the country has been a military dictatorship under U.S.-backed Pervez Musharraf, who now serves as president in a coalition government.