Last week: We confirmed that the United States has no credible foreign policy in the Middle East. In addition, we send Secretary of State John Kerry as a supplicant to Europe, rather than taking immediate forceful action in the United Nations to see whether a diplomatic solution in Syria is possible, forcing Moscow’s hand. Have we abandoned our efforts to aid the resistance in Syria? Because of our indecision, they were immediately subjected to increased air strikes. Syria has been emboldened by our inaction and indecisiveness. Those are the real threats to our national security and our worldwide credibility.
Looking ahead: Whether we get lucky and stumble into a diplomatic solution in Syria.
Last week: For me, and my generation, July 27th, 1953 marked the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. Often called the forgotten war. To those of us who served in Korea it will never be forgotten. I served there in the Marine Corps after the end of the open hostilities and we were the last marines to be pulled from the peninsular. Sixty years later South Korea is a vibrant, democratic, prosperous country with free people, as contrasted to North Korea and its Communist Dictatorship. This country can be proud of the role we played then and we should stop and remember those who served, some making the ultimate sacrifice. Having said that I am extremely concerned that we as a nation, are increasingly losing our position of leadership in the International affairs. This is a trend that must be reversed! Semper Fi.
Looking ahead: As I have said before we must continue to ask questions concerning Benghazi; the IRS targeting legitimate groups wishing to exercise their First Amendment rights; the balance between privacy and our national security; and the role the US should play in the resolution of the conflict in Egypt.
Last week: Clearly the Zimmerman verdict was the top news story as far as Florida was concerned. Unfortunately there are those who are not willing to accept the jury’s decision. From my perspective, having practiced law as a trial lawyer for over 30 years, we should respect the decision and move on to constructive dialogue as to how we can improve relationships with all segments of our society. We see events such as this used by some to further tensions with resultant adverse consequences. To those, I say, let’s work to bring us together and not drive us apart!
Looking ahead: We should all be watching events in Russia regarding whether Snowden will be returned to the U.S. or granted asylum. More importantly, we need to see affirmative congressional action — or investigation — into the underlying issue of our natural security interests. Secondly we should all be watching the events unfold in Egypt. It is becoming increasingly apparent that we have decreasing influence in a country that has the potential of becoming a stabilizing force in the region
Last week: In June I wrote “Americans need to insure there is a constitutional balance between National Security and Privacy”, since then on almost a daily basis there have been additional revelations about the extent of programs exposed by the “Fugitive Leaker” both in terms of volume as well as scope. We now have traditional allies, who have been impacted, openly criticizing the program; statements by members of the Intelligence Committee in both the Senate and the House acknowledging that they were unaware of the magnitude of the program and statements by at least one judge with knowledge of the procedures of the court charged with the responsibility of reviewing surveillance applications saying in essence that true oversight is lacking. TAKEN TOGETHER ALL OF THE ABOVE IS TROUBLING! On the other hand, having served over 13 years in the military both on active duty and in the active reserve, I believe in a strong and aggressive National Defense. It appears however this may be another instance of programmatic creep without the necessary checks, balances, oversight and transparency required by our Constitution and laws. Our elected officials should insure themselves, either in public or confidential hearings, that there is a proper balance between national security and privacy.
Looking ahead: Clearly next week the world will be watching as events unfold in Egypt. Hopefully a true Democratic Government (unlike the last one) with all factions represented will emerge.
Looking ahead: "On the domestic front, clearly the stock market downturn was the biggest news. The comments by the Feds chair were premature in face of continued high unemployment and what at best is a weak economic recovery. Having said that, no one should have been surprised that at some point the Fed would begin to curtail its monetary stimulus program, with the ultimate goal of ceasing it entirely. This coupled with continued concerns over China’s economy has markets worldwide extremely nervous. To put this into perspective, we should remember in 2008 when the Dow Jones Industrials Average was at the mid-6,000 level and reached 15,000-plus before this present sell-off. We should be prepared for a turbulent summer.
Last week: Immigration Reform was the top news this week. As an American of Italian descent, I and my family, have been truly blessed by my grandparents bold decision to immigrate to this country in search of a better life and opportunities. We as a country need to solve the immigration issue in a way that we do not have to readdress it in five or ten years. Therefore the primary goal is to ensure the illegal immigration is stopped once and for all. Secondly, no advantage should be given to those who entered illegally over those who, like my grandparents, followed the rules and became U.S. citizens. If and when they attain status, they must meet the same criteria of those who seek citizenship legally, including the ability to communicate in English. While the Senate approved the bill, favorable action in the House will be much more problematic and will probably address some of the concerns I have discussed.
Looking ahead: We as Americans need to insure there is a constitutional balance between National Security and Privacy.
Last week’s headline: The reaction to the election of the new President of Iran.
Described as moderate and well received within Iran, particularly among younger people. Worldwide there appears to be a sense of new optimism.
I would offer two caveats: 1) He does not make ultimate decisions regarding nuclear issues, and; 2) In previous positions, he favored the development of Iran’s nuclear capability and advocated it be kept secret- a position he later acknowledged was perhaps a mistake. Therefore, on balance, I think optimism should be tempered with caution!Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun