Opinion | The World Grows More Dangerous by the Day – By François Delattre – The New York Times

By François Delattre

Mr. Delattre is France’s ambassador to the United Nations.

François Delattre speaking at an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria at the U.N. headquarters in New York, last year.CreditEduardo Munoz/Reuters

“My experience at the United Nations Security Council over the last five years has led me to see a harsh truth: The world is growing more dangerous and less predictable by the day. While the tectonic plates of power are shifting under our feet, driven in no small part by the combined effects of a technology revolution and the rise of China, we are also witnessing the return of heightened competition among the major powers.

We are now in a new world disorder. The three main safety mechanisms are no longer functioning: no more American power willing to be the last-resort enforcer of international order; no solid system of international governance; and, most troubling, no real concert of nations able to re-establish common ground.

As I prepare to return to Paris after almost 20 years as a diplomat in North America, nearly half of them serving consecutively as France’s ambassador to the United States and to the United Nations, I feel the need to share these personal conclusions. The situation today is objectively dangerous. Each serious international crisis has the potential to spin out of control. That is what we saw happen in Syria and what we need to prevent with Iran and North Korea, and in the South China Sea.

In the absence of a functioning multilateral system, the world tends to devolve into spheres of influence; that leads of confrontation, as European history has shown too many times. The risk is even greater when geopolitical divides are superimposed on the technological battle between American- and Chinese-led digital worlds.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Fracois Delattre.

How long until Trump leaves

Time until trump leaves office. 590. days. : 02. hours. : 59. minutes. : 54. seconds. 

How long has Trumpbeen President? 870. days.

Opinion | The World’s Malnourished Kids Don’t Need a $295 Burger – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

Nicholas Kristof

By Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

A child at the Casa Jackson Hospital for Malnourished Children, in Antigua, Guatemala.CreditDaniele Volpe for The New York Times

“ANTIGUA, Guatemala — Raúl is a happy preschooler, tumbling around among 4- and 5-year-olds, but something is off.

It’s not his behavior, for it’s the same as that of the other little kids. Rather, it’s his face. The baby fat is gone, and although he’s only 3 feet 5 inches tall, the height of an average 5-year-old, an older face seems grafted on.

Sure enough, Raúl turns out to be 9. Malnutrition has left his body and mind badly stunted. He’s one of almost one-quarter of all children worldwide who are stunted from malnutrition.

Here in Guatemala, almost half of children are stunted. In some Mayan villages, it’s 70 percent.

In another world, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the restaurant Serendipity 3 offers a $295 hamburger. Alternatively, it sells a $214 grilled cheese sandwich and a $1,000 sundae.”

 

David Lindsay: Thank you Nicholas Kristoff.

I would like to see more foreign aid that connects food, education and family planning.
Sustainablity studies suggest we need negative population growth for our own survival.

Here is a comment I liked:

cherrylog754
Atlanta,GA

Many years ago, at the supper table, my Dad would remind us kids to only take what we could eat, and don’t leave anything on your plate when finished. And then it was, did you now right now there are millions in the world starving. That was in the 50’s. Mom and Dad were struck by the poverty of Native Americans when traveling out west during their retirement. So every year they made a strong donation to a reservation school for native children. Never stopped. Today our family follows the tradition of giving annually to charity or  other non-profit of our choice. My wife and I choose Doctors Without Borders and the Environmental Defense Fund. Thank you Nick, it’s individuals like you that reminds us of those in need. The sadness of it though is our Government is too busy yelling at one another about petty stuff, while the children suffer.

1 Reply156 Recommended

Opinion | Hong Kong and the Future of Freedom – By Bret Stephens – The New York Times

Bret Stephens

By Bret Stephens

Opinion Columnist

Protesters faced off against the police in Hong Kong on Wednesday.CreditDale De La Rey/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Imagine if in 2018 the Trump administration had proposed legislation that would allow the government, on nearly any pretext, to detain, try and imprison Americans accused of wrongdoing at secretive black sites scattered across the country.

Imagine, further, that 43 million Americans had risen in protest, only to be met by tear gas and rubber bullets while Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan rushed the bill through a pliant Congress. Finally, imagine that there was no effective judiciary ready to stop the bill and uphold the Constitution.

That, approximately, is what’s happening this week in Hong Kong.

An estimated one million people — nearly one in seven city residents — have taken to the streets to protest legislation that would allow local officials to arrest and extradite to the mainland any person accused of one of 37 types of crime. Political offenses are, in theory, excluded from the list, but nobody is fooled: Contriving criminal charges against political opponents is child’s play for Beijing, which can then make its victims disappear indefinitely until they are brought to heel.

In 2015, mainland authorities abducted five Hong Kong booksellersknown for selling politically sensitive titles and held them in solitary confinement for months until they pleaded guilty to various offenses. In 2017 Chinese billionaire Xiao Jianhua was abducted by Chinese authorities from the Four Seasons in Hong Kong. He hasn’t been seen publicly since, while his company is being stripped of its holdings.”

Opinion | My Father- Out to Sea – By Jaed Coffin – The New York Times

By Jaed Coffin

Mr. Coffin is a writer.

CreditIleana Soon

“For as long as I can remember, my father’s favorite expression has always been “out to sea.” As in, “Well, I used to see that guy around, but then he got divorced, quit his job, and he just went out to sea.” Like many of my father’s expressions, “out to sea” is based on a vague and maybe misunderstood historical allusion; in this case, to the original men of Nantucket, who, my father claims, are my direct male ancestors. These brave souls would regularly leave their families for years on end, to slaughter sperm whales in distant oceans thousands of miles from home. “That’s just how it was back then,” my father often told me, in a whimsical tone laced with longing and nostalgia. “The men in our family, they just went out to sea.”

I’ve never been to Nantucket, and, raised by my single Thai mother, have never had much interest in my father’s heritage. But as a boy, something about my father’s use of the expression “out to sea” always intrigued me. For my father, going “out to sea” carried a mystical connotation, charged with rebellion and renunciation. Men (always men) seemed to reach a point in their lives when the burdens of domestic life — spouse, kids, job, community, whatever — grew too heavy, and the only path to spiritual freedom required that we drift into the mists of existence, never to be seen again.

We make strange heroes out of those who go “out to sea”: Don Draper is one of the newest members of the club. Jack Nicholson’s character in “Five Easy Pieces” (one of my father’s favorite movies), who abandons his girlfriend at a gas station by hitching a ride to Alaska in a logging truck, definitely belongs, too. Even Siddhartha Gautama, auspicious figure of my faith, who left behind his newborn son “Rahula” (Pali for “shackle”) for a life of meditation in the forest, might be the most famous man to ever go “out to sea.” How can I argue with the Buddha?

But my affection for men who go “out to sea” gets complicated when I locate it within the context of my relationship with my father, who met my mother on a military base during the Vietnam War. After the war, my parents came back to the United States, to New England, to start a family. Shortly after I was born, my father got involved with another woman, an American woman, wandered around for a few years, then moved in with her and her five children in Vermont. This left my mother, who worked the night shift as a psychiatric nurse at the local hospital, to raise my older sister and me on her own back in Maine. Throughout my boyhood, it never occurred to me how carefully my mother — who’d been raised in a stilt house, in a dusty village in Central Thailand — had to both scrutinize and adopt the strange customs of New England culture, how learning to navigate these foreign waters became, by necessity, the great project of her adult life.”

Buttigieg Outlines Foreign Policy Views, Urging End to ‘Endless War’ – The New York Times

“Pete Buttigieg lashed into President Trump on Tuesday for conducting foreign policy by tantrum and by tweet, as he called for the United States to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, cease the “endless war” in Afghanistan and meet “the clear and present threat” of climate change.

Outlining his foreign policy views as a 2020 Democratic candidate, Mr. Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., repeatedly invoked the America of 2054 — when he would be Mr. Trump’s age, 72 — in a speech that shared his broad campaign message of generational change.

It seemed aimed at quieting any voters’ qualms about whether he had the experience and maturity to serve as commander in chief, or running the show in the Situation Room, in a race featuring candidates with far more foreign policy experience.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. served eight years as vice president. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. And Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has long honed an anti-interventionist message based on his opposition to the Iraq War and to the current war in Yemen.”

How ISIS Is Rising in the Philippines as It Dwindles in the Middle East – The New York Times

“BASILAN, the Philippines — Across the islands of the southern Philippines, the black flag of the Islamic State is flying over what the group considers its East Asia province.

Men in the jungle, two oceans away from the arid birthplace of the Islamic State, are taking the terrorist brand name into new battles.

As worshipers gathered in January for Sunday Mass at a Catholic cathedral, two bombs ripped through the church compound, killing 23 people. The Islamic State claimed a pair of its suicide bombers had caused the carnage.

An illustration circulated days later on Islamic State chat groups, showing President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines kneeling on a pile of skulls and a militant standing over him with a dagger. The caption on the picture sounded a warning: “The fighting has just begun.” “

DL: I heard a report on NPR today, 6/13/19, on the devastation of Marawi, which is mentioned further in this news story.

Marawi, after ISIS take over, and then battle to drive them out.

Opinion | Republicans for Redistribution – By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

David Leonhardt

By David Leonhardt

Opinion Columnist

CreditL.E. Baskow/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

 

“”On economic policy, Democrats are unified and Republicans are divided.”

That’s one of the summary points from a fascinating new poll by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a political science research group.

The poll shows that Democrats hold consistent views on economic policy across income groups. Both affluent and lower-income Democrats, for example, overwhelmingly favor a higher minimum wage, higher taxes on the rich and paid family leave.

Republicans are different. High-income Republicans tend to oppose these progressive economic policies. But most lower-income Republicans support them.

“About 19 percent of Republicans held economic policy positions closer to the average Democrat than the average Republican, placing them on the ‘economic left,’” write Lee Drutman, Vanessa Williamson and Felicia Wong, in their summary of the poll.”

Opinion | Is Climate Change Inconvenient or Existential? Only Supercomputers Can Do the Math – By Sabine Hossenfelder – The New York Times

“Earth is warming, and we know why. Light is reflected and absorbed by clouds, air, oceans, ice and land. Greenhouse gases are released and adsorbed by organic and inorganic sources. Both exchanges depend on a variety of factors such as temperature, ocean acidity, the amount of vegetation and — yes — the burning of fossil fuels.

What’s less clear is what climate change means for our future. “It’s not like this is string theory,” said Timothy Palmer, professor of climate physics at the University of Oxford. “We know the equations.” But we don’t know how to solve them. The many factors that affect the climate interact with one another and give rise to interconnected feedback cycles. The mathematics is so complex, the only way scientists know to handle it is by feeding the problem into computers, which then approximately solve the equations.

The International Panel for Climate Change based its latest full report, in 2014, on predictions from about two dozen such computer models. These models were independently developed by institutions in multiple countries. While similar in methodology, the models arrive at somewhat different long-term predictions. They all agree that Earth will continue to warm, but disagree on how much and how quickly.”

Opinion | Connect the Dots to See Where Trump’s Taking Us – by Thomas Friedman – The New York Times

“Some of the colds can even get colder, as when a weakened polar vortex, which normally keeps cold air trapped in the Arctic, allows more frigid polar air to push southward into the U.S. At the same time, the hurricanes that are fueled by warmer ocean temperatures get more violent.

That’s why you’re seeing weird weather extremes in all directions. So, The Washington Post reported that in Montana: “On March 3, the low temperature tanked to a bone-chilling minus-32 in Great Falls. Combined with a high of minus-8, the day finished a whopping 50 degrees below normal.” At the time, the city was in its longest stretch below freezing on record.

Temperatures in Great Falls, Mont., did not rise above freezing for 32 consecutive days between February and March.CreditRion Sanders/Great Falls Tribune

But then The Post reported that on May 11 in a town “near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean in northwest Russia, the temperature surged to 84 degrees Fahrenheit” — in May! Near the Arctic! And this happened at the same time that “the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history.” “

David Lindsay: Most Scientists agree that we need to limit our carbon emmissions to no more than 350 parts per million. That is why Bill McKibben calls his organization 350.org.

Opinion | This Teenager Knows a Secret to Slowing Guatemalan Migration – by Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

“HUEHUETENANGO, Guatemala — When Lesly Cano Gómez was 15, she wrote out her plan to migrate to America.

“My dream is to go to the United States,” she wrote, followed by three discussion sections: “How Am I Going to Pay for It,” “Who’s Going to Take Me” and “Who’s Going to Meet Me When I Get to the United States.”

There were extensive family talks about the trip, which Cano Gómez would have undertaken with her cousin, Enilda, who is four years younger than her.

“There wasn’t anything here,” Cano Gómez explained. “That’s why I wanted to migrate.”

She knew that along the way she could be murdered or trafficked to a brothel, or else die of thirst in the desert. “But I felt I needed to go,” she added. “The people I went to school with had migrated, a ton of them.”

Yet today, four years later, Cano Gómez is still here in her village of Chichalum in the rugged Huehuetenango district. She now has a reason to stay — and therein lies a message for President Trump.”

x

David Lindsay: Bravo Saint Nicholas. Here are two comments I endorsed.

Sun
Houston
Times Pick

Guatemalans actually really like Guatemala. I’m American, born and “white-bread”, but I do too. There is much to admire about the country and the culture. Migration to the US requires deep concerns about the current state of Guatemala and a sincere desire to seek a better life and more opportunities for their children. Trust me, if things were okay in Guatemala, they wouldn’t be hiring coyotes to come here.

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Barb M commented June 9

Barb M
Times Pick

I am part of a group that has provided scholarships to Salvadoran youth to help them stay in school. Ten years ago we were helping them go beyond 6th grade. Now we are helping some of them complete university. This has given the children of this village hope and very few of them have emigrated to the US. Instead they celebrate each graduation and count the number of professionals in the village.

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