“The Buck Stops Here” read a sign on Pres. Harry Truman's desk; in reacting to use of poison gas in Syria, Pres. Barack Obama is providing decidedly mixed messages. After threatening to retaliate against the Syrian regime, he suddenly asked Congress to approve the use of force.
The fresh air of freedom is pervasive in South Korea. A visit to Seoul provides direct dramatic impressions of the strength and confidence of this remarkable people. The capital city of the nation is only 50 miles from the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), within range of North Korean artillery and rockets.
'I have a dream' is how the Rev. Martin Luther King highlighted his momentous speech in Washington D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963, and that phrase resonates strongly. His address was the centerpiece of the historic March on Washington, which involved over 200,000 people. In June 1963, Pres. John F. Kennedy had addressed the nation, underscoring the importance of his administration's proposed civil rights legislation.
“We're going to have to make some choices, as a society,” was President Barack Obama's sensible initial reaction in early June to the revelations of pervasive electronic surveillance of Americans and others by the top secret National Security Agency (NSA). He added that we cannot realistically have 100-percent security and 100-percent privacy, plus “zero inconvenience.”
“Fundamental freedoms apply online just as they do offline,” declared the United States Embassy in Vietnam on Aug. 6, in response to an announcement from Hanoi that Internet communications must focus on sharing personal information, and not expression of views on politics or policies. The new policy formally takes effect in September.
“I speak ... in a spirit of hope,” said President John F. Kennedy, beginning a policy address to the U.S. on July 26, 1963. He went on to describe a major breakthrough in the Cold War. The new Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union would prohibit nuclear explosions in the atmosphere.
“Such a present ... Merry Christmas.”
“To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war,” said Winston Churchill in 1954, supporting the principle of nations negotiating. Government leaders in Europe and the United States clearly agree with the wisdom of Churchill, for trans-Atlantic trade negotiations commenced on schedule on July 8.
This year, U.S. Independence Day, July 4, immediately follows the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. That enormous death struggle in the U.S. Civil War at a small Pennsylvania town occurred from July 1 to July 3 in 1863.
On June 25, insurgents in Afghanistan detonated a car bomb and fought security forces in front of the presidential palace. The area is the most heavily guarded in the country. Penetrating the enormous security apparatus is a major success, but spectacular attacks of various types are nothing new in this long-term insurgency.