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  William Vocke    Special to The China Post
“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.
The G-8 summit held June 17-18 has reconfirmed strong commitment by member nations to expanded cooperation. The conference also symbolizes the remarkable progress toward stable peace in Northern Ireland, which hosted the gathering.
China, more strikingly than most nations, presents contrasting images to the world. Both are highlighted in recent news. The nation's rapidly expanding strategic military capabilities are ominous. Maritime disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other nations punctuate such concern.
After three years of delay, the military trial of U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning for stealing and supplying to WikiLeaks masses of classified documents has finally begun. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange once boasted his mission was to “crushing bastards,” and that he enjoyed the work.
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