OTB Foreign Desk
Brief takes on foreign affairs
Today I’m beginning a new feature at Outside the Beltway, OTB Foreign Desk. In each edition of this recurring feature I plan to highlight some stories on foreign news or international relations, possibly a welcome departure from the seemingly neverending domestic bickering. If you have any suggestions for stories that you feel are worth highlighting, please leave them in the comments.
Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit with President Obama concluded last night with a gala state dinner at the White House. A number of contentious issues divide China and the United States: trade (and China’s currency), human rights, China’s territorial claims, intellectual property, its support for rogue regimes, e.g. North Korea, Burma, Iran. At least the pandas will remain at the National Zoo.
On his surprise return to Haiti this week, Haiti’s former dictator, Jean-Claude Baby Doc Duvalier was charged by the Haitian government with corruption an embezzlement in connection with his rule of the country presumably in hopes of getting some of the money he took with him back. Four of his former prisoners have now filed suit against him for human rights abuses.
His aides say he plans to return to power. Hasn’t the country suffered enough?
More rain is expected in Australia which will prolong the flood conditions that are afflicting some of the country’s most populated areas. A quarter of its Victoria state is already affected by the floods; large areas of Queensland are also under water.
The floods are expected to reduce Australia’s coal, wheat, and cotton production, pushing the prices of the agricultural products to new records.
Following the revolution that ousted Tunisian
dictator President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the RCD, the party that has ruled Tunisia since independence has collapsed. Some of the members of the ruling elite are now under arrest for corruption; others have left the party and are attempting to distance themselves from it.
Yesterday the Secretary-General of the Arab League warned that the Arab soul is broken by poverty and that the events that have taken place in Tunisia may be revisited on other members of the League. Nearly all of the members of the Arab League are dictatorships under one name or another and the populations in most of these countries have grown enormously over the last thirty years. An enormous proportion of their people are under twenty-five, unemployed, undereducated, and with few prospects.