25 July 2015   Leave a comment

US President Obama visited Kenya today, and delivered a very straightforward defense of LGBT rights in a country where homosexuality is a crime.  According to the Los Angeles Times:

“I’m not equivocal on this. If somebody is a law-abiding citizen who’s going about their business or working in a job and obeying the traffic signs and doing all of the other things that good citizens are supposed to do and not harming anybody, the idea that they’re going to be abused because of who they love is just wrong,” Obama said.

“As an African American in the U.S., I am painfully aware of what happens when people are treated differently under the law.”

Kenyan President Kenyatta labelled the matter a “non-issue.”  The difference in views is clearcut.  As a committed liberal, Obama believes that all individuals are endowed with certain rights while Kenyatta believes that culture and history can be applied to the interpretation of those rights.  It is too bad that the media decided not to report on the substantive nature of the difference.

The US campaign against the Islamic State is complicated by both its enemies and its allies.  Although both sides are unwilling to acknowledge that they are cooperating, the US and Iran have been working together to attack Islamic State forces.  And recently, Turkey announced that it would start bombing Islamic States sites in Syria–a welcome change of policy to the US.  But the Turks are also starting to bomb Kurdish sites even though the Kurds have proven to be the US’s most reliable ground allies in the fight against the Islamic State.  None of these activities are strategically consistent, and it is hard to determine how things will fall out.

The New Development Bank, comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, has joined with the new Asia Infrastructural Investment Bank which was pioneered by China.  The two new banks have been set up to offer alternatives to the financial institutions set up under the Bretton Woods system, primarily the IMF.  The old banks have long operated under the primary influence of the US and Europe and there is deep sentiment that those banks do not represent the interests of emerging economies very well.  The new banks are clearly ambitious and face formidable challenges, but one can only hope that they can shake up the world of international development economics.


Posted July 25, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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