What others think around the U.S., world
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:
Americans have been laboring under the delusion that we had to travel halfway around the world to find a gaggle of dangerous nut cases. Who knew we could have hung out in the western hemisphere and found all we wanted just across the Gulf of Mexico in Venezuela?
Things are going badly in that workers’ paradise. Inflation is rocking along at 45 percent. So what do the leaders of that fair nation do? In that grim state of affairs with an election looming on the horizon, they kick out three American diplomats, including Charge D’Affaires Kelly Keiderling, the top diplomat in the absence of an ambassador.
President Nicolas Maduro assured himself of a nomination for an Oscar in the “Most Worn Cliché of the Year” category in announcing the expulsion. “Yankees go home,” he said in English.
Maduro accused the Americans of conspiring with the “extreme right” and attempting to sabotage the country’s power grid. Really? The Obama administration engaged in the necessary waste of time defending its diplomats and denying that it threw squirrels into substation equipment or whatever means of sabotage it was supposed to have used. There is likely little Obama can or should do with the oil rich country that seems to have made tweaking Uncle Sam’s nose its national ambition. He can hope that the Venezuelan people eventually tire of the foolishness and elect sane leadership. Until then, his best hope is to just ignore the yapping little dog next door and hope that he stays in his own yard.
The world’s largest telecommunications company, AT&T, has launched a massive public service campaign to tell people not to use its own products – not behind the wheel, anyway.
After all, this isn’t an inherently dangerous product. This is about a total misuse of phones, a relatively new phenomenon. A decade ago, who envisioned sending a text message at 70 mph on the Garden State Parkway?
Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman and chief executive, said in an interview a few years ago that someone close to him caused an accident while texting. The smartphone “is a product we sell and it’s being used inappropriately,” he told The New York Times.
And to make that clear, his company has enlisted the aid of its fiercest rivals, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, which together have spent millions on co-branded ads and public events since 2010, to warn against texting while driving.
AT&T even got the legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog to direct a series of short films on the dangers. As a result, the number of people who had sworn off texting and driving has risen from 2.5 million to more than 3 million nationwide.
It would be hard to imagine a more galling expression of ingratitude than Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s assertion in a BBC interview that NATO forces have brought only suffering and loss of life to his country, and no gains in terms of security.
Not a word from him, of course, about the 3,500 NATO soldiers who have been killed over the past 12 years, their lives sacrificed in the cause of propping up his government and defending Afghanistan against the obscurantist Taliban, or of the thousands more wounded or permanently maimed.
In specifically Australian terms, too, no word about the 40 valiant soldiers who have died or the hundreds wounded, or of the $7.5 billion that fighting there has cost our country, as well as the $1 billion in civilian funds we have provided and the $200 million a year we are now committed to giving Kabul. Instead, more invective.
Karzai owes his position entirely to the 2001 US-led invasion that expelled the Taliban from Kabul. Without the NATO coalition. it is unlikely Karzai and his corrupt regime would have survived for long. Yet six months from the end of his presidency, with the pull-out imminent, he articulates a position that will cause outrage and make many wonder about the grim sacrifices made in the cause of helping Afghanistan.