Editorial voices from elsewhere
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:
Didn’t we fight the Civil War over whether federal law prevails over states’ rights?
Now, conservative lawmakers in several states are attempting to organize defiance of certain federal laws, beginning with gun control. Their idea is that if enough states band together, they can overwhelm Uncle Sam’s enforcement power.
A measure introduced last week in the Missouri Legislature seeks to prevent some federal gun control regulations from being enforced. State law enforcement officers who attempt to enforce the federal rules would be subject to civil and criminal penalties.
Sounding for all the world like a Confederate organizer, one Missouri senator said, “We continue to see the federal government overreach their rightful bounds, and if we can create a situation where we have some unity among states, then I think it puts us in a better position to make that argument.”
Courts have consistently ruled that states do not have the power to nullify federal laws, but that doesn’t keep the restless from trying. Open defiance is not the right path. The proper arena for this struggle is neither Fort Sumter nor the Supreme Court, but Congress. Obviously, many Americans sympathize with the objection to gun control laws, so let their elected representatives sort this out, using the procedure spelled out in the U.S. Constitution.
It has been three years since the last new case of polio was reported in India. The country can now be declared polio-free. India’s victory is an important milestone in the global effort to eliminate polio. In 2013, just 250 people were paralyzed by polio. But the viral disease remains a threat. The World Health Organization reported 359 new polio cases as of Dec. 10, 2013, up from 213 in December 2012. And the number of countries where polio is present rose to eight from four between December 2012 and December 2013, with polio spreading out of Nigeria into the Horn of Africa and from Pakistan into the Middle East. Violent conflict and distrust of vaccination programs are to blame.
Cases of polio in Pakistan, where skepticism of vaccination efforts remains after the revelation that the United States Central Intelligence Agency used a fake vaccination program in its hunt for Osama bin Laden, rose to 85 in 2013 from 58 in 2012. The WHO also reported 17 confirmed cases and 60 suspected cases of polio in 2013 in and along the borders of war-torn Syria, a country that had been free of polio for 14 years.
With eradication of polio so close, these nations need to redouble efforts to combat the disease.
In the most violent polio-affected areas, warring factions and rebel groups must be persuaded to cease hostilities long enough for health workers to reach vulnerable populations. All of these tactics will be necessary to eradicate polio in 2014 and to ensure that by 2018 this terrible virus is gone for good.
The emerging thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba is a welcome development. It is now official that both the countries are engaged in a dialogue, irrespective of whether it is low-profile or limited to peripheral issues.
Though there are several “ifs” and “buts” in the process, and the bar seems to have been set a little higher for the communist state, the positive thing is that substantial progress has been reported. Migration and human rights issues form the core of the dialogue, with trade and tourism also on the two sides’ wish list.
Though no details are available on the progress that has been made, it is widely assumed that the handshake between President Barack Obama and Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service is indicative of efforts to revamp the tangled relationship. The good thing is that the talks are taking place away from media glare, which gives them an added impetus to succeed.