U.S., IRAQ, AND THE REST OF THE WORLD
On Monday, August 26, Vice President Cheney stated in a somber speech that a strike against Iraq would be advisable sooner rather than later. He pointed out that “the risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action,” and accused those who disagree of “wishful thinking or willful blindness.”
The rest of the world was quick to condemn what USA Today described as, “the rising rhetoric from Vice President Dick Cheney.”
On Wednesday, August 28, America’s allies in the Arab world opposed an attack on Iraq. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt warned that Arab leaders would not be able to contain outrage in the street in such an event. Saudi Arabia joined Mubarak in reiterating opposition to a U.S. attack. King Abdullah II of Jordan had already stated earlier this month that he rejected U.S. war threats against Iraq.
In addition, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the United States on Wednesday to resist attacking Iraq.
The present position of the German government under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder against an attack on Iraq is well known. Mr. Schroeder reiterated on Wednesday that “Germany wouldn’t take part in an attack — at least not under my leadership.” While Mr. Schroeder had called an attack on Iraq “an adventure,” Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called it “a mistake.” He added that we need to tell the United States that they are going the wrong way.
While the Chancellor-Candidate of the CDU/CSU, Edmund Stoiber, had — until recently — vouched support for the USA, he surprised the world this Wednesday by stating that, at this time, he and his party would be unable to support and participate in an attack on Iraq. Earlier this week, Canada had likewise refused to give any support to the United States.
In a perhaps all-too-common indecisive fashion of political duplicity, the British government has repeatedly said it is too early to make a decision about whether to participate in such an attack. On Wednesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair said on condition of anonymity that Britain has “100% agreed with the U.S. that you have to deal with the issue of weapons of mass destruction.” He added, however, according to USA Today, that “equally, there is a route for Saddam to resolve the issue by giving unfettered access to U.N. inspectors and for him to comply with U.N. sanctions.”
This, however, would not satisfy the Bush administration, as it has been President Bush’s declared goal to see Saddam deposed.
Are we beginning to see, in these political maneuverings, the formation of alliances against the United States, Israel and possibly Great Britain? If we do, we can be certain that the day of Christ’s return is much sooner than many would like to think.
“U.S. STEEL FIRMS LOSE ANOTHER IMPORTANT BATTLE”
With this headline, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, August 28, that the U.S. steel industry suffered its second trade setback as a government panel ruled against imposing anti-dumping duties on cold-rolled steel from five countries (Japan, Australia, India, Sweden, and Thailand). The other defeat occurred one week earlier, when the Commerce Department and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office decided to substantially increase the number of imported steel products that are exempt from the tariffs that President Bush imposed in March. This means that nearly a quarter of all steel imports can now enter the United States under normal rules.
While many big U.S. steel companies reacted harshly to the decisions, the European Union and Japan were pleased by the move. Although they vowed to continue pursuing complaints against the tariffs at the World Trade Organization, their praise for the exclusions indicated that they are no longer likely to follow through on threats to retaliate immediately by slapping punitive duties on U.S. exports, according to the Washington Post.
Analyzing what has just occurred, it seems obvious that the United States has given in to pressures from foreign countries. They have thereby set a signal, which might backfire in the long run.
WEST NILE VIRUS IN EUROPE
Bild Online reported on Wednesday that the West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and which has killed so far at least 22 people in the United States, is not uncommon in parts of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. At least one expert has now warned that Germany is not immune from this disease as well, especially since the flooding has left ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The paper continued that the danger is real, and that we don’t know of any medications or immunizations against the disease.
The disease is primarily transmitted by a mosquito of the type “Culex pipens,” which predominantly bites birds. However, recently infected mosquitoes have been found which belong to the type “Aedes albopictus.” This type is known to especially bite humans.
The Bible warns of old and new diseases which will plague mankind. The West Nile virus would most certainly fall into that category.