How long will Congress remain a bystander on war?

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionWASHINGTON — The first use of nuclear weapons occurred Aug. 6, 1945. The second occurred three days later.That there has not been a third is testimony to the skill and sobriety of 12 presidents and many other people, here and abroad.Today, however, North Korea’s nuclear bellicosity coincides with the incontinent tweeting, rhetorical taunts and other evidence of the frivolity and instability of the 13th president of the nuclear era. A long train of precedents tends to legitimate — although not justify — practices, and this nation has engaged in many wars since it last declared war on June 5, 1942 (when, to satisfy wartime legalities, it did so against Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania).Over many decades, Congress has become — has largely made itself — a bystander regarding war.Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., says, “If we have to go to war to stop this, we will.”By “this” does he means North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons, which it has had for 11 years? Or ICBMs, which it is rapidly developing?If so, Graham must think war is coming, because there is no reason to think that North Korea’s regime will relinquish weapons it deems essential to its single priority: survival.As Vladimir Putin says, North Korea would rather “eat grass.”U.S. actions have taught this regime the utility, indeed the indispensability, of such weapons. Would America have invaded Saddam Hussein’s Iraq if he had possessed them? Would America have participated in destroying Libya’s regime in 2011 if, soon after Saddam’s overthrow, Moammar Gadhafi had not agreed to abandon his nuclear weapons program?North Korea, says Trump, is a “situation we will handle” — “we will take care of it.”Does “we” denote deliberative and collaborative action by the legislative and executive branches?Or is “we” the royal plural from the man whose general approach to governance is, “I alone can fix it”?Trump’s foreign policy thinking (“In the old days, when you won a war, you won a war.You kept the country”; we should “bomb the shit out of [ISIS]”) is short on nuance but of Metternichian subtlety compared to his thoughts on nuclear matters: “I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”A U.S. war of choice against North Korea would not be a pre-emptive war launched to forestall an imminent attack. His almost daily descents from the previous day’s unprecedentedly bad behavior are prompting urgent thinking about the constitutional allocation of war responsibilities, and especially about authority to use U.S. nuclear weapons.Last month, for the first time in 41 years, a congressional hearing examined the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 that gives presidents sole authority.There was serious discussion of whether a particular presidential order for their use might not be “legal” — necessary, proportionate.But even if, in a crisis, time permits consulting lawyers, compliant ones will be found: President Obama’s argued that the thousands of air strikes that killed thousands and demolished Libya’s regime did not constitute “hostilities.”The exigencies of crisis management in an age of ICBMs require speed of consultations, if any, and of decisions.And the credibility of deterrence requires that adversaries know that presidents can act in minutes. Furthermore, the authority to employ nuclear weapons is, as was said at the congressional hearing, “intertwined” with the authority “to take the country to war.”So, as a practical matter, President Trump can unleash on North Korea “fire and fury” without seeking the consent of, or even consulting, Congress. This, even if North Korea has neither attacked nor seems about to attack America. Rather, it would be a preventive war supposedly justified by the fact that, given sophisticated weapons and delivery systems, imminence might be impossible to detect.The long war on the primitivism of terrorists has encouraged such thinking. A leaked 2011 memo from the Obama administration’s Justice Department argued that using force to prevent an “imminent” threat “does not require … clear evidence that a specific attack … will take place in the immediate future.”So, regarding al-Qaida, the memo said that because the government might not know of all plots and thus “cannot be confident that none is about to occur,” any leader of al-Qaida or “associated forces” can be lawfully targeted at any time, without specific knowledge of planned attacks.It would be interesting to hear the president distinguish a preventive war against North Korea from a war of aggression.The first two counts in the indictments at the 1946 Nuremberg trials concerned waging “aggressive war.”George Will is a nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post who writes from a conservative perspective.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Warning of inadequate prevention responses to HIV epidemic in the Caribbean

first_imgGEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC- A study has found that while the Caribbean has made progressing in responding to the HIV epidemic, the impact of the prevention response has been inadequate, particularly among key populations.The study also found that of concern to regional stakeholders is the annual number of new HIV infections among adults in the Caribbean declined by only 18 per cent from 2010 to 2017, from 19,000 to 15,000.“Key populations, Men who have sex with men (MSM), Sex Workers (SWs) and their clients, and partners of key populations, transgender persons, and persons who use drugs, accounted for the majority of the new HIV infections (68 per cent) during this period.”The study was commissioned by the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) Priority Areas Coordinating Committee (PACC), which is the technical group of the PANCAP Executive Board and is responsible for the coordination and overseeing the implementation of operational plans for theCaribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS (CRSF) 2014 – 2018.According to the findings of the study, new infections among children fell from an estimated 2,300 in 2010, to 1100.However, although significant progress has been made in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV, available data for the period 2015 – 2017 showed that HIV infected pregnant women receiving ART to reduce HIV transmission declined from 92% in 2014 to 79 per cent in 2015 and 75 per cent in 2016 and 2017 respectively, illustrating a significant decrease that requires investigation.More people living with HIV on treatmentThe study found that there has been progress in placing more people living with HIV on treatment, however much more needs to be done to increase the numbers and to retain people on treatment.“In fact, significant effort is required for the Caribbean to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Targets (90% of people living with HIV are aware of their infection, 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are linked to antiretroviral treatment (ART) and 90% of those on ART adhere and have undetectable levels of HIV in their blood).”The study found that the gap to achieving the first 90 of the 90–90–90 Targets in 2017 was 54,800 people living with HIV.The gap to achieving the first and second 90s of the 90–90–90 Targets in 2017 was 74,700 people living with HIV. The percentage of people living with HIV who achieved viral suppression increased from 37% in 2016 to 40% in 2017.However, the gap to achieving all three 90s at the end of 2017 was the need for an additional 103,000 people living with HIV to be on ART and be virally suppressed. Given this situation, the Caribbean is at risk of not achieving the 2020 Targets, the study concluded.Financial resources decreasingIt said that global financial resources to support the HIV epidemic have been progressively decreasing since 2011. However, domestic financing has improved during the implementation of the CRSF 2014-2018.UNAIDS 2018, noted that “domestic resources increased between 2006 – 2017 by 124 per cent, while international resources declined by 16 per cent.“As at the end of 2017, domestic resources were contributing significantly to the cost of ART and the overall treatment program.  Despite this trend, national resources to support services to achieve prevention continue to be low with the implication that the gains could be reversed if this gap is not quickly filled.”Recommendations The evaluation team proposed a number of overall recommendations for the goal as well as specific recommendations to address the gaps and challenges identified under each Strategic Priority Area. Additionally, the team proposed that the following Strategic Priority Areas should be retained in the new CRSF: An Enabling Environment, Prevention of HIV Transmission, Treatment, Care and Support, Integrate HIV into Health and Socioeconomic Development and Sustainability.The evaluation team further proposed that a new Strategic Priority Area – Strategic Information, Monitoring and Evaluation and Research, should replace Strategic Priority Area – Shared Responsibility to bring into sharper focus the importance of countries’ capacity to report on HIV data nationally, regionally and internationally, including on the CRSF indicators.It said that such emphasis would enable better reporting on, and profiling of the epidemic in the Caribbean. The main activities that fell under “Shared Responsibility” will be subsumed into the existing Strategic Priority Areas so as to ensure continuity of these initiatives in the new CRSF.In accepting the findings of the study, the PANCAP Execute Board noted the legal judgments in Caribbean courts affirming human rights arising from litigation and called on countries not to wait on litigation but to make amendments to laws to recognize the rights of key populations and the rights of all to access sexual and reproductive health services.The board also noted that while tens of thousands of cases of HIV infections have been prevented there is a need to significantly reduce new infections, and this requires that countries promote age-appropriate sexual education and skills and extend sexual reproductive health services to all youth and key populations.The board also called on all countries to introduce innovative prevention approaches and improve the quality of prevention services to ensure greater impact in reducing new HIV infections; and further called on the Priority Areas Coordinating Committee to develop a new Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS for the period 2019 to 2023.last_img read more