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Ever since the attacks of Sept. 11, some commentators have suggested that the United States has seen its perceived sense of invincibility shattered. America's unilateral dominance of international affairs during the post-Cold War era invested us with a faith in our own national security. To the extent that American's possessed such a faith, we were mistaken.
Several days ago, George Bush made history by becoming the first President to land on an aircraft carrier in a fixed wing aircraft. After sitting in the co-pilot seat and flying, at one point, the S-3B Viking anti-submarine aircraft, the President landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln after its 10-month deployment in the Iraq conflict. He then delivered a speech to the sailors and Marines on board declaring that most of the major fighting in Iraq was over.
Amid the news channels' constant coverage of liberated Iraqis dancing in the streets celebrating the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, there has been comparatively little notice of an important development on the Korean peninsula. Recently, North Korea has made a significant reversal on its foreign policy, announcing that it will be willing to engage in multilateral talks regarding its development of nuclear weapons. Since October, when the United States demanded that North Korea cease development of uranium fuel rods which can be used to produce fissible material for nuclear weapons, North Korea has expelled weapons inspectors and demanded that any discussions regarding its compliance with international treaty obligations regarding the development of nuclear weapons occur on a bilateral basis and involve only the United States.
Opponents of a U.S. military campaign to disarm Iraq say that the United States has plans to act unilaterally. That's not true. Rather, the United States stands united with other liberal democracies which share our belief that continued Iraqi noncompliance with Security Council resolutions cannot be allowed. This coalition recognizes that Iraq's illegal possession of weapons of mass destruction is a dangerous threat to international peace and that its continued defiance of the United Nations threatens that body's relevance.
Since the administration's announcement that the varsity swimming and diving teams would not be eliminated, the fervor surrounding Dartmouth's budget has subsided. To save face as it changed course, the administration used a loophole in its own rhetoric to back out of its misguided decision to cut the program. It did so by accepting $2 million from generous alumni to fund the teams for the next 10 years, at which point other sources of support will have been identified. This outcome is almost stunning in its simplicity and foresight. Since the College still faces projected budgetary shortfalls in the coming years, the way in which swimming and diving was saved offers the best road map for how to negotiate financial troubles in the near future.
On Sunday evening, the Rev. Al Sharpton gave a lecture in Rollins Chapel as part of the Tucker Foundation's "Social Justice and Leadership" program. I sent repeated BlitzMail messages asking the Foundation why it invited Rev. Sharpton to address the issue of social justice. The messages have gone unanswered, and understandably so, since his record of race-baiting and anti-Semitism make him an unworthy spokesman for the Tucker Foundation, an institution committed to furthering "the moral and spiritual life of the College." For years, he has fanned the fire of racial hatred and has shown no remorse for the consequences of his irresponsibility.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle opened up the 2002 midterm election season a few weeks ago by taking aim at last year's $1.35 billion tax cut. While Daschle did not explicitly say he supported slowing down the implementation schedule, which will take ten years under the provisions of the bill, Senator Ted Kennedy gave a speech on Wednesday to the National Press Club that suggests doing just that. Evidently, Kennedy endorses Daschle's judgment that cutting taxes has caused the most "dramatic fiscal deterioration in our nation's history."
Since a December terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament that killed 14 people, relations between India and Pakistan -- never close to begin with -- have been in particularly dire straits. India accused Pakistan of harboring and backing those responsible for the assault, and how accurate that charge is remains doubtful. While Pakistan has shown support for the two major groups the Indian government condemns -- Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed -- proof of Pakistani complicity in these specific attacks remains unclear. Yet after previous attacks killed Indian civilians in October, India declared that while it remains committed to peace, its patience is growing limited. That sentiment, coupled with the strong domestic support for a tougher line on Pakistan, has prompted a much stronger response from the Indian government this time around. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee ordered hundreds of thousands of Indian troops to prepare for an offensive, and announced his country was prepared for war, should India be forced into war.
As the military campaign against the al-Qaida terrorist network and the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan continues, some are looking to the future to determine whether or not the military campaign should carry on during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have stressed that our military action will take time. Certainly, it will still be going strong when Ramadan begins on Nov. 17. Thus, it becomes important for us to consider whether we should maintain our attack on the Taliban during Ramadan or pause it until afterward.