By Jason Miks
Last week, in light of a U.N. General Assembly vote in favor of granting the Palestinians non-member status at the United Nations, GPS asked readers whether the move went too far, not far enough – and what should happen next.
Unsurprisingly, the issue prompted some passionate responses on all sides of the argument, with many criticizing the position of the United States and others in opposing the move.
“Richard” in Toronto wrote:
It is unfortunate that the U.S. and my country – Canada – have adopted a one-sided view of this situation. Israel has a right to exist as a state and so does Palestine. If we fail to support and strengthen a moderate like [Abbas] then we no longer have someone to talk to because Hamas is a terrorist organization. Even in Israel there has been renewed interest with the formation of a new moderate left wing party. People want peace however their frustration has led them to electing leaders with extreme views. Netanyahu and Hamas are two wrongs that won't make it right. Europe knows this and has voted accordingly at the U.N. As for Canada, shame on you prime minister Harper.
By Jason Miks
Earlier this week, GPS asked readers which foreign policy issues the presidential candidates should be discussing. The discussion in the second debate, on Tuesday night, focused largely on Libya, specifically the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens. But readers also had some other ideas about what they want discussed. With the third and final presidential debate taking place Monday, and with foreign policy as the theme, here’s what GPS readers say they are looking for:
“Mithila Saraf” was one of many who suggested that Iran’s nuclear program should be the key U.S. concern.
“Between America’s commitments to Israel and the escalating tensions between Iran and several of its neighbors, America’s action (or inaction) in this matter will be vital to how the situation unfolds,” Saraf said. “So far, the Obama administration has held a firm verbal stance, but there has been little inclination towards physical force. Several Republicans have expressed…that they would want to change that.”
The details are unclear, and the Syrian government and opposition have two very different accounts of what happened in the Damascus suburb of Daraya at the weekend. But one thing seems clear – the deaths of perhaps 200 people mark what appears to have been the bloodiest day so far in Syria’s civil war.
But should the United States be doing more? And should it intervene directly? Last week, Global Public Square asked readers for their take on what role, if any, the U.S. should play. And the overwhelming view was that it should largely stay out of the crisis.
A commenter under the name Saul Hernandez reflected the concerns of many of the more than 1,000 people who left comments on CNN and Facebook that U.S. involvement could see the situation escalate into a broader conflict.
Every time the death toll rises in Syria, the question seems to get louder and louder: Should the U.S. use military force to remove Bashar al-Assad from power?
Fareed Zakaria isn’t so sure. Writing for Time magazine this week, he makes the case that sanctions and embargos are the way to go.
“It would be morally far more satisfying to do something dramatic that would topple Assad tomorrow,” Zakaria said. “But starving his regime might prove the more effective strategy.”
We opened up the debate on Global Public Square to see if readers agree with Zakaria. Many did, many didn’t, but there were interesting points made on both sides.
Ahead of a New York state bill that would recognize marijuana for medical purposes, a state supreme judge with cancer writes in its favor in a recent New York Times op-ed.
Gustin L. Reichbach, a justice of the New York State Supreme Court, has spent the last three and a half years battling pancreatic cancer and says inhaled marijuana is his only relief.
In his op-ed advocating legitimate clinical use of marijuana, he writes:
This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue. Being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am receiving the absolute gold standard of medical care. But doctors cannot be expected to do what the law prohibits, even when they know it is in the best interests of their patients. When palliative care is understood as a fundamental human and medical right, marijuana for medical use should be beyond controversy.
A GPS reader named Joseph left the following, thoughtful comment on the post, U.S. economy recovered from recession but jobs lag far behind. He was responding to the question: Given that economic output has returned to pre-2008-crisis levels, why haven't jobs done the same?
"Joblessness recoveries correspond to the "unbalancing of our economy". We now have a service economy that in some cases barely provides a living wage. This was camouflaged a huge trade-gap financed by our borrowing as a nation and the long-lasting housing bubble. The truth is we don't make very much any more. American "industrial production" has fallen off a cliff. We have transferred our technology and jobs for decades. Even "Apple" the largest company by market capitalization in America s not made here." FULL POST
Wednesday, in bafflement, I asked why people cared so much about the Casey Anthony trial.
Edward, a Global Public Square reader, responded with 9 reasons. Here's his take:
1. The crime was hard to believe, being out of the norm. This added a mystery factor to it, or a 'How could she do this?'
2. The suspect was pretty, with a friendly face. As such, there was additional sympathy and mystery.
3. It involved children.
4. It involved the children's mother, and mothers in general wondered how could this happen.
5. It was simple enough that most people could feel like they could understand it and have a theory.
6. It was an easier and safer thing to worry about than the larger issues affecting us.
Over at the Global Public Square, we are a bit flummoxed by the incredible attention lavished upon Casey Anthony for days, weeks, months and, in fact, years.
Do other countries have similar mega-trials? Is this a peculiarly American phenomenon? And what was it exactly about the Casey Anthony trial that made it the grand event it became?
If anyone can explain this to us clearly, we'll happily feature the answer as a post on CNN.com/GPS. I don't think I'm the only one who would be grateful for a good explanation and some international perspective.
Here at GPS we’ve read through over 3,000 viewer blog comments, viewer e-mails, Facebook messages and Tweets to suss out what changes, if any, you would like to see to the U.S. Constitution. Here’s what we found:
About a third of you were appalled by the idea of changing the U.S. constitution at all. You certainly didn’t think the U.S. should follow Iceland’s example.
I understand your hypothesis, but I do not believe looking at Iceland's example is prudent. Seeking a fresh economic start does not require a constitutional convention, nor does it justify one. Trashing core documents is a tempting path during a crisis period. The false illusion of going back to zero and restarting assumes that the bad habits that got you to the crisis point won't be waiting for you later on. FULL POST
Reader Daniel Goodkin writes in response to Michael Boskin's post, Voters vs. the welfare state:
I agree there is a trend within parts of the UK electorate to favour reduced welfare spending. I also agree that this will increase growth in the medium and long term. I think however that few voters are principally swayed by economic theory. The weightier factors are three fold.
First, are arguments about fairness. As incomes stagnate and jobs insecurity increases, resentment has grown of those viewed as undeserving recipients of welfare payments. These sentiments were most pronounced in relation to the housing benefit system, under which some families received payments that exceed the national average income. FULL POST
Global Public Square reader Rahul lays out five thoughtful counterarguments to Fareed's latest post, India's strategic planners aren't thinking. Fareed argued that India made a mistake in deciding to buy European warplanes instead of American ones. Rahul argues that it was a wise move:
There are several reasons why I feel that India's decision for not going with the American deal make perfect sense. Let me list these for you:
1) We (India) made a major mistake by aligning with and using USSR and then Russia as the sole supplier of arms. In the recent years we have had issues sourcing parts from Russia and the CSR for the equipment we already have.