|The Destruction of the Turkish Fleet in Chesme Bay - Jacob Philipp Hackert|
This week, I will briefly comment on three recent events that caught my attention.
Nigeria & Boko Haram
"U.S. officials have been unusually frank – and unusually public — in their assessment of the competence and effectiveness of the Nigerian military. The officials presented their analysis last Thursday, when they were questioned by lawmakers about whether the Nigerian military was capable of rescuing – or even locating – the more than 260 girls abducted by Boko Haram last month. U.S. military and intelligence officials said that even with international help, the Nigerian military was too corrupt and too incompetent to play a meaningful role in rescuing the girls.
'We’re now looking at a military force that’s, quite frankly, becoming afraid to even engage,' [said] Alice Friend, the Pentagon’s principal director for African affairs" (source: Here)
Probably in response to this comment, the Nigerian military announced last week that it now knows the location of the abducted girls. However, Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said they wouldn't attempt to rescue them because "We can't kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back," - I wonder about Marshal Badeh's motivations to make such public statements, and ask myself whether somehow these aren't a confirmation of the American assessment about the competence of the Nigerian forces.
There have been reports that "nine serving generals in the Nigerian Army and other senior military officers are now under investigation for their alleged role in the sale of arms to members of the Boko Haram sect." - what an embarrassment, not only to the military but mainly to President Goodluck Jonathan who seeks a re-election next year. As a politician, he is in a conundrum because he either uses those nine generals as examples of swift action against corruption (and risks a military coup) or he does nothing and risks a popular sentence in the 2015 elections.
The European Revolt
The results of the European elections were a clear message that the citizens of the European Union want less Europe in their lives. PM David Cameron (UK) said the EU has become "too big, too bossy, too interfering" and President François Hollande said that the "Europe has to be simple, clear, to be effective where it is needed and to withdraw from where it is not necessary". Are they right? If we look at the fact that only circa 43% turned out at the polls to cast their vote; if (for instance) we take into consideration that people can't tell apart the European Council from the Council of the European Union; if we recall that during the campaign for the EU elections politicians of individual member states focused on national issues instead of discussing European matters (giving the impression that Europe is merely an entertainment); if we think that people feel that the sovereignty of their countries is under threat and that the EU imposes on them "foreigners"...I'd say, PM Cameron and President Hollande have made a very good point (although they may be merely taking precautionary steps as one may lose ground to the UKIP next year, and another may see the National Front actually pushing the Socialist Party to become the third national party in 2017).
The people have spoken. But is their voice being heard?
The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has declared the following:
"We need a well-functioning and more developed Economic and Monetary Union, while
preserving the unity of the Union as such. There must also be a strong response to the climate change challenge and a determined push towards an energy union and also a push for lessening energy dependency. Consolidating the area of freedom, security and justice is imperative, building on the progress already made. We have to preserve and develop key freedoms while ensuring security and fighting irregular migration, crime and fraud"
The whole text (available Here) does seem to point towards reform (I particularly enjoyed the suggestion to lessen energy dependency - the US and the EU are starting to be aligned in this subject; I hope they get in synch in other subjects as well and finally form that important Bloc); nevertheless it will be interesting to see how the anti-establishment voices will respond.
The Pope's Prayer at Security Barrier
During his visit to the Holy Land, Pope Francis prayed at the security wall (dividing Bethlehem and Jerusalem). The left-leaning media hailed this prayer as "historic" (the leftists' new favourite word) and suggested that the Holy Father was siding with the Arabs in Palestine.
Question: what if Pope Francis was praying to God so that the wall, like that of Berlin's in 1989, would fall and Israel would be finally reunified?