Courier-Post from Camden, New Jersey on August 9, 2015 · Page A19
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Courier-Post from Camden, New Jersey · Page A19

Camden, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Page A19
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VOICES President and Publisher Joseph Calchi Regional Editor Jason Alt Regional Community Content Editor M.J. Fine Established in 1875, the Post moved to Camden in 1879. It merged w ith The Telegram in 1899 to become The Post & Telegram. In 1926, The Post & Telegram and the Camden Courier consolidated. T he Courier-Post joined Gannett in 1959. M IKE D ANIELS Community Conversation Editor The Courier-Post Editorial Board includes the publisher, the community conversation editor and three members of the public, Bill Vigrass, Denise M. Fanelli and Thomas Wadas. Established in 1875, the Post moved to Camden in 1879. It merged with The Telegram in 1899 to become The Post & Telegram . In 1926, The Post & Telegram and the Camden Courier consolidated. The Courier-Post joined the Gannett family in 1969. WHERE TO WRITE Letters should include your name, hometown a nd phone number and be no longer than 250 words. Email: M ail: Letters to the editor, Courier-Post, PO Box 5300 Cherry Hill, N.J. 08034 Fax: 856-663-2831 T witter: @cpsj | Regional Community Content Editor M.J. Fine | | 856-486-2418 C OURIER-POST,Sunday,August9,2015 19A In light of President Barack Obama’s 2015 trip to Africa, likely his last trip to Africa as the U.S. president, it is appropriate to evaluate his government’s foreign policies in Africa since he assumed office. Through this assessment, it is sadly plain to see that Obama’s policies have not helped the vast majority of Africans. Instead, the policies have allowed the suppression of the African people’s hoped-for democratic reforms while simultaneously bolstering the power of corrupt African elites. I n 2008, many Africans were overjoyed when the s on of a Kenyan man was elected president of the U.S. M any had hoped Obama would help change Africa’s e normously negative plight, especially in the areas of civil conflict, poor economic development, lack of democracy and the terrible governmental corruption that is displacing and killing thousands of people. On his first trip as president to Africa in 2009, Oba- ma gave a speech in Ghana calling for “democratization in Africa.” Just five years later in August 2014, at the U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington, D.C., Obama rolled out the red carpet for some of Africa’s most brutal dictators. These included President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé of Togo, Idriss Deby of the Republic of Chad, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi just to name a few. B y inviting these leaders, Obama’s message to the African people was made clear: America has no interest in fostering democracy for the African people. It appears Obama does not understand that Africa is more important than ever to the United States and the U.S. must take its partnership with the African people more seriously than its partnership with the d espots who prevent democracy from taking root. A frica is a rapidly growing actor in the global econo- m y but is being wooed by China and Russia; only by gaining the allegiance of the masses of people instead of the controlling elites will the U.S. make better and more sustainable partnerships. It is well known that most U.S. government aid to A frica gets siphoned off to a combination of military p ower to suppress grassroots African civil society a nd the rest is taken directly by African dictators who s tay in power for decades. Too many Africans remain starving and in squalor while nothing serious or substantial is being done to stop the corruption. O bama and the State Department should imple- m ent these common-sense recommendations to end c orruption and promote multiparty democracy in Africa: 1. Obama should push for presidential term limits across the continent as a condition for American support of governance. This will certainly limit political v iolence as manifested in Burundi, Uganda, Togo, The G ambia and many other countries. 2. Obama should a lso stop supporting corruption. The U.S should freeze assets of known corrupt leaders. Several of these dictators have millions of dollars of assets in the U.S. and the U.S. government knows it. 3. Any U.S. aid m ust be accompanied with stipulations such as acc ountability and good governance. 4. Smart sanctions — issue travel bans for dictators and their families to the U.S. If the goal for Africa is really the spread of democracy as stated by Obama in 2009, changing these cor- r upted leaders without changing the old institutions that they have built will be meaningless. Right now O bama has the power to nonviolently change the way that Africa works for the people and all Africans deserve better from the powerful son of one of their own. Foday Darboe is syndicated by PeaceVoice and is a Ph.D. candidate in Conflict Analysis and Transformation. Obama’s legacy for Africa FODAY DARBOE People crave certainty. There’s comfort in black- and-white, good-vs-evil comparisons. The ink was barely dry on the deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program when for-against op-eds began app earing. Measuring the polarization on an issue is e asy these days — look at the volume and tone of the a rguments being lobbed from one camp into the oth- e r. Emotionally charged debate is the fertile land where motivated reasoning — seeking out evidence t hat confirms your prior beliefs — takes root and g rows. A measured and nuanced analysis of the agreement shows reasonable people can support it while also recognizing that there are still many miles t o go. Opponents of the deal argue as if it is the final word that restricts future action. But the agreement w on’t disallow use of other tools (e.g. intelligence, m ilitary capabilities) from ensuring that Iranian words match actual compliance. There are more than a few in the toolbox: for example, the U.N. Security Council resolution on the issue would restrict conventional weapons acquisition, mitigating a concern raised by deal detractors. W hat the legal framework does do is set a new threshold for behavior —a new level of integrity for Iranian peaceful intentions that now carries automatic penalties if violated. A n agreement also sets the p athways for coordinating interna- t ional action, a notoriously diffi- c ult task. As important, it buys time and space for future actions s hould Iran cheat. Conversely, if t he deal is scuttled now, future coordinated diplomacy may be off the table for some time. After all, w ho wants to negotiate with an unwilling and unstable partner? Other opponents of the deal a rgue that the complicated legal d ocument has too many technical aspects up to interpretation, offering too many outs. Arms-control experts would argue that this is in fact a feature, not a bug, of the agreement. Overlapping c lauses and stipulations in the agreement ensure that if Iran tries to find a loophole from one direction, another clause serves to cut them off. “No deal is better than a bad d eal” is the oft-repeated mantra of o pponents. But the potential fut ures are not quite as simple as t hey might have us believe. “No deal” increases the probability of s everal worse-off scenarios. “No d eal” makes it harder to bring together the same effective international coalition on the issue as a r esult of negotiating fatigue and broken promises. And “no deal” may spur the Iranian leadership, p ushed by hardliners, to decide t heir only route to safety is to pursue a nuke. The potential spiral of events from this point, then, includes a Saudi nuclear acquisition and an Israeli military strike. Many of the same backers of “no deal” also back Israel unconditionally. T hese backers therefore endorse a potential wider scale war with Iran, an unwise policy gamble t hat breaks the Princess Bride rule against starting land wars in Asia and that ignores the expected costs of such a conflict. Why go down this dark path when the alternative has such better prospects. B acking the Iran deal is the s ensible option that gets us going d own the right road and empowers a verification and monitoring regime that, enforced properly, can w ork. The time is now to set a w atchdog on the Iranian nuclear program. Welton Chang is a fellow with the Truman National Security Project, former U.S. Army officer and Defense D epartment analyst. The views expressed i n this op-ed are his own and do not reflect those of his current employer or t he official policy or position of the d epartment of Defense or the U.S. government or any of its components. He wrote this for Go set a watchdog on Iran WELTON CHANG Commentary Y our Views In the fall of 1969, Burlington County College hired 40 new fac- u lty members, including myself, from a pool of 4,000 applicants. The dean of instruction traveled all over the country to find a div erse and dedicated faculty for the new community college. A s the new campus was being built, the first classes were t aught at Lenape Regional High School. I was a historian by training and taught for 31years at BCC. The college has an excellent reputation based on the success of our students when they transferred all over the country. Now BCC no longer exists and has b een subsumed under Rowan University. It is now called Rowan C ollege of Burlington County. T he mission of BCC and Rowan are very different. BCC, like most community colleges, responds to the community’s needs. In the beginning, our mission was to prepare students to later transfer to four-year colleges. We did not offer many vocational c ourses, but over the years we evolved to respond to community a nd industry needs. Rowan is not focused on community needs. I t is widely believed that the university is influenced by George Norcross, the South Jersey Democratic Party boss. Rowan’s previous president, Dr. Donald Farish, was forced out because he refused to do Norcross’ bidding. Fortunately for him, Farish became president of Roger Williams University. B eing affiliated with Rowan, BCC will probably lose its inde- p endence. I fear that it will largely be a feeder college for Rowan. I t was just announced that the main campus in Pemberton Township will be abandoned in the next 18 months. The new main campus will be in Mount Laurel. Presently there are not enough classrooms and offices at that location, so new facilities will have t o be built, which will cost New Jersey taxpayers huge sums of m oney. One rationale given for joining Rowan was it would be e asier to transfer. It was never a problem for BCC students to transfer if the student had decent grades. Ifeel like the college where I taught is now gone. I loved the wonderful years I had at BCC and am thankful I had the opportu- n ity to teach there. I may be wrong, but I question whether the affiliation with Rowan will truly be a benefit to Burlington Count y students. The writer lives in Riverton, Wyoming. RABBLE ROUSER Rowan and community colleges have different missions PERRY B. KAUFMAN Home plate umpires would improve baseball While the future use of computers to replace umpires calling balls and strikes is clouded, I have asuggestion that Major League Baseball can quickly adopt to imp rove that aspect of the game. I suggest that a special job classifi- c ation for umpires be created of h ome plate umpire. H ow often have we heard players and commentators say that a certain umpire is good at calling balls and strikes or, to the con- t rary, that another umpire has a r eputation for not being good at i t? If it is true that some are good at it and others not so good, then why not have the good ones do it f ull time? Of course, those with t his special skill should be paid m ore than their fellow umpires and be in a special job classification. While computers may obviate the need for this in the future, it is s omething that would improve t he game until that happens. Fans a nd players (especially pitchers) should really like to see this idea adopted. Michael Petrelli HADDON TOWNSHIP Jesus was more tolerant than Old Testament God Re: “The road to God is straight a nd narrow” (Your Views, July 21) “We can’t be morally straight if w e ignore the Ten Commandments.” The writer goes on to say, “Truth be told, God is not tolerant.” I agree with both of these statements, but I need to remind the writer that nowhere in the Ten C ommandments does it say “Thou shalt not be a homosexual Scout- m aster.” And as I said, I agree with him about the God of the Old Testa- m ent. He was not tolerant in the least, what with the smiting, g nashing of teeth, floods and what h ave you. It’s a miracle any of us survived at all. But then came Jesus, and he showed us the way, the way of love a nd compassion. And let’s not for- g et he had followers, and among his followers were thieves, prosti- t utes and no-good, dirty scally- w ags, along with all manner of regular folk, like you and me, het- e rosexuals and homosexuals, who are true to themselves with only room for love in their hearts. In closing, I ask, “What would Jesus do?” F rank Schafer HADDONFIELD Father Carmel made church feel like a family Ihad 12 years of education in Catholic schools, where I learned the facts of my Catholic religion, taught by German nuns. W hen Father Carmel Polidano c ame to our parish, he celebrated Mass at 8 a.m. every weekday m orning except Thursday, his day o ff. A retired priest covered this Mass. We said the rosary before e very Mass. Tuesday nights, there were novenas to Our Lady and St. Rita, fol- lowed by Scripture study. We read all the readings and the gospel for t he following Sunday. Father Carmel expected us to explain what we had just read without looking i n our books. He held Scripture to be very i mportant and usually gave a m uch fuller explanation, asking us many questions. After Sunday morning Masses, we had hospitality for all parish- i oners. This was a way for us to g et to know each other, like a family. F ather Carmel ignited my soul. I dearly miss his spiritual passion, which is why whenever possible I a ttend Masses he celebrates. Therese Iannuzzi BELLMAWR COMMENTARY

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