News in Brief

March 13, 2012 By Mac Stoddard

Who’s in the News

An Alliance the World Can Count On (Barack Obama and David Cameron, The Washington Post)

The alliance between the United States and Great Britain is a partnership of the heart, bound by the history, traditions and values we share. But what makes our relationship special — a unique and essential asset — is that we join hands across so many endeavors. Put simply, we count on each other and the world counts on our alliance.  We’re committed to expanding the trade and investment that support millions of jobs in our two countries. As members of the international community, we have been united in imposing tough sanctions on the Iranian regime for failing to meet its international obligations. We believe there is time and space to pursue a diplomatic solution, and we are coordinating our diplomatic approach with China, France, Germany and Russia, our P5+1 partners.

Clinton espouses democratic tenets for Arab Spring governments (Ben Birnbaum, The Washington Times)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that the U.S. would judge newly empowered Islamist parties in the Arab world by their deeds rather than their names.  In her morning statement before the U.N. Security Council, Mrs. Clinton said it is vital for governments that have resulted from the Arab Spring “to safeguard the basic principles of democracy and universal human rights.  Today, there are those who question whether Islamist politics can really be compatible with these democratic principles,” she said. “The people of Egypt and Tunisia, and other countries driving towards elections of their own, have a chance to answer that question. All political parties — religious and secular alike — have a responsibility to their people to abide by the basic tenets upon which this body is founded: reject violence; uphold the rule of law; respect the freedoms of speech, association, and assembly; safeguard religious freedom and tolerance; protect the rights of women and minorities; give up power if defeated at the polls; and avoid inciting conflicts that pull societies apart.”

Smart Power

A smarter way to fight AIDS in Africa (Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin, The Washington Post)

Optimism has never run higher that the AIDS epidemic can be defeated. Effective medications have reached millions of people worldwide over the past decade, and new research also suggests that even more investment in distributing HIV drugs might help slow the disease’s spread. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke recently of an “AIDS-free generation” on the horizon. But for those living in the hardest-hit parts of Africa, there are risks in the policy shifts underway in Washington and other Western capitals. The rising enthusiasm for providing more medicines threatens to come at the expense of promising initiatives for preventing HIV infections in the first place — initiatives that could save many lives, with less money.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Standing up for Africa (Michelle Price, The Wall Street Journal)

Olusegun Obasanjo retains the air of regality common to retired heads of state. At 75, the twice-former president of Nigeria may be retired from everyday African politics, but he remains one of the continent’s foremost statesmen. And in that capacity, he continues to involve himself in the complex process of African reform and development. He cuts an imposing figure, as he stands screened against the backdrop of London’s shimmering glass and steel. Mr. Obasanjo was in the U.K. to drum up support for his latest venture: an advisory firm that aims to provide investors with access to Africa both through direct investments and indirectly, through a private-equity fund.