by David C. Grabbe
» European diplomats say investigations are taking place over allegations that militants within the Palestinian Authority (PA) are obtaining rockets, missiles, and other arms from European sources to maintain the war against Israel. Israel alleges that a former Croatian deputy defense minister helped smuggle weaponry from Croatia, Hungary and Russia to the PA in exchange for Iraqi oil.
» The United Nations is quietly examining allegations that its peacekeeping troops are on the payroll of the Iranian-backed Hizbullah in Lebanon. In the early 1990s, Hizbullah repeatedly attacked UN troops when they were preventing bombings against Israeli troops. Now, the fear is that Hizbullah is bribing UN peacekeepers deployed near the Lebanese border. These UN soldiers are said to provide information on Israeli military deployment as well as to ignore Hizbullah violations. Several peacekeepers are also suspected of helping Hizbullah to abduct three Israeli soldiers late last year. They are believed to have allowed Hizbullah agents to use UN vehicles and may have supplied them with uniforms.
» The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently revealed that condoms do not prevent the transmission of most sexually transmitted diseases. The HHS report directly contradicts the "safe sex" messages that the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued for years. Dr. Tom Coburn, a physician who retired from Congress this year, requested the study after authoring a law requiring all federal agencies to provide medically accurate information on the role of condoms in preventing disease. The panel of independent experts has concluded that condoms offer "little protection for the vast majority of sexually transmitted diseases." Unfortunately, the CDC is continuing to send young people, the press, and the medical profession a different message than that of the HHS: that condoms are effective against STDs, especially human papillomavirus (HPV). According to Peter Brandt, Focus on the Family Director of Issues Response, the HHS study validates what abstinence educators have long argued—"the safe-sex myth is now fully disclosed, and it's a lie."
» Additional funding is not the answer to the AIDS epidemic. The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) has demanded a full accounting from the HHS to explain exactly where $10 billion in AIDS-related funding has gone. According to TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty, "The Clinton administration has practically given a blank check to the homosexual movement to fund their sexual escapades." Peter LaBarbera, with the Culture and Family Institute, said the reality is that there is so much AIDS money available, "it ends up being spent on ridiculous programs. . . . You have these programs that are designed to encourage so called 'safe sex' in which federal money is spent on, for example, erotic phone calls for homosexual men." Furthermore, he states, " AIDS spending has become so politically correct that it's one of those things where there's just not enough oversight." Lafferty says they will call on HHS to de-fund any group using prevention money to promote the homosexual lifestyle.
The European Union is heralded as a political and economic success, but recent signs of a downturn in the economies of Western Europe indicate the long-term viability of the EU will soon be tested. An underlying premise of the EU is that individual European states are prepared to subsume their national goals for economic gain, and thus long-term growth will end nationalist friction, marginalizing the internal dissidents (e.g., the Basques and Irish Republicans) who could create future conflict. However, if EU-produced prosperity helped make these groups less of a threat, a significant economic downturn could lead to their resurgence. In addition, though Europe's nations now choose economic benefits over national aspirations, what happens if those benefits cease to exist? What will hold the EU together? Historically, secession is the natural tendency during difficult economic times. If that occurs, the dissident groups of Europe will blossom again, combining basic national sentiment with economic policy. The EU is not prepared to deal with a system in crisis. Indeed, no present European institution can prevent secession by current members. Oddly, this potential problem never been addressed or even debated. Within the EU, who will raise and command a force to protect it? If recent European history is any indication, the answer may come in the form of an army—of the Rhine.