February 24th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Time for U.S. to scale back its role in world affairs?


President Obama makes a statement on Libya with Secretary of State Clinton at the White House. (PHOTO CREDIT: JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama finally spoke out Wednesday on the crisis in Libya. He condemned the violence against anti-government protesters and announced that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be meeting with top diplomats on Monday to discuss how to respond to violence in the region.

However, the president stopped short of calling for the resignation of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi or announcing any sanctions the United States would place on that nation.

The president is expected to speak with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron by phone on Thursday to discuss the unfolding situation in Libya.

All of this happened after the president didn't say anything for the first few days of the crisis. He was reportedly concerned about the safety of Americans inside Libya. It turns out not saying anything is not necessarily a bad thing, according to a new Gallup Poll.

While 66% of Americans think the United States should play either the leading or a major role in resolving international problems, 32% say the United States should be a minor player or not get involved at all. That's up from 23% just two years ago, and at its highest level since 2001.

But as tensions mount and the stakes get higher, which they inevitably do when oil is involved, it's unlikely the United States will remain on the sidelines indefinitely.

Here’s my question to you: Is it time for the U.S. to scale back its role in world affairs?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


January 13th, 2010
01:45 PM ET

Should U.S. lead international response to Haiti earthquake?


Haitians pass destroyed buildings in Port-au-Prince. (PHOTO CREDIT: THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With Haiti facing a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions - the U.S. is in the crosshairs of a massive relief effort.

President Obama says the U.S. government will lead a "swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives" following the deadly earthquake.

He says the U.S. has already mobilized military flights over the country to assess the damage... and that civilian disaster assistance teams are on their way.

The president points to the "heart-wrenching" images from Haiti and adds that the tragedy "seems especially cruel and incomprehensible" in a country that's already accustomed to hardships.

Mr. Obama says Haiti will have the unwavering support of the U.S.; although he hasn't pledged a specific amount of aid. Officials say they're still trying to figure out what is needed. Meanwhile the president is also calling on Americans to help and to donate money. He says the Haitians are our neighbors; and that Americans need to be there for them "in their hour of need."

Of course it's not just the U.S. helping here. Aid agencies and governments from around the world are springing into action - mobilizing search and rescue teams and sending money, aid and food.

The scope of the death and destruction isn't known yet - but it's clear that Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, has been devastated. Some officials fear the death toll could reach 500,000 - with millions of others displaced.

Haiti needs a lot of help.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. lead the international response to the Haiti earthquake?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Global matters • Haiti earthquake
December 17th, 2009
04:45 PM ET

Chaos and failure legacy of climate summit?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The clock is ticking down in Copenhagen with some suggesting the legacy of the two-week long climate talks will be nothing but chaos and failure.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/17/art.copenhagen.jpg caption="French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech in Copenhagen on the 11th day of the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference."]
Things pretty much ground to a standstill yesterday: Thousands of protesters clashing with police outside the meetings - While inside, negotiators expressed frustration that they would likely leave empty-handed. At best - a weak political agreement that wouldn't do much about combating global warming. One key meeting ran 18 hours behind schedule.

The plan was for the 115-plus world leaders to show up today and tomorrow and bargain over the final details... Not gonna happen. There are still no answers about how much to cut carbon emissions, how to prove the cuts are made and which nations should pay for these changes... along with a stand-off between China and the U.S.

Although some are still holding out hope - others are already talking about holding another international climate summit in Mexico City next summer - months ahead of schedule. One UN official says without a real deal in Copenhagen - it would be better to put off big decisions until the next summit.

Meanwhile after racing to wrap up business in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is headed to Copenhagen, leading a 21-member bipartisan Congressional delegation. Pelosi - who's reportedly using at least two Air Force jets to get this posse to the climate summit - says the meeting is all jobs ... creating millions of new clean-energy jobs for Americans. Sure.

Here’s my question to you: Are chaos and failure the legacy of the Copenhagen climate summit?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Global matters • Global Warming
September 23rd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why is everybody on the international stage saying no to Obama?


President Obama addresses world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York City. (PHOTO CREDIT: JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Everybody is saying no to the American president these days"... that's the start of a pretty scathing piece in the Jerusalem Post about where President Obama stands on the international stage - just as he addresses the UN and meets with world leaders.

Amir Mizroch has plenty of examples... like the Saudis twice saying no to the president's request for normalizing relations with Israel; or the North Koreans saying no to repeated attempts at talks by firing off test long-range missiles; to Russia and China continuing to say no to tougher sanctions against Iran; to Iran itself saying no - by agreeing to talks about everything except stopping its uranium enrichment.

Mizroch suggests the reason all these nations are saying no to President Obama is because the U.S. economy has made him a weak president. If the president manages to turn around the economy in the next two years - and then manages to get re-elected - at that point he might be able to focus on international trouble spots with more success. That's if Iran hasn't managed to blow up half the world by then.

Along the same lines, a piece in the British newspaper The Guardian titled "Obama the impotent" says many in the U.S. and abroad are impatient with the pace of progress under this president.

It points out Mr. Obama hasn't even been able to get health care reform passed in his own country and questions his ability to lead internationally on issues like climate change and regulating international financial systems:

"It appears that the wheels may be coming off the world's post-war leader, and not even Barack Obama can stop it happening."

Here’s my question to you: Why is everybody on the international stage saying no to President Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


September 22nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

More important for U.S. president to be liked or feared outside the country?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama may not be leaving the country this week - but it's likely his global support will be put to the test during the meetings of the U.N. here in New York and the G-20 in Pittsburgh.

As Mr. Obama meets with world leaders and addresses issues like climate change, the global economy and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East - there's no question that this president is better liked overseas than his predecessor, George W. Bush.

A recent Pew survey finds significant support for President Obama still throughout Africa, Europe and Latin America. Attitudes toward the U.S. are also more favorable in some mostly Muslim countries.

The survey shows America's image has improved markedly in most parts of the world, reflecting global confidence in Barack Obama. In a lot of places - opinions of the U.S. are as high as they were before Bush took office.

But the question may be: Does it really matter? What's changed on the international stage as a result of President Obama's increase in popularity? The answer is - Not a whole lot...

North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, Afghanistan and Iraq all still present the same challenges to this country as they did before Mr. Obama won the election.

And - just because other countries may like our president - it doesn't always mean they're going to support his foreign policy decisions.

And the arrest of suspects in a terror plot this past week inside the U.S. indicates the terrorists haven't suddenly decided to lay down their arms and become our friends.

It's nice to be liked, but being president of the United States isn't necessarily about winning a popularity contest overseas.

Here’s my question to you: Is it more important for an American president to be liked or feared outside the country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


August 4th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Release of U.S. journalists affect N. Korea's relations with rest of world?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Before we nominate Kim Jong Il for the Nobel Peace Prize for releasing those two journalists, it's worth remembering who we're dealing with. The fact that former President Clinton was able to gain the women's release shouldn't change anything.

North Korea is still a very dangerous regime armed with nuclear weapons and in the midst of a lot of questions about who will succeed the little mad man who runs the place.

In all likelihood, North Korea would like to sit down with the United States alone and negotiate another of the phony deals they've been party to in the past. They don't like the six party talks aimed at trying to get them to disarm. They would rather get the United States to agree to feed their people without having to do much of anything in return.

There should be no letting up on the part of the group of six nations just because of today's humanitarian gesture on the part of North Korea. These are the same folks who have threatened to fire a missile toward Hawaii and have made repeated threats against South Korea and other of their neighbors.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that today's developments change anything when it comes to North Korea. But North Korea undoubtedly will think it does.

Here’s my question to you: How will the release of the two American journalists affect North Korea’s relations with the rest of the world?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Global Image • Global matters • North Korea
June 19th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Global impact if Iran protests are successful

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After a week of mostly peaceful protests in Iran - it seems like the demonstrators may now be headed for a showdown with the government. Iran's supreme leader is warning of a crackdown on protesters if they continue their massive street rallies.

Iranian supporters of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrate in Tehran.

The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says opposition leaders will be held accountable for "all the violence, bloodshed and rioting" if they don't stop. He also says the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wasn't rigged, and pretty much ruled out any chance for a new vote.

This leaves supporters of the opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi with two options: either pack up and go home or continue to protest... knowing that things could get ugly.

Khamenei insists Iran won't see another revolution, and that the street protests won't have any impact. But, what if he's wrong?

What if the 70-year-old supreme leader isn't in tune with the majority of Iranians - 70-percent of whom are under 30-yearsold and tech savvy? Already - these protests represent the greatest challenge to Iran's Islamic rulers since the 1979 revolution.

The hundreds of thousands of protesters could end up influencing Iran's relations with nations around the globe - from the U-S to Europe to Israel; not to mention what a revolution in Iran could mean for citizens of neighboring countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Here’s my question to you: What would it mean to the rest of the world if the protesters in Iran are successful?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Global matters • Iran
May 5th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should U.S. triple non-military aid to Pakistan?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the Taliban keeps advancing, the situation in Pakistan is becoming more critical. Half a million people are expected to follow a government evacuation order and flee one region ahead of an expected military offensive. The Taliban claims they are in control of 90 percent of the Swat Valley about 60 miles from the capital of Islamabad. Pakistan's army started its assault on these militants about a week ago.

A Pakistani Islamist wears a cap bearing the slogan 'Go Taliban Go' during an anti-Taliban/anti-U.S. rally in Islamabad.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers want to triple non-military U.S. aid to Pakistan. A Senate bill would authorize 47.5 billion to Pakistan over the next five years to help boost economic growth and development; and another $7.5 billion for the five years after that. Never mind that the Bush administration gave billions and billions of dollars to Pervez Musharraf's government ostensibly to fight terrorism.

Senator John Kerry points out that an alarming percentage of Pakistanis now see the U.S. as a greater threat than al Qaeda; and there's little chance of ending the influence of these terrorist groups until we change that. That's what the additional non military aid would be used for.

President Obama - who is set to meet with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan this week - has said he's gravely concerned about the situation there. Washington believes Pakistan's nuclear weapons are secure for now; but there is some concern that militants might try and seize them.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the increasing threat from the Taliban, should the U.S. triple non-military aid to Pakistan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Global matters
April 10th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Answer to world's exploding population?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Water shortages threaten two of the world's largest cities and could soon become a reality for many more of us. Mexico City has turned off a main water pipeline, shutting off water to at least 5 million of the area's 20 million residents.

The world's population has tripled over the past eight decades.

Water reserves there have reached historic lows of less than 50 percent thanks to low rainfall totals last year and a leaky infrastructure system. This is the third time just this year the city has temporarily turned off the tap to conserve water.

Then there's Los Angles - where the city council unanimously rejected a plan to ration water. This came despite a drought emergency directive by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to cut water use 20 percent this year. If the city fails to take action, the agency that supplies most of the water could impose rationing.

And as a UPI piece points out - this problem reaches much further than just Mexico City or Los Angeles... Beijing has a serious water shortage; the Israelis and Palestinians are fighting over control of key aquifers; and many U.S. cities could face water shortages in the next five to 10 years because one key aquifer in the Midwest has been hugely depleted.

There's no question that water shortages can also be traced to the world's exploding population which is now at six-point-eight billion people - more than three times what it was 80 years ago. This rapidly increasing growth seems to be putting an unsustainable demand on resources like water and the environment, and will eventually begin to create shortages of food.

Here's my question to you: What's the answer to the world's exploding population?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Global matters • Population