Castro and Cuba, Christmas Tours, Nikki Haley and the UN, Remembering the Dead

SIGNS AND WONDERS

Cuba Libre. A lot of ink has spilled regarding the death of Fidel Castro in the past few days, but if you want a fairly comprehensive and relatively unbiased account of his life, I recommend the Miami Herald’s obituary. It is, of course, no surprise that Leftist ideologues have praised Castro’s brutal reign, but I must confess some surprise that the award for cluelessness would go to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had the worst assessment of Castro I’ve seen. Trudeau said Castro “made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation,” a ridiculous and demonstrably false statement. Trudeau’s statement caused Sen. Marco Rubio to tweet: “Is this a real statement or a parody? Because if this is a real statement from the PM of Canada it is shameful & embarrassing.” To read an interesting interview with Cuban dissident Armando Valladares, an interview that brings the real Cuba into focus, click here.

Christmas Tours. Several of my favorite musicians have Christmas tours, and if they come to your town, I recommend them. Keith and Kristyn Getty will tour their “Irish Christmas: A Celebration of Carols” to more than a dozen cities, including stops at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Carnegie Hall in New York. For the past 15 years Andrew Peterson and a circle of musical collaborators have toured the country with a Christmas show called “Behold The Lamb of God.” The program tells not just the Christmas story, the coming of the baby Jesus, but rather the full arc of the coming and ultimate second coming of the Messiah. This year, the tour makes stops in Houston, Birmingham, Orlando, Washington, and Nashville, at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Finally, for something a little different, country and Americana music star Michael Martin Murphey takes his Cowboy Christmas program to nearly 20 towns in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico.

A World Stage. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will have now have global responsibilities as America’s Ambassador to the United Nations. I consider myself a fan of Haley, though I’ve never interviewed her and my personal exposure has been a few brief meetings. However, before she became governor, I owned two Christian newspapers in South Carolina, and many of the people I dealt with then know and like her. She’s very smart and a shrewd politician. The latter descriptor is not always a compliment, but I do believe Haley has real convictions. She acquitted herself admirably during the Charleston shootings. She is (or has been so far) unabashedly pro-life and pro-family, and those are real issues at the U.N. We need someone who will stand strong on those issues there. Her detractors say she has no international experience, and that’s mostly true. Governors like to tout their trade junkets as “diplomatic” or “international” experience, and they are better than nothing, but they do not require the kind of statecraft we expect of our diplomats. That said, I’m not sure how much of that kind of professional diplomatic experience is actually required at the United Nations. What we need in a U.N. ambassador is someone with principles and an ability to communicate them—and someone with the courage to withhold funds when necessary. Few U.N. ambassadors (including the current one, Samantha Power) have been career diplomats. In my view, our best ambassadors in recent years have been Jeanne Kirkpatrick and John Bolton, neither of whom were career diplomats, but both of whom had thought deeply about American foreign policy and had robust and holistic philosophies, fully formed worldviews, and the ability to communicate them in convincing ways.

Remembering the Dead. Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Dayton became the first American killed in combat in Syria, coming under fire in the ongoing offensive to retake Raqqa, headquarters of ISIS. . . . The great Christian apologist and writer C.S. Lewis was born on this date in 1898. . . . Novelist Madeline L’Engle, best known for the children’s classic “A Wrinkle in Time,” was born on this date in 1918. . . .

Image copyright Getty Music.

Warren Cole Smith is an investigative journalist and author as well as the Colson Center vice president for mission advancement.


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