Retired Gen. Doug Lute may have the most important job in Washington -- and he doesn't even live there. As the U.S. Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), he lives in an estate in Brussels that, since 1984, has been known as Truman House, honoring U.S. President Harry S. Truman for his role in founding NATO. Built by the Michiels Family, Belgian chocolatiers who developed the Cote d'Or brand, it is now on the Secretary of State's Register of Culturally Significant Property. It was given to the U.S. NATO mission because, in the words of Mrs. Michiels, "Your country saved mine in World War II."
Wherever you are vacationing this summer, chances are you will encounter someone with his nose buried in David Baldacci's latest best-seller, "The Target." One of "The Target's" villains is from North Korea, and the novelist doesn't have to use his imagination to describe the depredations of life in that totalitarian country. The human-rights horrors he describes are all too real.
On multiple occasions I have criticized the Obama administration for its deficient international religious freedom policy. So in fairness, I want to offer some praise for the administration when it takes positive measures. This week brings two such steps, modest but still meaningful.
President Obama formally accused Russia on Monday of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. It was clearly part of the White House response to Vladimir Putin's continued meddling in Ukraine. Word that Russia may have violated the treaty a while ago by testing a new missile is distressing, of course. However, what is more distressing is that the Obama administration remained quiet about this building issue for years only to unveil it as part of a package meant to punish Russia.
Although a retired Venezuelan general and confidante of President Nicolás Maduro just managed to evade U.S. extradition to face drug smuggling charges, the unsealed indictment in his case reveals that U.S. prosecutors have gathered compelling evidence of widespread criminality at the highest levels of the Maduro government. Dozing U.S. diplomats let Major General Hugo Carvajal slip away this past weekend, but the fact that Caracas pulled out the stops to keep him from facing U.S. justice has exposed a regime with a very guilty conscience.