04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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Editor's note: Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed out loud of an end to racism. Fifty years since, it's still here, though arguably more relegated to the private sphere than it was in King's day. To mark the anniversary of his speech, CNN invited readers to share their personal experiences of "everyday racism," the ways prejudice still creeps into American life. A note: These stories include frank and honest discussions of race. They may be upsetting to some. Here is one of five accounts:

(CNN) -- By the time he became a parent, Omekongo Dibinga thought he had racism down. He had made a career as a diversity consultant, drawing on his own experiences as a black child who was called names and bullied.

He always imagined he'd save "the birds and the bees of racism" talk with his daughters until they were around 10, old enough to grasp the concept.

That moment came much sooner than expected. One day in 2011, his then 5-year-old daughter Ngolela (pronounced 'go-lay-lah') came home from kindergarten with news that some classmates had called her a monkey. She wasn't hurt, but seemed confused by the nickname.

"It was a strange moment for me," Dibinga remembered. "This is post-Obama. I'm feeling generally good about my prospects as a black man in America, but that comment sent me back."

"Why does this have to be happening now?" he wondered. Dibinga never imagined he'd have to protect his daughters from racist comments so early in life.

Ngolela, who attends a private international school in Washington, wasn't fazed by the remark, he said, partly because she had no idea about the word's history as a racist stereotype for blacks. Chances are, her young classmates also didn't fully understand the power of their words.

As a parent, it was a painful situation to face. "I can protect myself. I put up the necessary shield and barriers to respond to these things," Dibinga said.

"If anything happens to your kid, you want to hug them and hold them and tell them everything's going to be OK. But you can't in these situations," he said. "They're going to happen, whether you're there or not."

Dibinga ultimately tried to take the incident in stride -- using it as an opportunity to work with administrators on fostering dialogue about cultural acceptance at the school. "You can become better or bitter," is one of his tried-and-true mantras.

Dibinga and his wife instead focus their efforts on what they can control: building up their daughters' confidence and teaching them to be proud of their Congolese heritage.

It's something they've done for years, prompted by a remark Ngolela made as a toddler. Like many parents, they lovingly called their daughter a princess and were taken aback by her matter-of-fact response that she wasn't one.

It was a wake-up call. At 2, Ngolela couldn't explain why she felt that way, Dibinga said, "but I started looking more closely at the products out there and realized it's all white princesses, nothing else." (This was before "The Princess and the Frog," featuring Disney's first and only black princess, was released in 2009.)

"I started getting frustrated," Dibinga said. He began looking for black dolls and cartoon characters to introduce to his daughter. He and his wife spent weeks reminding their little girl "that she was as beautiful as anyone else."

"If you don't do anything, the roles society puts out for us are reinforced," Dibinga said. "You have to work to build that self-esteem."

Their efforts paid off. Ngolela, now 7, believes she's a princess just like her white friends. Nonetheless, her father acknowledges that she and her 4-year-old sister, Ndeji, will likely face prejudice and ignorant comments over the years.

"It's sad I feel this way, but it's going to be happening for the rest of their lives," Dibinga said. Still, he's optimistic his girls will see progress as they grow older, just as he did growing up. In the meantime, he'll be there to help them confront whatever ignorant comments may come.

 

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