First, some of this week's headlines:
American Courts in the News
"Boston A judge who resigned after being caught driving drunk in New Hampshire while in drag says he's reconsidering his decision to quit.
"U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Somma said in a letter to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly posted Tuesday that an outpouring of support from judges, lawyers and others led him to reconsider"
Courts Around the World in the News
"KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia When Roslan Ngah took a second wife, he might have wondered if she would get along with his first.
"He need not have worried. The two women got on so well they decided to leave him at the same time.
"Faced with their united stand, Roslan, a 44-year-old Malaysian Muslim, divorced his two wives, aged 46 and 35, in an Islamic Shariah Court in northeastern Terengganu state on Tuesday, a lawyer said Wednesday.
"According to Islamic law, a woman can submit a request to leave her husband, but the pronouncement of divorce must come from the man or a court. Islam allows a man to have four wives."
"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan ... -- A man and a woman, sentenced to death by a Pakistani tribal court after being found guilty of adultery, reportedly were stoned to death by Taliban militants.
"The stoning was supposedly carried out Monday in the Khwezai-Baezai tribal area, Dawn newspaper reported. The area is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.
"It was first such reported incident of a stoning by the militants, who usually put the accused before firing squads, the report said."
So We Become Part of a Caliphate: So What?According to some of the 'deep thinkers' I've known, governments everywhere (with the possible exception of the Worker's Paradise) are pretty much the same: unless maybe American government institutions are more racist and oppressive.
I haven't talked with them recently, but my guess is that some would say that it wouldn't make much difference, if the American Congress was replaced with a council of Ayatollahs, and the Supreme Court justices were replaced by scholars well-versed in Sharia law.
The others would know enough about the shallow end of Islamic law to know that they wouldn't like it. American courts have their faults: but they do, in general, give a little wiggle room for human nature; and don't regard what goes on in the back seat of a car as a capital offense.
Quite a few leaders around the world seem to regard Chamberlain as the paragon of international diplomacy.
Negotiation is great, it has a place in diplomacy: and really good negotiators have a shot at a Nobel Peace Prize. Speaking of which, have you noticed that negotiators like Yasser Arafat and Jimmy Carter have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize, but not Generals, many of whom actually ended wars?1
I'm genuinely concerned that the next American president, and many members of Congress, may try to achieve "peace for our time," rather than peace.
As I said, negotiation is great: but there are people who regard negotiation as an opportunity to delay their enemy. The National Socialist German Workers Party made effective use of negotiation, and Europe's fervent desire for peace, in 1938.
Seven decades later, many leaders are as desperate for peace as Nevil Chamberlain, Edouard Daladier, and others were. I hope that today's - and tomorrow's - negotiators learn the right lessons from history.
1 To be fair, American Commander in Chiefs - Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter - got the prize: in 1906, 1919 and 2002, respectively.