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Editorial roundup: Collected thoughts from around the nation
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Editorial Roundup

Editorial roundup: Collected thoughts from around the nation

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced recently that he is appointing two veteran diplomats to lead the State Department’s efforts on “Havana syndrome,” a series of mysterious health episodes that first emerged at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba in 2016 and now includes similar issues reported by over 200 diplomats, CIA operatives and national security officials in Washington and overseas.

In another encouraging move, Blinken said the department has new technology to help the government figure out what is causing the incidents. The State Department also has made reporting any health incidents a top priority.

It’s about time that the U.S. government focused this level of attention on the problem. The government suspects, but has not been able to confidently determine, that the episodes are attacks on American personnel by a foreign adversary. The Cuban government denies participating in any wrongdoing toward foreign diplomats.

The Biden administration believes it is getting closer to identifying who is responsible and understanding what mechanism is being used to cause the mysterious medical condition. We hope the answer comes quickly.

— The Miami Herald

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There are times when the unnaming of a school or building and the stripping of an honor from someone with a less-than-purely-perfect past makes us shake our heads. Other times it’s complicated.

But when it comes to the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, which finally announced recently that it would take the first steps to shed the name Hastings, we can only wonder why it took several years. His misdeeds came to light in 2017, when an adjunct professor wrote an article about the man.

Serranus Clinton Hastings, the first chief justice of the California Supreme Court, should have — but never did — face a judge himself over the deaths of Native Americans. Hastings orchestrated and financed multiple attacks on the Yuki Indians of Round Valley in Mendocino County that massacred close to 300 people, including women and children. He then took their lands for his own financial benefit. With those questionably obtained gains, he donated $100,000 in gold coins to found the law college, the first in California.

Hastings’ name is a dishonor to the law. There is no way his name belongs even on an anthill.

— Los Angeles Times

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There is still much to learn about the horrific recent events at the Astroworld festival in Houston, which resulted in at least eight deaths along with hundreds of injuries. But let’s all be clear about one thing: The continuation of the Travis Scott concert for a prolonged period after it became clear some of the young people in the audience were being crushed was unforgivable.

Precisely who was to blame for that decision, and when and to what degree the artist on stage could have known what was transpiring and its scale, will be something for investigators and courts to find out. But it’s already clear there was no adequate emergency communication between those aware of what was transpiring on the crowded floor and the stage.

We’ve all apparently forgotten what happened at The Who concert in Cincinnati in 1979 and at a soccer game in Sheffield, England, in 1989. These days, general-admission seating at concerts is common practice again.

We’re not saying that every standing section at every concert, indoors and outdoors, inherently is unsafe. But those deaths in Houston should, at a minimum, wake us up to the seemingly forgotten dangers of any public event where each person does not have a guaranteed piece of real estate, purchased in advance.

— Chicago Tribune

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China’s reported test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic weapon has raised alarm about the vulnerability of the U.S. to missile attacks by nuclear-armed adversaries. The U.S. should be vigilant about emerging threats, but pouring more money into unproven missile-defense technologies isn’t the answer. America’s aim should be to keep its missile-defense capabilities aligned with both fiscal reality and the country’s strategic interests.

Since the early 2000s, America’s missile-defense program has been geared to defend both the U.S. homeland and some overseas military assets from limited missile strikes. That has meant building defenses strong enough to stop an attack of the kind North Korea might contemplate, but not so large that they’d be both unaffordable and destabilizing.

When it comes to defending against limited strikes on allies and military assets overseas, the cost-benefit calculation is more favorable. The U.S. should invest in upgrading the sea-based Aegis weapon system, which has historically performed well. It should complete long-delayed plans to build an onshore Aegis installation in Poland, alongside a similar site in Romania, to bolster Europe’s defenses against possible Iranian or Russian aggression. And it should expand technical support to Japan and South Korea to help them develop their own sea-based defenses.

Missile defense has the potential to help the U.S. counter the threat posed by rival militaries, but it’s not a substitute for traditional deterrence and arms control.

— Bloomberg Opinion

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