Thinking About Things: Questions for Presidential Candidates

As an interested voter, it has been depressing to see the debate moderators continue to skim the surface of policy questions without coming close to addressing the implications of the answers to those questions. The moderators have also failed to challenge candidates on matters on which, in more normal times, one hopes the candidates would want to be challenged. Not in any divinely inspired order, here are questions that I would like to see each of the Democratic (and Republican where applicable) candidates answer. Few candidates will answer these questions but their manner of avoiding answering would itself be informative. 1. On unifying the country. The country is now seemingly more divided than at any time over the last 100 years. Some 63 million voters voted for President Trump, a great many of whom still apparently support him. Can you address them now and tell them why they should vote for you in the general election, and how it is that you will try to address their concerns and also seek to unify the country? 2. On Foreign Policy. Virtually all of you have decried the way President Trump has carried out foreign policy in this country, whether it be with respect to China, North Korea, Europe, or more recently, Turkey/Syria/the Kurds. Putting to one side, if you can, your distaste for Mr. Trump and the manner in which he uses twitter and other media to announce and effectuate policy changes, do you believe that: ... Read More

Hunting is Central to Wildlife Conservation

Reports that an American hunter paid $400,000 for a permit to hunt a black rhino in Namibia sent social media and anti-hunting activists screeching with outrage. Yet he was doing exactly the right thing for preservation of endangered species. Revenue from trophy-hunting is indispensable to wildlife conservation in Southern Africa. Sentimental and ill-informed efforts to ban imports of legally-obtained lion, rhino and elephant trophies undercut successful programs in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana that provide incentives for local communities to protect wildlife resources. Namibia’s market-based wildlife conservation program is recognized as Africa’s greatest conservation success. During a recent trip, my wife and I visited these community-based wildlife conservancies and talked to leaders of anti-poaching efforts. The Namibian program was started shortly after the country became independent from South Africa in 1994. The initial impetus for Namibia’s program came even before independence, when Garth Owen-Smith started working with tribal to find ways to make wildlife conservation in the practical interest of their communities. The solution worked out in Namibia started with devolution of property rights in wildlife and other resources to the communities in which they were located. Then a governance structure for the conservancies that would be vested with those rights was developed. The conservancies were run by members of the community, and they were aided in monetizing the value of their resources through tourism, hunting and other concessions. ... Read More