Mark Twain is believed to have once said, “whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.” He may have been on to something. Historically, water has been at the center of much of this world’s conflict and suffering. Here in the United States, it’s hard for many of us to imagine a life without access to clean water, because when we turn on the tap, clean water flows out – it’s that easy. However, for more than 800 million people around the world, accessing clean water is a dangerous daily struggle.
Grace is a five-year-old little girl who lives in Eastern Uganda. When we think about kids Grace’s age, we imagine a carefree world filled with hours of playtime or our first reading lessons. But for Grace and her three-year-old sister, life is not that simple. Instead, every day as the sun begins to rise, they start the seven-mile round trip journey to the nearest borehole in search of clean water.
The time-consuming journey often keeps Grace out of school. This is not uncommon for women and young girls in the developing world. According to UNICEF, nearly 200 million hours are spent every day just to find clean water. This search for clean water severely limits the futures of these women and girls, denying them opportunities outside of the household and trapping families in a cycle of poverty.
Perhaps worse, the arduous trek for clean water can also be dangerous. Grace’s family constantly fears that she will meet the fate of other young girls from the village: being kidnapped or sexually abused by the men who control the well. To avoid these hazards, Grace and her family often settle for a shorter walk to dirty swamp water. Throughout the world, one in 13 people have no choice but to drink this kind of polluted water, putting themselves at risk of contracting terrible diseases. Every two minutes a child under the age of 5 dies from illnesses related to poor water and sanitation—amounting to nearly 300,000 child deaths a year—while many more suffer from severe malnutrition. Grace has already had typhoid and worms, and the family fears her little sister has malaria. But the local clinic doesn’t have running water either, a far too common occurrence in Africa where nearly half the medical facilities lack a water source.
Too many people around the globe face the same struggles as Grace and her family for clean water. Without the life-giving power of water, safe sanitation and hygiene in homes, schools, and hospitals is impossible. As many as 2.3 billion people lack a decent toilet and are forced to go to the bathroom outdoors. This further contaminates sources of drinking water, spreading dysentery. Access to clean drinking water is simply not enough: without safe sanitation and good hygiene practices, the problems associated with water scarcity will never be solved.
Water scarcity not only affects individuals and communities – it is directly tied to global stability and even U.S. national security. It is no coincidence that some of the most volatile regions in the world are also those that lack water security. From Nigeria and Somalia to Iraq and Yemen, terrorist groups often seize water infrastructure to use as leverage or exploit grievances that stem from water scarcity. Both Boko Haram and ISIS will dig boreholes to provide water to local communities, not out of goodwill but as a common recruiting tactic. A strategy to combat terrorist groups around the world requires more than just military action. It must address the necessities of a society, such as secure access to clean water.
That is exactly why my colleague Earl Blumenauer and I introduced the Water for the World Act which became law in 2014 and made it U.S. policy to prioritize this crucial issue through devising and implementing a comprehensive inter-agency global water strategy. By addressing this one fundamental requirement for human life, we can save lives and improve the world. As the wealthiest and most innovative nation on Earth, solutions are within our reach. The United States must act as a global leader, setting an example by prioritizing water, sanitation, and hygiene access. We can do this by prioritizing assistance to countries in the greatest need and ensuring that the legally mandated water office that already exists in USAID is appropriately funded and preserved during the agency’s redesign.
Today, 1.4 billion more people have access to clean water than they did in 2000. This means, is 1.4 billion lives have been saved or fundamentally improved. With our God-given resources, it is our moral duty to see that no one must suffer because of lack of water. As we inch closer to achieving universal clean water access, maybe one day, we can finally take the fighting out of Mark Twain’s famous quote, and instead say “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for life.”
And that’s just the way it is.
Poe is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee.
As technology evolves, so does transportation. From the days of the horse and buggy and later steam engines, all the way to the hybrid cars of today, our modes of transportation have become faster, more efficient, and safer. Houstonians have seen our highways grow in numbers and expand in width, yet we still face traffic and long commutes. We’ve poured concrete and money into our highways and ignored other means of transportation, like our railway system. Americans continue to travel on trains that use the same technology that our grandparents did. It’s time to change that.
It’s time for high-speed rail in Texas. The “bullet train” — the proposed train between Dallas and Houston — will provide a fast, safe and reliable means of transportation between the state’s two largest metro areas. The train has garnered its share of supporters and critics along its route, but its impact on Houston will be significant.
For Houston, this high-speed rail will relieve congestion along Interstate 45.
Since Russia’s seizure of Crimea in early 2014, American and European efforts to resolve the standoff in Ukraine and reverse Russian aggression have failed. Despite talks, sanctions, and repeated ceasefire agreements, Russian backed separatists, and even Russian troops, continue to instigate violence in eastern Ukraine. Today, the conflict is in danger of being forgotten by the West. All too many underestimate the severe ramifications of allowing Moscow to violate the territorial integrity of yet another one of its neighbors. With circumstances unchanged, it is time to intensify U.S. efforts to alter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calculus in Ukraine.
Like many Eastern European countries that were once Soviet satellite states, Ukraine has steadily aspired to become more integrated with the West. Ukrainians, fedup with decades of corruption and economic stagnation, made this clear during the “Euromaidan” Revolution of February 2014. It is no coincidence that a month after Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was re
During the fanfare of last month’s Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, the world watched with enthusiasm as athletes from the two Koreas marched together in a rare display of unity. The occasion was undoubtedly a welcome reprieve from the intense standoff that has risked millions of lives. But within this moment of goodwill, it is difficult to separate a hopeful vision from the stark realty of the regime’s ambition.
Although Kim Jong-un also wants a unified peninsula like the one that adorned the Korean team’s flag, he demands that it only exist under his rule. This must never happen.
Little Kim’s desire to dominate the Korean peninsula and his hatred of the United States are inherited from his grandfather, Kim Il-sung. Nearly 70 years ago, Grandpa Kim, founding leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, invaded the newly founded Republic of Korea. The Korean peninsula, much like in Europe, had been divided along Cold War lines following Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II.
It is vital that we strike Iran’s proxies before they mature into new Hezbollahs.It is vital that we strike Iran’s proxies before they mature into new Hezbollahs.
BY TED POE
MARCH 8, 2018 22:32
When US President Donald Trump announced his new Iran strategy last month, I, like many of my colleagues, was pleased to hear that countering the Islamic Republic’s regional activity and support for terrorist proxies would be a core focus.
In particular, I was delighted that a proposal I introduced in 2015, to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for terrorism sanctions through Executive Order 13224, was finally being implemented. Targeting the IRGC with comprehensive sanctions is a welcome step toward reversing years of Iran’s regional expansionism. However, there is still much to be done. Iran’s network of terror is well entrenched throughout the Middle East, and uprooting its influence will require a broad effort that targets every instrument of Tehran’s malign activity. We in Congress are eager to contribute to this effort.
Last year, Jerry’s Artarama Art Supplies in West Palm Beach, Florida was sued for a toilet paper dispenser that was not situated at the correct height. In 2016, a popular Colorado restaurant was forced to close its doors after a person from Florida sued the restaurant for its incorrect positioning of urinals in the men’s restroom. Another suit alleged the pool of an Atlanta hotel lacked a pool lift, but the hotel’s pool was permanently closed and covered; the plaintiff had never visited the property.
These serial plaintiffs shake down business owners who are forced to either settle or go to court. In many cases, the plaintiffs issue demand letters that threaten to bring a lawsuit for an ADA violation unless the business pays them to drop the lawsuit. These letters frequently fail to inform the business owner exactly what the alleged violation is. So, the business chooses to pay the ransom and put the potential lawsuit behind them. Small “Mom and Pop” business simply cannot afford costly attorneys, so they settle. This leaves the alleged violation unfixed and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) abused.
Those who meet Asia Graves today are typically struck by her self-assuredness and strength. Nothing in her demeanor or speech hints at the darkness and trauma of her past. The only noticeable clue is the deep scar on her cheek, one that was gouged into her face with a potato peeler by her human trafficker.
When Asia was 16, she was lured into the dark underworld of human trafficking. Her traffickers beat her, branded her and forced her to have sex with countless strangers for money. What shocked Asia though wasn’t necessarily the greed and violence of her traffickers, but the seemingly endless number of buyers who would willingly pay to abuse and degrade her.
Cracks are forming in the iron grip of the Iranian regime. The latest wave of protests sweeping Iran demonstrates yet again that dictatorial regimes are inherently doomed because they lack the enduring consent of the people they rule.
Yet just as our forefathers required foreign assistance to finally shed the chains of tyranny, we too must stand with the Iranian people as they defy their oppressors. Utilizing our economic, political, and technological might, rather than armed intervention, the United States should rectify past inaction and amplify the voices of Iranians.