On a trip to Tanzania last week, former President George W. Bush made news when he told ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl, “The reason to pass immigration reform is not to bolster a Republican Party, it’s to fix a system that’s broken. Good policy yields good politics, as far as I’m concerned.” Bush chose his words carefully; he didn’t endorse the specific immigration reform bill that the Senate recently sent to the House for consideration. But he made clear that he remains in favor of sweeping immigration reform, something he attempted to accomplish as president.

“I think it’s very important to fix a broken system, to treat people with respect and have confidence in our capacity to assimilate people,” Bush told ABC.

Bush’s remarks are the more striking because he has used his postpresidency platform so sparingly, showing considerable dignity in his reluctance to lecture or criticize his successor. He has, however, spoken out on immigration reform before. In December, he said, “America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. As our nation debates the proper course of action relating to immigration, I hope we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contribution of immigrants.”

In the same vein, he spoke Wednesday at a naturalization ceremony for 20 people from 12 countries at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.

Bush’s remarks and his willingness to use his and his wife’s new institute in this way offer a welcome reminder that sensible immigration reform is a national necessity, not a partisan cause. We hope Republican leaders in the House will tune in.

From an editorial in the Washington Post



Japan must counter China, N. Korea

Getting China and North Korea to restrain their dangerous military actions requires increased diplomatic efforts, but it is also essential for Japan to improve its military power to offset the threat these nations present.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has increased defense spending for the first time in 11 years — but by a meager 0.8 percent. China’s defense expenditures have sharply increased. In statistics published by the Chinese government, the growth marks nearly a fourfold rise in the past 10 years and more than a 33-fold increase in 25 years.

As circumstances stand today, the figure is about double Japan’s defense spending. If the increase goes unchecked, however, the disparity will likely widen to a more than fivefold gap 10 years from now. The situation is extremely serious.

Japan needs to increase its defense spending from now on.

From an editorial in the Yomiuri Shimbun of Tokyo