US Foreign Policy

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Diplomats Discuss Bashar al-Assad’s Future as Syria Fights Rebels – NYTimes.com.

 

This is an important article on the stage we find ourselves in of the Syrian revolution. Russia’s defense to the last of the Assad regime is a significant political reality that points much more deeply to the problem and challenge of global, that is, Security Council consensus on matters of global governance when massive human rights abuses are occurring. We are still at a kind of Cold War impasse when it comes to the spheres of influence of the United States, Europe and Saudi Arabia on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other. The United States political narrative on such matters, and in such crunch times, runs something like this:

We the United States stand for human rights and democracy, and Russia and China only care about defending illiberal states and their sovereignty because …

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Ineffective tightening of sanctions on Iran

by mgopin on December 12, 2011 · 7 comments

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This article originally appeared on the Al Jazeeera English website on Dec. 12, 2011.  You can view it by clicking here .

Washington, DC – There is a long record of the grim effects of sanctions in international struggles against those states deemed as “rogue”. Sanctions are seen as righteous instruments, a non-violent way to pressure problematic regimes to change. But when you really don’t care about a country or its people, then your true attitudes emerge in the way in which you use the sanctions instrument of policy.

Let’s take Iraq. Based on estimates of the massive increase in child mortality rates through the years of the sanctions in the 1990s, anywhere from 300,000 to a million people lost their lives. But no one in Saddam’s inner circle, none of the wealthy, and none of the killers, died from those sanctions. Such sanctions were touted as an enlightened and …

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He was racing in a Humvee with four other soldiers, having arrived there just days before, 19 years old. The day he got there his best friend was shot in the head, boom, gone in an instant. Now he was racing along this road when a missile directly hit the cab of the vehicle. One guy’s legs were gone and another was killed right away, and the missile flew right by his head, just missing him. He seemed uninjured, but he was, and now he is back in Boston.

It was a sunny August afternoon in Boston as I leaped into a cab. I had just finished attending a conference of great religious educators at Boston University, and I was feeling very good about my presentation. I thought it was a home run because I really connected with the message and the people.

The 50-something Irish cab driver, whose presence …

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The recent news of a rogue group of American military personnel murdering Afghans for sport is a sign of America’s war fatigue. The more the war drags on without attainable goals the worse the “quality control” of American troops. American troops are exhausted and over-stretched, and we must ask, what is there to be done?

The clear answer is deep engagement with the people of Afghanistan, engagement that wins the war through winning the people from the insurgents, and even winning over many of the insurgents. Here is how:

Vastly Expand CERP Funds

CERP stands for Commanders’ Emergency Response Program. These funds are being used by forward thinking commanders to reconstruct mosques and other basic construction needs. General Petreaus should significantly increase the quantity of these funds and the flexibility of their usage, particularly supporting commanders and chaplains in particular regions that have engaged the community, tribal and religious leaders …

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This is a wonderful article, very important timing. Ria is absolutely right on, except I suspect strongly that Petreaus is much more of an ally than she thinks. But there are other problems with the American military and political system that are preventing the rational approach that she is recommending. The ideology of killing, hard conquest, is in the way, and it still afflicts enough people at various levels of authority that moving quickly now is hard. But that is where progressives need to step up and lobby hard, with money, to do the right thing.

A role for the US in Afghan national reconciliation? by Shukria Dellawar – Common Ground News Service.


A role for the US in Afghan national reconciliation?
by Shukria Dellawar

05 August 2010

Washington, DC – In June, at the latest loya jirga (a grand assembly comprised of tribal leaders) meeting in Kabul, 1,600

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Trying to figure out why I am always trying to clean up messes that I did not create, messes that I predicted. So here we go again with the dance of clashes that others crave. I will be on Al Hurra at 4 because there are demonstrations happening in response all over the world.

The Obama administration has said that it is concerned about the proposed burning of the Koran by a US church group.

On Tuesday, the White House said that it supported recent comments from General David Patraeus, the chief commander of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, that the torching could put US troops in the country at risk.

“It puts our troops in harm’s way, any type of activity like  that that puts our troops in harm’s way would be a concern to this administration,” Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said.

A Church group in

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this article points out a systemic-perspective suggesting the "proximity talks" as a tactical move through which Israeli, Palestinian and American leadership can work within one strategy to reduce the power of the radical elements in their society. While many question the content-value of the "Proximity talks," many neglect the power structure it creates as an opportunity to put pressure on the radical elements within these societies and open the gate to agreement between Israel and Palestine. The concern should be the drift of the moderate elements in these societies toward radical reaction that will block opportunity for change. The inner conflicts within Israel and Palestine are blocking the progress and need to be contained for the establishment of a Palestinian state in near future.

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Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network

by mgopin on September 11, 2009 · 6 comments

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This is an important unnoticed piece that helps piece together the corruption of power during the Bush years that led to the Iraq debacle. It deserves study to help solidify democratic checks and balances to avert this in the future. Democratic systems require constant vigilance in order to checks and balances to work in ever changing circumstances.

Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network
By Jim Lobe

wolfowitz rumsfeld

An excerpt from the article:

The Office of Special Plans (OSP), which worked alongside the Near East and South Asia (NESA) bureau in Feith’s domain, was originally created by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to review raw information collected by the official U.S. intelligence agencies for connections between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

Retired intelligence officials from the State Department, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have long charged that the two offices exaggerated

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The systematic pattern is of intelligence reports that keep pushing back the date at which Iran is said to be able to produce a nuclear weapon. My concern is how much political manipulation is going on of the public, and has been for many years.

Also, there seems to be no straightforward approach at this moment in time to Iran. My own instinct is that the United States should engage in every way possible the people of Iran while keeping a distance from a regime that is discredited at this time among its own people. It is vital that the United States step up its relationship with any and all of Iran’s allies in order to find any way possible to pressure Iran to come to the negotiating table.

U.S. estimates Iran unable to produce nuke before 2013
Natasha Mozgovaya

Photo Credit: www.justgetthere.us

Photo Credit: www.justgetthere.us

A newly disclosed congressional document shows that

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Frank Luntz has done it again, putting his prodigious talents to work for reactionary causes, finding amazingly simple–though not simplistic–communications strategies to obstruct basic truths and delay a little longer the march of history. All the major issues that the world now sees as obvious and plain as day–climate change, tobacco as a killer, for example–were at one time subject to the brilliant obfuscations of communications manipulation. Now Frank has turned that to the purposes of the so-called pro-Israel community, which is not and does not represent a pro-Israel position but rather a pro-settlement and pro-war position.

Newsweek has exposed Frank’s playbook, over a hundred pages of it. The pro-peace community, the community that considers itself pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian should study this method and turn it on its head. Exposing it and reversing its use is the best way to neutralize its fundamental dishonesty.

In the report, Luntz describes

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