January 3, 2013 by Ramzy Baroud
Reading the text of a bill that was recently signed into law by President Barack Obama would instill fear in the hearts of ordinary Americans. Apparently, barbarians coming from distant lands are at work. They are gathering at the US-Mexico border, cutting fences and ready to wreak havoc on an otherwise serene American landscape.
Never mind that crazed, armed to the teeth, homegrown American terrorists are killing children and terrorizing whole cities. It is the Iranian menace that we are meant to fear according to the new law. When compounded with the other imagined threats of Hezbollah and Hamas, all with sinister agendas, then the time is right for Americans to return to their homes, bolt their doors and squat in shelters awaiting further instructions, for evidently, “The Iranians are coming.”
November 30, 2012 by John Lyman
In light of Susan Rice’s less-than stellar coming out party as a possible nominee to replace Hillary Clinton at State, the Obama administration would do well to find a consensus candidate. Among those mentioned, the one that seems the most obvious is Jon Huntsman, Obama’s former ambassador to China until he stepped down to run for the GOP presidential nomination only to come in 3rd in New Hampshire. Al Gore, the soon to be former Sen. Richard Lugar, Colin Powell and a smattering of other former policymakers and politicos have also been mentioned as possible nominees to replace Clinton.
December 4, 2011 by Taylor Dibbert
Since Felipe Calderón came into office in 2006, security links between the US and Mexico have gotten noticeably stronger, the Mérida Initiative being the most obvious example of this. Funding under this program will almost certainly continue next year.
Since “Mérida assistance” is costing the US government hundreds of millions of dollars a year, now would be an appropriate time to ascertain whether this is the best use of taxpayer money, or whether it promotes human rights or has even been effectual. If the deficit is the preeminent threat to national security, security cooperation around the globe must be reexamined.
October 4, 2011 by Wesley M. Bruer
America’s diplomatic ties with Pakistan have further deteriorated following critical statements made by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen earlier last week. In his testimony before a Sept. 22 Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, Admiral Mullen called out Pakistan’s shadowy Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) for its long-suspected ties to terrorists networks in the region, purporting that the country’s intelligence wing has directly supported recent insurgent attacks on US targets in Afghanistan.
The Haqqani network, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani based out of Pakistan’s lawless Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) was a key ally to the United States during the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980’s, is quickly becoming the most obvious threat to US interests in the region and US officials claim to have evidence of their involvement in recent high-profile attacks. Admiral Mullen testified: “There is ample evidence confirming that the Haqqanis were behind the June 28th attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and the September 10th truck bomb attack that killed five Afghans and injured another 96 individuals, 77 of whom were US soldiers.”
October 3, 2011 by Scott Firsing
While some of NASA’s old equipment falls back to earth, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are doing just the opposite, by launching massive technologically advanced hunks of titanium into earth’s orbit. Ever since Wan Hu, China has been aiming for space and it’s a frontier that it has finally conquered.
On 29 September 2011, China successfully launched its first space lab module into orbit in an impressive nighttime display. The unmanned Tiapong blasted off on a Chinese Long March 2F rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. The growing economic giant wants to put a man on the moon by 2030.
July 1, 2011 by John Lyman
President Obama and the GOP Congressional leadership are at an impasse. Failure to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling by Aug. 2nd carries the likely consequence that the U.S. will default on its financial obligations, resulting in unforeseen and unwanted consequences. For the U.S. to continue to borrow in order to pay its obligations, Congress must raise the nation’s debt ceiling limit of $14.3 trillion dollars. As economists from across the political spectrum urge raising the debt ceiling limit, Congress’s inability to do so largely hinges on disagreements between “pro-tax” Democrats and “anti-tax” and spending Republicans.
“[We] urge Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling limit immediately and without attaching drastic and potentially dangerous reductions in federal spending…Failure to increase the debt limit sufficiently to accommodate existing U.S. laws and obligations also could undermine trust in the full faith and credit of the United States government, with potentially grave long-term consequences. This loss of trust could translate into higher interest rates not only for the federal government, but also for U.S. businesses and consumers, causing all to pay higher prices for credit. Economic growth and jobs would suffer as a result,” 235 economists urged in a letter to Congressional leaders.
June 21, 2011 by John Lyman
Robert Gates, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, is scheduled to retire at the end of the month. On the heels of his impending retirement he has not been shy about advocating for continued U.S. engagements in Libya and Afghanistan and warning against the dangers of gutting the Pentagon budget. “I’ve spent my entire adult life with the United States as a superpower, and one that had no compunction about spending what it took to sustain that position,” Gates told Newsweek during his last trip abroad as head of the Pentagon. “It didn’t have to look over its shoulder because our economy was so strong. This is a different time,” Gates said.
“To tell you the truth, that’s one of the many reasons it’s time for me to retire, because frankly I can’t imagine being part of a nation, part of a government…that’s being forced to dramatically scale back our engagement with the rest of the world,” Gates said.
May 19, 2011 by John Lyman
Of the declared or potential Republican candidates seeking the nomination for president in 2012, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) strays the least from his core principles. Paul, to either his benefit or detriment, has developed very clear and concise foreign policy positions, which have engendered a dedicated fan base specifically because of his core assumptions about foreign affairs. Compared to a number of other potential GOP candidates who vacillate depending on real world events, Ron Paul is the best positioned to challenge President Obama over foreign policy.
If Ron Paul does not succeed in securing the nomination, adopting his core assumptions may benefit the eventual nominee who will challenge President Obama in 2012. However, previous arguments that President Obama was an indecisive leader or was too professorial have been contradicted following the May 2nd raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
May 5, 2011 by John Lyman
Since becoming India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh has made several attempts to improve relations between Pakistan and India. There have been recent signs that his efforts were showing results. However, the fact that Osama bin Laden had been hiding in Pakistan for an undetermined amount of time might hamper his efforts.
Indians have long accused Pakistan of aiding and abetting terrorist groups. The accusations were validated and became more pointed after the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed over 160 people and wounded 250. The Mumbai attackers received their training in Pakistan.
March 23, 2011 by John Lyman
The Obama administration recently named Gary F. Locke as ambassador to China replacing Ambassador Jon M. Huntsman Jr. Mr. Huntsman who is stepping down for a presumed presidential run against his soon to be former employer. The nomination of Gary Locke leaves the position of Commerce Secretary empty for the foreseeable future. Senate Republicans have threatened to block the confirmation of a replacement until President Obama submits, for Senate consideration; the Panamanian and Columbian free trade agreements. The Obama administration has yet to do this. The United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) has been finalized but is being held up until the other two are finished and submitted to the Senate.
March 12, 2011 by John Lyman
The war in Afghanistan has lasted for nearly ten years and shows no sign of abating.
Furthermore, the Afghan War has the dubious distinction of being America’s longest conflict surpassing U.S. involvement in Indochina. However, military progress has been made in wrestling significant portions of the country from the Taliban and eliminating Al Qaeda elements. Despite these gains there is widespread doubt that the war can be successfully brought to a conclusion. What gains have been made are increasingly tenuous and any military successes could be reversed once some American troops begin to leave in July 2011 as scheduled.
Additionally, there are concerns that the war could prove to be a colossal waste of effort and lives once the U.S. military completely evacuates by 2014 with the exception of support units. There are legitimate concerns that U.S. and NATO forces are propping up the Afghan government which will be unable to hold onto major population centers without a direct American troop presence.
February 15, 2011 by John Lyman
In the past month there have been revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, unrest in Yemen, Bahrain and Iran and historic elections have been held in Sudan. Despite these seismic positive global shifts policymakers on Capitol Hill are calling into question the necessity of foreign aid.
Contrary to conservative claims and popular perception foreign aid constitutes less than 1% of the federal budget. Yet policymakers argue that foreign aid and discretionary spending lie at the heart of the current and long-term fiscal health of the United States.