Iraq

Osama’s Bins Laden with Juicy Correspondence

May 8, 2012 by

A year after Osama bin Laden met up with the pointy end of Seal Team Six, it’s fascinating to hear that he was worried about the proliferation of terrorism. In a series of declassified “battlefield documents” published last week by the unambiguously named Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, we gain some insights into what the ex-Most Wanted Man was pondering as he paced around his Abottabad compound. The 17 documents represent a fraction of the intelligence haul that was gathered from the Pakistani hide-out following the raid.

Iran: Why This Time Is Different

May 3, 2012 by

The latest P5+1 talks in Istanbul rejuvenated the diplomatic track between Iran and the West, paving the way for a new chapter in Iranian nuclear negotiations. Yet if the recently concluded talks were a test of intentions, the upcoming negotiations in Baghdad are going to be a real test of wills. Both sides will have to overcome huge obstacles if they want to establish a “sustained process of serious dialogue” to resolve the Iranian nuclear impasse.

Examining the Democratic Peace Hypothesis: A Neorealist Critique

April 26, 2012 by

Referred to as the “closest thing we have to law in international relations,” the democratic peace theory – the idea that democratic states do not go to war against each other – has been used as a champion ideology during the latter half of the post-World War II era and into the new millennium. For the theory’s mostly Western advocates, it is believed that as democracy is spread to all corners of the globe, so shall peace.

Isolation and Hegemony: A New Approach for American Foreign Policy

April 23, 2012 by

In modern foreign policy the United States faces a complicated irony: in a bid to ensure national security and maintain global primacy the U.S. spends a large quantity of blood and treasure on interventionist policies that may actually compromise national security and the future of American hegemony. The culmination of these exercises in grandiose foreign policy has been the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, at the combined cost of between three and four trillion dollars.

An Unlikely Peace: Iran’s Quest for Nuclear Weapons is Likely to Lead to War

April 21, 2012 by

As Israel has faced the threat of Arab armies and Islamic terrorism throughout its history, it has struggled to maintain a strong deterrence in the Middle East, one that will prevent other countries in the region from continuing to attack and to kill Israeli citizens. One of today’s most important issues in foreign affairs is Iran’s quest to obtain nuclear weapons and how their journey towards nuclear dominance in the Middle East might bring America and Israel into the conflict.

Continuities in US History

April 17, 2012 by

The Civil War ended 147 years ago with General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America (CSA) capitulating to General Ulysses S. Grant of the United States of America. But that was not quite the end. Grant accepted the capitulation of the Army of Northern Virginia. The others capitulated one by one––like the Army of Tennessee––April 26, Trans-Mississippi––June 2 and finally on November 6, Confederate cruiser Shenandoah surrendered.

Profiting from Patience: Why Israel Should Not Act Unilaterally Against Iran

April 16, 2012 by

Even before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stage at the 2012 AIPAC conference, the crowd of more than 13,000 participants knew what the topic of his speech would be: Iran. Speaking with passion unmatched by any of the other notable speakers, including US President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres, PM Netanyahu used biblical quotes, touching personal stories, and unbridled rhetoric to ensure that those in attendance understood that Israel would no longer stand by as Iran developed a nuclear weapons program.

Why Iran will Compromise This Time

April 12, 2012 by

As we inch closer to the crucial nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers, the so-called P5+1, the primordial question is whether this time will be different: Is Tehran willing to make necessary compromises – from greater nuclear transparency to more stringent restrictions on its enrichment activities - to reverse the economic siege that is bringing the country close to the edge? Is she going to use the talks as a delaying tactic or will she finally strike a mutually-acceptable deal with the West?

See You in Nuclear Tehran

April 6, 2012 by

If someone wanted to back out of the April 13-14 meeting between Iran and the P5+1 group of international mediators to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, here is an excuse – Tehran has suddenly asked to move the venue from Istanbul to Baghdad. Now the question is whether the key participant in the talks, the United States, wants talks to go forward and why. On the one hand, one gets the impression that the Obama administration considers any form of communication with Tehran to be distasteful and would like to have an excuse to back out of talks. But, on the other hand, failing to produce any results is no good either.

The Foreign Policy President?

April 3, 2012 by

Elections are decided by economics. Voters respond to pocketbook issues and are swayed by the huge sums that candidates lavish on advertising. Foreign policy issues, by contrast, are what the British call “noises off,” those sounds from off-stage that you hear occasionally to punctuate the main actions, sounds like exploding bombs and the distant cries of suffering people. According to recent polling, global issues barely register at all with Americans right now.

Romney’s Foreign Policy and Russia

March 30, 2012 by

Obama’s recently concluded trip to South Korea to liaise with world leaders to address nuclear security and the Iranian nuclear saga went according to schedule, until an “open mic” caught Obama making rather casual comments to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stating he believed he would have more flexibility to address lingering issues related to nuclear arms reduction after the November election.

Why not get the Law and Politics Right in Iran?

March 24, 2012 by

In his important article in the New York Times, March 17, 2012, James Risen summarized the consensus of the intelligence community as concluding that Iran abandoned its program to develop nuclear weapons in 2003, and that no persuasive evidence exists that it has departed from this decision.

Bombings in Iraq a Sign of Deep Domestic Problems

March 23, 2012 by

When US President Obama announced the end of America’s involvement in Iraq, he deliberately did not claim victory. But he did say, when welcoming the last contingent of combat troops home in October last year, that the war in Iraq was over. For Americans, Australians and the media in both countries, that may be how the situation is seen. Iraqis could be excused for disagreeing.

Iraq and the Limits of U.S. Power

March 19, 2012 by

“Washington has lost a valuable opportunity to nurture and support a key counterweight to Iranian influence among Shiites in the Arab world,” lament Danielle Pletka and Gary Schmitt of the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in an op-ed for the Washington Post. They subsequently call on the Obama administration to bulk up its already grossly overloaded staff at the gigantic U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

China: Tehran’s Reprieve?

March 15, 2012 by

The latest chapter in the Iranian nuclear saga contains some signs that coordinated unilateral sanctions from the United States and the European Union are actually working. But, will China’s reluctance to jump on board provide the Iranian regime with the trapdoor that it needs to escape the noose and hang onto power?

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