Obama Administration

A Different Diplomatic Approach

May 12, 2012 by

The recent “crisis” over Chen Guangcheng’s flight to the U.S. embassy raises questions about U.S. diplomatic statecraft. Granted, this all went down quickly without warning, but one would think that a situation like this had at some point been “gamed” by the State Department so that a general response would have been in place.

Commentary: Pakistan’s Baluchistan Issue

May 10, 2012 by

Earlier this year, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representative recognizing Baluchistan’s right to self-determination. The bill’s co-sponsors where, Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA). The legislation said in part, the Baluch’s “have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country; and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.”

European’s Have Rejected Austerity Madness: Will the U.S. Get the Message?

May 7, 2012 by

So the voters of Europe have spoken, and surprise, surprise: they are not too keen on fiscal austerity. France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, became the first incumbent to lose since 1981. In Greece, the mainstream parties that have been happily participating in the country’s national suicide were soundly rejected by the electorate.

Are ‘Good-Faith Assurances’ with the Chinese Enough?

May 5, 2012 by

By all accounts, Chen Guangcheng was prepared to resettle in the United States following years of run-ins with Chinese authorities. Chen Guangcheng’s reversal from seeking asylum, to an expressed desire to remain in China and ultimately to plea for help from the U.S. State Department, including a choreographed phone call to a congressional hearing, have created a diplomatic headache for the Obama administration.

The Talented Mr. Chen

May 5, 2012 by

Chen Guangcheng’s saga says a lot about the evolution in Chinese political culture currently under way as well as about the maturing relationship between China and the U.S. Not long ago, this ‘crisis’ could have severely impacted bilateral relations between the two countries; today, it appears to be a minor irritant, based on a spirit of compromise and common sense that has apparently prevailed.

A New ‘Rough Patch’ in US-South Africa Relations

May 4, 2012 by

The US-South Africa bilateral relationship over the past eighteen months has been a diplomatic minefield. Issues include everything from military equipment and nuclear energy/weapons to oil, communication companies and the global north versus the global south. The most recent, and the most serious issue regarding US-SA relations is Iran.

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.

The Obama Administration Defends the use of Armed Drones

May 3, 2012 by

Set against the backdrop of events marking the one year anniversary of the killing of Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin-Laden, the Obama administration has for the first time formally acknowledged its use of drone missile strikes that have proven effective in decimating Al-Qaeda’s ranks as well as killing other high value targets in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington on April 30th, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, affirmed, “the United States government conducts targeted strikes against specific al-Qaeda terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones.”

Latin America Delivers A Swift Kick

April 30, 2012 by

On one level, April’s hemispheric summit meeting was an old fashioned butt kicking for Washington’s policies in the region. The White House found itself virtually alone—Dudley Do Right Canada its sole ally—on everything from Cuba to the war on drugs. But the differences go deeper than the exclusion of Havana and the growing body count in Washington’s failed anti-narcotics strategy. They reflect profound disagreements on how to build economies, confront inequity, and reflect a new balance of power in world affairs.

ILO Urges Worker-Friendly Recovery Policies

April 30, 2012 by

Although economic growth has resumed in much of the world since the 2008 financial crisis, the global unemployment situation remains alarming and could worsen, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). European governments, in particular, should adopt more worker- friendly approaches in dealing with fiscal austerity, according to the agency’s “World of Work Report 2012″ that was released here and at its headquarters in Geneva Sunday.

A New Great Game in Asia-Pacific

April 28, 2012 by

India tested its first inter-continental ballistic missile, named Agni-V, this month and joined the select group of nations possessing both nuclear weapons and a delivery system capable of hitting targets across continents. Only a few days before, nuclear capable North Korea had test fired a rocket, supposedly to place a satellite in the orbit, but it failed.

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.

The Calculus of Egypt’s Presidential Race

April 23, 2012 by

“President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from his position as president of the republic.” Uttered by former Vice President Omar Suleiman on the evening of February 11, 2011, these words set in motion jubilations by millions of Egyptians celebrating the ultimate triumph of their will over the obstinate dictator. Although the previous eighteen tumultuous days had united the overwhelming majority of Egyptians regardless of political orientation, religious persuasion, economic class or social strata, the ultimate victory of the revolution was not inevitable.

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.

Obama and Immigration

April 19, 2012 by

President Barack Obama is talking big (again). This time it is about immigration. At the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Obama has said that he would deal with immigration reform during the first year of his second term. Now all he has to do is get reelected.

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