President Barack Obama

Following Shooting in Afghanistan, Overall Question is Whether the Mission is Doable

March 12, 2012 by

The shooting of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday by a U.S. soldier and the Koran burning on the Bagram air base several weeks ago have American officials questioning whether these two events will make it next to impossible for coalition forces to carry through with the mission as planned until 2014, when the U.S. is expected to leave Afghanistan.

Netanyahu’s and Obama’s Unsavory Choices on Iran

March 8, 2012 by

Whether Iran’s goal is ultimately to produce a nuclear weapon is unknown, but as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said last weekend during his meetings in Washington, if is looks, walks and talks like a duck, it is usually a duck. He also asked a simple question – Would Iran be producing its missile program simply to place medical isotopes on top of their missiles? At least one world leader is asking the right questions and looking this issue squarely in the face.

Romney’s Problems on “Main Street”

March 6, 2012 by

In Republican voting so far this year, it has been evident that Mitt Romney can draw votes in metropolitan areas with their large numbers of well-off, well educated voters. But the Republican front-runner has struggled mightily in many states to win votes in rural areas and small towns, Main Street America if you will. The dynamic was first apparent with Romney’s virtual tie with Rick Santorum in Iowa. Santorum swept nearly two-thirds of the 99 counties, but Romney carried the five leading counties (in terms of the size of the Republican caucus vote).

Reciprocity, Lawfare, and Self-Defense: Targeted Killing

March 6, 2012 by

There is an emergent Israeli/American controversy on the lawfulness of targeted killing. Although the policy has not yet attained the status of being a national debate, there are signs that it may be about to happen, especially in light of the Attorney General, Eric Holder’s Northwestern Law School speech on March 5, 2012 outlining the Obama’s administration’s controversial approach to targeted killing in some detail.

Video: President Obama’s Address to the Annual AIPAC Conference

March 4, 2012 by

On the Sunday before he is scheduled to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister at the White House, President Obama addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference, gathered in Washington. Obama addressed situations in the Middle East, with a significant portion of his speech focused on Iran.

Syria: A Way Out

March 3, 2012 by

There are two tales about the crisis in Syria. In one, the vast majority of Syrians have risen up against the brutality of a criminal dictatorship. The government of Bashar al Assad is on the ropes, isolated regionally and internationally, and only holding on because Russia and China vetoed United Nations intervention. U.S. Secretary to State Hillary Clinton describes Assad as “a war criminal,” and President Barak Obama called him a “dead man walking.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar Ratchet Up Pressure on Assad

March 3, 2012 by

Running counter to the wishes of the United States and other western nations, Saudi Arabia and Qatar recently announced that they are taking steps to arm the Free Syria Army (FSA). Despite the significance of this step, it is unlikely to shift the civil war in favor of the rebels. The FSA, armed with light weapons, suffered a number of strategic setbacks. Their tactical retreat from the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs paints a picture of a rebel group that lacks the operational capacity to challenge the Assad regime directly.

No Winners in a War in Iran

March 2, 2012 by

At a meeting with editors of leading Western newspapers Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia will do all it can to prevent war in Iran. But is this war already inevitable? This is the question on the minds of many in Russia and abroad. A fresh outbreak of violence in the Middle East could destabilize the South Caucasus and other post-Soviet regions. There is no such thing as a foreign war.

North Korea’s Pivot

March 1, 2012 by

After three years of frozen relations between North Korea and the United States, the two longstanding adversaries are on the verge of a thaw. In what has been called the “leap day deal”, North Korea has pledged to stop uranium enrichment and suspend nuclear and missile tests. The United States, meanwhile, will deliver 240,000 metric tonnes of food to the country’s malnourished population.

Africa, Nuclear Security and the 2012 Summit

February 29, 2012 by

Many hold a view that the terms Africa and nuclear security have no correlation. This is a false and dangerous perception. South Africa’s Energy Minister Dipuo Peters announced on Tuesday 28 February 2012 that her country plans to use nuclear energy as part of diversified mix to help cure South Africa’s energy crisis and to take a step closer to cleaner energy.

Growing Pessimism on Afghanistan After Quran Burning

February 29, 2012 by

While top officials in the Barack Obama administration insist that U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is working, the violent aftermath of last week’s apparently inadvertent burning of copies of the Quran at a military base is fuelling growing pessimism about the U.S. and NATO mission there. Some three dozen Afghans were killed in anti-U.S. protests that drew tens of thousands of people into the streets in Kabul and other cities around the country following news of the incineration at Bagram Air Base and despite a series of apologies from U.S. commanders all the way up to President Obama himself.

Life after Zoellick: will there be a new world order at the World Bank?

February 27, 2012 by

When World Bank President Robert Zoellick announced his resignation last week, a surprising number of names emerged as contenders for the Bank’s top job. Zoellick’s resignation doesn’t come into effect until July, so there’s plenty of time for political maneuvering. Traditionally, the president of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development – better known as the World Bank – has been an American appointee.

Is Putin Capable of Crafting a Pragmatic Foreign Policy?

February 26, 2012 by

The soon to be re-elected president of Russia, Vladimir Putin’s glorious ‘great power pragmatism’ will quickly be put to the test. Russia finds itself in the center of the convulsing Eurasian landscape and has also placed itself at the heart of the Iran and Syrian quagmires.

Rick Santorum riles the Dutch

February 25, 2012 by

Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, who has been known to garner a fair bit of criticism from liberals, pro-choice groups and moderates, has now apparently riled the otherwise docile Dutch citizenry. I had several occasions to visit the Sint Lucas Andreas Ziekenhuis hospital in the western part of Amsterdam while I attended graduate school at the Universiteit van Amsterdam in 2008.

The Post-WWI Years and the 21st Century

February 24, 2012 by

The world today and the world immediately before the Second World War are strikingly similar. The military and foreign policy of the United States today is comparable to the close-minded introversion of isolationism. European countries are teetering on the brink of economic collapse. The German industrial juggernaut has reignited. The announced rearmament of Russia resembles that of the former Soviet Union, during and immediately after the First World War.

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