Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

The Obama Vendetta Against Netanyahu

by Elliott Abrams Friday, October 2, 2015

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the UN General Assembly this week, neither Secretary of State Kerry nor even our UN Ambassador, Samantha Power, was present.

Why not? The State Department has said Kerry was involved in some kind of conference call or video conference with the White House. OK, let’s call that plausible. What about Power? Read more »

The Sandinistas Attack the Miskito Indians–Again

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The hostility between the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and the Miskito Indians of Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast was sharp during the 1980s, and many Indians joined the contra effort against that regime. They wanted little more than to be left alone, but the Sandinistas wanted to conscript them into the revolution. To the Marxist Sandinista leaders they were relics of a pre-capitalist age, and had to brought into 20th century Stalinist reality. Read more »

What Andrzej Duda and Benjamin Netanyahu Have in Common

by Elliott Abrams Monday, September 21, 2015

What do Andrzej Duda and Benjamin Netanyahu have in common?

The answer is Russia.

Duda is president of Poland and Netanyahu is prime minister of Israel. For Poles, Russia is a never-ending problem and has been one throughout Polish history. Watching Putin maneuver against Georgia and Ukraine, take Crimea and part of Georgia by force, and threaten NATO countries, all of Poland’s traditional fears of its big neighbor are called to mind. So the Poles rely on both their membership in NATO and their own arms buildup for national security. They have under way a multi-year arms program, increasing defense spending each year and exceeding their NATO peers in percentage terms over and over again. Read more »

The Pope’s Cuba Test

by Elliott Abrams Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Pope’s visit to Cuba is of course a test of the regime: how much of a crackdown will it undertake to prevent him from seeing a single demonstrator or dissident?

But it is also a test of Pope Francis. He is visiting a vicious and brutal dictatorship that has largely eviscerated the Cuban church–closing its schools, for example, including those attended by Fidel Castro as a child. There have been plenty of news reports in the last week of round-ups of dissidents throughout the island. Today there are more. Jon Watts reported for The Guardian in London as follows: Read more »

The Republican Debate: Where Was the Freedom Agenda?

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, September 17, 2015

Watching the Republican debate last night, I was very glad to see the field (with Rand Paul as the only real exception) acknowledge George W. Bush’s foreign policy achievements– not least keeping America safe, and providing global leadership of the sort so badly missing in the last seven years. In a recent trip to Australia, I was struck by the degree to which that leadership is missed on the Left as well as the Right. There were of course many references last night to the leadership provided by Ronald Reagan. Read more »

UNRWA, the State Department, and the Uses of English

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Just a few days ago I wrote here about “Leopoldo Lopez, John Kerry, and the Uses of English.” My point was that the State Department’s tepid reaction to the outrageous and farcical “trial” of the Venezuelan political leader (and thirteen year sentence) was embarrassing. As usual the State Department, in this case the Secretary himself, said this was “troubling,” of “concern,” and other words no normal human being uses–and that were wholly inappropriate for this vile fake “trial.” Read more »

Leopoldo Lopez , John Kerry, and the Uses of English

by Elliott Abrams Sunday, September 13, 2015

In Venezuela, Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced this past week to 13 years and 9 months in prison. Lopez, a successful political leader who threatened the vicious and repressive Venezuelan regime, is Venezuela’s most famous (but not its only) political prisoner. This grotesque sentence follows a grotesque “trial” that violated every definition of due process and fair play. Read more »

Putin in Syria

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Most Americans are aware of the aggressive Russian actions in recent years in Ukraine (seizing Crimea and participating in efforts to destabilize the rest of the country) and Eastern Europe. What is less well known is Putin’s effort in Syria.

A story by Michael Weiss in The Daily Beast tells us what is actually happening, as its title conveys: “Russia Puts Boots on the Ground in Syria.” Not only is Russia arming the Assad regime, but there is now evidence that Russians are on the ground with Assad’s forces actually operating the equipment. Weiss refers to “compelling evidence that Russians have embedded with the Syrian military.” Assad recently told Hezbollah’s TV station that “We have strong confidence in the Russians, as they have proven throughout this crisis, for four years, that they are sincere and transparent in their relationship with us,” and he appears to be right. Read more »