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.

Human Rights in Turkey: the Decline Continues

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In the past year, Turkey has often been held up as a democratic model for Arab countries that have thrown off long-serving dictators. The problem is that with each passing month Turkey is a less democratic country itself.

First there is the diminishing freedom of the press. As The Economist has said, Turkey “is a dangerous place to be a journalist.” In the “Reporters Without Borders” index, Turkey ranks 138 out of 178 countries, just a whisker above Russia. Read more »

Iran’s Central Bank: a Lesson

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In 2011 Congress forced a reluctant Obama Administration into tougher sanctions against Iran than it desired. One of the toughest required U.S. sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank.

This is an old story, for the Bush Administration also declined to take that tough step. Largely at the insistence of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, it was agreed that sanctioning a central bank was going too far and could endanger the U.S. or European economy. Paulson was wrong, the Bush Administration was wrong, and the Obama Administration was wrong. Now we know. The sanctions are in place and here is what the Washington Post reports: Read more »