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.

Kerry, Jerusalem, and the Palestinian Concessions

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, June 27, 2013

Secretary of State Kerry is about to visit Jerusalem again, seeking to get negotiations between Israel and the PLO restarted. News reports make it clear that the Palestinians are seeking various concessions as the price of returning to the negotiating table, including some prisoner releases (of prisoners convicted of violent crimes) and a partial freeze of construction in the settlements. The United States appears to be pushing in the same direction, asking Israel to take these steps so that talks can begin. Read more »

Life in Putinland

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, June 26, 2013

As we watch the Snowden (NSA leaker) episode unfold in Moscow, it is worth recalling the backdrop to Vladimir Putin’s defense of the rule of law in Russia.

Yesterday Putin told the media that Snowden was in transit and thus never admitted to Russia, and anyway Russia has no legal authority to extradite him. Speaking of Snowden and Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, Putin added that “Assange and Snowden consider themselves human rights activists and say they are fighting for the spread of information. Ask yourself this: should you hand these people over so they will be put in prison?” Read more »

Can Iran Be Stopped?

by Elliott Abrams Friday, June 21, 2013

Over the last two years many of those–including me–who urged American intervention in Syria have been called various names: neocons, dangerous idealists, adventurers, fools who were forgetting the lessons of Iraq, and so on. But recently alarm has been spreading about developments in Syria, and the Obama administration’s handling of the situation is eliciting more and more criticism from sources usually considered “prudent” or pro-Obama or non-interventionist (and David Ignatius is a good example). Read more »

Syria and the 700 Sorties

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yesterday the columnist Jeffrey Goldberg reported that Secretary of State Kerry argued, inside the Obama administration, for air strikes on Syrian regime air bases, especially those from which chemical weapons attacks were launched. Here is Goldberg’s account of a Principals’ Meeting last week, after Kerry made his pitch: Read more »

Neocons and Zombies

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Is neoconservatism dead and gone?  In the June issue of the London-based magazine Standpoint, I discuss the movement’s past and its future.

Here’s the opening:

Zombies, the dictionary tells us, are “animated corpses revived by mystical means, such as magic or witchcraft”. This is how their many enemies have often regarded neoconservative foreign policy ideas and those who propagate them. Foreign Policy magazine once happily concluded that neoconservative ideas “lie buried in the sands of Iraq”, but back they came, dominating the 2012 Republican Party presidential campaign and dominating the party still. Can this be explained — except by black magic? Read more »

NGO Verdict in Cairo, Failure in Washington

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Here is what happened in Cairo in the case of 43 NGO workers whose crime was to promote democracy in Egypt:

An Egyptian court on Tuesday convicted 43 nonprofit workers, including at least 16 Americans, of illegally using foreign funds to foment unrest in the country and sentenced them to up to five years in prison. Most of the Americans were sentenced in absentia because they had long left the country, including Sam LaHood, son of the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He received a five-year jail term…. Read more »