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.

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Showing posts for "Obama foreign policy"

The Obama Vendetta Against Netanyahu

by Elliott Abrams

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 »

What Andrzej Duda and Benjamin Netanyahu Have in Common

by Elliott Abrams

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 Republican Debate: Where Was the Freedom Agenda?

by Elliott Abrams

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

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 »

“Pantomime of Outrage:” Obama and Syria

by Elliott Abrams

I’ve called attention to the writings on Syria of Amb. Fred Hof in several blog posts (here’s one). Hof, after a career in the U.S. Army, became the State Department’s resident expert on Syria and the Obama administration’s “Special Adviser” on Syria policy. He left the administration and joined the Atlantic Council, where he continues to write about  Syria. Read more »

Realpolitik and Human Trafficking

by Elliott Abrams

The fight against trafficking in persons has been a human rights policy that works. Laws adopted largely because of pressure from religious groups, especially Evangelicals, were resisted by the usual combination of professional diplomats and realpolitik theorists. But the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed in 2000 and has been renewed several times since. It established an Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons in the State Department, and requires annual reports that place countries in several tiers depending on how good or bad the trafficking situation is. Read more »

Obama on Iran and Syria: See No Evil

by Elliott Abrams

The slaughter in Syria and the awful human rights violations in Iran cannot be denied by the Obama administration, but they sure can be downplayed and ignored.

On the Iran point, consider the release yesterday, four months late, of the State Department’s annual human rights reports. The reports were presented by Secretary of State Kerry and Assistant Secretary for human rights Tom Malinowski.  The Iran report is tough. Here’s an excerpt: Read more »

Why Is Obama’s Human Rights Report 115 Days Late?

by Elliott Abrams

By law, the State Department is required to release reports on the human rights situation in every country on February 25 of each year. Those voluminous reports are often a bit late, by a few days or a few weeks. In the George W. Bush years, a delay of a few days or a week was as I recall it common. Read more »