Showing posts for "U.S. foreign policy"
You can’t always get what you want, the Rolling Stones once told us. But you can, actually, in a push poll: a poll designed to elicit a certain result and then advertised as achieving that result.
This past week the Atlantic Council released a poll it had sponsored about U.S. relations with Cuba. Here’s one key aspect of the poll: When respondents were told “Cuba continues to have a dismal human rights record. The Castro regime represses virtually all forms of political dissent through detentions, arbitrary arrests, beatings, travel restrictions, forced exile, and sentencing dissidents in closed trials,” we find that 33 percent this was a “very important” reason to keep the current U.S. policy and 17 percent said it’s “somewhat important,” for a total of 50 percent. And 43 percent the human rights abuses make it somewhat important or very important to change the policy. Read more »
If Iran gets nuclear weapons, can it be “contained?” After all, we contained the Soviet Union–which was far stronger than Iran.
That Cold War analogy is misleading, I argue in an article this week in The Weekly Standard. During the Cold War we took a vigorous military and ideological stand against the Soviets, from hot wars in Korea and Vietnam, to proxy forces in Afghanistan, to President Reagan’s comments that the Soviets constituted an “evil empire” and would end up on “the ash heap of history.” We negotiated, but we also fought, in ways that we are not doing when it comes to Iran. Read more »
It is a commonplace to say that U.S. policy in Egypt has managed to offend every political actor there, but it’s also true. From the army to the Muslim Brotherhood, from the liberals and democrats to Islamists, all share a deep disdain for American policy. Read more »
Two remarkable statements must be juxtaposed to understand how much trouble lies ahead in trying to get a nuclear deal with Iran. Thus far, the trouble has been over the temporary arrangements, meant to last six months and likely to be extended for another six. That deal was reached last year and an implementation agreement then took two more months to reach. The next task is to negotiate an arrangement that is comprehensive and permanent. How likely is that, and have we really thus far reached any agreement at all? Read more »
Egypt’s constitutional referendum this week should be no cause for celebration. It was not free and fair; the turnout did not suggest a consensus among Egyptians; and the future stability of Egypt is in doubt.
According to the Egyptian authorities, turnout was 38.6 percent, and 98.1 percent of those Egyptians who voted said yes. The 98 percent figure should give anyone pause. If it is accurate, it’s obvious that everyone opposed to the new constitution stayed away–hardly a reliable basis for political stability and consensus. That more than 60 percent of Egyptians did not vote, despite a huge campaign by the government, is not reassuring either. Read more »
When the Obama administration began, the post of Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom was vacant. This post, at the State Department, was established by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 because Congress wanted State, and the entire Executive Branch, to pay more attention to the issue of religious freedom. (The act also established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, of which I am a member.) Read more »
President Obama has a full court press under way to stop Congress from passing new sanctions legislation that could–could, not will–impose sanctions on Iran one year from now if negotiations break down or Iran cheats. The idea seems to be that passage of the bill would signal mistrust of Iran, or would break the spell of sincerity being cast at the negotiating table. Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.