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 "U.S. foreign policy"

Praise the Lord and Pass the MREs

by Elliott Abrams

It’s getting to be a habit. For the Ukrainians facing Russian aggression, we shipped MREs: meals ready to eat.

For Syrian rebels facing Hezbollah, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and Assad’s armed forces, we are shipping ambulances and medical kits. To be more exact, Foreign Policy reports that “The State Department is about to begin delivering tens of millions of dollars worth of new assistance into Syria, including ambulances, communications gear and Toyota pickup trucks for the country’s beleaguered rebels. The so-called non-lethal assistance effort for rebels has included buses and pickup trucks, blankets, 550,000 packaged military meals and, just last month, about 1,000 medical kits.” Read more »

Push Polls and Cuba

by Elliott Abrams

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 »

Can We Contain Iran?

by Elliott Abrams

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 »

Is There an Iran Deal?

by Elliott Abrams

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 Referendum

by Elliott Abrams

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 »