Showing posts for "U.S. foreign policy"
This past week marked the anniversary of President Obama’s new Cuba policy.
That policy is failing to produce any human rights improvements in Cuba. So this week, 126 Cuban former political prisoners–who together have served 1,945 years in Castro’s prisons, wrote a letter to Mr. Obama about his policy. It was delivered to the White House by Ernesto Diaz Rodriguez, a former political prisoner and poet who spent more than 22 years in Cuba’s prisons. Read more »
It is rare for the prime minister of any country to call its government “worthless,” but Prime Minister Tammam Salam of Lebanon just did. For 19 months Lebanon has been unable to elect a president, and its government is largely paralyzed. Even collecting the garbage has been a problem, leading to the creation of a protest group called “You Stink” whose name reflects what happens when refuse is left in the streets. Read more »
Recently a group of Republican national security experts, mostly academics and former officials, joined to produce Choosing to Lead, a volume aimed at describing what a foreign policy for a new Republican administration in 2017 should look like. I contributed the chapter on Israel and the Arabs, and it can be found here. Read more »
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 »
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 »
The continuing crisis in Bahrain is leading to bipartisan Congressional efforts to bring American pressure to bear–and to keep the United States away from involvement in repression there.
Senators Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden, a Republican and a Democrat, have introduced S. 2009, which would bar selling or giving to Bahrain materiel that could be used not for national security but for internal repression: “(1) Tear gas, (2) Small arms, (3) Light weapons, (4) Ammunition for small arms and light weapons, (5) Humvees, (6) Other items that could reasonably be used for crowd control purposes.” Read more »
Gov. Scott Walker gave a major foreign policy speech today at The Citadel, and it contained some points worth noting. I’ll skip over some of the rhetoric and the criticism of Clinton and Obama, which is to be expected in a political contest. (Disclosure: I am not supporting Walker or any other specific candidate for the Republican nomination.) Read more »
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 »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.