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"

Aid to the Palestinians: Why Rand Paul is Wrong

by Elliott Abrams

Senator Rand Paul has tried to attain some pro-Israel credentials by introducing S. 2265, the “Stand With Israel Act of 2014.” The bill would cut off every cent of aid to the Palestinian Authority unless various conditions were met. As Paul put it, “Today, I introduced legislation to make all future aid to the Palestinian government conditional upon the new unity government putting itself on the record recognizing the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and agreeing to a lasting peace.” The bill covers “the Palestinian Authority, or any affiliated governing entity or leadership organization.” Read more »

Will Kerry Continue the Jerusalem-Ramallah Shuttle If Hamas and Fatah Unite?

by Elliott Abrams

Secretary of State Kerry has put enormous effort into the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Most recently, there has been talk of a three-way deal wherein Israel releases 426 prisoners (some of them murderers, and some of them citizens of Israel), the United States releases the spy Jonathan Pollard, and the PLO agrees to stay at the negotiating table for a year. Read more »

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 »