Showing posts for "Uncategorized"
The Obama administration has bought into what my colleague at CFR Ray Takeyh calls the “Rouhani narrative:” Rouhani is a reformer, Iran is ripe for change and reform, progress is at hand. As in the Cold War days when we were told we needed to compromise to “help the reformers in the Kremlin,” so today we must not be too tough in negotiations lest we weaken Rouhani and his reformist brethren. Read more »
Today’s New York Times carries a remarkable story about the “new” Obama Middle East policy, based on interviews with National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The Times describes the policy as “modest,” but that is not the right word. The policy defines an American abandonment of leadership in the region. Read more »
Reading the news stories about alleged U.S. spying on Angela Merkel’s cell phone, an old memory came to mind.
In the Reagan second term I was Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, or Latin America. One day my CIA counterpart told me an opportunity had been presented to place a bug in the office of a Latin American president. Would I authorize it? That was above my pay grade, I told my colleague, and I needed to ask my boss, Secretary of State George Shultz. Read more »
When the Egyptian army overthrew Egypt’s elected president on July 13, it was crystal clear that American law required a suspension of aid. This is what the Foreign Assistance Act says:
SEC. 7008. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to titles III through VI of this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’e´tat or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’e´tat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role. Read more »
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the UN put forth Israel’s view of Iran, but Israel is in a tough position.
As I write in Foreign Affairs today, Israelis “do not wish to play the bad cop role in an American game with Iran — and, in fact, the metaphor is misleading. In the good cop/bad cop routine, both officers are on the same team and are carefully coordinating their approaches. In this case, the Israelis fear, the bad cop wants to see the criminals jailed, and the good cop is open to a sweet plea bargain. If that’s what the Iranians get, they will sit back and smile while the United States and Israel end up in a bitter argument.” Read more »
The Obama administration continues to reduce the importance of promoting democracy and human rights–in policy and even in rhetoric. Consider these three quotes.
The first is from former Secretary of State Clinton, speaking in October 2012 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies: Read more »
The Government of Israel has announced that it will release 104 “security prisoners” in an effort to induce the PLO to return to the negotiating table. This was a PLO demand that was backed by the United States, as part of Secretary Kerry’s efforts to get talks restarted. Read more »
There are many good reasons to maintain U.S. aid to Egypt under current circumstances, but American law presents a problem: under the Foreign Assistance Act, “none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup or decree.” Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.