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Please. A month ago, nuclear Iran was the Worst Thing Possible (according to neo-cons and Israelis). Now that it is under control though reconciliation, the same neo-cons and Israelis mourn, decry and bemoan that very reconciliation over... rotor parts and dial assemblies for utility helicopters? We already knew how hysterical they are but this is a new low.
1 year ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy
@Amiel Ungar Yes, Iceland absorbed the same amount of bombings as Israel did. Poor excuse for avoiding participation in a conflict they advocated (http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/iraqwar.shtml).
1 year, 3 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy
"the resulting retraction of American power will leave the international system rudderless" - yes, we see the well-organized system and steady rudder American power created in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt (Mubarak was an American puppet, and the Egyptian revolution was the product of American interference according to Hillary - look how great it turned out). Pakistan and Yemen being close partners of America are also doing very well for themselves, the guidance of Uncle Sam turned them into the least safe parts of the planet.
Seriously, countries rejecting American interference, like Israel, Iran or Turkey are the most stable parts of ME. America: world police has failed miserably, its retraction is long overdue.
@Brown1 Yes! The whole military should attack another country just to give a big "f... you!" to Putin! That is responsible governing and that is the Congress is elected for.
@SinNombre Quite eloquent, isn't it? The disastrous happenings in Iraq were quite unfortunate, let's not let them cloud or judgement this time, and just go down the same road to the same results...
@opennewscast Name one recent Americal military adventure Israel helped to conduct. Yes, none. Even the Iraqi war - which Israel so fervently advocated and of which Israel benefited a lot - went down without Israeli support. Even the very close, affected and threatened Iceland, with one of the smallest militaries in the world, sent troops. Israel none. They are willing to fight terrorism until the last drop of American blood.
Wow, you are butthurt. This is indeed the lowest level of journalism I've ever seen of FP. Putin - or one of his advisors - has written quite a sensible piece, advocating against another innecessary, foolish, destructive war the US cannot afford. Yet this article ignores all this in favor of ever-American puppies, and the unique Russian trait about jailing dissidents (Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, anyone?).
Putting off subscribing to FP All Access for now, this kind of tabloid journalism is simply not worth it.
1 year, 3 months ago on Access denied | FP Passport
These Drezner articles are getting better and better, yet the audience at large still misses the main point: the US can only win the war on terror by ending it.
The terrorists have successfully overridden US politics, public discourse, they have already made America abandon its image, its principles, the very basic values it once stood for.
Guys like @Papa_Ray or @anjan288 above (or below, depending on you settings) suggest more horrors of war, more invasions, more deaths, less civil liberties. All in the name of peace and freedom. Even if the US could win those wars (which is hardly imaginable, as it has already lost two of the sort), in the end nothing could distinguish them from an aggressive dictatorship.
By ceasing the war on terror, getting out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, the US would reduce its exposure to terrorism. AQ would drift into irrelevance, because popular support for them would disappear in lack of a common enemy. 9/11-style attacks are now largely impossible due to TSA and isn't that the main goal here? Disengaging from the ME is the best strategy to get rid of terrorists originating from there. Remember that even 9/11 was a direct result of constant US interference (Gulf war, intervention into Iran-Iraq war, bombing of Afghanistan in 1998, propping up of Israel, etc.).
1 year, 4 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy
This article is worthless. Moving on.
Well, the terrorists won. The mere fact that millions of Americans can actually believe this kind of idiotic fear-mongering scam proves that the terrorist-hysteria has overridden the thinking of the American public to such a degree that no actual conqueror could.
1 year, 4 months ago on Access denied | The Cable
Obama only pursued the "transparent government" line while it suited his partisan needs - as long as the declassified information made the Republican administration look bad (note: it wasn't hard). Anything that makes him look bad will remain classified until a whistle-blower like Snowden reveals it or a Republican government takes office.
1 year, 4 months ago on Access denied | FP Passport
@MustafaKamoona I don't think so. Israel will never strike Iran, they will have Uncle Sam do it.
A very weak defense of the Obama selection-policy that is based only on money. Let's face it: Kennedy bought the post by the pound. Yet the author tries to suggest, that for the top posts, expertise, experience, competence does not matter, only wealth. Is that the core of US decision-making? I'm afraid so.
Give the rookie a chance... but definitely not at the top.
@AACNY Give the gal a break. She was on the plane the whole time. One cannot fly and do her job at the same time. She was paid to travel, right?
It is funny how she got lauded for being the SoS with the highest number of air-miles. All steam and no progress is the word here.
@SinNombre Valid points. Although what troubles me more are the opinions treated as axioms nowadays. One of these axioms is that Kissinger was "the best SoS ever", everything he was involved in was great and everybody should emulate him. It is true that he wrote eloquent books and memos, but come on, the guy accepted a Peace Prize for a peace accord that never existed. Is it the example we want Kerry to follow: get the participants together for a brief photo-op, get out quickly before everything collapses, then bask in the glory of a legendary peacemaker for the rest of his years?
What bothers me most is that the same propagandist white-washing is happening right now, with FP columns about how greatly the magnificent Iraqi war was managed. That crashing defeat is already paraded as a huge success, same will happen with the other failure of Afghanistan; while the future presidents and SoSs will be urged to follow the same footsteps into other wonderfully lost wars.
@RoscoeG You are too kind for the president. The only two criteria he considers when selecting personnel for key positions are cash (donors) or PR (like Kennedy above or Susan Rice). Competence? He never heard of it, and by looking at his track record so far it is not hard to see why.
So, in short, if the governmental spying reaches its ultimate goal, that is the fault of the one person who dared to stand up against it? There may be some alleged "side-effects" of his outcry - many of which predate the actual outcry as correctly established by @mhenriday below - but if he kept his mouth shut, the escalation of governmental spying would have been the norm, as it is already happening.
I'm sorry, blaming the whistle-blower for the abuse he stood up against is the same idiocy that blames the victim for rape.
A few guys flee China and are greeted as freedom fighters in the US. The US blames China for the affair due to their poor human rights record. It is only natural.
Snowden flees the US and it greeted as freedom fighter in Russia. Russia blames the US for the affair, because it was triggered by the large-scale human right abuse by the US government. Then again, it is only natural. So why the fuss?
1 year, 5 months ago on Access denied | FP Passport
Yes, the world's most important news is a 101 year-old civilian living in Syria, who is yet to stand trial for charges filed (or not filed at all?) 68 years ago.
The Wiesenthal Center should be sued to pieces by the family of the accused: nobody has the right to orchestrate an international witch-hunt for a man who has not been convicted of any wrongdoing. I could make a list by picking 60 random names from a phone-book, label the list as 'war criminals', that would have about the same credibility as the WC.
@keithweber07 She was never an idealist. The title "human rights advocate" sells well for a low-level journalist or official, but was quickly foregone as she climbed the steps. She always said what was required of her at each position as she never had any integrity. She is prefect for Obama: she will spit back the official lines no matter what and will have nothing of substance to say or do. No so good for US image.
1 year, 5 months ago on Access denied | The Cable
@RichardTasker Oh, no, we can't do that or else "we would look weak"! The pleasing of the electorate back home is one of the main goals of the administration (even though the author tries so sideline it as an "ancillary" benefit), and it cannot be achieved by doing the only sensible thing, exactly what you suggested.
Obama tried it in Iraq, disguising the defeat as some huge victory with flags and photo-ops. It didn't sell too well. So the narrative has returned to the "double-down", "surge", "intervention" and "red line" things. Remember election season how the candidates tried to outbid each other by appearing tougher and tougher, suggesting more and more wars? They did it because its sold well for the voters and this hasn't changed a bit.
On a side-note, its was really funny in December 2011 how the Obama administration tried to sell Iraq as a mission successfully accomplished, yet assuring everybody at the same time that a sizable US force would stay on the ground hopefully preventing the country from falling apart. The tough life of PR-presidency...
1 year, 5 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy
This is pure idiocy. An utopia based on false analogies.
WWI broke out because Germany became too big for its own good. It was too dominant in the region, it could risk going to war on three fronts against three great powers at the same time and nearly succeeded. There is no such haegemeon in the Middle East.
Pre-WWI Europe was a peaceful island compared to the ME of today. Germany was freshly unified, growing and prospering. Austria-Hungary finally reconciled with each other and found peace. Great-Britain was still a colonial powerhouse, same as France. Italy was also freshly unified and building itself up. Point is: none of the belligerents had any of the internal strife that characterizes the ME of today. The powderkeg of Europe, remember, was the Balkans.
Yet my favourite line is:"Gifted diplomat-warriors like Jim Mattis, John Allen, Marty Dempsey, Mike Mullen, Dave Petraeus" - name just one diplomatic or military success these "gifted diplomat-warriors" achieved.
typo - content=consent
It is telling how the author tries to distort the happenings of the past: lot of talk about Assad, none about the Libyan adventure. Russia learned from the failure of the earlier military intervention and its is right not to content to another.
Please. They don't "hate" the US. They disagree with US policies, because they are against Egypt (few examples: supporting the dictator Mubarak, providing military aid to the enemy of Egypt, Israel). It is habitual to the US media to portray international policies like sitcoms: "why do they hate us, we are so nice people?". Nations do not have to hate each other to disagree, nor love each other to agree. No need to ponder any emotions behind.
Pretty much the same story as Mubarak: they hoped for a strongman, regardless of his background. Democracy, civil rights, liberty... no, America ain't got time for that.
Talking about horse-meat and joking about the technical degree of the leader of the most powerful European nation. This isn't the Cosmopolitan, right?
@LeeChirtel I beg to differ. The democratic alliances you cite were coalitions based on an imperative shared interest - for the Delian League it was fighting the Persians, once it was done with, the Peloponnesian Wars started between the members, democracy or not.
Similarly, today's alliances and enmities are based on interest, not values (even though the government repeats the false lines about shared values ad nauseam). Prime example: US and Saudi-Arabia.
1 year, 5 months ago on Access denied | Stephen M. Walt
Her only achievement is to follow public opinion and base her priorities on cheap PR points. Yes, I'm talking about Libya - look how wonderfully it turned out. How can anybody approve her after such a blunder? The title is telling: she is perfect for Obama, the job is perfect for her - but the US would need someone way more competent.
Of course everybody wants to have it all, women and men alike. Men understood that they can't, because there is only a finite time to be divided between career and family. Most successful men choose career over family. Women should be allowed to make the same choice, not to be pressured into either way of life. But - they have to make that choice. They can't "have it all" and that isn't anybody's fault, not even the men's.
1 year, 6 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy
"If the details of those plots are released..." - they won't be. The NSA may save thousands of American lives or not a single one for all one can prove it. The records won't be released for 50 or 70 years, and nobody will care by then.
If Obama wants to be treated like JKF in his precious photo-ops, he has to earn it. He did nothing of the sort. It may be tempting to contrast Obama with Bush and declare him a peaceful dove, but didn't he just "project American power" to a mix of unnamed rebels in Syria? Remember how it turned out in Libya, the country became a hub for weapons dealers, destabilizing the region.
"At a minimum, the United States would like Iran to accept IAEA demands for intrusive inspection of its nuclear facilities; cap its uranium enrichment at 5 percent, and ship out of the country its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent." - this means total capitulation on the issue. How exactly is that different from the earlier approach of "give us everything and then maybe we would give you something"?
The Iran-scare game. This is played for a decade now, with WMDs, nuclear weapons, terror networks, red lines and military options all over the media, without a single occurrence to support them. What will be next? "We have to act now or Ahmadinejad will die and rise as a zombie!" maybe?
Well, the case with the minors cannot be excused. If there is something behind that, he should be tried properly.
But, is it a crime to solicit the services of a prostitute according to Belgian or US law? I do not know, but I do not think so. Then I think that this habit of character assassination based on the outcry self-proclaimed moral pastors should stop. The ever-prudish US public is slowly converting into imams. It will no be long until a morality police is set up much like in Saudi-Arabia.
1 year, 6 months ago on Access denied | The Cable
@johnboy4546 While I agree with you in principle, in practice the cheap Obama administration has maneuvered itself into a dead end. When the civil war started, they have poured the media full with the usual line: Assad is the Bad Guy, the rebels are the Good Guys. Without knowing a thing, of course, because they are cheap. Scoring PR capital with fiery but baseless speeches is an easy and attractive thing, especially before an election.
Now that they - and the media - have some information of the rebels not necessarily (or, more precisely, not homogeneously) being Good Guys, it is hard for them to admit they they were wrong or lying. Bad press, you know. And Obama will do anything in his power to avoid bad press, that is what his so-called "governing" is all about. So he chooses to do nothing and hope for the problem to go away. Maybe, when the issue is already decided, he will join the winning and more popular side and declare that he has supported them all along (AKA leading from behind), and take all the credit for the outcome. Again, this is what he did for the past 4-5 years.
@JoeMcIntyre Of course I didn't say that the spread of excessive surveillance is unique to the United States. However, coupled with the foreign policy aggression and the complete disregard for human rights (torture, prisoner abuse, political prisons) America the case study of what is wrong with the west.
The Libya case makes my point. Uncle Sam was ignored by its European allies. Also, these allies chose not to follow the faulty US example of military occupation and "nation building" (practiced in Afghanistan and Iraq).
It is a well-reasoned article, prudent enough to just raise the questions and not try to answer them. Why? Because the only logical answer to the questions would be politically incorrect. See, even an independent journalist has to practice double-think in the land of the free.
A suitable way to start the response would be the, of course, Franklin: they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. But it is not my point.
My point is that the terrorists won: this eloquently and aptly described PTSD-Era (making decisions solely based on past traumas) eroded American standing. The terrorists wanted America to change, they wanted America to quit interfering. They are getting there, because the aggressive foreign policy and the police-state-like domestic policy are slowly but steadily isolating the US. Look at the allies! The circle of close allies is smaller and smaller every year, important countries (Germany, France, Russia, China, Italy, Spain, India, etc.) are turning their back on Uncle Sam. Who are left? Dictatorships and apartheid states like Saudi Arabia and Israel, who are paid by the pound, and the sorry UK which is currently coming to its senses. The US has no leverage beyond the purely military one. No leverage, no interference. Hell, they couldn't even isolate Iran properly, the puny Shah is still rolling on the floor laughing. Putin, on the other hand, must be angry: the mighty Soviet Union couldn't hurt Uncle Sam, but a few would-be pilots could.
Yes, I will be ganged by the hawks here: we will invade them! Yeah, you invaded the terrorist-heaven Afghanistan, see how much it helped.
However, one should not worry. The double-think works both ways. It has been more then a decade since america started acting like a Central-American dictatorship (waging secret wars, lying to its own people, setting up concentration camps for political enemies) yet the American public still thinks they are riding the white horse of liberty. It will continue. The media will continue to veil the situation by publishing articles about "why the constant surveillance is good for you", and the foreign policy team will continue to lecture other countries about their "abysmal human rights records". Americans care more about guns than about human right (the gun-control rage amply demonstrated that).
Incredible... imagine a foul-mouthed punk band making a scene in the Lakewood Church (Huston, TX), St. Paul's Cathedral (London), the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem or in any major church of any country in the world. If (if!) they weren't torn to shreds by the believers, they would be sentenced to major prison terms (you can even go to prison for invading a football field). Sawing in prison is no picnic, but is dissolves the mystic, Gulag-appealing cloud created by referring to their prisons as "remote penal colonies".
So this is the case of typical US black-and-white thinking. "If they are against Putin, they are for freedom!" (or "selling freedom" - very American). Never mind the fact that they are not against Putin and they are not for freedom, but have their own agenda.
1 year, 6 months ago on Access denied | War of Ideas
@infomebaby Talk about overreaction. The dog took the sh** 12 years ago (an attack like 9/11 on a nation as powerful as the US is in fact, no more than a dog taking a sh**) and guys like you are still terrified. You are turning terrorists into some kind of world-conquerors. Get a grip on yourself.
@arvay I agree, especially with the part about the overall goal of terrorism already being achieved - even though no AQ-related attack has happened in the US for 12 years now, Uncle Sam is still shaking in its boots, committing itself wholly into chasing a shadow long gone, but more importantly, destroying its own image, denying the very liberties that built it.
What is more disturbing IMHO is the excuse to use lethal force against civilians. In the case of Germany or Japan it was clear, to stop the tyrannical regimes. In Vietnam, it was less clear, to stop the spread of a mere idea (communism). In Pakistan, Yemen, etc., civilians are killed because there might be some people among them who might be preparing actions that might be harmful for the US half the world away, and they might succeed. Collateral damage base on such ill-founded assumptions cannot be justified.
There is a fundamentally faulty argument here, namely that the US needs to counter any threat anywhere, by any means necessary. Even abroad, even - especially! - when the home country of the so-called terrorist doesn't want them to.
Well guess what, you don't. If you have a problem with the influx of terrorists, you guard your borders better. If the terrorists do their business outside of your border, in their own country, it's not your bidding, what right do you have to go and interfere?
If your neighbor's dog takes a sh** in your garden, what do you do? Repair your fence, or go to the neighbor to kill its dog?
America seems to have learned its lesson with 9/11 that is has to guard its airspace better. That should have been the end of story. But no, you had to go on a killing spree, occupying Afghanistan, a country that you can't even control let alone guard. Then you wonder why the world hates you, and why they don't believe your lies about "self-defense" half the world away. Afghanistan is not the US. Neither is Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq or any other country. Killing civilians abroad is not self-defense, it's not "war on terror", it's plain premeditated murder.
@Xenophon @videmus It is true. But you shouldn't expect otherwise. FP is an American source. It is vying to be "politically correct". The current PC mindset in the US is the "what we're doing is good, what others do is bad"-mantra (it is not unique to the US, mind, but it is also not universal).
You should just read it, discard the BS in your mind, hoping that there is some useful information beneath it. Oh, and not feed brainwashed trolls like videmus.
1 year, 7 months ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy
Well, the current US administration has lost all the credibility it had when Obama declared that America will support Israel even if the construction of illegal settlement continues and/or Israel ceases to become a democracy. Thus the US has now openly chosen sides. What initiative the Arabs have to enter into negotiations brokered by an agent of the opposite party?
It may be wise to seek a less compromised third party, but is a very hard pick. Maybe the EU? Good question...
Being a lawyer myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the article. The "unwilling or unable" doctrine was always dismissed because it is no more than a weak pretense for aggression. The cited US lawyers are trying in vain to find any legal basis for the actions of their government, the same as the lawyers of any invading nation usually do.
The only open question is that of consent. Pakistan may have given its "tacit consent" (it is disputable that consent to military action may be tacit at all or it has to be express), but as soon as they take any action against military aircraft in their airspace, the consent shall be considered withdrawn, as they have every right to do so. Of course the US may claim the price of the drone shot down as reparation, but it may not dispute Pakistan's decision. End of story.
1 year, 7 months ago on Access denied | The AfPak Channel
All this because he doesn't attack a country halfway round the globe on the sole casus belli of some shady reporting? I thought this was the norm.
Remember, you are talking about a president escalating a war, launching another (both with disastrous results), authorizing the extrajudicial killing of US citizens and foreign nationals abroad.
Hey, George W. Bush also didn't attack North Korea, give him a peace prize!
1 year, 7 months ago on Access denied | Stephen M. Walt
Alternative title: from relative stability to chaos, how the misguided US involvement forces Central Asia to militarize. Go, Obama, go!
Its Iraq and Libya all over again. "It'll be easy, cheap, quick, our troops will be home by Christmas! The bad guys will disappear, and democracy-loving, US-crazed masses will sprout like weed! It is a very professional assessment, look, I even threw in a few military-sounding three or four-letter words!"
I especially like the part about the Libyan campaign turning out to be less expensive than predicted, because the majority of the burden was carried by Europeans and Canadians. Yet during the campaign FP was full of "we are doing the heavy lifting, those pesky Europeans are just free-riding our victory". Oh, well...
1 year, 7 months ago on Access denied | The E-Ring
@AaronJA I agree that this might be the core problem. Even with the constant influx of cheap labor could keep manufacturing costs down even temporarily.
@pedro bundol The author implies that Kerry should tell Russia that the US will be showing a "big stick" to them. As if there ever were carrots...
The funny thing is that the american media seems to think that the whole world owes the US a favor. What incentive has Russia to abandon its allies just because the US doesn't like them?