Asha Castleberry

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The establishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba is the beginning of a new era for U.S. Foreign Policy & National Security.  What comes along with this relationship is a new bilateral security agreement.  This phenomenon reminds me of a scene from the movie Bad Boys II, where Will Smith and Martin Lawrence accidently ended up on Cuban soil chasing a big time criminal.  They chased the villain all the way to the fence of Guantanamo Bay.  However, the U.S. Navy could not help them as long as the convict was on Cuban soil.  This movie illustrated the importance of a working relationship with Cuba in order to pursue, for example, search warrants, rescue missions or any other criminal activities within Cuba.…  Seguir leyendo »

We need the 45th president to continue normalizing relations with Cuba

We witnessed history last week when U.S. President Barack Obama visited Cuba- the first time a sitting president had visited in 90 years.   This trip marked a new era in U.S. relations with not only Cuba, but the region. Despite resistance from Republicans,  the current administration has proved that through effective diplomacy, our country can reach a better future in Latin America.

The American people must not underestimate how this historic move has strengthened our foreign policy.  The U.S. needs to continue normalizing relations in order to best represent our American values abroad.  As a combat veteran, I witnessed first hand how diplomacy works in the Middle East. …  Seguir leyendo »

Mere hours before the Paris attack on 13th November, Kurdish Pashmerga forces ousted Islamic State fighters from the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar. The victory highlights progression in defeating the group – also known as Daesh – in Iraq and a clear success for the coalition’s current strategy of using effective air strikes and providing training, advice, and assistance. Subsequently, the international community did not get the chance to absorb this victory due to the unexpected Paris attacks. The Paris attacks generated more criticism about coalition efforts in countering Daesh and inflicting global fear mongering. Realistically, the Paris attacks indirectly tells us that Daesh is actually losing the war in Iraq and Syria.…  Seguir leyendo »

The recent Russian airstrikes in Syria have provoked a shockwave in the international community. The coalition against ISIL is deeply concerned with the escalation and urged Russia to cease airstrikes in Syria. The displeasure over the Russian strikes stem from that fact that a majority of targets are currently near Syrian opposition groups. Lack of deconfliction with the anti-ISIL military coalition will also have grave implications for current air operations in Syria. Russia notified the U.S. at the last minute to deconflict the situation, putting some of the anti-ISIL coalition air campaign at operational risk.

Despite recent air attacks, however, the international community should not be surprised by Russia aggression in Syria.…  Seguir leyendo »

Fort al-Jalali, Muscat, Oman.

Regardless of the geopolitical challenges in a volatile region, Muscat is gaining credibility as a regional peacemaker. This summer, Oman attracted attention for its peaceful image after the U.S. successfully reached its historic interim deal with Iran.  Muscat was one of the first countries in the Middle East to support open talks between the U.S. and Iran.

Since then, Oman continued its momentum and shown its willingness to take the lead in peacemaking in the Middle East.   In August, Oman received its first visit in four and half years from the Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Muallem, to discuss key steps in resolving the Syrian crisis.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Iran deal presents a contentious debate on whether the U.S. Congress should ratify the historic agreement. During its sixty-day review, various stakeholders aggressively attempt to influence the decision. Amongst all of the key stakeholders that are taking part in this debate, it is very important to learn from the military veteran community. The veteran community does not want Congress to ruin an unprecedented opportunity that could stop Iran from acquiring their first nuclear bomb.

As a proud U.S. veteran who recently spent two and half years deployed in the Middle East, I completely understand how Iranian aggression continues to be a threat to our national security.…  Seguir leyendo »