After a year of intense diplomatic negotiations, the Turkish government is now permitting the United States to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which will allow American aircraft to fly missions in Syria and Iraq with greater operational effectiveness and economic efficiency.
The price of this agreement, however, may well be too high in the long run, both for the success of America’s anti-Islamic State campaign and for the stability of Turkey.
That’s because the Turkish government’s recent change of heart and its sudden willingness to allow American access to the Incirlik base was driven by domestic political considerations, rather than a fundamental rethinking of its Syria strategy.… Seguir leyendo »
After a decade of patient negotiations with Iran over its contested nuclear program, the prospects of the United States and other world powers securing a final deal are not good. The wheels of diplomacy will grind on and an extension of the talks should be granted. But it is time to acknowledge that the policy of engagement has been predicated on a series of assumptions that, although logical, have proven largely incorrect. As Washington assesses its next moves, it would be wise to reconsider the judgments that have underwritten its approach to one of its most elusive adversaries.
Two administrations — those of George W.… Seguir leyendo »
This summer’s dramatic global events — from the rise of the Islamic State, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, war between Hamas and Israel, violent confrontations and air strikes in Libya and continued tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the East and South China seas — have reminded us all that the United States faces perhaps the most complex and volatile security environment since World War II.
This realization has led to repeated calls for U.S. leadership to sustain the rules-based international order that underpins U.S. security and prosperity. But scant attention has been paid to ensuring that we have a robust and ready military, able to deter would-be aggressors, reassure allies and ensure that any president, current or future, has the options he or she will need in an increasingly dangerous world.… Seguir leyendo »
As the United States begins its campaign to destroy the Islamic State, many voices can be counted on to call for cooperation with Iran. Among those has been none other than Secretary of State John Kerry, who insisted that Iran’s exclusion from the Paris Conference “doesn’t mean that we are opposed to the idea of communicating to find out if they will come on board, or under what circumstances, or whether there is the possibility of a change.” On the surface, this may seem sensible, as both Washington and Tehran have an interest in defanging a militant Sunni group. But we would wise to bear in mind two points: First, Kerry’s proviso on the possibility of change, and second, that the essential axiom of Middle East politics is that the enemy of my enemy is sometimes still my enemy.… Seguir leyendo »
Arms control has often been a bone of contention between the White House and Congress. Presidents and their diplomats prefer to reach agreements in secret and then shield the accord from congressional scrutiny, much less consent. It is all too tempting for the Obama administration to follow this script as it negotiates with Iran. But that would be a mistake. Notwithstanding partisan difficulties, seeking congressional endorsement is essential lest any agreement rest on a shaky foundation and be difficult to implement.
Two of President Obama’s predecessors offer a path worthy of emulation. Harry Truman did much to anchor the institutions of the Cold War in a durable domestic consensus.… Seguir leyendo »
France has long established itself as the guardian of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and its disarmament mandates. A republic capable of much cynicism, France has nonetheless defended the integrity of the treaty and protected its much battered norms. This was the case last week in Geneva when France resisted an agreement with Iran that it deemed insufficiently robust.
For now, Washington has conceded to Paris, provoking a chorus of criticism from those who seek an accord at any price. Contrary to the critics’ claims, the United States’ greatest diplomatic successes have come about when it proved sensitive to the concerns of its allies and not just the imperatives of its adversaries.… Seguir leyendo »
This month in Geneva, at the first negotiations over its nuclear program since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, Iran took an unprecedented step: It negotiated. For the first time, Tehran presented an actual vision of the endgame for the talks with six world powers, and how to get there. However, contrary to expectations, it offered no concessions, leaving serious questions about Iranian purposes. With another round of talks scheduled for next week, U.S. negotiators would do well to follow principles that signify the core interests at stake.
The most pressing national security threat facing the United States remains preventing a nuclear-capable Iran.… Seguir leyendo »
Bob Woodward wrote a curious op-ed this week about the Bush administration’s response to the secret al-Kibar nuclear reactor built by Syria and North Korea. As officials who participated in the administration’s deliberations, we believe that Woodward’s account — and that of the anonymous sources who gave him background information — represents a revisionist and misleading history. Woodward’s op-ed purports to demonstrate that then-Vice President Dick Cheney, who advocated a U.S. strike to destroy the Syrian reactor, failed to learn important lessons from intelligence failures in Iraq. In fact, it is Woodward who misunderstands the reality of al-Kibar.
First, Woodward’s account of the intelligence about Syria’s nuclear program is woefully incomplete.… Seguir leyendo »
The East-West Institute released a study in late May by U.S. and Russian «experts» on the Iranian missile threat that concluded the threat «is not imminent and that in any event the system currently proposed would not be effective against it.» The next day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says, Iran apparently tested a multistage, solid-propellant missile with a range of 1,200 to 1,500 miles, putting much of Europe within range.
The apparent reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his frequently expressed commitment to pursue nuclear and ballistic missile capability, underscore the importance of proposed U.S. radar sites and missile defense interceptors in Eastern Europe.… Seguir leyendo »