As President Obama visits Vietnam, we are struck by the fact that most citizens of both countries have no living memory of a conflict that claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and upward of a million Vietnamese.
As Americans who fought in that war, we are frequently asked about its lessons. There are few easy answers, in part because every conflict is unique and because we have learned that attempts to apply past lessons to new crises sometimes do more harm than good. But a few things are clear.
The first is not personal to us, but a principle that applies to all who wear the uniform: We must never again confuse a war with the warriors.… Seguir leyendo »
Fourteen years ago in the Colombian town of Bojayá, FARC guerillas launched an explosive that landed on the roof of a Roman Catholic church, killing 79 men, women and children who were huddled inside, seeking safety.
A tragedy of such proportions was hard to comprehend even in a nation inured to the brutalities of conflict. But an event two months ago was in its own way just as extraordinary: The FARC apologized to the people of Bojayá for the “misery and misfortune” it had caused and sought forgiveness.
The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, have been fighting their country’s government for more than 50 years, meaning most Colombians have never truly known a day of nationwide peace.… Seguir leyendo »
Unos años después de la segunda guerra mundial, cuando se ratificó en los Estados Unidos el Tratado del Atlántico Septentrional y se consolidó nuestra relación con Europa, el Presidente Harry Truman dijo simplemente: “Cuanto más estrechamente puedan colaborar las naciones que componen la comunidad atlántica, mejor será para todos los pueblos, en todo el mundo”.
Los decenios transcurridos desde entonces han demostrado que tenía razón y, a medida que nuestra relación transatlántica ha llegado a ser más fuerte y más expansiva, así ha sido también con la democracia, la prosperidad y la estabilidad de Europa, los Estados Unidos y todo el planeta.… Seguir leyendo »
Crecí a la sombra de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y en los albores de la Guerra Fría.
El trabajo de mi padre como funcionario del Servicio Exterior me dio la oportunidad de presenciar la historia con punzante proximidad: Nunca olvidaré nuestras caminatas por las playas de Normandía, donde aún yacían los cascos quemados de las lanchas de Higgins, tan solo unos pocos años después de que tantos jóvenes fueran a la tumba para que el mundo pudiera ser libre. Tampoco podré olvidar la sobrecogedora sensación de pasar en bicicleta por la Puerta de Brandeburgo desde Berlín Occidental hacia el Este y ver el contraste entre quienes eran libres y quienes estaban atrapados al otro lado de la cortina de hierro.… Seguir leyendo »
In 2011, the world’s newest nation was born amid joyous celebrations. The international community welcomed South Sudan not just with cheers but also with promises of help. The hope and promise of that day are now at grave risk of being squandered if the nation’s leaders don’t at long last provide leadership.
Violence that erupted in the capital city of Juba last December spread quickly, claiming the lives of thousands of men, women, and children and reopening bitter ethnic divisions. In the time since, almost 2 million people have been displaced from their homes, while residents in some parts of the country face the risk of famine.… Seguir leyendo »
The United States and China are the world’s two largest economies, two largest consumers of energy, and two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Together we account for about 40 percent of the world’s emissions.
We need to solve this problem together because neither one of us can solve it alone. Even if the United States somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, it still wouldn’t be enough to counteract the carbon pollution coming from China and the rest of the world. Likewise, even if China went down to zero emissions, it wouldn’t make enough of a difference if the United States and the rest of the world didn’t change direction.… Seguir leyendo »
On Monday in Kabul, the Afghan people will inaugurate their next president, one who will work in tandem with the country’s first-ever chief executive officer — marking the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history and the first peaceful leadership transition in more than 40 years.
This moment was not easily arrived at, and it belongs primarily to the millions who courageously went to the polls to vote in April and June in defiance of Taliban threats. The voters’ message was unequivocal: No improvised explosive device and no suicide bomber would stand in the way of their country’s democratic future.… Seguir leyendo »
In a polarized region and a complicated world, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria presents a unifying threat to a broad array of countries, including the United States. What’s needed to confront its nihilistic vision and genocidal agenda is a global coalition using political, humanitarian, economic, law enforcement and intelligence tools to support military force.
In addition to its beheadings, crucifixions and other acts of sheer evil, which have killed thousands of innocents in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, including Sunni Muslims whose faith it purports to represent, ISIS (which the United States government calls ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) poses a threat well beyond the region.… Seguir leyendo »
The best untold story of the last decade may be the story of Africa. Real income has increased more than 30 percent , reversing two decades of decline. Seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa, and GDP is expected to rise 6 percent per year in the next decade. HIV infections are down nearly 40 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and malaria deaths among children have declined 50 percent . Child mortality rates are falling, and life expectancy is increasing.
This is a moment of great opportunity for Africans. It is also a moment of decision.
The choices that Africans and their leaders make will determine whether a decade of progress leads to an era of African prosperity and stability — or whether Africa falls back into the cycle of violence and weak governance that held back the promise of the continent for far too long.… Seguir leyendo »
Just days ago in London, I listened with sadness and shock as Ahmad Jarba and leaders of the moderate Syrian opposition described how ordinary Syrians with no links to the civil war are forced to eat stray dogs and cats to survive a campaign of deprivation waged by the Assad regime.
The world already knows that Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons, indiscriminate bombing, arbitrary detentions, rape and torture against his own citizens. What is far less well known, and equally intolerable, is the systematic denial of medical assistance, food supplies and other humanitarian aid to huge portions of the population.… Seguir leyendo »
Como persona que testificó en contra de la guerra de Vietnam hace 42 años, en la que había luchado, se me ha preguntado cómo podía testificar hoy a favor de la acción para hacer responsable al régimen de El Asad.
La respuesta es: hablé con mi conciencia en 1971 y estoy hablando con ella ahora, en 2013.
El secretario (de Defensa) Hagel y yo apoyamos una intervención militar limitada contra objetivos del régimen sirio, no porque hayamos olvidado las lecciones y los horrores de la guerra, sino porque los recordamos.
Se lo aseguro: si otro Vietnam u otro Irak estuvieran sobre la mesa en la Situation Room yo no me presentaría a defender esa intervención ante el Congreso.… Seguir leyendo »
Durante mi primera semana como secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, tuve el honor de reunirme con un grupo de birmanas valientes. Dos habían sido presas políticas, y a pesar de haber padecido todas increíbles dificultades en sus vidas, cada una estaba comprometida con seguir adelante: seguir adelante para ofrecer educación y formación a niñas, buscar trabajos para las paradas y propugnar mayor participación en la sociedad civil por parte de la mujer. Estoy seguro que seguirán siendo potentes agentes de cambio y que llevarán el progreso a sus comunidades y su país en los próximos años.
Son oportunidades como esta las que nos recuerdan por qué es tan vital que Estados Unidos siga trabajando con Gobiernos, organizaciones y personas en todo el mundo para proteger y hacer avanzar los derechos de las mujeres y las niñas.… Seguir leyendo »
This weekend’s NATO airstrike on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border was a tragedy. I know how much this has upset the Pakistani people, and I feel deeply for the loss of life and offer my heartfelt condolences. There will be a thorough investigation, which should allow both countries to remain focused on the bedrock national interests we share. This incident underscores just how badly we all need to work together to end the war and bring stability and security to the region.
The road to peace was never going to be easy. The past year has been especially trying for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.… Seguir leyendo »
Sixty-one years ago this weekend, North Korean artillery opened fire along the 38th Parallel, and a war began that claimed the lives of more than 33,000 American soldiers, 100,000 Chinese “volunteers” and 2 million Koreans.
Today, the goal of building a lasting peace remains elusive. In fact, the peninsula is more dangerous than ever. North Korea has twice tested nuclear weapons and is developing missiles to carry them. It has built facilities capable of producing highly enriched uranium for more nuclear weapons. In defiance of a U.N. arms embargo, it continues to export weapons and sensitive technologies to unsavory partners such as Myanmar.… Seguir leyendo »
Leaders around the world are vigorously debating the advisability of a no-fly zone to stop the violence unfolding in Libya. Some cite Bosnia, where NATO took too long to protect civilian populations in the mid-1990s. Others remember Rwanda, where President Bill Clinton expressed regret for not acting to save innocent lives. But the stakes in Libya today are more appropriately underscored by the tragedy that took place in southern Iraq in the waning days of the Persian Gulf War.
As coalition forces were routing the Iraqi army in February 1991, President George H.W. Bush encouraged the Iraqi people to “take matters into their hands to force Saddam Hussein the dictator to step aside.” When Iraqi Shiites, Kurds and Marsh Arabs rebelled against their brutal dictator, they believed American forces would protect them against Hussein’s superior firepower.… Seguir leyendo »
Even if the protests shaking Egypt subside in the coming days, the chaos of the last week has forever changed the relationship between the Egyptian people and their government. The anger and aspirations propelling a diverse range of citizens into the streets will not disappear without sweeping changes in the social compact between the people and the government — and these events also call for changes in the relationship between the United States and a stalwart Arab ally.
President Hosni Mubarak must accept that the stability of his country hinges on his willingness to step aside gracefully to make way for a new political structure.… Seguir leyendo »
Since the patently unfair and undemocratic presidential election on Dec. 19, Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian ruler of Belarus, has reminded his countrymen and the world that the post-Cold War vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace remains sadly unfulfilled. For more than a month, Lukashenko’s agents have fanned out to beat, arrest or intimidate opponents of his government in an effort to suppress any spark of disobedience.
Belarus is a country that understands suffering: The Holocaust consumed its thriving Jewish community; it was the site of some of the most savage fighting of World War II; it endured decades of authoritarian Soviet rule; and in 1986 it received 70 percent of the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown.… Seguir leyendo »
Even in these polarized times, anyone seeking the presidency should know that the security of the United States is too important to be treated as fodder for political posturing. Sadly, former governor Mitt Romney failed that test in arguing that ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia would be a mistake [op-ed, July 6]. He disregarded the views of the best foreign policy thinkers of the past half-century, but more important, he ignored the facts.
No threat to our national security is greater than the danger from nuclear weapons. Responsible political figures across the spectrum need to support every step possible to control the spread of nuclear weapons.… Seguir leyendo »
The Post asked experts whether the Copenhagen climate conference was a success. Below are contributions from Elliot Diringer, Kenneth Green, Fred Krupp, Christine Todd Whitman, Robert Shrum, John Kerry, Jim Inhofe and Douglas E. Schoen.
Copenhagen delivered both more and less than one could reasonably have hoped for.
On the one hand, the deal includes explicit emission pledges by all the major economies and a start on an international system to verify that developing countries are honoring theirs, two things we’ve never had before. Details need to be fleshed out. But this goes a long way toward assuring Congress that China and other big developing countries are prepared to act and be held accountable.… Seguir leyendo »
Conventional wisdom suggests that the prospect of Congress passing a comprehensive climate change bill soon is rapidly approaching zero. The divisions in our country on how to deal with climate change are deep. Many Democrats insist on tough new standards for curtailing the carbon emissions that cause global warming. Many Republicans remain concerned about the cost to Americans relative to the environmental benefit and are adamant about breaking our addiction to foreign sources of oil.
However, we refuse to accept the argument that the United States cannot lead the world in addressing global climate change. We are also convinced that we have found both a framework for climate legislation to pass Congress and the blueprint for a clean-energy future that will revitalize our economy, protect current jobs and create new ones, safeguard our national security and reduce pollution.… Seguir leyendo »