Around the world, there is profound concern that America is giving up the mantle of global leadership. Our steady retreat over the past decade has contributed to a wide array of complex global challenges — a dangerous erosion of the rule of law, gross human rights violations and the decline of the rules-based international order that was designed in the aftermath of two world wars to prevent conflict and deter mass atrocities.
We’ve seen this unfold in Syria, where the United States and the international community have shamefully failed to address brutal violence that has engulfed the country for seven years, led to hundreds of thousands dead and contributed to the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II.… Seguir leyendo »
Clashes this month between elements of the Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters around Kirkuk are deeply troubling, in particular because of the United States’ longstanding friendship with the Kurdish people. These clashes are also emblematic of a broader, more troubling reality: Beyond our tactical successes in the fight against the Islamic State, the United States is still dangerously lacking a comprehensive strategy toward the rest of the Middle East in all of its complexity.
This is the unfortunate legacy that the Obama administration left for its successor. President Trump’s call this month for a broader strategy to confront Iran’s malign influence across the Middle East was an encouraging indication that the administration recognizes the problem.… Seguir leyendo »
Some years ago, I heard Natan Sharansky, the human rights icon, recount how he and his fellow refuseniks in the Soviet Union took renewed courage from statements made on their behalf by President Ronald Reagan. Word had reached the gulag that the leader of the most powerful nation on earth had spoken in defense of their right to self-determination. America, personified by its president, gave them hope, and hope is a powerful defense against oppression.
As I listened to Mr. Sharansky, I was reminded how much it had meant to my fellow P.O.W.s and me when we heard from new additions to our ranks that Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
On the heels of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ successful trip to South Korea and Japan last week, and with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington this week, we have an important opportunity to reaffirm America’s commitment to security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Seventy years ago, out of the ashes of a world war, America and our allies and partners built a rules-based international order — one based on the principles of the rule of law, free peoples and free markets, open seas and open skies, and peaceful settlement of disputes.
Put simply: These ideas have changed the fortunes of the United States and Asia forever, and for the better.… Seguir leyendo »
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 »
After more than three years, almost 200,000 dead in Syria, the near collapse of Iraq, and the rise of the world’s most sinister terrorist army — the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has conquered vast swaths of both countries — President Obama’s admission this week that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to deal with this threat is startling. It is also dangerous.
The president clearly wants to move deliberately and consult with allies and Congress as he considers what to do about ISIS. No one disputes that goal. But the threat ISIS poses only grows over time. It cannot be contained.… Seguir leyendo »
We recently visited Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova. In each country, our allies want a stronger immediate response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its ongoing subversion of Ukraine. They also believe, as we do, that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest acts of aggression require an enduring strategic response from the United States, Europe and NATO. It should be clear to all that Putin’s Russia has taken a dark turn. There is no resetting this relationship. We cannot return to business as usual.
Western countries had high hopes for our relationships with Russia after the Cold War and acted on that basis.… Seguir leyendo »
Every American should be aware of the recent reports in major news outlets that describe the Obama administration’s abdication of a leadership role in the Middle East and its serious consequences for U.S. national security interests.
Nothing highlights these failures more vividly than the administration’s abandonment of the Free Syrian Army and other moderate opposition forces in Syria. President Obama specifically committed to us in the Oval Office that his strategy in Syria was to degrade the Assad regime’s military capabilities, upgrade the capabilities of the moderate opposition and shift the momentum on the battlefield, leading to a negotiated end to the conflict and the departure of President Bashar al-Assad from power.… Seguir leyendo »
We traveled to Cairo this week to support a U.S. and international effort to help Egyptians end their political crisis. We met with leaders from the civilian government, armed forces, political parties, civil society and the Muslim Brotherhood. We returned convinced that time is quickly running out to resolve this crisis, but that there is still a chance to do so if Egyptians of goodwill come together for the sake of their country, which is the heart of the Arab world and home to a quarter of its people.
We are longtime friends of Egypt and its armed forces. We have fought as hard as anyone over many years to maintain our vital foreign assistance to Egypt.… Seguir leyendo »
Mohamed Morsi’s presidency was a huge missed opportunity. He placed himself above the law, failed to govern inclusively or capably, pursued a narrow ideological agenda and pushed through revisions to Egypt’s constitution that did not secure the basic rights of all citizens. This misrule had dire costs for Egypt’s economy and society, and we have a lot of sympathy for the millions of Egyptians who called on the military to remove Morsi from power.
Not all coups are created equal, but a coup is still a coup. Morsi was elected by a majority of voters, and U.S. law requires the suspension of our foreign assistance to “any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree . … Seguir leyendo »
As 2012 draws to a close, Syria is descending into hell. At least 40,000 people, and likely many more, have been killed, while millions have been forced to flee their homes. Over the past 12 months, Bashar al-Assad has steadily unleashed ever-greater military firepower in response to what began as peaceful protests by the Syrian people. Starting with tanks and heavy artillery in February, the Syrian regime escalated over the summer to using attack helicopters and fighter jets. In recent weeks, it has begun firing Scud missiles at its own population.
The world has failed to stop this slaughter. President Obama has declared that his “red line” is Assad’s use of chemical weapons.… Seguir leyendo »
A series of tragic events in Afghanistan has increased the desire of a war-weary public to end our mission there. As heart-wrenching as these events have been, they do not change the vital U.S. national security interests at stake in Afghanistan, nor do they mean that the war is lost. It is not. There is still a realistic path to success if the right decisions are made in the coming months.
The painful lesson we learned on Sept. 11, 2001, remains true today: What happens in Afghanistan directly affects our safety here at home. We abandoned Afghanistan in the 1990s, and the result was a fanatical regime that allowed its territory to become a base for global terror attacks, while inflicting medieval tyranny on the Afghan people, especially women.… Seguir leyendo »
Recent media reports have suggested that the Obama administration has decided to reduce sharply the number of U.S. troops it is willing to keep in Iraq beyond this year, possibly to as few as 3,000. Administration officials have denied that any decision has been made on force levels. We hope that is true, because such an approach would disregard the recommendations of our military commanders, jeopardize Iraq’s tenuous stability and needlessly put at risk all of the hard-won gains the United States has achieved there at enormous cost in blood and treasure.
We have frequently traveled to Iraq, meeting with national leaders in Baghdad, local officials throughout the country, and U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
Though disagreements remain over how the conflict began, there is no denying that two years ago this weekend, Russian troops crossed an internationally recognized border and invaded Georgia. They attacked all of the country with strategic bombers, pushed deep into its sovereign territory, displaced nearly 127,000 ethnic Georgians from their homes, recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, and established a military occupation that remains in effect.
Much has changed in the past two years — but not for the better. Russia not only occupies Georgian territory but is building military bases there, denying access to humanitarian missions and monitors, permitting the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in South Ossetia, and working to fortify the administrative boundary lines of the breakaway regions into hardened borders.… Seguir leyendo »
After our visit to Iraq this month, it is clear that what was once unthinkable there is now taking place: A stable, safe and free Iraq is emerging. Violence has fallen to the lowest level since the first months of the war. The Sunni Arabs who once formed the core of the insurgency are today among our most steadfast allies in the fight against al-Qaeda. A status-of-forces agreement between Iraq and America will take effect next month, providing for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and a commensurate increase in Iraqi self-defense. And Iraqi politics is increasingly taking on the messy but exhilarating quality of a functioning democracy.… Seguir leyendo »