Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow demonstrated clearly America’s deteriorating position in both Europe and the Middle East. Following Turkey’s failed military coup, Mr. Erdogan’s maneuverings, including mass arrests of his political opposition, are accelerating his acquisition of unchecked domestic power, thereby enabling him to reverse his country’s secular constitution and render it an Islamicist state.
The implications for Ankara’s membership in NATO and the West more broadly could hardly be clearer. And who was waiting to host Mr. Erdogan’s first postcoup meeting with a foreign leader but Mr. Putin in Moscow. Although Russian-Turkish history has been complicated, to say the least, often adversarial militarily and politically, Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
America is debating how to respond to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Unfortunately, both President Obama’s current policy and other recent proposals lack a strategic vision for the Middle East once the Islamic State, or ISIS, is actually defeated. There are no answers, or only outmoded ones, to the basic question: What comes after the Islamic State?
Before transforming Mr. Obama’s ineffective efforts into a vigorous military campaign to destroy the Islamic State, we need a clear view, shared with NATO allies and others, about what will replace it. It is critical to resolve this issue before considering any operational plans.… Seguir leyendo »
Had anyone believed President Obama’s mantra that “all options are on the table” to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the Vienna agreement might have emerged less advantageously for Tehran. But no one took Mr. Obama’s threat of military force seriously — a credibility gap that Israel still fears and Iran still exploits. Even so, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is still trying to reassure nervous Democrats in Congress that the Vienna agreement does not preclude America’s use of force.
Despite its blasé confidence in the agreement, however, the Obama administration understands the near-certainty that Iran will break its word.… Seguir leyendo »
For years, experts worried that the Middle East would face an uncontrollable nuclear-arms race if Iran ever acquired weapons capability. Given the region’s political, religious and ethnic conflicts, the logic is straightforward.
As in other nuclear proliferation cases like India, Pakistan and North Korea, America and the West were guilty of inattention when they should have been vigilant. But failing to act in the past is no excuse for making the same mistakes now. All presidents enter office facing the cumulative effects of their predecessors’ decisions. But each is responsible for what happens on his watch. President Obama’s approach on Iran has brought a bad situation to the brink of catastrophe.… Seguir leyendo »
American and European stock markets have been jumpy for weeks as they contemplate possible armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Inside Ukraine, certainly, Kiev's forces have been pushing back separatists supported by Moscow , and they've been surprisingly successful in the eyes of many, perhaps including Moscow, and have thus increased fears of a more direct Russian intervention. But while rumors of clashes last week contributed to the latest burst of market volatility, evidence of actual hostilities between national armies is scarce.
Ironically, while Western capital markets remain attentive to Ukraine's future, President Obama seems detached and uninterested. Indeed, the president appears removed not only from Ukraine, but from the chaos across the Middle East.… Seguir leyendo »
The collapse of President Obama’s efforts to force a “negotiated” settlement between Israel and the Palestinians should prompt a thorough rethinking of his administration’s entire Middle East strategy.
The chances of the initiative, which is predicated far more on ideology and illusion than on the region’s hard realities, were always essentially negligible. While Mr. Obama’s impending failure will cost us dearly because it fosters the perception of American impotence and incompetence, there are important lessons to be learned.
Although Mr. Obama will almost certainly not rethink his policies, it is entirely appropriate for others to recalibrate our objectives in the Israel-Palestinian dispute, so the next president will not make the same mistakes.… Seguir leyendo »
The U.N. General Assembly’s 68th session will open its annual “general debate” in New York on Tuesday, with leadoff speakers including President Obama and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani. There is every prospect that Mr. Obama and Mr. Rouhani will exchange the handshake Mr. Obama has longed for ever since his 2009 inaugural address.
For some, that handshake alone justifies the U.N.’s existence, as though the financial costs the United States bear (assessed contributions of 22 percent of most U.N. agency budgets), relentless political attacks against us and close friends such as Israel, assaults on free expression under the guise of religious tolerance, endless treaty negotiations where the hidden agenda is constraining America’s flexibility and influence, and countless other intrusions on issues properly decided by our own constitutional system were of little consequence.… Seguir leyendo »
Despite speculation that WikiLeaks might receive this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the winner turned out to be the European Union. Some thought this might be a satire. While WikiLeaks would have been incandescently controversial, the EU decision nonetheless demonstrates how the Peace Prize Committee has gone wrong in recent decades, increasingly honoring political favorites rather than substantive achievements. The 2009 award to Barack Obama, after just a few months in the presidency, exemplifies the problem.
The 2012 decision continues this pattern, graphically demonstrating the Nobel Committee’s ideological slant. First, the Committee’s justification misreads contemporary European history, although to be sure its misreading reflects conventional wisdom in some circles.… Seguir leyendo »
Having apparently learned nothing from 10 years of futile negotiations with Iran, President Obama seemed perilously close late last month to yet another deal purportedly making “progress” eliminating the ayatollahs’ nuclear weapons program.
Fortunately, however, the recently concluded Baghdad talks between Iran and the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany (P-5+1) produced no substantive agreement. Nonetheless, we are assured that the meetings were successful. Why? The parties will hold a third meeting in this latest series this month, in Moscow of all places. Perhaps the fourth will be in Tehran.
Once again, we have fallen into Iran’s well-oiled trap of endless negotiations.… Seguir leyendo »
America's complete withdrawal of its troops from Iraq is a tragic mistake. It jeopardises the gains made by President Bush's (and Tony Blair's) eminently correct 2003 decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and risks the broader Middle East falling into chaos. Sadly, Bush himself initiated this mistake by agreeing to this end point in our status-of-forces agreement with Iraq, but it was consummated by Barack Obama, who never wanted to be in Iraq, and who is now delighted to pull the plug.
But those, like Obama, who welcome US withdrawal as vindicating their opposition to the Iraq war are profoundly misguided, ignoring the international coalition's real successes in Iraq and the dismal implications of their McGovernite "come home, America" strategy.… Seguir leyendo »
The crisis of the euro, the common currency of 17 European Union members, continues unabated. Because of massive, sustained budget deficits by several eurozone countries, some could default on their sovereign debt obligations, or the euro itself might disintegrate, profoundly affecting the EU’s political and economic future.
Very little media attention, however, is focused on a very different, but even more important, EU problem, namely its “democratic deficit.” This large, growing gap between remote EU institutions in Brussels and citizens of its member states dramatically highlights the rising frustration and impotence felt by individual voters. To combat the euro crisis, EU elites are ignoring or overriding popular opposition to harsh austerity measures and imposing on fellow democracies the policies demanded by leaders of other, more powerful EU countries.… Seguir leyendo »
You wouldn’t know it from the Obama administration, but North Korea’s global threat continues to metastasize. South Korea recently concluded that extensive cyber-attacks against civilian and military targets in the South emanated from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Following China’s lead in information warfare, the North is creating yet another asymmetric military capability it can deploy against its adversaries and also peddle for hard currency to other rogue states and terrorists.
Although Pyongyang limited its targeting of this particular sortie to South Korea, the potential cyberwarfare battlefield is global and includes the United States, which already is the subject of extensive cyberprobing, exploitation and espionage by China.… Seguir leyendo »
The Israeli prime minister's recent trip to the United States was a blatant effort to stop the march of history.
Increasingly, nations throughout the world community are refusing to acquiesce to the U.S.-Israel axis that has kept Palestinians voiceless in the world community for more than six decades. An international movement currently underway will probably culminate this fall in a vote by the U.N. General Assembly to recognize statehood for Palestine on the basis of the pre-1967 borders. Because this movement is beyond the control of the United States and Israel, their agenda has become one of obstruction, and the public relations battle has begun.… Seguir leyendo »
Although Osama bin Laden's well-deserved death has demonstrated America's re- solve to vindicate our national security, the world is still far from safe. In the Middle East, optimistic predictions that authoritarian regimes would fall like dominoes, ushering in new democracies and greater prospects for peace, are rapidly disappearing. Not only have democratic hopes faltered, but long-time foundations of regional stability are crumbling, to our detriment and that of our friends.
While Israel has been a bystander to the Arab world's recent turmoil, events are conspiring against it. Early, unrealistic expectations about "democracy now" increasingly resemble experiments with Israel's security, experiments gone badly wrong.… Seguir leyendo »
EL presidente Obama ha anunciado a bombo y platillo la decisión que tomó el pasado sábado el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU de enviar a Muamar al-Gadafi a la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI) para que sea juzgado. Aunque Gadafi merece un castigo, la CPI no logrará aplicárselo. Invocar esta organización marginal como un instrumento de justicia es simplemente renunciar a la responsabilidad propia. Finge hacer frente a una crisis internacional cuando, en realidad, está haciendo lo contrario.
La CPI es una de las instituciones multilaterales más ilegítimas del mundo. La inmensa autoridad fiscal del tribunal no está obligada a rendir cuentas ante ningún sistema democrático.… Seguir leyendo »
The Post asked experts what should happen in Egypt after Mubarak. Below are responses from Michele Dunne, John R. Bolton, Newt Gingrich, Shadi Hamid, Aaron David Miller, Salman Shaikh, and Dina Guirguis.
After Hosni Mubarak surrenders his powers, a transitional government should oversee a process leading to free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections within six to nine months. Ideally, the transitional government should include respected figures from the Mubarak government, senior judges and members of opposition groups.
The parliament fraudulently elected in November should be dissolved (preferably as Mubarak's final act as president), the state of emergency in place since 1981 lifted, and a constitutional assembly composed of judges and civil society figures convened to draft significant amendments to the Egyptian constitution.… Seguir leyendo »
Despite the media's recent focus on Egypt, events in Lebanon may well tell us more about the troubled prospects for Middle Eastern democracy. The fall of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government, replaced by a Hezbollah-dominated coalition, dramatically imperils Beirut's democratic Cedar Revolution.
Financed and dominated by Iran, terrorist Hezbollah has consistently refused to disarm and become a legitimate political party. Instead, it enjoys the best of both worlds, contesting elections while retaining the military ability to enforce its will against uncongenial results. History will rightly blame the West for the tragedy of the takeover in Beirut, because of its unwillingness to stand against Hezbollah and its Iranian puppet masters.… Seguir leyendo »
France's Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie received a rude introduction to Arab-Israeli issues on Friday when irate Hamas supporters attacked her entourage in Gaza. She escaped injury but faced protesters venting disapproval of her support for freeing Hamas' long-held prisoner Israeli Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit. Ms. Alliot-Marie was not even remotely freelancing because Sgt. Shalit is a dual citizen of France and Israel, and her call for his immediate release merely restated Paris' long-held views.
Nonetheless, the Gaza violence should be a wake-up call to both France and Europe more broadly that European Union (EU) policies in the Middle East are failing badly.… Seguir leyendo »
WikiLeaks has yet again flooded the internet with thousands of classified American documents, this time state department cables. More troubling than WikiLeaks' latest revelation of US secrets, however, is the Obama administration's weak, wrong-headed and erratic response. Unfortunately, the administration has acted consistently with its demonstrated unwillingness to assert and defend US interests across a wide range of threats, such as Iran and North Korea, which, ironically, the leaked cables amply document.
On 29 November, secretary of state Hillary Clinton lamented that this third document dump was "not just an attack on United States foreign policy and interests, [but] an attack on the international community".… Seguir leyendo »
William Hague’s quick trip to Washington on Friday was timely indeed. Just after assuming office, the new Foreign Secretary had stressed that "it is our most urgent priority? to make sure we get a grip on what is going on in Afghanistan". Arriving right on the heels of the Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Mr Hague came at a critical moment for planning both political and military aspects of the long war against the Taleban and al-Qaeda.
While there was much for Mr Hague and Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to discuss, particularly the menace of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Afghanistan and the closely intertwined issue of Pakistan (hence "AfPak") reportedly predominated.… Seguir leyendo »