In the midst of a heated presidential campaign, it seems nearly impossible to pull away from the noise of political personas and consider the issues simply on their own. Yet that is what voters across the nation were asked to do in a poll released Monday, and they made their voices heard. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents across the nation were presented with three hypothetical candidates — “Smith,” “Jones,” and “Miller” — with three varying foreign policy stances. Each candidate statement discussed America’s role in the world and the best strategies to advance our interests abroad. When voters were asked who was the most compelling, who would be most likely to earn their vote, a clear favorite emerged. That candidate emphasized one approach above all else: international cooperation.
On September 11, 2012, four Americans, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith and American security officers Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were brutally attacked and murdered at an American compound in Benghazi, Libya. At the time, the administration blamed this senseless attack on a protest in reaction to an obscure internet video and failed to acknowledge what it really was - an act of terrorism.
On the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on our nation, the brave men and women serving our country at the U.S. consulate in Bengazi, Libya came under fire, resulting in the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. The attackers targeted our mission in Libya, a critical undertaking in a nation struggling to rebuild after civil war, because of what it stands for: the very freedoms and rights that define and strengthen our great country – Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion chief among them. Under ordinary circumstances, an attack of this level, with this much devastation, would elicit many routine questions, but the aftermath of this attack left more.
The tragic loss of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and of three other Americans on September 11 has serious, immediate consequences and ominous implications for diplomat safety. Ambassador Stevens developed a unique personal and professional relationship with the Libyan people. His work in the midst of a revolution was so well received by Libya that it may be difficult to replicate. We may have lost the head start Stevens embodied in making oil-rich Libya a close Arab ally of the United States in the Middle East. Even though Congress is in recess during a presidential campaign, the death of an ambassador and three others warranted a break from congressional campaigning for a careful if preliminary hearing, considering that even the FBI, which is conducting one of two investigations, has gotten only brief access to the Benghazi site.
On the anniversary of September 11, we lost Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith in a terrorist attack on the American outpost in Benghazi, Libya. In the past month, many facts — and a few fictions — have come to light.
Multiple lethal security incidents preceded the September 11 attack in Benghazi. In April a Libyan security contractor who had been recently fired, threw an IED over the wall of the Benghazi compound. In June an IED was placed on the wall of the American outpost, blowing a twelve-foot hole in the compound wall. Two times in the summer of 2012, the International Committee for the Red Cross compound was attacked, and they determined it was not safe to remain in Benghazi without additional security. The British presence in Benghazi also withdrew in the summer of 2012 after an assassination attempt on the British Ambassador in June. They determined it was not safe to remain in Benghazi without additional security.
Turkey -- Lamees is a lanky 14-year old with a ponytail, glasses, and an impressive command of English. She now lives in a Turkish border town with her parents, one sister, and two brothers – all of them refugees from Syria’s civil war. As we sit in the living room of their rented home, two young girl cousins living nearby tiptoe inside, climb onto a couch, and sit there leaning against each other. They are shy about speaking English with us; we eventually get them to confess that they are seven and ten years old, but they say nothing more.
Even the most casual observer of last Wednesday's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing regarding the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya had to have walked away bewildered by the Obama Administration. To someone like me who has more than 30 years of foreign policy expertise, after enduring hours of political theater, partisan cross talk, and bureaucratic flack, the hearing reinforced my opinion that this tragic event was the direct result of the weak policies of an administration completely out of touch with the realities of an unpredictable and violent world.
Today, October 11th, marks the first International Day of the Girl Child – a day to advocate for the rights of girls and young women worldwide and fight against destructive gender inequalities.
The annual general meeting of the World Bank is taking place in Tokyo this week. It is an important meeting for the leaders of the world to rethink World Bank role in a changing world and refocus its investments. When the World Bank was created, many countries were poor and needed much financing to uplift them from poverty and poor economic situations. That world has changed.
The major argument against taking preemptive military action against Iran is the fear that Tehran’s retaliatory capability will engulf the Middle East and other regions in serious violence and turmoil, throwing the world’s already fragile economy into a deep recession or even an economic depression.
This mindset is coupled with a peculiar assumption that absent military action the only viable default position is some form of tepid engagement and rhetorically tough diplomacy, which quickly becomes an embrace of the status quo. That position essentially equates to acceptance -- albeit without much enthusiasm -- of the creeping incrementalism, sanctions off-and-on again and “business as usual” in dealing with Iran.
This is a perilous proposition.