Foreign Policy

Don't cut funding for civilian 'presence posts' in Iraq

After weeks of gridlock, Congress late last month passed legislation providing $33 billion of critical “supplemental” funding for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, lost in the last-minute legislative shuffle were funds for a small but critical initiative that will be central to ensuring the hard-won security achieved in Iraq since the surge of 2007 doesn’t unravel as U.S. forces withdraw over the months ahead.

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Making trade with Korea fairer (Rep. Howard Coble)

I grew up in a textile household. My mama sewed pockets on overalls for many years when I was young. So, I have always known the importance of the textile industry to local communities — particularly in the South. I brought that mindset with me when I came to Congress. As co-chairman of the Congressional Textile Caucus, I do all that I can to promote and protect American textile and apparel jobs.

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House Subcommittee appropriates U.S.-Israel missile defense systems at highest levels ever (Rep. Steve Rothman)

On July 27, 2010, the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a strong message – to our allies and enemies alike – by appropriating more funds than ever before toward joint U.S.-Israel and Israeli missile defense programs. This is only the latest example that when it comes to defense, military, and intelligence cooperation, the relationship between the U.S. and Israel has never been stronger.

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Obama's Iran option

Just as the UN Security Council was imposing its most stringent sanctions against Iran over the regime's nuclear defiance, rumours were growing that China had only supported the resolution following months of international pressure.

However, the divide between China and the U.S. is now clearly widening. Top U.S. officials announced Thursday they would be heading to China at the end of August to press Beijing to "step up" and fully implement sanctions against Iran.

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The Colombia free trade pact is bad policy

Earlier this month, President Obama stated that he would push forward the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, along with those of Panama and South Korea, “as soon as possible.” This announcement came amid a concerted White House effort to appear more pro-business and was touted as an important step to fulfilling the president’s promise to double exports within five years.

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Food for thought in the Sahel

It takes 71-year-old Sedoisa a lot of energy to bend down and dig the earth, her wrinkled hands attesting to a long life spent working in the field. Those were other times. Now words are not enough, and with a simple gesture of her hand she expresses that she has nothing to bring to her mouth.

Today, she is one of the 10 million people across Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and parts of northern Nigeria facing devastating hunger.

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Our tax dollars are funding the wrong strategy in Afghanistan (Rep. Mike Honda)

Today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chair Congresswoman Woolsey and I co-hosted a briefing to discuss the most pressing foreign policy issue facing our country today — the war in Afghanistan.

As the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s Afghanistan Taskforce, I am very interested in ensuring that the Progressive Caucus and the rest of my colleagues in Congress have sufficient information to make informed decisions about this war.

We are at a very dangerous and difficult time in this war.

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Options for reconciliation in Afghanistan (Sen. John Kerry)

This morning, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) chaired a hearing on Afghanistan. This is the Committee’s twelfth oversight hearing on U.S. policy toward Afghanistan in the past year and a half. Below are his opening remarks as delivered:

I would like to make a few opening comments and then we’ll proceed with each of the other witnesses. Let me begin by thanking you for coming today to talk to the Committee. I think you can see from the membership today that this is obviously an important issue to the country and to the Congress. There are a lot of questions, which is entirely appropriate. Today’s hearing is really to try and focus on the issue of reconciliation and see what role that might play in achieving a political solution in the end. And I think we have a very thoughtful panel to consider those issues.

I might just comment that this is the twelfth hearing of the Committee on Afghanistan in the past eighteen months. And it reflects our recognition of the critical role this issue plays, the unbelievable expense of human treasure of our sons and daughters, and the monetary cost, which is also enormous.

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Iran — Europe turns up the heat

One of the key issues during the meeting between Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama last week was how to address the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme.

The new British government is deeply concerned. And our suspicions are only exacerbated by Tehran’s refusal to engage with the international community on the nature of this programme. Responsible countries cannot just ignore Iran's refusal to abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT); there must be consequences for this reckless intransigence. That is why the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1929 in June, its fourth set of sanctions against the Iranian regime.

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The Big Question: Will leaks push Congress to end war funding?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:

How will new reports about Pakistan and the Taliban affect the war funding bill?


Background reading here.

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