Foreign Policy

Libya and beyond: No option but sustained engagement

Despite the gruesome attack and tragic deaths at the American consulate in Benghazi, the US and allies must remain firmly engaged in Libya and beyond.  Failure to do so rewards the extremists’ agenda and undermines the constructive efforts skillfully spearheaded by deceased U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.


Vicious cycles of hatred must stop

The attack in Libya that killed four U.S. Embassy staff, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, are utterly reprehensible and deserve the global denunciation they have received from political, community and religious leaders, including many Muslims.


10 ways to rebuild the middle class

A day after the Census Bureau reported that family income is the lowest in 16 years, a new report provides a roadmap to strengthen the economy for strapped American families.
The key is good jobs—which, unfortunately, are harder and harder to find. Building on a 30-year trend, most post-recession job growth has been in jobs that are low wage, often part time and lacking benefits and flexibility families need. That’s also true for jobs predicted to increase the most over the next decade.


Lack of leadership emboldens our enemies and endangers America

The United States of America was attacked in Benghazi, Libya two days ago on the 11th anniversary of September 11, 2001. This was not a riot; it was a coordinated assault on a United States Consulate that led to the assassination of the United States Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens along with three brave associates. This was an act of terrorism and must be dealt with in a harsh and prompt manner.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of Ambassador Stevens and the three American Foreign Service agents who were killed in the attack. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost loved ones in this horrible act of violence.


U.S. must lead from position of strength, not weakness

The abhorrent attacks on our U.S. embassy in Cairo and consulate in Benghazi, suspiciously timed on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks refocuses the spotlight on America’s need for a dramatic shift to a new foreign policy.
Obama’s handling of our nation’s economy has been repeatedly compared to President Jimmy Carter’s economic failures of the 1970s. These attacks are sadly reminiscent of the 1979 attack on our embassy in Tehran under Carter’s watch.


Bedlam in Benghazi - What next?

It would be great if the world could just be put on hold until after the election—but the world is not big on time-outs. Certainly, it would be wrong to play to politics with foreign policy and national security.
But it is equally wrong to suggest that foreign policy and national security issues shouldn’t be debated in the wake of horrific tragedies like the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.


Nonproliferation requires enforcement

Should America use military force to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons? Our leaders are urgently addressing this question, spurred on by concerns that Israel, any day, may feel forced to launch such strikes independently. It’s a life-and-death question, because Iran’s response has the potential to trigger major armed conflicts.  Yet in addressing it we are ignoring what may be the most important strategic issue of all – global nonproliferation! Let’s take a broader look.


Tragedy in Libya: 'An attack that should shock the conscience'

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the following remarks in the Treaty Room at the State Department on the deaths of American personnel in Benghazi, Libya.
Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings.  American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.


Elections in Belarus: The world is watching

Just weeks before Belarus’s parliamentary elections on Sept. 23, few expect anything but another sham. And yet democratic nations will have to let the dictator, Alexander Lukashenka, know they are paying attention and mean business.

So far, in the run-up to this election we have seen few if any good signs. Opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich has been denied registration as a candidate. The intimidation and harassment of the opposition, detention of independent journalists and democratic activists continues unabated.


The untold story of Iran's religious minorities

Iran makes the front page of the news nearly every day. There has been constant coverage of the recent legislation tightening sanctions against Iran, as well as the looming threat of Iran’s nuclear program. What is not getting nearly as much attention is that Iran is one of the most egregious violators of religious freedom in the world.

Just one day before the Iran Sanctions bill passed Congress this summer, the State Department released its 2011 International Religious Freedom Report. For the 12th year in a row, the U.S. government designated Iran as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom. The new report indicates that rhetoric and actions originating from the Iranian government have created a threatening atmosphere for nearly all non-Shiite religious groups – among them Baha’is, Christians, Jews, and Mandaeans – groups that do not share the government’s official religious views. In particular, Baha’is and Christians were found to be subject to arbitrary arrests, prolonged detentions, and confiscation of property. All religious minorities were found to be victims of varying degrees of discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment, education, and housing.