Foreign Policy

Four critical nuclear security choices loom for US

The next administration will face substantial choices on nuclear security issues. Its decisions will have serious implications, not just for the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, but for U.S. national security.  

Clear thinking will be needed from whoever wins in November to confront four main nuclear security challenges.

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Dangers of Saudi influence in Syria

As the civil unrest in Syria becomes more acute, the United States must reassess its strategy towards that key Middle East state. In particular, the U.S. must revisit its attitude towards the role that Saudi Arabia has been playing in the Syrian conflict. The continued influence of Saudi Arabia in Syria can only further destabilize the situation on the ground, undermine U.S. interests in the region and dim the prospects for a future democratic Syria.

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Unconditional US military aid fuels Israeli-Palestinian violence

Amidst another week of deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence, fifteen faith leaders representing U.S. churches and faith organizations have called on Congress to condition U.S. military aid to Israel upon Israel’s “compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.” These leaders--representing Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Orthodox, Quaker and other major Christian groups--agree that unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to “sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.”  

As a Quaker peace lobby that has advocated for Israeli-Palestinian peace for decades in Washington, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is proud to be a partner in this effort.

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Maintaining defense readiness in the Gulf

The news from the Persian Gulf region grows more concerning each day. The United States Navy conducts exercises with 30 other nations while Iran successfully tests a new missile. As recently as October 4, a spokesman for Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said all the regime needs to attack Israel is, "24 hours and an excuse." As tension in the region escalates, our attention must shift to the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic opening to the Gulf through which roughly one third of the world's oil passes.

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Restoring freedom in Venezuela

After the systematic undermining of its democratic foundations by Hugo Chavez since 1998, change in Venezuela is long overdue. Its citizens cannot exercise their civil liberties without freedom from fear, intimidation and retribution from the state and its loyalists. The recent deaths of three opposition supporters served as ugly reminders. Mr. Chavez must bear considerable responsibility for such acts. His provocatively vitriolic rhetoric and divisive policies promote an environment where such violence becomes permissible. His reckless disregard for civility in the political process aid and abet hostilities. While most of Latin America progresses on the democratic path, Venezuela is consistently regressing. Its citizens simply deserve better.

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South Africa's break with apartheid serves as model for Burma

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Washington in September to receive the Congressional Gold Medal and to make the case on behalf of her country for continued U.S. engagement with the Burmese people and the easing of sanctions.
 
Once the world’s most well-known political prisoner, enduring 15 years of house arrest under the ruling military junta, her mere presence in the States was an indication of Burma’s movement forward, from the dark days of dictatorship towards the light of freedom and human rights.
 
There is unquestionably a long road ahead and a mountain of work to be done. And it would be naive to believe the process will necessarily be smooth or that there is no danger of backsliding.

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Peace in the land

Now that world leaders have addressed the United Nations General Assembly, it’s time to think about the role of global peace. The protests have taken place. Once again, some nations have been in the hotspot. There doesn’t seem to be agreement amongst all nations – a scenario that seems to repeat itself over and over again.

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Congress must rein in military drones

Drone strikes in Pakistan (not to mention Yemen, Somalia and possibly other countries) have increased markedly since June 2004. According to a just-published study by two American law schools, the number of civilian deaths are far greater than acknowledged by the administration. The strikes raise serious questions as to their legality under both international and domestic law. The constant hovering of drones over local communities creates a climate of fear among the general population. Inciting anti-American sentiment, U.S. drones and their increasing strikes are an effective recruiting tool for terrorist groups.

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Obama Administration misled the public: We need to know what happened in Libya



It’s been over two weeks since our Libyan consulate was overrun by 
militant Islamists and the Obama Administration still hasn’t provided 
a clear account of what happened that day.



The facts we do know are grave. Four Americans were killed in
 Benghazi. That same day, the stars and stripes were ripped down, 
torched, and replaced with the black flag of militant Islam at the 
U.S. embassy in Egypt. All on the chilling anniversary of September 
11 — when radical jihadists launched the biggest-ever attack on U.S. 
soil in history.



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The Montreal Protocol: 25 years and still going strong

In the early 1970s, scientists discovered the first human threat to the global atmosphere—the threat from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to the stratospheric ozone layer.
 
The ozone layer shields plants and animals, including humans, from deadly ultraviolet radiation. If the ozone layer were depleted as a consequence of human activities, millions of Americans would develop skin cancer and U.S. health care costs would reach several trillion dollars later this century.  Worldwide it would be a catastrophe.

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