It is ironic that critics of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) use missile defense as an excuse to oppose Senate approval. In reality, New START has cleared the path for missile defense.
With the election behind us, and representatives still celebrating (or not) back in their home states, time is running out to affect a foreign policy matter that will have lasting implications on global stability for decades. On October 20th the White House sent details to the U.S. Congress of the largest arms sale in American history, which prompted the 30 calendar day countdown for Congress to object to it before it automatically goes through. This sale is a $60 billion package of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia. When the elected officials return to Washington on November 15th, they will have four days to act if they have an objection. While an outright objection is very unlikely, it would be unwise to let this arms deal sail through without serious oversight from the Congress.
U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, issued the following statement after excerpts of an upcoming United Nations report on North Korean nuclear proliferation activities appeared in the press:
The United Nations will apparently confirm what many in the international community already know — that North Korea is led by a rogue regime that is actively trafficking in nuclear material with other rogue nations. North Korea, Iran, Syria and Burma are four countries where it is in no nation’s interest to see nuclear weapon and ballistic missile proliferation activities. Yet we are confronted repeatedly by public and international reports of their efforts to purchase and proliferate weapons of mass destruction.
Pakistan clearly has an urgent need for swift, effective aid in the wake of its catastrophic summer of floods. Infrastructure has suffered unprecedented damage, and as many as 1.6 million households, mostly rural, have lost their homes and possessions. Beyond relief efforts to provide urgent needs—food, water, medical care, and temporary shelter—the priority of the Pakistani government and its international partners will be helping those directly affected get back on their feet and rebuild their lives. What is the best way to help? Even before the floods, spending aid money well in Pakistan was not going to be easy. In 2009, Congress pledged $7.5 billion in non-military aid over five years, but only a tiny fraction of that money has been disbursed. Finding channels (either inside or outside the Pakistani government) where the United States could be confident that dysfunction and corruption would not siphon away too much of the aid has been a challenge. That challenge is still present in the context of the flood reconstruction effort.
Turkey is a significant political and economic actor that has played a crucial role in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe in the last decade. The country is a valuable ally to the US and NATO in maintaining peace and stability as we deal with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, aggressive rhetoric from Iran, and the omnipresent threat of international terrorism. It is also home to an incredibly rich culture, a thriving economy, and a dynamic, young population.