Foreign Policy

In defense of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus

According to press reports, the Indian government has “concerns” about the creation of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, such that it has “warned” the U.S. government about its very existence. These concerns appear to be grounded in the suspicion that the caucus is a front for an effectively defunct movement for a separate Sikh homeland called “Khalistan.” The concerns are without merit, and the caucus itself stands firmly on bedrock American principles and traditions.

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Charting a sea power revitalization

The future of American security and international influence will undoubtedly be tied to the strength of American sea power.

Sustaining the rules-based international order that has enhanced our security, prosperity and freedom since the late 1940s requires an American Navy that can maintain our global presence in oceans and strategic chokepoints the world over. But absent a greater investment in shipbuilding, the trajectory of American sea power is set for a slow, painful decline in the decade ahead.

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U.S.-China summit offers chance at improved relations

Many people have spoken of the “mutual strategic suspicion” that exists between China and the United States. That suspicion is real and deep. It greatly inhibits the ability of the two countries to move boldly forward together on a common agenda.
 
To overcome that suspicion, many people have called for building “mutual strategic trust.” But that is probably too ambitious a goal in the short to medium term. Rather, we should seek to build mutual confidence, predictability and transparency. 

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President should ignore fear mongering and sign arms treaty

Syria, Iran and North Korea are the only three countries that voted against the Arms Trade Treaty passed by the United Nations General Assembly in April with support from 154 countries, including the United States. Now, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) want to establish their own “axis of misinformation” by spreading falsehoods about the Arms Trade Treaty.
 
That is truly unfortunate because the main objective of the treaty is to ban arms shipments that would be used to commit the attacks on civilians like we’re seeing in Syria or the horrors of genocide and war crimes around the world. It provides a powerful alternative to the current body bag approach of arms trade controls. Currently, the U.N. Security Council can only establish an arms embargo once the body bags start to pile up. Irresponsible arms sales to the Assad regime in Syria have forced more than 1.5 million women, men and children to flee the country and caused more than 80,000 deaths so far, according to the U.N. Absent a U.N. Security Council embargo and Arms Trade Treaty, unregulated arms transfers will continue.
 
Surprisingly, a handful of members of Congress have joined the misinformation charade and put their credibility on the line.  
 
Before their fear mongering gains traction, let’s review the facts. 

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Kerry’s moment at the African Summit

Secretary of State John Kerry will attend the African Union Heads of State Summit this weekend. Kerry’s participation in the summit — which marks 50 years of African regional cooperation — presents an opportunity to improve leverage for substantive outcomes. In partnership with African leaders, Kerry can help ensure that this summit has an impact by pushing for credible peace processes in Africa’s two deadliest wars: Sudan and Congo.

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The call for economic liberty in the Arab world

The uprisings that have swept across the Middle East and North Africa since 2010 have forever altered the region’s political and security landscape. They have also called into question longstanding U.S. policies toward the Arab world. Yet this unrest also presents an historic opportunity to advance reforms that will economically empower millions of people and ultimately help stabilize the region.
 
Generations of citizens in Arab countries have been forced to endure human rights abuses and political repression. It would therefore be easy to mistake the Arab Spring for a political uprising. But it was not speeches by long-suffering opposition leaders in exile that drove millions of people to the streets. From Sidi Bouzid to Tahrir Square, the protests were driven by young men and women — students, street vendors, and would-be entrepreneurs — demanding the opportunity for a better economic future. 

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Iran's quandary in the upcoming polls

Iranians are going to the polls next June in what will prove to be a defining moment for the future of the mullahs’ regime. High on the supreme leader’s agenda remains the Islamic Republic’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, without a doubt one of the most pressing challenges facing Tehran and an issue that pits the Islamic Republic against the United States and its allies.

Observers are qualifying the elections as something of a “joke” - a mere scam in a totalitarian regime headed by an authoritarian ruler.

Opposition figures say that despite the window dressing this is the election under the rule of the mullahs and the outcome is controlled by the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, who is facing serious domestic and international challenges.

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Save the children of Syria: It's a moral imperative

As I glance through my Facebook newsfeed, I see beautiful images of two of my friends’ newborn daughters. Evoking feelings of love, the photos show the mothers holding their newborns with confidence and a sense of peace. And why not? Their precious firstborns will be raised in a free country; they are safe. In between these photos, I see images of Syrian newborns. Images so tragic and violent, they appear as though they’re straight from the set of a horror film. My reaction as a human being is one of shock, and, as a clinical psychologist experienced in evaluating refugee survivors of torture and other human rights abuses one of grave concern for the fate of the Syrian children. And for the United States.

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Israel shouldn't be allowed to discriminate against any US citizens

Congress is currently considering legislation (H.R. 300, H.R. 938, S. 462, S. 266) that would include Israel in the Visa Waiver Program, allowing Israeli citizens to enter the U.S. without obtaining a visa. Because countries seeking to qualify for visa waivers must provide "reciprocal privileges to citizens and nationals of the United States,” I would advise current sponsors and members considering signing on in the future to first take a hard look at the Department of State's Travel Advisory for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

According to the State Department, "U.S. citizens are advised that all persons applying for entry to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza...may be denied entry or exit without explanation.” The advisory specifically notes that "U.S. citizens whom Israeli authorities suspect of being Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim origin...may face additional... and probing questioning by... authorities, or may be denied entry.”

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Hagel's critics can rest easy now

Hagel's tenure to this point has done more than enough to rebut these malicious and false charges leveled by his fellow Republicans.
 
Now that Chuck Hagel has completed his first trip to Israel as U.S. defense secretary, it's time for the pro-Israel community to acknowledge the obvious: Secretary Hagel has demonstrated that he is following the president's lead when it comes to supporting Israel. Like his predecessors, Hagel has personally committed himself to strengthening the US-Israel defense relationship and working to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

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