Foreign Policy

Strengthening trade relations with Africa

For more than a year now, members of the House and Senate have been at work to strike a deal that would extend a special provision in a little known trade law called AGOA – the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Today, in a display of bipartisan and bicameral unity, the Congress took a bold and positive step to extend that provision and in the process preserve Africa’s apparel industry and help U.S. companies promote the well-being of African families. In a Congress in short supply of agreement, we proved it is possible to pass bipartisan legislation well before a crucial deadline.


Palestinian freedom counts for nothing - or so it seems

Gov. Romney’s visit to Israel – and occupied East Jerusalem – very nearly succeeded in erasing Palestine from the agenda. Save for a short visit with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Palestine was largely a non-matter. And Romney did not publicly raise Palestinian rights a single time.
During his speech Sunday, Gov. Romney claimed, “We (Israel and the United States) both believe in the rule of law, knowing that in its absence, willful men may incline to oppress the weak.”  What precisely does he think Israel is doing to Palestinians with its dual system of law, one for Israelis and an inferior one for Palestinians living under occupation?


Bahrain understands need for futher reforms

On Wednesday, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission will hold a hearing to assess Bahrain’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) Report. Despite what some critics continue to allege, the Government of Bahrain has made tangible, measurable, and verifiable progress in enacting reform in response to the events of February and March 2011. These reforms were not simply made to quiet Bahrain’s critics. Rather, they are a natural extension of a pluralistic, religiously tolerant society that has undergone constant reform over the past 11 years.


Time for U.S., Colombia to deliver for conflict victims

Cali, Colombia -- “I will never be the same. I am not the same as before. That’s the hardest thing.” With these lines Paula, one of Colombia’s more than 4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), started to recount the most excruciating part of her life’s story.


The call for a revised nuclear strategy

There may not be agreement on the size and shape of the future force, but there is growing consensus among the nation’s leaders that it’s time to bring U.S. nuclear strategy into the 21st century. This consensus includes two former commanders of U.S. Strategic Command.


Barack Obama - hardly a good foreign policy president

There’s a sense among establishment political punditry that Barack Obama has been a pretty good foreign policy president. The most recent example of this point of view is in David Brooks’ New York Times column last week, in which he states in the first sentence that “Barack Obama has been a good foreign policy President.”

Now if one considers just how disastrous a domestic policy president Barack Obama has proven to be, then perhaps Obama’s foreign policy record doesn’t seem so bad. That being said, I would submit that Barack Obama has been every bit as disastrous on the international scene as he has been on the domestic front.


'Separate and Unequal' is unacceptable to Palestinians

When presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives in Israel Saturday and travels to occupied East Jerusalem to see the holy sites there he will be entering a city I am no longer allowed to visit – privately or as a medical doctor or as a presidential candidate. He somehow possesses more rights to the city than I do despite the fact that I was born in Jerusalem and worked as a medical doctor in Makassed hospital for several years. During my presidential campaign I was arrested and deported four times for entering the city to meet Palestinian voters.


Romney must clarify where he stands on 'Two-State' solution

Mitt Romney flies to Israel Saturday, following the well-worn American campaign trail to Jerusalem. Like Barack Obama and so many presidential contenders before him, Romney seeks political advantage in demonstrating in person his commitment to Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship.


State building remains a smart investment in times of austerity

Earlier this month, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing entitled “U.S. policy toward Nigeria: West Africa’s troubled nation.” Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, spoke at length about how accountable governance and opportunities for economic growth can deter Boko Haram, a dangerous jihadist terrorist organization, from gaining power and tearing the fabric of Nigerian society.


U.S. cannot afford to intervene in Syria's civil war

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen testified before the House Armed Services Committee that, "The most significant threat to our national security is our debt….” When America’s most senior military member considers America’s reckless spending a greater national security threat than Al-Qaeda, North Korea, Middle Eastern conflicts, or rogue terrorists, America should listen.