Foreign Policy

Know thine enemy

Bloggers, be careful what you wish for. A year ago the Obama administration was triumphantly celebrating its role in the Arab Spring. In the process the USA failed to support its longtime Egyptian allies, President Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptian military. Instead it tacitly supported the devil it didn't know. It was obvious that the likely winners of any Egyptian election would have been the Muslim Brotherhood. The United States’ policies at the time naively supported the devil that they would soon get to know. 

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Imagine America and England without the Revolution

Thanks to reader Stephen Bone for his generous comment yesterday re: France and “the colonies.” He adds, of my picking on the French, “After all, without France we would not have a country.” But historic time presents us with a riddle. What would America be like without the American Revolution? Possibly much like it is today.

Consider what Hitler might have felt when he drove his troops into Paris on June 14, 1940. Americans held still for two years without defending their French allies of the Revolution. Why would they bother to defend their natural enemies, England? But aid we did and we culturally rebonded with England via the invasion of France with both our armies.

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Obama open-mic remarks show president confident of second term

President Obama’s unguarded comments on a live mic with outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, about how he will have “more flexibility” to deal on such issues as missile defense after the U.S. elections, are a statement of fact.

Presidents who are no longer running for office in a second term have the opportunity to concentrate on legacy issues. It was in President Ronald Reagan’s second term that he signed a landmark agreement with the Russians on eliminating an entire category of nuclear weapons in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987. But that was then, and this is now.

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Should we extend the olive branch to North Korea?

Everyone remembers former President Bush’s famous "axis" jab with a conciliatory gesture toward North Korea, calling for North Korea to open its borders and pursue normal relations with its neighbors. To this day the radical communist state remains bordered by barbed wire, landmines and a standing army of 1 million, an enduring hangover from the Cold War. Now that its leader Kim Jong-il has passed away, from exhaustion no less, can the United States finally work with North Korea as “a friend and partner” in the rebuilding of their country?

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Iran’s dangerous path of isolation

Iran’s ransacking of the British embassy in Tehran, which prompted the recall of all British embassy staff and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from London, means that the chances of miscalculation by both sides in this spiraling crisis have suddenly intensified.

Iran has deliberately set itself on a path of isolation, even though Britain, long considered the “little Satan” in Iran alongside the American “Great Satan,” says that it is not severing diplomatic ties. But cutting channels of communication with Tehran, where radicals were already in the ascendant, contains other dangers at a time when Iran’s nuclear program is back in the diplomatic foreground.

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The spoiled Pakistanis

The Pakistanis continue to spit in our eyes despite all of our overtures and attempts to gain their friendship. They know we are over a barrel and we don't have the controls. Why have we given them so much autonomy? We have convinced ourselves that we need them so that we can pursue our goals in Afghanistan, but in order to find a solution to the Pakistani problem we must first re-examine our goals in Afghanistan. What are the realistic chances that we are going to convert them to a democratic society like ours? I suspect the chances are negative, it just won't happen.  

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US-Pakistan relationship is too big to fail

This was an accident waiting to happen. The deadly skirmish on the Afghan border involving U.S. special forces and Pakistani soldiers, which left 24 Pakistanis dead from a NATO air strike, reflects the contradiction at the heart of U.S. policy regarding Pakistan.

With the Afghanistan drawdown looming, the escalated U.S. military operation targeting the Taliban is out of step with U.S. diplomacy, which is looking for a negotiated solution. 

There you have it. So while U.S. diplomats back Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s decision to talk to the Taliban, the U.S. military is busy killing the people with whom he is supposed to negotiate, as well as angering the neighbor with a justifiable stake in Afghanistan’s future stability.

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Greece, Italy, Portugal should leave ‘greater Germany’ while they can still get out

AFP reports: The European Union demanded Wednesday sweeping powers to override national budgets and proposed issuing joint eurozone bonds to help resolve and prevent a repeat of the debt crisis.

"Without stronger governance, it will be difficult if not impossible to sustain the common currency," EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said of his latest legislative proposals.

The head of the executive EU arm, Barroso presented radical plans that would allow him and Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn to decide to intervene in national policymaking, the article reports.

It is time for Greece, Italy and Portugal to think twice about the EU. It was all the fever ten, twenty years ago when the economic cycle was rising to its peak and Bill Clinton – he of the 50 gold watches - was just rising to status of world shaman. It was a giddy time; the Dalai Lama charmed the world and Bono was writing op-eds for the New York Times. Every individual, all people in the global village would be as George Soros saw in the rising karma, a kind of American; an American by degree.

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Obama's boomerang policy

Two hundred and fifty U.S. Marines in Australia doesn’t sound threatening.

But President Obama’s decision to deploy the Marines — rising to 2,500 — on a permanent basis in Darwin from next summer on is a powerful symbol for Beijing, which in the past few days has been told to act like a “grown-up” by the U.S. leader.

I’m all for playing hardball with China, and Obama probably thinks that talking tough will play well at home. “The United States is a Pacific power and we’re here to stay,” he told Australians in remarks that were actually designed for an assertive China.

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Obama's dirty laundry

"I can't stand him. He's a liar," Sarkozy said of Netanyahu, according to CNN.

Obama replied, "You're tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him every day.”

In an off-mic situation, Obama and Sarkozy are discovered not to trust Netanyahu, and Sarkozy went so far as to call him a liar. Not only did Obama refuse to defend him, but chimed in by saying he has to "deal" with the Israeli prime minister every day.

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