Foreign Policy

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.  


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.


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.


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.


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.


Obama's foreign-policy misses

Not many outside of Washington are aware the Obama administration has dispatched close to 100 “military advisers” (read: mostly CIA) to the far reaches of East Africa to combat a menace in the Uganda/Democratic Republic of Congo regions knows as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
The group has been around for decades, terrorizing that part of the continent and taking no prisoners. They brutally murder, maim and wreak havoc where and when they want.
I agree we should probably have our troops over there. Heck, they should’ve gone sooner, if what the White House says about the LRA’s activities has only worsened.

What I’m worried about is what the president chooses to call military campaigns such as this. If I’m not mistaken, the White House exercised its authority and sent military troops not for humanitarian reasons or to protect American interests and people. No, the president said this was clearly in the name of the national interests of the United States. In effect, he was saying this band of mercenaries represented a clear and present danger to the security interests of our nation. That’s a bit of a stretch, even for a military hawk such as myself.


Romney — putting the swagger back into foreign policy

It’s a scary world out there, if you read Mitt Romney’s white paper on national security. If he is elected, it’s going to get even scarier.

Romney as president would boost U.S. military spending and naval shipbuilding. He would dispatch aircraft carrier task forces to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf as a warning to Iran. He would expand the naval presence in the Western Pacific as a warning to China. The U.S. should be coordinating with Taiwan to determine its military needs and supplying them with adequate aircraft and other military platforms, he says.


How do you solve a problem like North Korea?

There are three things to remember about North Korea:

Never believe media reports about the “crazy” and “irrational” North Korean leader. Kim Jong-il might be bad and dangerous, but he is not mad.

North Korea is not about to get rid of its nuclear weapons, because they guarantee regime survival.

Any story about North Korea will invariably have the same headline (see above).


Stop the Europe-bashing

It’s open season on the Europeans at the moment. Following the lead of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who delivered a stiff warning to NATO the other day, everyone has been piling on. The latest was an article in The Washington Post by Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, under the provocative headline “Europe no longer matters.”

Nothing like kicking a man when he’s down. It must be said, the Europeans are an easy target. The other day in Washington, I heard Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) pointing out that the U.S. was subsidizing European social programs through its predominant financial contribution to NATO, as European military budgets declined. But here’s what I’m hearing in Europe at the moment: that America is weak.


Rand Paul and the Tea Party’s foreign policy

Listening to Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky) talking about foreign policy this morning, it was hard to believe that this was the same person accused by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of being on the side of terrorists for opposing the renewal of the Patriot Act.

I was curious to find out where the Tea Party stands on the burning foreign-policy issues that have been overshadowed by budget matters since the 112th Congress began. Not only did I agree with most of what Paul said, but many of the points he made had already found their way into this blog.