Foreign Policy

Egypt: A new birth for an old idea

The crisis in the Middle East is the result of the failure of the national security establishment of both political parties since the Second World War to develop a foreign policy strategy both worthy of our nation and protective of our security.

For far too long our security establishment has accepted the Kissingerian notion of utilitarian alliances, which tolerates vile governments because their enemy is our enemy.

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So how about those baby girls, President Hu?

Chinese President Hu Jintao has just left Chicago, where I live, and his presence here — where he received a more unadulterated enthusiastic welcome, led by China’s chief cheerleader Mayor Richard Daley, than he received in Washington — got me thinking about the main event: his visit to D.C.

I loved that the Obamas’ cherished daughters, Malia and Sasha, were present for some of the festivities, and that Sasha later used President Hu to test her Chinese language skills.

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Hu Jintao comes to town

Some American observers are billing Hu Jintao's visit to Washington as the most important state visit in three decades — and not without good reason.

His trip comes at a time when there is a widespread belief — in both Washington and Beijing — that the U.S. is in decline. According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, 47 percent of Americans believe that China is the world's leading economic power, compared to 31 percent who believe that America is. Although America's GDP is currently over twice as large as China's, it seems likely that China's economy will become the world's largest within the next two decades, if not sooner (The Economist has even introduced an interactive graphic that allows readers "to predict when China will overtake America" by inputting different growth rates for each country going forward).

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Obama must challenge China on human rights

The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, arrives in Washington today for a red-carpet welcome as his country’s Nobel Peace Prize winner languishes in jail.

It is time for President Obama to stand up to China over its shameful human-rights record. Last week the Obama administration was talking up its human-rights stance and raising expectations that the president would be more demanding. He met personally with five Chinese human-rights advocates for an hour at the White House, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a speech at the State Department that the U.S. would continue to defend Chinese bloggers, political activists and religious believers persecuted for challenging the ruling party dogma.

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Bipartisanship in the 112th: It's a START

In the flurry of lame-duck victories for President Obama and the Democrats, the ratification of the START Treaty probably tells the most important story about the coming two years. The GOP opponents of approving START insisted there wasn't enough time, though the first START in 1992 and its successor in 2003 both passed in a week or less on the Senate floor. There was ample time. And with 13 Republican senators joining the Democrats to ratify the arms-control agreement — four more than the necessary nine to reach a required 67 votes — there was ample support as well.

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John Kerry's finest hour

Standing ovation for Sen. John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, for outstanding leadership on and stewardship of the START Treaty. Standing ovation for Sen. Dick Lugar, Republican of Indiana and ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, and for the 13 Republican senators who voted to ratify START.

I have seen many senators come and go, and John Kerry is one of the finest I have ever known. His prodigious work on the START Treaty was a textbook case of what a senator and committee chairman can do, in the best tradition of the Senate.

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‘Reagan is an appeaser’

When President Reagan was pursuing his historic arms-control agreements with the Soviets, some of the most right-wing elements in the Republican Party were comparing Reagan to Neville Chamberlain appeasing Adolf Hitler.

Now their ideological heirs on the right-wing fringe are opposing the START Treaty with a similar vengeance. When I wrote a column in this paper titled "Reagan yes, START yes" it sufficiently worried the Heritage Foundation that they wrote a reply, which I rebutted on this site.

The fact is, Reagan really did have to combat the most right-wing fringe in his day. The START Treaty really is supported by a long and comprehensive list of military commanders from the U.S. and throughout the democratic alliance.

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Stop the nonsense on START

Christmas is coming. But apparently the Senate Republicans didn’t get the memo.

Despite getting everything they wanted by securing $800 billion in tax cuts for the richest 1.5 percent of Americans when they should have received a sock full o’coal for holding hostage tax cuts for every American to secure their deal, the Republicans are still in a very grumpy and non-Christmassy mood.

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Deconstructing Obama’s foreign policy

Gov. Bill Richardson’s (D-N.M.) latest mission to North Korea says something about the strategic direction of President Obama’s foreign policy regarding his two most biggest challenges: North Korea and Iran. Multilateralism, yes, but the big problems of the day can only be resolved by a hard-headed direct conversation. Not war and not appeasement.

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