US Opinion and Commentary

“VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussion and opinion on these policies.” — VOA Charter

Showing Archived Posts

Giving Iraq a Fighting Chance

Posted April 18th, 2016 at 11:34 am (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

It is all too clear, however, that Iraq cannot succeed in defeating ISIS—or in creating some form of stability and security—without a major U.S. “train and assist” mission to aid the Iraqi army. It is also clear that there can be no security or stability in Syria until ISIS loses its power base in Iraq.

Extras: Libya and Democracy

Posted April 13th, 2016 at 4:58 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

Little by little, Libya’s local municipalities are building democratic institutions five years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime

Islam and the Radical West

Posted April 12th, 2016 at 4:57 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

If Islamism is their ideological drug of choice, the political orthodoxies of the modern left are their gateway to it. Take the most recent issue of Inspire. Mixed in with step-by-step photos on how to build a timed hand grenade…there’s an article on the oppression of blacks in America, starting with the killing of Ferguson’s Michael Brown.

Stop Asking “Why Do They Hate Us?”

Posted April 12th, 2016 at 4:04 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

Those who fail to understand the ideology of Islamism will remain confused by it, attributing the violence to hatred because they don’t understand the real motives. So like battered spouses, victims of Islamist violence continue trying to alter their behavior in futile attempts to make “them” love “us.”

Terrorism and Presidential Messaging

Posted March 25th, 2016 at 1:38 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

The public does not need from its leaders an eloquent way of expressing what it is already feeling. At least since 9/11, there has been no need for leaders to get the public more stirred up about terrorism than it already is and convince the public that it needs to take the topic more seriously.

The Changing Logic Behind Suicide Bombings

Posted March 25th, 2016 at 12:50 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

‘ISIS is now losing in Iraq and Syria—they’re losing actually quite badly—and so they’re now in a position where they’re trying to change a losing game,’ (Robert Pape) said. The less in control the organization is at home, the more it strikes at targets abroad.

A Wounded Islamic State Is a Dangerous Islamic State

Posted March 24th, 2016 at 12:56 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

But while the Islamic State may be gloating over the Brussels attack, it will lose ground in the coming months as the coalition seems poised to retake Mosul… To survive, it must seek new targets for its fighters and new successes to sustain its brand. Future attacks in Europe aren’t a possibility, they’re a likelihood.

Terrorists, Bathtubs and Snakes

Posted March 24th, 2016 at 10:12 am (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

‘We have a political system that engages quickly and powerfully in response to terrorism and security risks,’ notes Daniel Esty, an environment expert at Yale Law School, ‘but doesn’t seem capable of galvanizing action on climate change and other risks that are less visible and spread over time and space.’

Brussels: Our New Normal?

Posted March 23rd, 2016 at 3:15 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

“We have been through this two times last year,” a diplomatic official told a VOA reporter. “We have to get used to this.” The heinous attacks on two soft targets in the heart of the European Union shattered any delusion that acts of terrorism are one-offs. Amid the horror, came a torrent of criticism, targeting the Belgian government, the effectiveness of EU security apparatus and the Obama administration’s ISIS strategy.Perhaps the most pressing question right now is what can be done to stop the massacre of innocent people? In Europe, the French prime minister urged the EU to “invest massively” in security systems. In the United States, Obama called for unity and resolve. Trump once again called for a crackdown on Muslims. And Clinton called for reinforcing America’s alliances and doing away with what she termed “bluster.”

Making Sense of the Mideast Oil Muddle

Posted March 21st, 2016 at 12:37 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

Low oil prices don’t just affect the wealthy sheiks of the Gulf, but also the Kurdish peshmerga fighters operating on the front line against the Islamic State group. With the decline in market value comes a decline in oil exploration, and diminished budgetary expectations in countries like Iraq that are already hanging on by a thread.

A Hollow Superpower

Posted March 18th, 2016 at 1:04 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

Judging by the pictures on television, Vladimir Putin won a famous victory in Syria this week. After his unexpected declaration that the campaign is over, Mr Putin is claiming credit for a ceasefire and the start of peace talks…. Look closer, however, and Russia’s victory rings hollow.

Genocide

Posted March 17th, 2016 at 5:06 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

Critics of the Obama administration’s Mideast policy say the United States has waited far too long to use the word genocide to describe the brutality exacted by Islamic State militants against its perceived foes. Today, Secretary of State John Kerry satisfied the president’s opponents. “In my judgement Daesh (the Arabic acronym for ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims,” said Kerry. Genocide is a legal—and loaded—term. In 1948, the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the U.N. Security Council. After Kerry’s statement, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner briefed the media:

REPORTER: “So if the Secretary was to decide what is going on is a genocide, that would have legal implications for policy, would it not? You’re obliged to do more about it?… ”

MR. TONER: “So, it’s a fair question. So acknowledging that genocide or crimes against humanity have taken place in another country would not necessarily result in any particular legal obligation for the United States. However, we have joined with the international community in recognizing the importance of protecting populations from genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, war crimes.”

Therein lies the thorns of defining Islamic State’s brutality as genocide. As signatories, is the United States compelled to do more in Iraq and Syria to stop the genocide? Just think back to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the words of former President Bill Clinton: “If we’d gone in sooner, I believe we could have saved at least a third of the lives that were lost…it had an enduring impact on me.”

Syria Truce Holds, So Far

Posted March 10th, 2016 at 3:46 pm (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

Saturday marks two weeks since a ceasefire began in Syria. While the Assad regime, the Russians and opposition groups have all reported violations, combat has been greatly reduced and humanitarian aid has been moving to more areas. Anti-government protests have even taken place amid the truce. A new round of U.N.-mediated peace talks are set […]

Turkey, Russia Use Syria Refugees to Blackmail E.U.

Posted March 9th, 2016 at 10:33 am (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

By Barbara Slavin As the European Union struggles to find a way to reduce the inflow of Syrian refugees to manageable proportions, it is under pressure to downplay human rights violations by Turkey and Russia. Turkey, which has lost much of its democratic luster in recent years because of a crackdown on political opposition by […]

The Islamic State Is Degraded but Far from Being Destroyed

Posted March 9th, 2016 at 8:20 am (UTC-5)
Comments are closed

The Pentagon’s top priority in the campaign against the Islamic State remains disrupting external operations against potential targets in the United States and elsewhere….To gain better intelligence, the United States is seeking to capture Islamic State leaders.