US Opinion and Commentary

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Kerry & Lavrov: The Odd Couple of the New Cold War

Posted April 19th, 2016 at 4:30 pm (UTC-4)
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The two are “on very good terms,” Lavrov said last month, “but that does not mean that we should smile from ear to ear and express joy during each and every meeting to please Russian, American, and other journalists.”

How It Looks From Afar

Posted February 29th, 2016 at 3:33 pm (UTC-4)
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A crucial part of the job of President of the United States is steering relations with allies and enemies alike. American foreign policy, diplomacy, military action and much more all depend on perceptions. President Barack Obama was hailed as decisive and bold in 2011 when he signed off on a risky, and ultimately successful, covert operation to take out America’s most wanted man, Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, who was living in plain view in Pakistan. Five years later, Obama is taken to task by some, including current 2016 presidential hopefuls, for refusing to deploy a full-scale military effort to stop Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Which raises a question: how is the rise of the most unorthodox presidential hopeful ever, billionaire and reality television star Donald J. Trump, playing across the pond?

Shifting Alliances

Posted January 19th, 2016 at 4:04 pm (UTC-4)
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One of the many ripple effects of the U.S.-Iran prisoner swap and Tehran’s verified compliance with the historic nuclear accord is a new world order in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia – a long-time rival of Tehan – is nervous and talking tough, as the lifting of costly Western sanctions is set to propel Iran’s economic might. Not long before the latest developments, Saudi Arabia had already stoked tensions by beheading the prominent Shia cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr. That provoked a violent attack on the Saudi mission in Iran, which in turn, gave the House of Saud a reason to sever diplomatic ties. Meanwhile, both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the use of diplomacy to win the release of five Americans in a prisoner swap with Iran, simultaneously praising Tehtan for pausing its nuclear program. Where does all this leave the traditional, and sometimes co-dependent, U.S.-Saudi relationship? Making friends with Iran was a big gamble. It appears the Obama administration believes the benefits outweigh the costs.

Can Iran Change?

Posted January 19th, 2016 at 9:53 am (UTC-4)
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In an outlandish lie, Iran maligns and offends all Saudis by saying that my nation, home of the two holy mosques, brainwashes people to spread extremism. We are not the country designated a state sponsor of terrorism; Iran is.

Quick, Direct US-Iran Diplomacy Pays Off for Sailors

Posted January 13th, 2016 at 1:57 pm (UTC-4)
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By Barbara Slavin When Iran detained 10 American sailors who had intruded into Iranian territorial waters, opponents of President Barack Obama’s diplomacy with Tehran thought they had struck political gold. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush immediately tweeted. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio asserted Iran was “testing the boundaries of this administration’s resolve.” Cable news channels, seeking to fill […]

Iran Deal Is Win-Win

Posted August 31st, 2015 at 10:06 am (UTC-4)
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By zeroing in on the nuclear issue, the Obama administration took on the most dangerous threat posed by the Iranian regime and brought together the international community around the issue that most united it in opposition to Tehran.

AS US Raises Flag Over Embassy in Cuba, New Challenges Emerge

Posted August 14th, 2015 at 12:07 pm (UTC-4)
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The fruits of the Obama’s administration’s new policy towards Cuba paid off Friday, when Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the new US embassy there. Of his Cuba policy, President Obama has said he is not interested in refighting battles that started “before I was born.” Today, the United States and Cuba now friends. But much of the real work of undoing more than 50 years of hostility remains.

In Unstable World, Is the US Pursing “Soft Power” Options?

Posted August 7th, 2015 at 5:36 pm (UTC-4)
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President Obama’s race to the White House in 2008 included a promise the get the United States out of Iraq. Just over six years later, US combat troops are back home from Iraq. But thanks to a failed experiment with US-backed democracy there, the Islamic State has taken over parts of both Iraq and Syria, pulling the US back into the turmoil.

Iran Deal: Victory for Diplomacy or Sign of Shrinking Influence?

Posted July 16th, 2015 at 11:41 am (UTC-4)
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A day after announcing a historic nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama held an hour-long press conference, primarily to lobby for controversial pact, which Congress must approve. While some are hailing the deal as Obama’s crowning diplomatic achievement, his remarks left others with the impression that US global influence is waning.