US Opinion and Commentary

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Thanks to No Drama Obama, American Leadership Is Gone

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 11:09 am (UTC-5)
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If Dec. 7, 1941, is the day that Franklin D. Roosevelt said “will live in infamy,” then Dec. 20, 2016, has got to be a close second….Turkey, Iran and Russia met in Moscow to settle matters in the Middle East. The United States wasn’t even asked to the meeting.

Putin Sees a Happy New Year

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 10:59 am (UTC-5)
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Mr. Putin referred to Joseph Goebbels, the notorious Nazi minister of propaganda, as “a talented man who knew that the more incredible the lies, the quicker people believe them.” The quote, which he was using to condemn the West’s supposed misrepresentation of Russian history, was in fact the best indication of Mr. Putin’s own creed.

Some Not-Worse-Case Scenarios for 2017

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 10:14 am (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin At long last, 2016 is almost behind us. For the majority of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton and for millions beyond our borders, 2017 is filled with apprehension. But in the spirit of a new year, this analyst hopes that Donald Trump will exceed expectations and that those who opposed him […]

Trump’s Environmental Impact Statement

Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 4:42 pm (UTC-5)
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Three days before Christmas and Santa Claus may be shedding that heavy red overcoat while preparing his yearly trek from the North Pole. Why? It’s said to be just around freezing — some 30 degrees (Celsius) warmer than normal.

The reason? A freakish blast of warmer air, thanks to a powerful El Nino and the impact of man-made greenhouse gases. Scientists warn that unless climate change can be slowed, rare events like this will happen more often.

President-elect Donald Trump’s position on climate change has evolved. In 2012, he tweeted that climate change was “created by and for the Chinese.” Since then, he has been on both sides of the issue. After the election, he admitted there is “some connectivity” between human activity and climate change.

But the resumes of several of Trump’s selections for important administration posts signals the issues of climate change and energy policy may be subjected to the political winds.

Controversy About Trump’s Ambassador to Israel

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 4:44 pm (UTC-5)
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Battle lines are being drawn over Donald Trump’s choice to be Ambassador to Israel.

David Friedman is a bankruptcy lawyer who has done work for Trump. Friedman is a vocal opponent to the long-standing U.S. policy of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, insulting American Jews who do support it.

When named last week, Friedman said he looked forward to doing his job “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem” instead of Tel Aviv, where the embassy has long stood, pending a negotiated deal about the status of the holy city.

Trump campaigned on promises to change U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere. What will that mean for the nearly 50 year stalemate between the Israelis and Palestinians and how the United States deals with other countries in the region?

We Need a Cuba Policy that Truly Serves the Cuban People

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 11:53 am (UTC-5)
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Clearly, changes are coming to U.S.-Cuba policy under Trump. But what to replace Obama’s policy with? [N]o one argues for a return to the status quo ante. [T]he President-elect’s new team should seize the opportunity to bring energy and creativity to truly empowering the Cuban people to reclaim their right to decide their own destiny.

Patching Up Relations with Russia

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 10:56 am (UTC-5)
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NATO will celebrate its 70th birthday in 2019. Its original intent was to protect against a resurgence of Germany and to stymie the Communist bear. Times change and so must NATO. The United States and a new NATO must turn to de-escalating tensions with Russia.

How Trump Can Respond to U.S. Hostage Appeal

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 9:52 am (UTC-5)
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Donald Trump prides himself on the art of the deal. With that in mind, he should use the leverage he has to secure the release of the American and other Western hostages held by the Haqqanis in exchange for Anas Haqqani.

Trump’s Choice for Israeli Ambassador Is a Danger to American Lives

Posted December 20th, 2016 at 1:52 pm (UTC-5)
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Friedman not only supports additional settlements and seems opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank, but also wants to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, where it has been for decades, to Jerusalem….[which] the Arab world would take it as a slap in the face.

Why Diplomats Are Agog at Trump’s Ambassador to Israel

Posted December 20th, 2016 at 1:44 pm (UTC-5)
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Forty years ago presidents and prime ministers might have attended one international meeting each year; today they are on a summit treadmill. They phone one another and cultivate personal relationships. Diplomats are often sidelined and left to churn out reports that circulate in a bureaucratic vortex.

Tweet Less, Talk More

Posted December 14th, 2016 at 11:23 am (UTC-5)
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World and political affairs, like close personal relationships, cannot be mediated through tweets, texts, or Facebook postings. During this year’s presidential debates, for example, candidates seemed more eager to utter bite-size quotes suitable for YouTube than engage with each other’s ideas in back-and-forth conversations.

Trump’s Choice for Secretary of State

Posted December 13th, 2016 at 5:27 pm (UTC-5)
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Donald Trump is drawing praise and criticism for his out-of-the-box choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

As the CEO of oil giant ExxonMobil, Tillerson has had to make deals with some of the world’s most notorious leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Some of Tillerson’s fiercest critics are Senate Republicans, such as Marco Rubio, who will question Tillerson during his confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee.

Tillerson has his supporters, too. Former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Robert Gates called him a man of “great integrity” with “vast knowledge, experience and success in dealing with dozens of governments and leaders.”

An Eagle Scout who is still involved in the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, Tillerson worked his way from bottom to top at ExxonMobile. He’s known no other employer and will be the first to jump from corporate America to top U.S. diplomat with no prior political or government experience.

If he’s confirmed by the Senate

The Case for Optimism

Posted December 13th, 2016 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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[O]ptimism is the most logical, sound, and defensible position to arrive at after a rigorous study of history….We do not live in a perfect world. But we live in a perfectible one. History shows that, over the long run, we collectively have made progress work.

Manufacturing’s Greatest Days Lie Ahead

Posted December 13th, 2016 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Team Trump’s promotion of domestic energy will yield significant economic dividends…it will stimulate economic activity in the U.S. and will help revive job creation in the energy sector, both for workers employed directly in oil and gas drilling and extraction activities as well as increased employment in the support activities for oil and gas operations.

What Is America Without Influence? Trump Will Find Out

Posted December 13th, 2016 at 12:14 pm (UTC-5)
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The liberal order led by the U.S. favored an open world connected by the free flow of people, goods, ideas and capital, a world grounded in the principles of self-determination and sovereignty for nations and basic rights for their citizens….The postwar order that America built now is facing acute challenges, including from old competitors.