US Opinion and Commentary

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Thanksgiving Tension Over Terrorism

Posted November 25th, 2015 at 2:13 pm (UTC-4)
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Not since 2001 have Americans entered the holiday season with more trepidation, more nervousness, thanks to the Friday the 13th attacks on Paris. Thanksgiving weekend sends millions of Americans onto roads, into airports and train stations and shopping malls, soft targets for terrorists intent on wreaking havoc. On Monday, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert, urging Americans to be vigilant in public places and on public transportation, especially during the holiday season. Wednesday, President Obama came to cameras, flanked by his homeland security team, to reassure the public that law enforcement and intelligence services will be on the job through the holiday to secure the country. He said there is currently no specific or credible intelligence of a terrorist plot. Is there a threat? Yes. What’s the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the U.S.? The experts say, extremely low.

Christie Bets Fear of Terrorism Will Boost His Chances in 2016

Posted November 25th, 2015 at 11:17 am (UTC-4)
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By Barbara Slavin The horrific attacks in Paris and elsewhere in the world this month are giving new energy to the campaign of New Jersey governor Chris Christie for the Republican presidential nomination. In campaign appearances in New Hampshire – site of the first primary vote next year – and on Tuesday before the Council […]

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Jet. What’s Next?

Posted November 24th, 2015 at 5:12 pm (UTC-4)
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Another twist to the multi-faceted war in Syria took place this morning along the Turkey-Syria border. A Russian warplane was shot down by Turkish F-16 fighter jets after being repeatedly warned to exit Turkish airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin described it as a “stab in the back” by a business partner, accusing Turkey of supporting the so-called Islamic State. President Obama says Turkey has a right to defend itself and its territory, but urged Ankara and Moscow to avoid any escalation. Obama starkly outlined the distinction between U.S. and Russian efforts against IS: “We’ve got a coalition of 65 countries … Russia right now has a coalition of two: Iran and Russia, supporting Assad.” Standing next to Obama at that moment was French President François Hollande. Their conversation will shape the conversation Hollande will have with Putin in Moscow later this week. And that conversation will impact the next moves on what has become a crowded battlefield.

Why ISIS Is Winning

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 5:52 pm (UTC-4)
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The U.S. needs to assume a stronger role in coordinating the anti-ISIS coalition and step up its intervention in the region, both military and diplomatic. At present, ISIS is benefiting greatly from the strategic confusion among its opponents.

Islamic State’s Achilles’ Heel: Its Sunni Identity

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 3:00 pm (UTC-4)
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This is an evil that cannot, contrary to what President Obama says, be contained. It must be defeated. And the only way to do that is to turn Sunni Arabs — its popular base — against it.

The Politics of Fear

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 2:29 pm (UTC-4)
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Famed former President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” That aphorism is timeless, particularly in these times. The wave of deadly attacks across Paris by Islamic State militants has understandably frightened many. Are we next? That is the common questioned being asked by the United States and other, more vulnerable targets, like Germany. IS is exporting their war from its base in Syria. Meanwhile, Republican presidential hopeful — and frontrunner – Donald Trump is calling for government database to track Muslims in the United States. That is what fear can do to any of us.

Meet the New Islamic State: Same as the Old Islamic State

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 11:48 am (UTC-4)
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[A] series of active Islamic State plots have been disrupted all across Europe in the last year …The individual identified as the “mastermind” of the Paris attack, Abdelhamid Abbaoud, was connected to another plot in Belgium that was foiled by the Belgian police in January this year,

What the Mali Attack Means

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 8:46 am (UTC-4)
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What is certain is that this type of assault — led by a small group of militants armed with AK-47s and grenades, and ready to die — is becoming the universal modus operandi of terrorism.

The Endless War on Terror

Posted November 20th, 2015 at 3:09 pm (UTC-4)
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Exactly one week after Islamic State militants unleashed a fury of killing across Paris, news came of armed men storming a western hotel in Mali and taking civilians hostage. It is yet another sad reminder that terrorists are in our midst. The so-called “war on terror” officially began just days after September 11, 2001. Fourteen years later, that battle has not yet been won. Increasingly, there is a weary acceptance that this is not a singular war that can be won. Terror comes in many forms and, as the events of the past week show, on many fronts. That realization has not stopped the search for a strategy to smash terror groups and improve security. Experts agree it will be a very long and complex effort.

Unspeakable Kerry

Posted November 20th, 2015 at 1:50 pm (UTC-4)
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It seems that to Kerry, when people kill journalists and Jews, that is not an attack on “everything that we do stand for,” whereas attacking a restaurant and stadium and a concert hall is.  

Is America a Nation of Xenophobic Trumps?

Posted November 20th, 2015 at 1:14 pm (UTC-4)
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The radical proposals now being put forward by Trump (and frequently echoed in only slightly less virulent form by his rivals) would define the United States as a much less tolerant and pluralistic country, one in which an entire religion could be cast under a shroud of state-sponsored suspicion.

Before the Next Islamic State Attack

Posted November 20th, 2015 at 1:03 pm (UTC-4)
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Telling ISIS that the U.S. and its allies will escalate if they’re attacked is pointless. Escalation is what ISIS wants. Deterrence doesn’t come into it. Fine, you might say, but then what would a good robust strategy look like?

What If Obama’s Sham War Gets Real?

Posted November 19th, 2015 at 2:49 pm (UTC-4)
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He didn’t become president to wage wars in the Middle East so he’s not going to treat the attacks in Paris or the manifest failure of the campaign he promised to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the group as a reason to change strategies.    

Paris Attacks Provide Fresh Fodder for Presidential Hopefuls

Posted November 19th, 2015 at 2:36 pm (UTC-4)
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American presidential campaigns are always rough and tumble.The horrific and shocking terrorist attacks across Paris are forcing a hard look at the national security positions from both Republican and Democratic candidates. Hillary Clinton made her more hawkish-than-President Barack Obama views known at an appearance Thursday at Council on Foreign Relations, suggesting directly arming Iraqi Sunni and Kurdish forces if the Baghdad government won’t . Regarding the 10,000 Syrian refugees promised sanctuary in America by Obama, Donald Trump said “They’re going to be gone. They will go back” if he’s elected president. The scale of the last week’s deadly attacks poses a serious question for all those hoping to win their party’s nomination: how to end the scourge of terrorism? Their answers may prove to be a weeding out process.

We Have Enough Refugees Already

Posted November 19th, 2015 at 12:52 pm (UTC-4)
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We admit about 70,000 refugees a year. Is that the American level? Or would 700,000 be more American? And what’s the balance between prudential considerations — cost, assimilation, security — and American-ness?