US Opinion and Commentary

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Embracing Cuba

Posted March 18th, 2016 at 3:55 pm (UTC-5)
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In 1928, former President Calvin Coolidge visited Cuba. It would be 88 years until the next American presidential trip would take place, if nothing impedes President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit on March 21st. It’s hard to describe the historic nature of Obama’s move towards warmer relations with a country that was so strongly allied with the U.S.S.R. that former President John F. Kennedy and then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev came dangerously close to war over the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fast forward to 2014, when President Obama announced his vision to embrace Cuba, whose long-time dictator Fidel Castro had become so ill, he handed power to his brother, Raul. There are signs of change in Cuba, but it is slow. According to human rights activists, there is a disturbing crackdown on political dissidents. Much work remains to improve the lives of ordinary Cubans. For Obama, the effort is worth spending some of his dwindling political capital before he vacates the Oval Office.

Obama Nominates Judge Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

Posted March 16th, 2016 at 4:12 pm (UTC-5)
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Merrick Garland, a longtime Washington lawyer, is considered a moderate jurist. He currently serves as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. If approved by Congress, he will fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Putin’s Surprise Syria Move Leaves World Wondering What He’ll Do Next

Posted March 16th, 2016 at 10:24 am (UTC-5)
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Critics sometimes rail at President Barack Obama for devising foreign policy largely on his own, but Obama is a model of consultative comity compared to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last September, the Russian leader stunned Obama and everyone else by dramatically intervening in Syria’s civil war ostensibly to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) but actually to save embattled Syrian […]

A Reality Check on Iran

Posted March 1st, 2016 at 1:47 pm (UTC-5)
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We must not let our natural—and laudable—hopes for liberalization in Iran blind us to what is really happening. Have we already forgotten that just six weeks ago ten American sailors were on their knees with Iranian guns pointed at their heads?

The President Is Going to Cuba: Here’s Why

Posted February 26th, 2016 at 4:24 pm (UTC-5)
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In March, Barack Obama will be the first American president since Calvin Coolidge in 1928 to visit Cuba

Navigating the Road Ahead

Posted February 24th, 2016 at 3:33 pm (UTC-5)
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It has become a campaign staple to trash President Barack Obama’s foreign policy initiatives from Iraq, Cuba to Russia. American presidential hopefuls have the luxury of hindsight without the responsibility of Syria, Afghanistan, China and many other global concerns resting on their shoulders. But by this time next year, someone else will be making the tough calls from the Oval Office. It’s ironic that Obama won his first term with a pledge to end the seemingly endless, and deeply unpopular, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he did fulfill those promises. However, by the time these policies were in place, the world seemed to have moved on to new crises, including the emergence of Islamic State out of the ashes of Iraq and the violent turmoil in Syria. All of this—and—more awaits the next President of the United States.

Obama Mosque Visit Confronts Rising Anti-Muslim Sentiment

Posted February 4th, 2016 at 12:56 pm (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin During his seven years in office, President Barack Obama has visited mosques in foreign countries, in part, to show respect for one of the world’s major religions as a way of countering perceptions that Americans are anti-Islam. His belated presidential visit, his first, this week to an American mosque reflected acknowledgement that bigotry is […]

Can Iran Change?

Posted January 19th, 2016 at 9:53 am (UTC-5)
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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.

A Safer World, Thanks to the Iran Deal

Posted January 17th, 2016 at 9:44 pm (UTC-5)
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Leaders don’t give up their nuclear weapons for nothing. A bargain with Iran was necessary. It might even serve as an example for dealing with North Korea, which may have enough fuel for 16 weapons and is producing many more.

Obama’s New Dance With Iran

Posted January 17th, 2016 at 7:29 pm (UTC-5)
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Without the deal, Obama would today be faced with the choice of using military force to set back the program for a couple of years — at a time of already enormous turmoil in the Middle East — or effectively acquiescing to its further development, leaving an even greater problem for his successor.  

Obama: ‘Strong American Diplomacy’ Pays Off

Posted January 17th, 2016 at 2:58 pm (UTC-5)
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“This is a good day.” So began President Barack Obama’s televised statement on the release of Americans held in Iran following delicate negotiations between the United States and Iran on a prisoner swap apparently tied indirectly to last year’s historic nuclear pact to scale back Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Five Americans, including a Washington Post reporter, were freed in exchange for seven Iranians. The prisoner trade was swiftly condemned by Republican presidential hopefuls and some pundits. The stunning developments included sanction relief for Iran, and the release of roughly $100 billion of its assets after international inspectors concluded that the country had dismantled large portions of its nuclear program. Despite the developments – who can argue against the happiness that comes with release of Americans citizens and their families? – Iran remains on the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism. And that means the road ahead will be long and bumpy.

On Jason Rezaian’s Imprisonment in Iran, His Release, and Its Meaning

Posted January 17th, 2016 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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…[T]his moment will be used by those in the US who wish to push one agenda or another, or who wish to paint it as a victory or humiliation for the Obama administration.

Obama Hails New Era As Iran Complies With Nuke Deal

Posted January 17th, 2016 at 11:32 am (UTC-5)
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“I’m very happy to say that as we speak, we have received confirmation that five Americans who had been unjustly detained in Iran have been released from custody.”

The Other Obama Legacy

Posted January 14th, 2016 at 2:09 pm (UTC-5)
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Obama is the first black president — and may well be the last, who knows — and that alone has a historical weight and impact on this generation that will play out for generations to come.

The State of the Union

Posted January 13th, 2016 at 3:32 pm (UTC-5)
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The president offered an upbeat portrait of America during his final address, but also acknowledged the destructiveness of Washington gridlock “It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency, that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better.”