US Opinion and Commentary

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Containing the Chaos of Migration

Posted April 13th, 2016 at 12:16 pm (UTC-4)
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It takes a lot to uproot oneself (and family), arrange travel via a trafficker, step onto a boat with a few possessions and no guarantees.They are called migrants or refugees—or both. Whichever term comes to mind, they are all people, many looking to improve their lot in life. But most, experts say, are running from instability and violence. According to the United Nations, the recent wave of migrants represents the largest dislocation of people since the Second World War. The estimated number of migrants in Europe runs in the hundreds of thousands, up to over a million registered asylum seekers. Thus, the term “migrant crisis,” which is useful shorthand, but doesn’t allow for the scale and scope of human suffering involved. As Europe struggles to cope with the influx (via the sea from Turkey or Libya into Greece or Italy, for the most part), America is bracing for the expected spillover.

A Trans-Atlantic Role Reversal

Posted April 4th, 2016 at 4:11 pm (UTC-4)
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“Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus.” With one pithy line 14 years ago, the foreign policy theorist Robert Kagan captured what seemed like obvious differences between the U.S. and Europe….in this time of political turmoil on both sides of the Atlantic, it’s so striking to watch Mars and Venus reverse their Bush-era alignment.

Does China Need More Friends in Asia?

Posted March 21st, 2016 at 12:46 pm (UTC-4)
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There could come a threshold beyond which the intersection of allied doubts and growing Chinese heft could compel China’s neighbors to “choose” China over the United States as their most consequential long-term partner—less out of strategic preference than of perceived imperatives.

Genocide

Posted March 17th, 2016 at 5:06 pm (UTC-4)
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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.”

Netanyahu Bet the Future of the U.S.-Israel Relations on the GOP. Now He Has a Trump Problem

Posted March 8th, 2016 at 10:57 am (UTC-4)
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Trump, alone in the modern Republican Party, has tacked away from unconditional support for Israel. He has said he would take a “neutral” stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and suggested that if negotiations fail it might well be Israel’s fault

China’s Self-Defeating Provocations in the South China Sea

Posted March 3rd, 2016 at 11:59 am (UTC-4)
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By its small-scale tactical military deployments on indefensible islands in the South China Sea, China is antagonizing all the other littoral countries, which are … turning to the United States and Japan … to increase military cooperation and to request additional security assistance

5 Facts About Mexico and Immigration to the U.S.

Posted March 2nd, 2016 at 1:47 pm (UTC-4)
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U.S. immigration from Latin America has shifted over the past two decades….over the past decade, Mexican migration to the U.S. has slowed dramatically. Today, Mexico increasingly serves as a land bridge for Central American immigrants traveling to the U.S.

The Situation in Syria Cannot Be Solved

Posted February 12th, 2016 at 3:25 pm (UTC-4)
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Things have gotten to the point now that we’re likely to soon see prominent Western officials making the argument that it would be strategically wise and even more humane to let the Syrian government win rather than prolong the agonizing war with piecemeal support to the rebels. There’s some brutal realist logic to this…

Strengthening The Global Response to Refugee Crises Worldwide

Posted February 1st, 2016 at 5:19 pm (UTC-4)
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Amid waves of migrants, many fleeing war in Syria, President Obama is set to host a summit on the crisis during the UN General Assembly in September

The U.S. Political Turmoil is Ultimately a Strength

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 9:30 am (UTC-4)
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America often looks dysfunctional because its problems are on display and debated daily. Everything … is out there and open to constant criticism. But this transparency means that people have information, and it forces the country to look at its problems, grapple with them and react.

Dealing With Tehran

Posted January 20th, 2016 at 11:14 am (UTC-4)
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A chorus of Republicans have charged that the U.S. gave away too much just to secure an agreement and that Mr. Obama’s diplomatic approach signaled American weakness rather than strength to our adversaries around the world. But where’s the evidence of that?

Paradigm Shift With Iran Has Uncertain Future

Posted January 18th, 2016 at 10:47 am (UTC-4)
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By Barbara Slavin The last few days have witnessed major milestones between the United States and Iran, including implementation of a landmark nuclear deal, a prisoner exchange and resolution of a financial dispute that goes back to the severing of diplomatic relations between the two countries 36 years ago. It’s all been rather breathtaking given […]

Obama Hails New Era As Iran Complies With Nuke Deal

Posted January 17th, 2016 at 11:32 am (UTC-4)
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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.”

America Needs Iranian Cooperation

Posted January 15th, 2016 at 3:54 pm (UTC-4)
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The recent strife between Saudi Arabia and Iran, regional powers that have commanding influence in the Sunni and Shia worlds respectively, has made the Middle East even more volatile. By pursuing legislation to sink the Iran deal, the U.S. Congress will be adding fuel to the fire.

The Saudi-U.S. Relationship: Shakier Than Ever

Posted January 11th, 2016 at 10:58 am (UTC-4)
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Both countries still need each other, but less than before. They’re still partners — but colder, more distant partners now.