by Peter Roff
Did the United States and other Western powers agree to a “secret deal” with Iran as the price for getting the Tehran government to slow-walk its efforts to become a nuclear power?
It’s a question a lot of people have been asking ever since the multi-party accord was announced; so far, the Obama administration isn’t saying – and is keeping what it did agree to under wraps. According to the the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo, “The White House is keeping close tabs on who has read the text of the recently signed Iran nuclear deal, a document that has been marked as ‘unclassified,’ yet is being kept in a highly secured location.” Continue reading
by Peter Huessy
Russian President Vladimir Putin annexes the Crimea in gross violation of international law. What should America do, if anything?
There are many different ideas. Some suggest doing nothing. Some assert we cannot do anything. Others feel the consequences of letting such aggression stand will be serious.
The country’s divisions are certainly reflective of how divided on this Americans are.
What then is the proper role for America in the world that both keeps us safe and enhances our prosperity? Continue reading
On December 3, 2007 the US intelligence community released an NIE or National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.
A month later, on January 1, 2008, “All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror” by Stephen Kinzer was published.
The first claimed the Iranians stopped their nuclear warhead work in 2003.
The second claimed the American CIA planned a “coup” in 1953 in Iran which brought Shah Pahlavi back to power.
The stories are critical to understand the inability of the US and its allies to successfully end the terrorist regime in Tehran and stop its nuclear ambitions. Continue reading
President Barack Obama’s foreign policy approval rating continues to drop as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains unresolved, CBS News reports.
Just 36 percent of Americans polled approve of Obama’s foreign policy overall. This compares to the 39 percent approval rating he received just last month.
Forty-six percent of those polled disapprove of how Obama is handling the situation between Russia and Ukraine. Thirty-eight percent approve. Continue reading
by Stephen F. Hayes
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Barack Obama of dramatically weakening the United States’ position in the world, drawing a straight line between Obama’s ever-yielding foreign policy and the increasing troubles around the world.
“Right now, there’s a vacuum,” she told a crowd of more than two thousand attending the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual dinner last night in Washington, D.C. “There’s a vacuum because we’ve decided to lower our voice. We’ve decided to step back. We’ve decided that if we step back and lower our voice, others will lead, other things will fill that vacuum.” Citing Bashar al Assad’s slaughter in Syria, Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, al Qaeda’s triumphant return to Fallujah, Iraq, and China’s nationalist fervor, she concluded: “When America steps back and there is a vacuum, trouble will fill that vacuum.”
As world leaders gather in Europe to discuss in part the further lock-down of loose nuclear material as well as how NATO and its friends should move to protect Ukraine and eastern Europe from further Russian predation, we should understand a few important points.
The nuclear summit is looking to “cooperative” countries to secure nuclear material. Its efforts are important. But the bigger picture gives us an unsettled view of the nuclear landscape.
Let’s review where we are.
The US has moved from over 13,600 deployed strategic (delivered long distances) nuclear weapons in the late 1980s prior to START I taking effect to now around 1550. That is a 90+% reduction.
The Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement in 1987 eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons deployed by both the US and the Soviets throughout eastern Europe and in Asia. Continue reading
With last Friday’s late afternoon announcement that the Obama Administration plans to relinquish U.S. accountability measures over ICANN, the organization that administers the Internet, there are now serious concerns that the United Nations, or individual foreign governments, or some new multinational organization will obtain control of the Internet. No good can come of this. There is nothing wrong with the Internet that can be cured by handing over control of it to the likes of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, or Hassan Rouhani.
We commend the House Energy and Commerce Committee for quickly announcing that it will hold hearings. We urge the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to do the same. It is important that the Internet continue to be a governed by principles that include free speech and press and the rule of law. If America leaves a vacuum on Internet governance questions, that vacuum will be filled by people like Putin who have zero commitment to free speech or press or to the rule of law. Continue reading
by Bill Gertz
Two senior House leaders on Friday requested an investigation by Congress’ General Accountability Office (GAO) into the State Department’s failure to report Russian violations of a 1987 nuclear missile accord.
“It is clear from my subcommittee’s oversight that the administration did not fully disclose what it knew about Russian arms control violations when it was trying to get the New START treaty ratified,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.
“Its all-consuming drive to protect its Russia reset policy has gutted our missile defenses, alienated allies, and only encouraged Vladimir Putin’s lawlessness,” he said in a statement. Continue reading
Early in the Ukraine crisis, when the Europeans were working on bringing Ukraine into the EU system and Vladimir Putin was countering with threats and bribes, one British analyst lamented that “we went to a knife fight with a baguette.”
That was three months ago. Life overtakes parody. During the Ukrainian prime minister’s visit to Washington last week, his government urgently requested military assistance. The Pentagon refused. It offered instead military ration kits.
Putin mobilizes thousands of troops, artillery and attack helicopters on Ukraine’s borders and Washington counters with baguettes, American-style. One thing we can say for sure in these uncertain times: The invasion of Ukraine will be catered by the United States. Continue reading
by Kirit Radia
The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia’s support of Crimea’s referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.
It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation. Continue reading
The president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council challenges critics of President Obama’s Ukraine policy by saying, “What are you going to do, send the 101st Airborne into Crimea?” Not exactly subtle. And rather silly, considering that no one has proposed such a thing.
The alternative to passivity is not war but a serious foreign policy. For the past five years, Obama’s fruitless accommodationism has invited the kind of aggressiveness demonstrated by Iran in Syria, China in the East China Sea and Russia in Ukraine. But what’s done is done. Put that aside. What is to be done now?
We have three objectives. In ascending order of difficulty: Reassure NATO. Deter further Russian incursion into Ukraine. Reverse the annexation of Crimea. Continue reading
Although the immediate cause for the people’s uprising against Viktor Yanukovych’s reign was his rejection of a trade agreement with the European Union, the ultimate responsibility for the Ukrainian crisis lies with Vladimir Putin, the revanchist president of the Russian Federation. Now that the Ukrainian people put an end to Putin’s pyrrhic victory over the European Union, the anachronistic character of his attempts at the restoration of the bygone imperial glory of the Soviet Union is becoming all too apparent.
For present-day Russia is not the Soviet Union, and Putin is not Stalin, or even the latter’s successors. The symbol of hope and change of the late 1990s is a disappointment in his second presidential reincarnation. His annual state of the nation address last December was a litany of domestic problems that cannot be solved by increasing repression and over-centralization. His foreign policy of rogue militarism only radicalizes Russia’s neighbors and invites resentment, and even hostility, from the rest of the world. Thus, instead of his promise of “building a new Russia”, Putin is destroying the present and the future of his people, in order to resurrect the past. Continue reading
by Peter Roff
If America had a robust foreign policy, “the crisis in the Crimea” might never have come to pass. If America had a strong president, someone the world regarded as capable and decisive, Russian President Vladimir Putin might have thought twice about sending troops into the region with orders to make it officially a part of the Russian Federation once again.
Unfortunately, America at the moment has neither. Instead, a weak and feckless president who has chosen to surround himself with an ideological and inexperienced national security team is standing by, hands in pockets, because there is likely nothing the United States can do to change the outcome.
A strong president, a Jack Kennedy or a Ronald Reagan — someone who had command of the nation’s policymaking machine and a clear worldview that involved America as the guardian of world freedom against a dark, evil, expansionist regime in Moscow — would have already committed to a series of steps designed to demonstrate the seriousness of America, speaking on behalf of the western world, to recent events. Continue reading
On February 23, five days before Russia invaded Ukraine, National Security Adviser Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press and shrugged off suggestions that Russia was preparing any kind of military intervention: “It’s in nobody’s interest to see violence returned and the situation escalate.” A return to a “Cold War construct” isn’t necessary, Rice insisted, because such thinking “is long out of date” and “doesn’t reflect the realities of the 21st century.” Even if Vladimir Putin sees the world this way, Rice argued, it is “not in the United States’ interests” to do so.
It was a remarkably transparent case of pretending the world is what we wish it to be, rather than seeing it as it is.
On February 28, Russian troops poured into Ukraine. As they did, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart. Kerry briefed reporters after their talk, plainly unaware of the developments on the ground. Kerry said that Russia wants to help Ukraine with its economic problems. Lavrov had told him “that they are prepared to be engaged and be involved in helping to deal with the economic transition that needs to take place at this point.” Continue reading