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Open Think Tank Articles

October 3, 2012 | US Foreign Policy After the 2012 Election

Omar El-Nahry: Today marks the first US presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. This article looks back at the foreign policy enacted under Obama’s presidency and its differences to the previous administration. Going forward, what foreign policy challenges will the new (or old) occupant face?

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February 20, 2012 | Entrepreneurial Foreign Aid

Kevin Dean: Congress and the State Department should create an online marketplace that allows entrepreneurs and small businesses in developing countries to connect with consumers in the United States. This would improve diplomacy, mitigate conflict, and build markets that would benefit US businesses as well as consumers.

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August 12, 2010 | How Superpower America Tries to Safeguard its Dominant Position in Asia

Paul-Robert Lookman: The US sees China as its main challenger. To safeguard its position, the US is encircling China militarily and trying to control energy and mineral sources. With military dominance no longer translating in political advantage, the US must develop “soft power” and settle for a multipolar world.

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March 24, 2010 | Channeling "Nixon Goes to China " in the Middle East

Greg Randolph Lawson: The balance of power between Sunni and Shia has shifted since the 2003 Iraq War. A bold, “Nixon goes to China ” moment with Iran could reset the balance in the region and allow the US to recalibrate its Middle East strategy.

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March 12, 2010 | Will the US Become More Active in the Arctic?

Ingrid Lundestad: The United States has stated an intention to become a more active and influential player in the Arctic. What is currently the US position in the region, and what will it look like in the future?

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March 8, 2010 | Yemen: Challenges of Counter-Terrorism

Roland Popp: Counter-terrorism operations in Yemen have proven to be difficult. While the West has recognized that a broad civil-military strategy for Yemen is required, strengthening the central government in Sanaa does not lead to a diminished terrorist threat. Western governments should prioritize the country’s regional integration and mediation efforts.

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February 22, 2010 | EU-US Couple Better Off Courting Syria

Michael Patrick McCarthy: The EU and the United States are both taking proper steps in their relationship with Syria. While they have some differing interests in the Middle East, both Western strategies could work more successfully if they worked more closely to support each other’s diplomacy with Syria.

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December 7, 2009 | The Post-9/11 Era: A Lost Decade

Fabian Martin Lieschke: With President Obama’s announcement to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in 2011, we may be tempted to think that the post-9/11 period is giving way to a new era. Yet, it is precisely such thinking that has turned the years after 9/11 into a lost decade. We should not repeat this mistake.

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July 1, 2009 | Pakistan: Western Meddling Likely to Backfire

Marie Lall: The West continues to misunderstand Pakistani realities on the ground. It must alter its hawkish approach towards the region and embrace a deeper understanding of the views across Pakistan. A radical policy shift and investments to stabilize the economy must be made before Western involvement turns sour.

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May 18, 2009 | Hard Road Ahead to Save Pakistan from Collapse

Urs Schrade: Pakistan could be weeks away from full-blown civil war and state collapse. To bring Pakistan back from the brink, international aid must urgently be spent on improving security and economic development. Many Taliban supporters have a financial - not religious - motive for backing the group.

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February 26, 2009 | Unity in Diversity: EU-US Collaboration in Colombia

Dorly Castaneda: European and American approaches to Colombia’s troubled democracy are currently hindered by a lack of coordination. Whilst each party has different interests in the region, Obama’s new multilateralism offers the perfect umbrella under which to use their different leverage powers to secure peace.

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September 5, 2008 | Whom and Exactly How is McCain Going to Fight?

Meredith L. Nicoll: McCain’s ‘fighting words’ might superficially translate to a hawkish, us-against-them foreign policy declaration. However, specific strategies for foreign policy were almost entirely absent from McCain’s speech. How should the international community take it?

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August 22, 2008 | Transatlantic Unity Should Not Isolate Russia

Matthew Derek Crosston: The West needs some serious balance in the way it analyzes and discusses the Georgian conflict. Academics, diplomats, and journalists have come forward with a united response to Ossetia: Russia is showing ‘imperialist ambitions’ and ‘a disproportionate reaction.’ This is ridiculous.

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August 6, 2008 | Balancing Asia's Rivals

Joseph S. Nye: If the US wants to remain powerful, strong ties to the world’s emerging powers are crucial. Improved relations between the US and India could provide the basis for China’s international integration.

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August 5, 2008 | The Shadow of Serious Transformation in US Foreign Policy

valentine anatolevich akishkin: The economic downturn and the rise of new centers of power will lead to a shift in US foreign policy doctrine, allowing the country to readjust itself to new world challenges by employing more agreeable and less costly means.

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July 16, 2008 | Withdrawal from Iraq and Reorientation of National Security Priorities This Article contains Flash-Video

Barack Obama Speech: “I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office: ending this war. (…) Let me be clear: We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months.”

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July 16, 2008 | Somali Peace Requires Constructive International Engagement

Abukar Arman: Lasting peace in Somalia requires a holistic approach and constructive engagement on behalf of the international community. The peace accord needs to be adapted to recognize that the precondition “cessation of violence” cannot be fulfilled before Ethiopian occupation troops have left.

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June 19, 2008 | The Dream of Afghan Democracy is Dead

Anatol Lieven: NATO might fail in Afghanistan. Hopes for democracy, development, and progress in Afghanistan are already dead. Even though the situation seems hopeless, the West can and should prevent further deterioration.

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June 16, 2008 | Democrats Good, Republicans Bad?

Thomas Speckmann: Examining the foreign policy of US presidents since Kennedy reveals that Germany is generally better off with the conservatives and that German military involvement will always be expected, regardless of who is elected.

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June 3, 2008 | Renewed Alliances: How to Face Today's Threats

Mark Brzezinski : President George W. Bush travels to Europe this month to participate in the US-European Union Summit and to visit key partners, including France, Germany, Italy and Britain. These summits are likely to produce joint declarations of “bon amie” and official statements that the drift in the trans-Atlantic relationship is diminished.

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May 20, 2008 | A Transatlantic Energy Security Strategy is Essential

Richard G. Lugar: We must forge a more productive relationship with Russia. The absence of a collective energy security strategy and the lack of supply diversification will lead to greater fragmentation among European nations and across the Atlantic.

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May 15, 2008 | Why NATO Slowly Fades Away

Peter van Ham: NATO is slowly losing its significance as the central platform to manage transatlantic security challenges. In view of the different reasons for the Alliance’s declining relevance, its resilience, rather than its demise should surprise us.

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May 10, 2008 | 'The Godfather' Doctrine

John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell: Coppola’s film offers lessons in diplomacy that we can’t refuse. Rather than the liberal institutionalist and neoconservative policies of the last two decades, the next US administration should adopt a flexible realist approach to deal with the challenges of a multipolar world.

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May 7, 2008 | Dire Consequences of Ukraine and Georgia Joining NATO

valentine anatolevich akishkin: The issue of NATO enlargement and membership to NATO divides the Ukrainian people. The split reflects the countries division along ethnical and geographical lines. Integrating Ukraine into the Alliance would more likely lead to confusion and conflict than democracy.

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March 26, 2008 | What Europe Could Expect from an Obama Presidency

Julianne Smith: If elected, Obama will attempt to reestablish a strong partnership with Europe. He should come closer to his European partners on issues such as climate change and international law, but will expect greater cooperation and support for US policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

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March 20, 2008 | The Last Days of George W. Bush and the Old Ways?

Fouad Naji Maarouf: George W. Bush was a disaster for the US. A change of attitude and government would bring good change.

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February 22, 2008 | Transatlantic Security Agenda 2008

Benjamin Lucas Schoo: Vote now on what prominent security related issue the governments on both sides of the Atlantic should focus their attention on! We have identified 4 major tasks for 2008 and ask you to select which of these should be at the top of the transatlantic agenda. You can vote now on the right side.

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February 11, 2008 | Iran is Still Dangerous: The US Must Negotiate

Ralf Fuecks: The United States must offer Iran direct negotiations regarding its nuclear program. There needs to be a higher level of political and energy cooperation.

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Global Must Read Articles

November 15, 2011 | America's Eastern Promise

The US move towards Asia and away from the Middle East is a smart reorientation of policy. ++ More and more signs point to Asia being the center of world affairs in coming years, and the US is likely to get more return on its investment in Asian institutions than on its nation-building exercises in the Arab world. ++ That the US must have a strong presence in the Pacific seems to be one of the

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December 8, 2010 | Plan B for Obama: 14 Points as a Way out of the Crisis

Things do not look good for Obama in the wake of the congressional elections in early November. Yet all is not lost. If the White House was to adhere to the following plan, it could still save the day:
• Economy: Allowing Bush-era tax cuts for the rich to expire could finance the reduction of payroll taxes on employees and employers over the next to years. This would encourage consumption

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November 5, 2010 | A Chastened Obama Faces the World

Obama’s domestic political agenda is increasingly hamstrung by Republicans’ control of the House and their veto power in the Senate. ++ Therefore, the temptation will grow to seek presidential achievements abroad. ++ However, Republicans may well wield influence on this front as well. ++ Anti-Beijing sentiment featured prominently in GOP campaign ads, as did a more hawkish pro-Israel, anti-Iran

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July 30, 2010 | Wiki Leaks Illustrate Pakistani Double-Dealing

The documents posted by Wiki Leaks show that Pakistan continues to double deal the West. ++ While accepting aid money, Islamabad persists in “using militant Islamists to further its ideological and strategic goals.” ++ The United States needs to increase pressure on the Pakistani military to sever its ties to the Taliban. ++ In the long term, however, the destabilizing role Islamabad

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July 8, 2010 | Mission Impossible in Afghanistan

There is a disconnect between the limited policy objectives pursued by Washington and the methods employed by the US military that attempt to reshape societies throughout the world. ++ In Afghanistan, the premise of the mission itself must be questioned. ++ The United States faces “the impossibility of nation-building at the barrel of a gun in the graveyard of empires.” ++ The prolonged war in

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June 14, 2010 | Time Running Short in Afghanistan

Three factors are currently hindering US strategy in Afghanistan. ++ The first is a lack of commitment from European governments and the failure to figure out how to replace Canadian and Dutch combat troops withdrawing from Afghanistan this summer. ++ The second is a divergence of interests between the US and Karzai. ++ Third and most seriously is the “continued absence in the US command of a

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May 26, 2010 | Obama's Russia "Reset" Actually More of the Same

The recent “success” in getting Russia to sign onto a new round of Iranian sanctions is being terribly oversold. ++ Moreover, Russia’s recent commitment to sign onto a new round of Iranian sanctions is not a product of the Obama administrations so-called “reset” policy. ++ In reality, the result of Obama’s policy has been “to produce a wave of insecurity

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April 21, 2010 | White House Confused on Iran Policy

A recent memo drafted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates alarmed many when he stated that the Obama administration currently has no contingency plan should Iran develop a nuclear weapon. ++ “The public signs of the administration’s squishiness about military options are worrisome because of the lack of progress on its two-track strategy of offering negotiations and threatening

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April 2, 2010 | No "Special Relationship" Between UK and US

The myth of Britain’s “special relationship” with the US has finally been exposed. ++ Nowadays, the term conjures up images of a United Kingdom subservient to the wishes of Washington and is highly damaging to the reputation and interests of the UK. ++ The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has called for the UK to be more assertive and willing to say no to Washington. ++ The Obama

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March 19, 2010 | Obama Distancing Friends, Courting Enemies

President Obama thus far has failed to strengthen relationships with historic allies, focusing instead on a fruitless search for improved relations with adversaries. ++ “This administration pays lip-service to ‘multilateralism,’ but it is a multilateralism of accommodating autocratic rivals, not of solidifying relations with longtime democratic allies.” ++ In doing so, he departs from a 60

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March 19, 2010 | America in Decline, Seriously this Time

“So many people have bet on our demise that it absolutely drives me crazy” states US Vice-President Joseph Biden. ++ Indeed, to the chagrin of many Americans, it has been said countless times before that America is in decline. ++ Yet trends highlighted by economist Niall Fergusson in a recent Foreign Affairs article offers compelling evidence that this is indeed the case. ++ “Just because we’ve

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March 16, 2010 | Obama's Pakistan Policy a Success

Obama’s foreign policy approach is bearing fruit in Pakistan. ++ The Pakistani military is engaging Taliban havens in the North of the country and increased intelligence-sharing with Washington has led to the capture of several Taliban figures. ++ Including Pakistan in the war against the Taliban, increased economic aid, and greater cooperation between the US and Pakistani government at

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March 10, 2010 | Obama is no Atlanticist

The Obama presidency has left many in Europe disappointed. ++ The post-Bush euphoria has slowly given way to the sobering reality that Europe is not high on Obama’s list of priorities. ++ “The great struggles of the Cold War, which bound Europe and the United States, did not mark Obama, whose intellect and priorities were shaped by globalization.” ++ In order to become a more

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August 13, 2009 | Obama's Iran Policy Will Fail

Barack Obama’s friendly approach towards Iran will not work. ++ Tehran’s leaders need anti-Americanism as an ideology if they want to avoid the collapse of their regime. ++ Ayatollah Khameni rejected the option of choosing a moderate president and has instead chosen Ahmadinejad because he does not want friendly ties with the US. ++ In order to stop Iran’s nuclear program, President Obama “will

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July 22, 2009 | US Should Condition Georgian Aid

Obama’s firm support for Georgia is good, but Joe Biden’s visit this week is a chance for a big US foreign policy win. ++ “The US should tell Saakashvili that future economic aid is dependent on an end to his increasingly authoritarian, corrupt and undemocratic rule.” ++ Encouraging Georgia’s democratic opposition would ensure that US dollars are not wasted on a failing regime, strengthen

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July 8, 2009 | Nonproliferation Needs Action, Not Words

While Russia and the US agree on nonproliferation, global proliferation rises. ++ China and Israel modernize their arsenal; developments in North Korea and Iran endanger world stability. ++ Iran’s nuclear ambitions risk a domino effect with countries at the nuclear doorstep, such as Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. ++ They must either invest in security ties with the US and missile defense

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July 8, 2009 | Israel's Sea of Enemies

Biden’s words giving Israel the green light for a military strike should Iran obtain nuclear capabilities caused public discomfort. ++ Yet anything less would be irresponsible: Jewish history taught Israel it cannot wait for the worst case scenario - realization of Ahmadinejad’s threat of a nuclear attack. ++ The West must give the checks and balances of Israeli democracy the respect they deserve

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July 3, 2009 | With Russia, Trust is Good, Control is Better

The West can’t ignore Russia’s belligerent moves towards Georgia - warning signs that Russia is not ready for the relationship we seek. ++ “Extensive fighting could
erupt again” and Russia may be preparing to install a puppet regime. ++ While Russia is strategically more important, it is not a reliable partner: its brutish stands show it does not share Western values, like transparency,

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July 1, 2009 | North Korea: As Truce Ends, Ships Must Be Searched

The UN resolution banning North Korean weapons trade is ineffective as it requires the regime to consent to foreign inspection of its ships. ++ Yet, North Korea’s belligerent stance gives the US a go-ahead: announcing the end of the truce with South Korea, it allows the US, a combatant in the conflict and leader of the UN Command, to use force. ++ Risk of war is low, the danger of proliferation

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July 1, 2009 | World Must Condemn Honduran Coup

The coup against Honduran President Zelaya should be reversed. ++ There must be united international condemnation with heavy pressure from the US, a crucial trade partner. ++ Yet,
the crisis opens the way to address a regional problem. ++ Zelaya has worked to undermine democratic institutions, including Congress and the Supreme Court. ++ The world must condemn the abuses that prompted his

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June 26, 2009 | Peace in Gaza: Principles, Not Preconditions

Any chance at Middle East peace requires recognizing that Hamas, labeled a terrorist group, remains a popular force. ++ Historical conflict regions such as South Africa and Northern Ireland teach us that even “terrorist groups” can and must be valuable parties in peacemaking. ++ During my interviews with Hamas, they stated their desire to heal rifts with Fata and establish a state alongside

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June 24, 2009 | US Response Betrays Obama's Promised Principles

Obama’s caution vis-à-vis Iran betrays the promises he made in Berlin during his election campaign. ++ The excuse that his only choice is between feeding views that America is “meddling” or virtual silence is unfounded. ++ He should seek a global statement which condemns the violence and supports the protesters, uniting the diverse nations already speaking out. ++ Obama, you spoke of

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June 19, 2009 | Donors Should Demand More from Middle East Players

The buzz around Middle East peace is on again, with all major players stating their negotiating position. ++ Yet, donors, who are tired of seeing their efforts repeatedly ruined, are leaving the Palestinian Authority to crumble. ++ Donors need to urgently exert demands: that Israel live up to the roadmap agreements, freeze settlements, and lift the blockade; that the Palestinians have a united

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May 20, 2009 | Pakistan: Yes You Can

Aid alone will not solve the situation in Pakistan. ++ Pakistan is ripe for large-scale public rejection of oppression increasingly popular globally. ++ Its recent democratic movements and the increase in highly organized local civil society groups competing with the Taliban show that the West can mobilize a responsible public outcry for change. ++ The expansion of television

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May 12, 2009 | US Middle East Policy Will Cause Rupture With Israel

US builds Middle East policy by distancing itself from Israel.++ Calling on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; demanding a freeze of settlements and pushing towards a two state solution despite Israeli opposition causes frosty relations between these allies.++ Simultaneously, the US is working towards a wider Arab Israeli peace that would include a 57-State-Deal with Israel,

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April 28, 2009 | New US - Israel Relations Could Come at a Cost

US foreign policy shows a desire to critique Israel, exemplified by Clinton’s rebuke of Israel’s reluctance to move on the peace efforts. ++ This development will benefit both states: it shows a new assessment of US interests and an awareness that Israel’s interests have been hurt, not helped, by an uncritical US approach. ++ Pushing for new openings with regards to a Palestinian unity

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April 10, 2009 | Israel Out of Sync with Changing Global Opinion

Prime Minister Netanyahu has to decide between the competing pressures of his coalition’s agenda drafted on an appeal to the threat of outside enemies, and “new winds blowing in the U.S. and Europe.”++ The latter shifted, drawing lessons from their recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars, away from straight warfare to a path for reconciliation among Palestinian parties.++ Netanyahu’s “prophecies of

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February 11, 2009 | North Korea, Reform or Collapse

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il’s health remains under speculation and with it, the fate of the country. ++ Kim has proved to be a “lousy leader:” he failed to implement the fiscal reform needed to prevent the 96-98 famine and crucially, he has failed to choose a successor. If he dies now, the country may well collapse as factional interests take hold. ++ His last chance lies

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February 10, 2009 | Israel Shows Suspicion of Obama

Israel is going to the polls today yet there is little feeling that the election will be a watershed on Israel’s Gaza policy. ++ The outcome of the election will most probably result in the formation of a right of center, status quo government. ++ If the new US president is more moderate in his Arab-Israeli policy he can show Israel its real options: “two states; one state without a

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February 10, 2009 | Invest In Locals, Not New Soldiers

The long-term solution to Afghanistan’s security does not lie in sending in new soldiers but in the Afghan army. ++ This army is basic but innovative; its greatest strength is the sense of national identity which governs it. ++ Enlarging its responsibilities should be the key priority of the coalition: the linguistic and ethnic challenges of Afghanistan can be far better overcome by

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February 5, 2009 | A Herculean Task: Middle East Policy for the New US President

There is much more to the Middle East than Iraq, and US foreign policy must quickly widen its foreign policy focus in the region. A successful Middle East policy strategy must simultaneously address Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as renew diplomacy throughout the region. The Obama administration is advised to act immediately, appointing special envoys and beginning a

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February 4, 2009 | Now Is No Time to Cut Defense

News that the Pentagon wants to cut defense spending by 10 percent should be met with resistance by Obama. ++ Defense offers a clear means of stimulating the economy in tough times. ++ A reduction in spending would only fuel fears among allies about America’s decline and simultaneously feed enemies’ confidence that the moment is right to strike. ++ Anyone who thinks Obama ran his

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January 5, 2009 | Israel Must Acknowledge Futility of War On Terror

Israel, America’s protegée, assigns positive value to the policy of the war on terror. ++ Israeli FM Livni has said the country is “part of the free world and fights extremism and terrorism […] you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.” ++ At a time when the war on terror is labeled as America’s gravest foreign policy mistake and the world condemns the

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December 12, 2008 | "The Real Obama"

Obama’s recent appointments have led to the conclusion that he intends to govern from the center. ++ His choices, however, are practical rather than ideological. ++ The centrist team will stabilize and pacify foreign policy and the economy so that Obama can focus on domestic transformation. ++ In fact, the recession will give him a carte-blanche to experiment with the economy. ++ Far from

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December 2, 2008 | Keys to Crisis Rest With Pakistan

The case for a Pakistani link to the Mumbai slaughter is growing stronger by the day. ++ The failure of favorable US policies towards Pakistan under President Bush are evident. ++ Condoleeza Rice has stressed the need for “complete, absolute, total transparency and cooperation” from Pakistan. ++ In the interests of preventing nuclear war and the collapse of Pakistani democracy,

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November 18, 2008 | Hard Road Ahead for Obama

Obama is going to have a very hard time fulfilling his campaign promises. ++ The heavy financial burden of the market bailout will slow his progress, especially since his tax policy proposals don’t seem to even cover his planned health-care reforms. ++ Obama’s preference for negotiation and economic sanctions might not get results with Iran and N. Korea and Israel’s upcoming

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November 7, 2008 | "Obama's Global to-do List"

President-elect Obama ran on promises of domestic, bipartisan harmony and international cooperation. ++ Immediate appointments should be made for secretaries of treasury, state and a national security advisor; moderate republicans should be included. ++ Nevertheless, “In capitals from Paris to Islamabad and from Moscow to Beijing, they are watching for changes in tone and substance in US

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November 7, 2008 | A New Deal for America

This election was special; a barrier was crossed and “America’s new deal” will begin. ++ This momentous occasion “will be seen as a miracle which could happen only in America.” ++ Obama, who “embodies the America of today and tomorrow” arrived at the perfect time. ++ Following an epoch of George Bush “go-it-alone belligerence,” Obama can

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November 6, 2008 | Don't Call Russia's Bluff, Ignore It

President Medvedev’s speech harshly attacked the United States and threatened to deploy new missile systems. ++ This threat is a bluff to trick the US or NATO allies into abandoning a plan for a simple missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic. ++ Russians know the system is aimed at Iran and couldn’t stop Russian ICBMs. ++ Obama is too smart to fall for such obvious attempts of

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November 6, 2008 | War on Terror is Over

Obama must fulfill his promises of withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and those of diplomacy with Iran. ++ He must close Guantánamo and declare the war on terror is over, realizing that terrorism is a technique, not an ideology. ++ Talks, not air strikes, should take place in Afghanistan. ++ Obama’s plan for “residual forces” in Iraq should be abandoned for a total

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October 31, 2008 | All Is Not Lost in US Foreign Affairs

While it is true that G.W. Bush has ruined his country’s finances, alienated many of its friends and botched the risky occupation of Iraq, not everything was a disaster. ++ Coaxing China into a rules-based economic system and seeking closer ties with India are two major steps. ++ Dashed hopes in Russia and the Middle East are not his fault and the “mad-dog” president wisely kept cool

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October 31, 2008 | Safety First, Pocketbook Second

America might think Wall St. and Main St. are now more important than Haifa St.; They are wrong. ++ From WWII to 9/11, history has shown that economic crises and America’s resulting inward attention are the seeds of global conflict. ++ Threats, such as the situations in Pakistan and Iran, could escalate at any time. ++ Al Qaeda and Iranian terror networks are not threats but enemies who are

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October 31, 2008 | Heath Kern Gibson, Editor in Chief at DipNote

Heath Kern Gibson graduated from Denison University and received a master’s in public administration from Harvard. She is the director of digital media in the public affairs office of the State Department in Washington, where she is responsible for its Internet operation. Mrs. Kern Gibson is also the editor in chief of DipNote, the State Department’s blog, which is an alternative source for US

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October 23, 2008 | The Dreams of Managing History

At Boston University, Andrew Bacevich railed against what Reinhold Niebuhr dubbed the “dreams of managing history” – the neocon rallying call that blends arrogance and narcissism and states that power is paramount. ++ Expansion worked for the US, for a time. ++ The Vietnam War, however, ended that. ++ Subsequently, “Further efforts at expansionism have led to the

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October 15, 2008 | Europe on Deck In Palestine

Europe is showing willingness to take greater part in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but willingness isn’t readiness. ++ The EU must first stop treating Israel with sensitivity, while simply treating Palestine like a poor country. ++ Israel shuns EU involvement, claiming Europe is soft on terror and rampant with anti-Semitism; thus, its role has always been defined by the US and Israel.

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September 1, 2008 | US Policy on Pakistan Needs to Change

There is no quick fix for Pakistan. ++ Policies need to put the Pakistani people ahead of public figures, and institutions ahead of simplistic solutions. ++ The economy needs to be stabilized and an international plan to improve infrastructure, healthcare, and education should be the next step. ++ US partisan politics undercut democracy and create greater instability. ++ The unaccountable

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August 27, 2008 | Biden Would be Good News for the Middle East

After nearly eight years of Bush’s haphazard and ill-advised actions and his contempt for the Arab-Israeli peace process, for most Arabs change cannot come soon enough. ++ Senator Joe Biden is known for his foreign policy experience, his attentiveness to Middle-Eastern concerns, as well as his blunt criticism of Bush’s policies. ++ His no-nonsense style means, however, the region’s

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August 26, 2008 | The US Should Learn From the Byzantine Empire

If America is to continue dominating the world, it must learn from an empire that managed to survive for centuries – Byzantium. ++ Byzantium did not try to annihilate its adversaries but learned from them and skillfully played enemies and allies for its own ends. ++ Similarly, the US must juggle various interests and keep them in balance. ++ The Georgia imbroglio should be a field study for

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August 26, 2008 | US Should Give up on Solving Georgia Crisis

There is little the United States can do to help Georgia. ++ Russia, with its nuclear weapons, oil, dollar reserves and seat on the UN Security Council, has too much leverage on US foreign policy, so banishing Russia from the G8 would be unwise. ++ The US should lessen their dependence on Russian energy and aim to get Russia to cooperate, not provoke obstinacy. ++ Russian troops should be

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August 22, 2008 | US Is Better Off Without Musharraf

Musharraf’s resignation as president allows the country to move toward full democracy and this process should not be seen as a threat in Washington. ++ With Musharraf’s exit the “war against terror will in fact be pursued with much more vigor and much less political manipulation” and anti-Americanism among the Pakistani population is likely to decline. ++ Now, US-Pakistani relations have the

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August 22, 2008 | NATO Is Losing in Afghanistan

Instead of demonstrating the noble character of NATO, the so called “good war” in Afghanistan is running out of control. ++ The death toll is rising inexorably, the security situation for aid agencies and women deteriorates and the local population is turning more and more against the Alliance. ++ The only way to resolve the conflict is to withdraw the foreign troops and start negotiating a

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August 14, 2008 | Flip-flopping on Iran Encourages Deception

Now that the Bush administration has reneged on its hard line against negotiations, Iran does not take US ultimatums seriously. ++ Where progressives see flexibility, Iranian officials see weakness.++ As long as there are no sanctions, Iran could import all the technology they need throughout negotiations. ++ Diplomacy with an insincere opponent does more harm than good. ++ With its diplomatic

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August 7, 2008 | Bush's Good Points

Amid the general Bush-bashing, we should not forget the achievements of G.W. Bush’s foreign policy: Iraq isn’t a failure, but turns out to be a genuine success as three free elections since 2003 prove. ++ Furthermore, one must recognize that the Bush administration focused on Iran over the last two years without pushing any hasty military solution to Iran’s nuclear program. ++ US

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July 24, 2008 | Could Obamamania Cloud Over?

Obama has achieved astonishing levels of popularity abroad. ++ Foreigners, however, had better temper their excitement. ++ A “skilled tactician,” Obama tends to shrewdly adapt his discourse to his audience and since, if elected, he would in any case be constrained by a heavily Democratic Congress, chances are “what they see is not precisely what they will get.” ++ Most importantly, Obama still

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July 22, 2008 | Obama's Iraq Strategy Scarily Stays the Same

Obama has not retracted from his end-the-war stance which dates back to 2003 and was the key to his success over Clinton during the primaries. ++ But in so far as “full withdrawal” from Iraq, such as Iraqis want, never belonged to his aims, he has not changed policy. ++ His plans to maintain residual forces in Iraq and reserve “the right to intervene militarily,” reveal both his

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July 14, 2008 | US Should Note Public Opinion in the Middle East

American policymakers in the Middle East know litte about the people there and their perception of the US. ++ A study entitled “Does the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Still Matter? Analysing Arab Public Perceptions” prooves that “the Arab-Israeli conflict remains a central issue for most Arabs.” ++ The Arab public judges the US according to its policies, not its values. ++ Washington policymakers

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July 10, 2008 | Scope of US Foreign Policy Must be Widened

Since the Cold War, US foreign policy has struggled to find a “main enemy,” thereby defining its focus. ++ Global politics, however, have returned to a status quo, in which a broad range of problems, with long-term resilience and requiring non-ideological responses, will be better served with America’s continuing strategic advantage on most fronts. ++ On a non-governmental

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July 10, 2008 | Iran's Hard-and-Soft Foreign Policy

Iranian diplomacy reflects pride, self-confidence, and a decreasing fear of the US and Israel. ++ Whereas Tehran’s hard-liners are using the argument of Western weakness to justify their rejection of compromise, pragmatic voices believe it is time for Iran to negotiate and “consolidate its gains.” ++ At present, Iran’s course is unclear: “even as they talk about diplomacy, the Iranians continue

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July 9, 2008 | Bush Will go but "Same Old Problems" Will Remain

Bush’s departure will not facilitate addressing global problems. ++ The complex issues of peace in the Middle East and nuclear proliferation will continue to dominate the diplomatic debate. ++ In addition, American and European leadership will be further required to manage the world economy, reduce poverty and disparities, and tackle climate change. ++ But the largest remaining challenge will be

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July 8, 2008 | Iraq: Asking the Right Questions to Find the Answers

The resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda demonstrates that the war in Iraq is dangerously diverting attention from the “war of necessity” in Afghanistan. ++ Rather than inflexibly planning to stay on or leave Iraq, candidates should ask whether “Washington would have more influence if it completely withdrew or negotiated a slower drawdown with the Iraqis.” ++ The chances chaos in Iraq could

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June 19, 2008 | Brown and Bush are Similarly Fated

For most Europeans, including the British journalist who said that he will “be remembered as a blithering idiot,” Bush’s legacy is the Iraq war. ++ On Bush’s last visit to the UK, however, Brown emphasized the president’s accomplishments and listed the common aims of British and American foreign policy: focusing on Afghanistan, reassessing Iraq, and submitting Iran to stricter sanctions. ++ In

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June 18, 2008 | Another Bad Deal for Baghdad

The parallels between the arrangement sought by Bush with the Iraq/US deal, and the defective British Iraq settlement in the 1930s, are striking. ++ The July 31st accord would free Iraq of UN sanctions and provide it with American economic and military aid. ++ 80 years ago, after Britain granted Iraq’s independence, it failed to maintain order and a wave of radical nationalist uprisings - “a

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June 17, 2008 | Iraq Starts to Fix Itself

Albeit reversible, the situation is improving in Iraq as the government gains confidence and increasingly asserts its independence from the US and Iran. ++ Despite the lack of jobs, clean water, and electricity, Iraqis are benefiting from high oil prices and can hope for a normal future. ++ Both plans for precipitated withdrawal and remaining indefinitely are foolish. ++ Swift diplomacy is now

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June 16, 2008 | Israeli-Syrian Peace Could Stabilize Middle East

Today, a Syrian-Israeli peace, which would enable Syria to recover the Golan Heights and protect the country’s interests in Lebanon, is complicated by Syria’s alliance with Iran. ++ Yet if Syria achieves peace with Israel, its good relations to Iran could turn out to be a good thing. ++ “Syria’s stance might limit, rather than extend, the reach of Iran’s strategy of regional destabilization.” ++

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June 13, 2008 | Chindia: A Rare Success of the Bush Era

As Bush’s term ends, the president can look back on a solid Asia legacy. ++ He successfully used India to balance China. ++ India is the world’s largest democracy, 80,000 Indian students study in the US, and trade between India and the US has increased up to $26 billion. ++ Hence, close cooperation has been established and is on the right track to be continued. ++ This balance is needed to

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June 11, 2008 | Bush Helps Saudis Go Nuclear, Who are we Securing?

Bush is moving toward helping the Saudis develop a nuclear program under the guise of energy security. ++ Considering that Saudi Arabia bathes in oil and basks in sunlight, something is missing. ++ Adding a counterweight to Iran’s nuclear aspirations is what this is actually about. ++ The US should heed the lessons of history, that its addiction to oil spreads extremism and that adding nuclear

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June 9, 2008 | Turkey's Geopolitical Importance for the West

For a long time Turkey has been a haven of geopolitical stability. ++ Yet the Iraq War has subjected Turkey’s virtually unquestioned alliance with the US to reassessment.++ Turkey’s general consensus on its EU candidacy has started crumbling because of the EU’s wavering.++ Turkey plays a crucial role in maintaining peace in the volatile Caucasus region and in promoting peace in the Middle East

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June 5, 2008 | McCain: We Should Not be Scared but Prepared

The personality of the US election winner will fundamentally shape transatlantic relations, but the fact remains that today the priorities of the EU and US differ more than ever before. ++ In the multipolar world that has succeeded the Cold War, there is no longer something “inevitable about the transatlantic alliance.” ++ Europeans who are dreaming of Obama as president should both temper their

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June 3, 2008 | US Marginalized by its Own Policy in the Middle East

The recent easing of tensions in the Middle East, which is occurring without US mediation, reveals America’s loss of credibility and leverage. ++ Indeed, negotiations are taking place with groups and authorities the US boycotts - Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah. ++ Yet these are the only stakeholders that can offer Lebanon and Israel the compromises they really want. ++ The US has marginalized

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June 2, 2008 | McCain Seeks Old Friends and New Enemies

Bush’s unilateralism has created a rift in transatlantic relations that is unlikely to be fixed by the next US president, unless the EU and the US share a common threat. ++ McCain frames the authoritarian capitalism of China and Russia as the ideological antipode to liberal democracy. ++ If he were to follow through on his planned League of Democracies and the restructuring of the G8, this would

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May 30, 2008 | McCain's Foreign Policy: More Procrastination

The US position vis-a-vis Iran and North Korea has been weakened in the past several years, not out of a reluctance to engage in talks, or because of the emptiness of threats of using force, but because of a failure to formulate a clear-cut policy. ++ As the military option is unrealistic, America should focus on the many diplomatic and economic levers at its disposal. ++ John McCain’s refusal to

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May 29, 2008 | US Iran Policy Requires More Flexibility

Iran cannot be prevented from acquiring nuclear power capabilities. ++ The US should therefore favor negotiation with the regime over the current threats and sanctions driven policy which merely provides for hostile relations. ++ Since “a successful approach to Iran has to accommodate its security interests and ours,” strategic deterrence should prove effective. ++ Additionally, cooperation could

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May 27, 2008 | US Losing Ground in Middle East Power Game

The Qatari-brokered power sharing agreement between Lebanon’s feuding political factions puts into perspective the new Middle East power equation, in which the US is no longer a dominant factor and the rules are now being written by regional players. ++ The accord will succeed, precisely because it is grounded in realism and ignores idealistic and unreasonable American demands. ++ Even Israel,

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May 27, 2008 | Candidates' Foreign Policy Differences are Rhetorical

The foreign policy discussion between McCain and Obama has helped portray the former as uncompromising and the latter as visionary. ++ Since US strategy in Iraq has required diplomats to negotiate with Shiite militiamen, Sunni insurgents or Iranian counterparts for years now, the candidates’ debate regarding their respective approach to negotiation is both unrealistic and hypocritical. ++ In any

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May 21, 2008 | America's Paralysis in the Face of "Hezbullahization"

At the Knesset plenum, Bush’s declarations regarding America’s political and military commitment to Israel’s defense were most promising. ++ Yet the Hezbollah’s recent take over of Lebanon was met with absolute silence on behalf of the US and its Allies. ++ “America is tired, emasculated, and torn on the inside. It can only provide its protectorates in the Middle East with words.” ++ Since the US

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May 21, 2008 | The Costs and Benefits of Negotiation

In foreign policy, both Republicans and Democrats favor negotiation. ++ Yet McCain realizes “where diplomacy is appropriate, and where more fortitude is required” and this creates a distinction. ++ There are real downsides to the unconditional upholding of soft diplomacy. ++ Besides the cost of negotiation in terms of time and resources, it provides terrorists or leaders of state sponsors of

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May 15, 2008 | Bush's Failed Policy in the Middle East

During his last Middle East Tour, President Bush will have to accept the failure of his policies in the region. ++ Since Bush undertook to revive peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians at Annapolis in late 2007, no progress has been made. ++ The American hope for a Palestinian-Israeli agreement before the end of the year seems illusory. ++ The positions of Israeli negotiators

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May 15, 2008 | Obama's Middle East Will be Business as Usual

Obama advocates leading open and direct negotiations with everyone, from Iran to Cuba. ++ His opposition to the Iraq war, his rational stance on Iran, and his “understanding of US imperialism” suggest he will reshape American foreign policy. ++ Yet Obama’s readiness to compromise does not apply to the Middle East. ++ Since Obama’s presidency would provide for high expectations, the predictable

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May 14, 2008 | US on the Right Track with North Korea

The US should continue its current path in North Korean nuclear negotiations, rather than exiting or stalling talks. ++ It should prioritize verification of North Korea’s plutonium production records, and push towards dismantlement of the Yongbyong reactor. ++ The US can then concurrently work towards confirming the extent of North Korean uranium enrichment, as well as the extent of its nuclear

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May 8, 2008 | Foreign Policy: McCain Aims High but Misses the Mark

John McCain’s recent neoconservative foreign policy proposals are of questionable merit. ++ Reorganizing the G8 to the exclusion of Russia and China, will effectively render the organization irrelevant. ++ A League of Democracies on the other hand will impede cooperation with key nondemocratic strategic allies in areas such as terrorism and proliferation. ++ These propositions also put McCain at

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May 8, 2008 | Freedom and Democracy No Longer on the March

With high oil prices allowing authoritarian regimes to consolidate power, and US influence and moral authority in decline, the global trend towards democratization appears to be reversing. ++ This is particularly apparent in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe clings to power by all means and attempts to subvert elections. ++ More than ever a proactive approach by the US is needed to work

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May 7, 2008 | What Will Follow US Dominance?

The end of the unipolar world is approaching. The unipolar world emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union when the bipolar era of the cold war came to an end. Yet just after one decade and a half of US supremacy, the international system is once again in the face of enormous tectonic change: In his recent essay for Foreign Policy, Richard N. Haass declares we live in a century of

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May 7, 2008 | Bleak Prospects for Peace in the Middle East

Decades of conflict have created economic, demographic, and political conditions that are compromising achieving peace in the Middle East. ++ Disincentives for the creation of two states are proving stronger than the rationale for peace. ++ Palestinians’ animosity toward Israel, their scarring experience of war and violence, the influence of Islamic groups, and the ever blurrier ethnic and

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May 6, 2008 | The Dangers of a League of Unwilling Democracies

Mc Cain aspires to redefining the US’s global role by creating a US-led “League of Democracies.” ++ Besides antagonizing Russia and China and ignoring the significance of their cooperation on environmental and nuclear issues, this idea appears as a means to circumvent the UN and raises widespread opposition among qualifying democracies. ++ Eventually, the project would be stalled by

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April 30, 2008 | Sarkozy l' Américain?

The election of Nicolas Sarkozy was a source of hope for the future of Franco-American and transatlantic relations. Sarkozy made no secret of his intention to kick start a new era of French foreign policy and effect a radical break away from a forty year old Gaullist anti-American tradition, loyally held up by his predecessor Jacques Chirac. Now nearly a year has gone by since the proclaimed

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April 28, 2008 | American Power: Hegemonic Due to Lack of Options

In the prospect of US presidential elections all three candidates distance themselves from President Bush and promise more multilateralism in foreign policy and therefore burden sharing. ++ They forget that the US is the only hegemonic power and that the international community rests under the security umbrella of the US. ++ The next administration’s foreign policy will not be much more

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April 22, 2008 | Improving America's Image in the Arab World

Recent Arab public opinion polls confirm a “gap between the aims of American policies and Arab public perceptions of the US.” ++ They also highlight that the US could improve its image by brokering peace between Palestine and Israel and by withdrawing from Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula. ++ While US policies are clearly opposed, middle ground could be found regarding democratic values and

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April 16, 2008 | Non-polarity Will Succeed American Unipolarity

The growing strength of other states, the challenges to US foreign, energy, and economic policy, and globalization, which has diluted state control, have all contributed to ending the era of American dominance. ++ The new distribution of power will lead to multiplied threats, unstable relationships and a leadership vacuum. ++ Maintaining order in a non-polar world will require joint and astute

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April 15, 2008 | No Decline of the West but a Rise of the Rest

The threats to US supremacy tend to be overstated. ++ China and Russia won’t achieve global domination while the post war arrangement goes on. ++ Yet to contain the progress of autocracy, protect and promote liberalism, and maintain its global power, the US should lead a democratic front within the framework of international institutions and cease discrediting its model with inappropriate

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April 14, 2008 | Foes of the US no Longer Fear or Respect it

US’s coercive tools - military might and economic leverage - have severely diminished due to failure in Iraq, expensive oil, and the rise of new industrial giants. ++ The next president needs to acknowledge the ineffectiveness of unilateral economic sanctions. ++ As major economic players like China readily deal with rogue states, a successful policy of containment requires widespread

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April 1, 2008 | Hyper-partisanship Encumbers US Hyperpower

Partisan polarization over foreign policy is stronger than ever before. ++ A Democratic, rather European, vision of diplomacy is opposed to a Republican celebration of American exceptionalism and forceful great-power politics. ++ Partisanship scatters support, causes confusion, and hinders continuity and efficiency. ++ Future foreign policy “will suffer from a lack of certainty rather than an

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October 29, 2007 | Route to Success in Annapolis

Henry A. Kissinger dampens hopes on the outcome of the meeting on the Palestinian peace process in Annapolis. Even if parties manage to agree on the Taba Plan of 2000—essentially Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders—the implementation remains uncertain. Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors have shaky domestic positions. Additionally, it needs to be clarified what the willingness by several

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February 27, 2010 | It seems to me that the American Governments...

January 31, 2010 | Iran is an old civilization and also a country...

October 20, 2009 | I do not want to get mired in debates...

October 1, 2009 | From my point of view it is important finally...

July 20, 2009 | Two new proposals related to European security...

November 25, 2008 | The Obama Administration will continue to be...

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October 21, 2008 | We are moving to a "one super-power, several...

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September 4, 2008 | Mr. Francis has good recommendations but I...

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