What to do about Iran?

by PSA Staff | October 18th, 2012 | |Subscribe

Thomas Pickering, member of the PSA Advisory Board, along with esteemed colleges Anthony Zinni and Jim Walsh authored this Op-ed originally published in the Chicago Tribune

What to do about Iran?

Adlai Stevenson once advised that “to act coolly, intelligently and prudently in perilous circumstances is the true test of a man — and also of a nation.” In the face of Iran’s potential for becoming a nuclear weapons state and a threat to Israel, U.S. leaders would be smart to follow Stevenson’s advice and act prudently and intelligently.

There is little doubt that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose dangerous challenges to U.S. interests and security, as well as to the security of Israel. There is no question of the seriousness of the problems presented by Iran’s nuclear program or the need to consider the use of military force as a last resort.

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Complications in U.S. – Pakistan Relations

by PSA Staff | October 10th, 2012 | |Subscribe

This article was written by two Spring 2012 Participants in PSA’s Congressional Partnership Program.  All CPP articles are produced by bipartisan groups of Democrat and Republican Hill Staff who were challenged to develop opinion pieces that reach consensus on critical national security and foreign affairs issues.

Complications in US – Pakistan Relations

Since September 11, 2001 no relationship has been more contentious, or more vexing, than the one shared between the United States and Pakistan. It is a relationship that despite obvious mutual benefits is often viewed through a lens of distrust by both countries. This consociation began during the regime of Muhammad Zia Al Huq as both nations stood side by side stemming off the Soviet invasion of the1980′s. Low points during the A.Q. Kahn and Raymond Davis affairs tested the limits of both nations; and of course, in the wake of the final reckoning of Osama Bin Laden relations took on a life of its own. Rather than being seen as testaments to the strong foundation of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship ideally working well together, each incident, in its time, has been construed by many pundits, in both nations, as the beginning of the end. The lowest watermark viewed by Pakistan as an infringement on sovereign territory, the bin Laden mission, sent tenuous diplomacy on a collision course with conflict and distrust. This dysfunctional juxtaposition between the U.S. and Pakistan has become more glaringly apparent this summer during the talks associated with the re-opening of NATO Supply Routes running through Pakistan.

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Putin’s Complicated Foreign Policy

by PSA Staff | October 3rd, 2012 | |Subscribe

This article was written by two Spring 2012 Participants in PSA’s Congressional Partnership Program.  All CPP articles are produced by bipartisan groups of Democrat and Republican Hill Staff who were challenged to develop opinion pieces that reach consensus on critical national security and foreign affairs issues.

Putin’s Complicated Foreign Policy

 Within weeks of being inaugurated in his third term as the President of Russia in May, Vladimir Putin announced his decisions to skip the G-8 summit at Camp David, and to send Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in his place to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in London, sending commentators in the Western world into a frenzy.  Many in the United States proclaimed (and mourned) the end of the Russia reset. This view only increased as Putin appeared to turn his attention to his immediate neighbor, Belarus, making his first international visit with President Alexander Lukashenko, and then attending a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).  Additionally, Putin has joined China in opposing UN efforts to sanction Syria, a move that has frustrated many, while Russia continues to supply the Assad regime with weapons.  Although the Russian reset with the West technically took place during Dmitri Medvedev’s presidency, there is little doubt that then-Prime Minister Putin was heavily involved in this decision (as well as most others).  What, then, explains this sudden and drastic shift?

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Strengthening our “Balance of Alliances” in Asia

by PSA Staff | October 2nd, 2012 | |Subscribe

This article was written by two Spring 2012 Participants in PSA’s Congressional Partnership Program.  All CPP articles are produced by bipartisan groups of Democrat and Republican Hill Staff who were challenged to develop opinion pieces that reach consensus on critical national security and foreign affairs issues.

Over the past year the United States has launched an effort to “rebalance” its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region. While there are many policy issues that divide Republicans and Democrats, America’s role in actively shaping a more peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific is one issue that enjoys strong support amongst both parties. After a decade of focusing our time, energy, and resources on counterterrorism and the Middle East region, we welcome a strategic rebalancing of our efforts to a region that will play a leading role in defining the 21st Century. However, the elements of this new focus should not just focus on the “balance of power” in the region, but also take into account the “balance of alliances” the U.S. enjoys. Approaching the region using an alliance-centric lens can help the U.S. position itself to play a major role in ensuring the region’s continued prosperity and peace.

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Iran talk: What’s in a War?

by PSA Staff | October 1st, 2012 | |Subscribe

Retired Adm. William J. Fallon was head of U.S. Central Command from 2007 to 2008. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, was a U.S. senator from Nebraska from 1997 to 2009. Former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton was vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Thomas Pickering was undersecretary of state for political affairs from 1997 to 2000 and previously served as U.S. ambassador to Russia, Israel, Jordan and the United Nations. Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni was head of U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000. This blog posting previously appeared in the Washington Post.

War with Iran is not inevitable, but U.S. national security would be seriously threatened by a nuclear-armed Iran. Particularly given the recent speeches at the U.N. General Assembly, military action is being discussed intensely. Public discussion of military action, however, is often reduced to rhetoric and partisan politics. We propose a nonpartisan, reasoned debate about the implications for the United States of another war in the wider Middle East.

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All blog posts are independently produced by their authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of PSA. Across the Aisle serves as a bipartisan forum for productive discussion of national security and foreign affairs topics.