Jamie Metzl served on the National Security Council in the Clinton Administration and is Co-Chairman of Partnership for a Secure America and a former Executive Vice President of the Asia Society. This article first appeared on Project Syndicate.
NEW YORK — The compelling drama of former Chongqing Communist Party chief Bo Xilai’s ouster amid allegations of corruption and murder, and of blind Chinese human-rights advocate Chen Guangcheng’s dash to safety in the US Embassy in Beijing, are more than just fascinating narratives of venality and courage. Unless China can purge the thousands of corrupt Party leaders like Bo, and empower people – like those Chen represents – who have been left behind or harmed by rapid growth, its economy will increasingly suffer.
Laurie Dundon is currently living in France and is a PSA Senior Fellow. To read more about her, click here.
A new President, Francois Hollande, was inaugurated in France this week and is already visiting the US just days after coming into office. Hollande rode into office on a slogan that “change is now”. So what does that mean for the US? America and France have been working collaboratively in the last years under President Sarkozy. How will that change?
The short answer: not much. Although the US should expect some policy divergences at first and Hollande could come with a confrontational bravado this weekend — especially on Afghanistan — once President Hollande settles into office, expect more continuity than change. Fundamentally, the US still has a partner in France.
by Laurie Dundon
Senior Fellow, Partnership for Secure America
Policy-makers have been looking for some good leverage to affect the situation in Syria for months. Americans, and those around the world, are watching in horror at the violence. The moral imperative to do something is clear: each day the atrocities continue; each day the disproportionate use of force affects innocent civilians; and the situation is going from bad to worse. However, decisions about what course of action to take are complex. Experts point to the complications of a campaign against Syria’s sophisticated air defenses, the practical challenges of training and equipping the Free Syria Army (FSA), the limitations of implementing safe-zones without significant ground force protection, and the risk of getting drawn into a messy proxy-war with very real effects throughout the region and direct effects for Americans. On top of that, the majority of Americans are weighted with “intervention exhaustion” and extremely hesitant to get involved in another military conflict in the Middle East.
Graeme Bannerman, a scholar at the Middle East Institute, served as staff director on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He is also a member of PSA’s Board of Directors. This article originally appeared in Politico and can be found here.
Alliance with Egypt is Key for U.S.
As a result of foreign policy miscalculations, the United States may lose its historical leadership in the Middle East. While the unfolding tragedy in Syria, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the war on terrorists absorb U.S. attention and resources, the unnecessary decline of U.S.-Egyptian relations could do the most damage to our national interests. Just as Britain’s domination of the region ended on the banks of the Suez Canal in 1956, Washington now appears determined to end our 30 years of regional dominance in a confrontation with the Egyptian people.
U.S. pre-eminence in the region since the 1970s was built on the strategic cooperation between Washington and Cairo. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter strove to create this relationship, for they realized that the preceding 20 years of predominant Soviet influence in the region was due to the Egyptian-Soviet partnership.
Gary Hart is a member of the PSA Advisory Board, president of Hart International, Ltd. and chairman of the American Security Project. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1975 until 1987. This article originally appeared in The Hill on January 18th, 2012 and can be found here.
As an American with more than average interest and experience in Russia, it is a mystery to me why, unlike virtually every other country on earth, U.S. policy has tended to be so dependent on the personal relationship between the respective leaders.
This was especially true of Presidents Clinton, with the late Boris Yeltsin, and George W. Bush, with then-President Vladimir Putin (“I looked the man in the eye.”). This mystery of Russian relations is not totally confined to U.S. leaders: Remember Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s famous report to President George H.W. Bush on Mikhail Gorbachev as “a man we can do business with.” A humorist might call it the vodka syndrome, except Clinton was never known as a drinker and, of course, the second President Bush had sworn off alcohol.
This article was written by two Fall 2011 Fellows in PSA’s Congressional Fellowship Program. All CFP articles are produced by bipartisan groups of Democrat and Republican Fellows that were challenged to develop opinion pieces that reach consensus on critical national security and foreign affairs issues.
Guns, Butter, And Band-Aids: A Three-Tiered Approach to Foreign Policy
In the early hours of a tropical morning in January 2010, the Baltimore-based U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort docked two kilometers off the coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti equipped with military, U.S. Public Health Service, nongovernmental organization, and international organization personnel ready to respond to the raw wounds of the island nation still trembling from a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that had struck only days earlier. Despite initial doubts from the Pentagon that the ship was needed as another member of a swiftly-deployed fleet of similarly-equipped Navy and Marine vessels to the island, the U.S.N.S. Comfort quickly became a household name for U.S. military relief efforts due to the ship’s remarkable capability to quickly provide wounded Haitians a stable, secure place to receive desperately needed medical care. Not to be understated were the colossal efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development. This agency was designated to spearhead the U.S. intergovernmental agency response to the tragedy, which deployed disaster assistance personnel within a day of the crisis’ occurrence and continues to rebuild Haiti nearly two years later. Monitoring on-the-ground developments in Haiti, the U.S. Department of State preserved its strong tradition of diplomacy with the Haitian government and the international community; thereby assuring the distressed country that it had an ally in its long fight to recover, rebuild, and thrive.
Stuart Thorson is Donald P. and Margaret Curry Gregg Professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Hyunjin Seo is assistant professor in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas.
It has now been over a week since the announcement of Kim Jong Il’s death. We learned the news in Seoul and observed shocked but calm South Koreans diligently following events.
The sense of calmness in Seoul reflects that there appears to be an orderly transition of power within North Korea. Of course, no one knows for sure what exactly is going on and what is going to happen in North Korea. That said, we hope, once an appropriate period of mourning is concluded, that steps toward positive engagement in such areas as humanitarian food assistance and nuclear talks that were underway at the time of Kim’s death will continue to move forward.
However, hope is not enough. We must recognize that even in places such as North Korea the future doesn’t simply happen. Rather, the future there as elsewhere is, to a significant degree, the result of a complex interplay of ideas and action. U.S. history provides a clear demonstration that among the most powerful of those ideas are notions of widely available education and open scientific inquiry. One need look only to the actions associated with U.S. support for these ideas in the countries of Western Europe following the Second World War. Or perhaps even more relevantly, consider programs such as the U.S. State Department funded Minnesota Project which developed sustained medical, engineering, and agricultural support to a South Korea suffering from the consequences of the Korean Conflict. Or the Fulbright Program which has served to help in the transformation of higher education throughout much of the world.
Col Bryan Bearden, USAF, is an instructor of National Security, Joint Warfare and Leadership and Ethics at the Marine Corps War College.
A subdued but respectful ceremony marked the end of combat operations in Iraq. A flag was rolled and encased, and speeches respectful of the fallen and hopeful for the future were made. Signs of friendship between the two countries were left in the hearts of both peoples and policies are in place to continue non-military support to a continually developing democracy in Iraq. A joyous America will see her military members return celebrating a job well done and remembering those who paid the ultimate price.
This is in stark contrast to the images scared into the American psyche of a helicopter rising from the roof of the embassy in Saigon in April of 1975, an event that most recognize as the end of a terrible chapter in America’s history.
Graeme Bannerman is a PSA Board Member and scholar at the Middle East Institute, where his work focuses on US-Arab relations, regional security, the peace process, and the history of the Middle East.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asserted recently that critics of the Libyan mission “have been proven wrong.” Now, with the death of dictator Muammar Qadhafi, the secretary’s view is supported by the overwhelming majority of Washington’s foreign policy establishment.
But this won’t be the first time that Washington may be proven wrong. Even conceding the unlikely outcome that the Libyans overcome their tribal, regional, and political differences to establish a democratic state, the long-term costs of U.S. involvement are likely to far outweigh the benefits.
The first negative fallout was seen in the Russian and Chinese veto of the U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria. The Russians and Chinese made it clear that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s abuse of the U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force in Libya to ”protect civilians” to justify a policy of regime change will make them reluctant to support future Security Council resolutions — which the United States and NATO could exploit to pursue an expanded agenda.
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Advisory Board Member and former Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, discusses his recommendations for U.S. Policy in Iran. His recommendations include greater cooperation with the United Nations, collaboration with regional partners, and intelligence sharing in addition to many other points of leverage and influence the United States could use. The article originally appeared here on CNN.
Washington (CNN) — Longtime observers of the Middle East are baffled by allegations that high-ranking officials in the Iranian government approved a plan to assassinate Saudi Arabia Ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir, and blow up the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington. Commentators have described the plan as “brazen,” but “bizarre” and ‘bone-headed” might be more appropriate adjectives.
It’s difficult to comprehend either the motives or the means selected to carry out the plan outlined by the Justice Department in its criminal indictment of Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri. Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are not new, but Iran has been both cautious and clever enough to restrain its ambitions for regional dominance.
If the allegations of the assassination and bombing plot are true, and the covert operation had proved successful, Iran’s leaders would have invited retaliation on a scale far more vigorous than any they might have contemplated. Indeed, I think it’s fair to say that the Iranian landscape would likely have been substantially altered.
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.