*Alex Braha is a Senior Associate at Andreae & Associates in Washington, DC, where she focuses on political and security issues in Africa and the Middle East. She received her M.A. in International Security from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.
The beginning of this month saw glimmers of hope quickly turn back to stalemate with the UN-led negotiations to solve the crisis in Libya. July began with Abdullah al-Thinni, the prime minister for the internationally recognized government currently in power in Tobruk, proclaiming his hopes that a peace deal could be signed at the latest round of talks. This was followed a few days later by the refusal of the rival government in Tripoli to show at the peace talks, expressing their rejection of the UN proposal and suggested amendments from the Tobruk government. The latest iteration of a peace plan is the fourth draft undertaken by UN envoy Bernadino Leon, and the closest he has been to consensus. But with the last minute refusal by the Tripoli government, how many more chances remain to get a deal?
Robert McFarlane is a PSA Advisory Board member and served as President Reagan’s national security adviser. The original article appeared in The Washington Times.
The means of coercing Iran
How would the prospects for stability in the Middle East be affected if Iran were to succeed in its effort to become a nuclear power? In what ways might we expect Iran to behave differently?
The behavior of the Soviet Union in the late 1970s is instructive on this point. Despite signing the 1972 SALT I Agreement with the United States, which put restraints on strategic nuclear forces, the USSR soon began to violate several of its tenets and to establish an advantage in ICBM warheads. Before long it had established a comfortable margin of superiority over the United States. Then, secure against any plausible threat, it became more willing to take risks to expand its influence in various parts of the world. We recall well those years from ‘75 to ‘80 in which the Kremlin’s support for so-called wars of national liberation enabled them to exert a prevailing influence in country after country — Angola, then Ethiopia, South Yemen, Mozambique, Afghanistan (following an invasion by more than 100,000 troops), and ultimately, Nicaragua. Not until the early ‘80s, as the United States restored its will to oppose Soviet expansion, did the Kremlin change course.
Lee Hamilton is director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University and current Advisory Board Co-Chair to the Partnership for a Secure America. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. The article originally appeared in Battle Creek Enquirer.
Lee Hamilton: Governing by crisis isn’t governing
After Congress came a hair’s breadth from shutting down the Department of Homeland Security a few weeks ago, members of the leadership tried to reassure the American people. “We’re certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Congress, he said, would not lurch from crisis to crisis.
I wish I could be so confident. Because if you look at the year ahead, the congressional calendar is littered with opportunities to do just that. (more…)
Jamie Metzl, Co-Chair of the PSA Board of Directors and senior fellow of the Atlantic Council and author of “Genesis Code,” served on the U.S. National Security Council and in the U.S. State Department during the Clinton administration. Article originally appeared in Project Syndicate .
Japan’s Sensitive Military Normalization
NEW YORK – Soon after the Islamic State’s brutal murder in January of the Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the country’s “biggest reform” of its military posture since the end of World War II. Abe wants Japan to become a “normal” country again, with the capacity to defend its interests and citizens wherever they are threatened. But how should his government go about it?
Even for a Japanese public that still generally supports their country’s post-war pacifism, the hostage crisis was unsettling, not least because it highlighted Japan’s military impotence. Unlike Jordan, which was able to consider a rescue mission for its own hostage and launch a powerful military response after he was killed, Japan’s constitution left it no options for rescue or retaliation.
Lee H. Hamilton is Professor of Practice, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; Director, Center on Congress at Indiana University. He served as U.S. Representative from Indiana’s 9th Congressional District from 1965-1999 and is a current Advisory board member for the Partnership for a Secure America. The article originally appeared in the Huffington Post
To Win the War on Terror, We Must Win the War of Ideas
What is ISIS?
This time a year ago, most Americans wouldn’t have been able to answer that question. Today, the Islamic State group dominates the news headlines through its terrorist actions across the Middle East and in European countries such as France and Denmark.
The sudden ascendancy of a group that, 12 months ago, had yet to pervade the nation’s subconscious offers a chilling reminder of just how rapidly threats to our national security can change. It also signals just how challenging it can be to develop a coherent, comprehensive and, most importantly, effective counterterrorism strategy that ensures the safety of Americans and stays a step ahead of those who wish to do us terrible harm.
PSA Advisory Board members Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton are the former chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission and are co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Program. Originally appeared in USA Today.
Kean-Hamilton: How to halt next terror generation
Ideas are not easily destroyed. Bullets could not extinguish the irreverence of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper recently targeted by terrorists. Nor can increased counterterrorism efforts alone eradicate the radical Islamist incitement to violence that inspired recent atrocities in Ottawa,Sydney, Paris and Peshawar. Such policies help prevent the next terrorist attack but cannot stop the cultivation of the next generation of terrorists. For that, we must defeat and discredit this extremist ideology.
Until 2001, terrorism was perceived mostly as a law enforcement problem. The 9/11 attacks made clear that terrorism was a grave national security threat, requiring the use of all instruments of national power. Since then, America and its allies have hardened their defenses, greatly improved intelligence-sharing, increased counterterrorism cooperation and decimated the centralized leadership of the “core” al-Qaeda organization.
Sam Nunn is co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a former U.S. senator from Georgia and member of PSA’s Advisory Board. Richard Lugar is president of the Lugar Center and a former U.S. senator from Indiana. The article originally appeared in The Washington Post.
The United States and Russia must repair their partnership on nuclear security
For more than two decades, the United States and Russia partnered to secure and eliminate dangerous nuclear materials — not as a favor to one another but as a common-sense commitment, born of mutual self-interest, to prevent catastrophic nuclear terrorism. The world’s two largest nuclear powers repeatedly set aside their political differences to cooperate on nuclear security to ensure that terrorists would not be able to detonate a nuclear bomb in New York, Moscow, Paris, Tel Aviv or elsewhere.
Unfortunately, this common-sense cooperation has become the latest casualty of the spiraling crisis in relations among the United States, Europe and Russia.
Lee H. Hamilton is the Co-Chair of PSA’s Advisory Board and Professor of Practice, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; Director, Center on Congress at Indiana University. He served as U.S. Representative from Indiana’s 9th Congressional District from 1965-1999. This article originally appeared in Huffington Post.
It’s Time to End Torture
It’s been more than a month since the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a 500-page summary of its report into the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program, which provided a detailed and disturbing glimpse into a dark period in our nation’s history.
The full report, which took over five years to complete, is more than 6,500 pages. It’s been widely documented just how much opposition it had to overcome, including the CIA’s interfering with Senate computers, to see the light of day.
Gary Hart is a lawyer and former senator from Colorado. He currently serves on PSA’s Advisory Board. Norman Augustine co-authored the article. This article was originally published in the Los Angeles Times.
Why 9/11 Can Happen Again
In February 2001, a bipartisan federal commission on which we served warned that terrorists would acquire weapons of mass destruction and mass disruption. “Attacks against American citizens on American soil, possibly causing heavy casualties, are likely over the next quarter-century,” the Hart-Rudman Commission said. “In the face of this threat, our nation has no coherent or integrated governmental structures.” We added: “Congress should rationalize its current committee structure so that it best serves U.S. national security objectives.”
We identified 50 ways to improve national security, none of which was implemented before 9/11. One recommendation — to create a single agency to deal with homeland security — was not acted on until a year and a half after those tragic attacks.
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Sam Nunn is the Co-Chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and former US Senator from Georgia. Mr. Nunn is a member of PSA’s Board of Advisors. This speech was originally published on NTI’s website.
Remarks by Senator Sam Nunn to the American Nuclear Society
Thank you, Jim Rogers, for your introduction and for your outstanding leadership. I particularly want to thank Jim and all gathered here today for the work of this Society – helping the world benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear science.
On this Veterans Day, I would also like to recognize one of our nation’s most outstanding public servants and veterans, former Senator Pete Domenici.
I am delighted to join George Shultz, who addresses every challenge with energy, optimism, keen intellect and wisdom. He is always looking to the future – with one exception. When George attended Henry Kissinger’s 90th birthday party, he reflected, “Ah, Henry — to be 90 again!” I also thank Sid Drell for proving many times that a brilliant theoretical physicist can make a profound empirical difference in the security of his country and the world.
All Americans should be grateful for the remarkable work that the people in this room have done to improve and ensure safety and efficiency in the nuclear field. Preventing accidents is absolutely essential. The future of nuclear energy depends equally on security: preventing the theft of weapons-usable materials—either highly enriched uranium or separated plutonium—that could lead to a terrorist nuclear attack. Nuclear energy also depends on avoiding a dangerous future where a state acquires technology for peaceful purposes, then uses it for nuclear weapons. Safety, security and nonproliferation are the three key links in the chain to assure the benefits of the atom for humanity.
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.