Taking Disability Seriously

by PSA Staff | February 26th, 2014 | |Subscribe

Tara Sonenshine advises World Learning and is currently a Distinguished Fellow at George Washington University. She served as a member of PSA’s Board of Directors. The article was co-written by Don Steinberg. The article was originally posted in Foreign Affairs magazine.

Taking Disability Seriously

Sefakor Komabu-Pomeyie remembers having to crawl on the ground to enter her school in Ghana because there were no ramps for disabled students. At times, she even had to urinate on the floor; it was just too difficult to make it to the bathroom. Sefakor’s parents understood that their polio-stricken daughter would be out on the streets begging if she didn’t get an education, though, so they pushed her to stay in school. And she did. Today she is a graduate student and Ford Fellow at the School for International Training (SIT) Graduate Institute in Vermont. She also advocates for disability rights, particularly for those held back from education by lack of physical access.

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Sochi is Putin’s moment to show true Olympic leadership on Syria

by PSA Staff | February 7th, 2014 | |Subscribe

Madeleine Albright served as United States Secretary of State and is a current member of PSA’s Board of Advisors . This article was co-authored by Lord Malloch-Brown, Sir John Holmes, Mr Javier Solana, Mr George Soros, and others. Originally posted at the Financial Times.

Sochi is Putin’s moment to show true Olympic leadership on Syria

Sir, The Sochi Winter Olympics will deliver a dazzling spectacle, breathtaking athleticism and shimmering winter beauty. We will witness extreme feats of human bravery and see in the faces of the world’s best athletes the sheer tenacity and commitment that has gone into training for the games. Only 1,000 miles away, a very different spectacle unfolds.

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What are the Benefits of a CTBT?

by PSA Staff | January 22nd, 2014 | |Subscribe

Jenifer Mackby is a Senior Adviser at Partnership for a Secure America. She worked on the negotiations and implementation of the CTBT and has served in senior positions at a number of international organizations focusing on nuclear, biological, and conventional weapons issues. Mackby is the co-author of several books on these subjects and has appeared in The New York Times, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and National Defense University publications.

What are the Benefits of a CTBT?

While waves of generations in many countries have fought for a treaty to ban nuclear weapon test explosions, the U.S. Congress has been divided on the issue in recent decades. The Senate rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1999 by a vote of 51-48, putting it on the same side of the street as those it finds most unsavory– North Korea, Iran, Pakistan. In a 2009 bipartisan Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the U.S., the CTBT was the only issue on which they could not agree. However, given new political realities and new scientific findings about verification capabilities, many in the national security community now support the treaty and believe it should be re-visited.

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Aphrodite’s possibility: Everyone wins in the eastern Mediterranean

by PSA Staff | June 3rd, 2013 | |Subscribe

Marc Grossman is a Vice Chairman of The Cohen Group, a Henry Kissinger Senior fellow at Yale University and a former US Ambassador to Turkey.  Tom Miller is a member of the PSA Board of Directors, President of the International Executive Service Corps, a former US Ambassador to Greece, and US Special Cyprus Coordinator. This article originally ran May 31, 2013, in FuelFix (A Houston Chronicle Publication).

Aphrodite’s possibility: Everyone wins in the eastern Mediterranean

With the violence spilling over the border into Turkey in the form of car bombs, the crisis in Syria surely topped the agenda when President Obama met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week.

We hope they also took a few minutes to discuss the opportunity to make progress on one of the world’s most intractable problems  – the division of Cyprus — by harnessing  the discovery of a natural gas field about 100 miles south of Cyprus called Aphrodite.  Getting that gas to market could revive the Cypriot economy, enhance Turkey’s relations with Israel and lay the foundations to end Cyprus’ division, a requirement for Turkey’s long-sought membership in the European Union.

Because of the collapse of Cyprus’s banking sector, experts estimate its GDP could shrink by 15% this year and another 15% in 2014.  The EU’s first bailout plan initially created more controversy than confidence; it will take years for Cyprus’s GDP recover.

The Aphrodite field could change the trajectory of that recovery.  There are press reports that Houston-based Noble Energy, the company that found Aphrodite in 2011, estimates that the field contains 142 billion to 227 billion cubic meters of gas worth $45 billion at current prices. (more…)

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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United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

by PSA Staff | September 24th, 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.

In 2004 and 2007, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was presented to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and both times the Committee passed the Convention. However, the Convention was never brought to the Senate for a full vote on both occasions. With the United States Navy patrolling every ocean in the world and an American economy struggling with high energy costs, the United States Senate should ratify the Convention as soon as possible.

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The U.S. Needs the U.N., and the U.N. Needs the U.S.

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

This article authored by former Senator Alan Simpson originally appeared in the McClatchy Company news service.

The U.S. Needs the U.N., and the U.N. Needs the U.S.

Jan. 12 marked the second anniversary of the horrific earthquake that ripped Haiti apart. While we quite properly remembered the unthinkable loss of Haitian lives that day, less well remembered were the deaths that same day of more than 100 U.N. officials in the collapse of the building that housed the headquarters of the U.N. mission in Haiti.

They were there in an effort to help the process of nation building in Haiti and to assist with humanitarian relief efforts there. Their deaths remind us that the United Nations and its staff members serve in many difficult places working on the most difficult issues. Their efforts serve us all.

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William Cohen: What the U.S. Should Do About Iran

by PSA Staff | October 14th, 2011 | |Subscribe

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.

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Former Senator Danforth: Why the U.S. should keep the U.N. in business

by PSA Staff | June 7th, 2011 | |Subscribe

Former Senator John C. Danforth (R-MO), the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2004-05 and a signatory of Partnership for a Secure America’s 2008 statement on renewing the U.S.-U.N. relationship, authored the following op-ed in USA Today on how cutting U.N. funding will actually limit U.S. policy options while simultaneously increasing costs.

Congress has been debating United Nations reform and whether to limit U.S. contributions to hasten this reform in line with U.S. wishes. There is no debate over the need for reform. Particularly at a time of serious economic constraints, the United States must be judicious with its funding and maximize its impact. Accountability, transparency, and efficiency are essential requirements for the U.N., and the U.S. must not ease up on pressing for this needed change.

Rather, the real question underlying the debate is how we can best influence the institution to accelerate the adoption of reforms while not shutting down the organization’s work, decreasing U.S. influence, and costing American taxpayers more money.

Recent polling shows that Americans recognize the reality of today’s interconnected world. We can neither turn inward nor deal with the long list of national security challenges alone. Rather, U.S. taxpayers want our national security engagements to be right-sized, rightly timed, and rightly resourced. Policymakers need to have options to share foreign policy and national security challenges, and the U.N. gives us real tools to do so.

Why the U.N. still matters

A truly unique global body, the U.N. offers us the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with nearly 200 countries on a breadth of vital issues. Although imperfect, no other organization can provide the amount of global reach and influence offered by the U.N. (more…)

98.83% in Sudan: What’s Next?

by Taylor Jo Isenberg | February 11th, 2011 | |Subscribe

The announcement of the final result of the Referendum has marked the end of an era and today is the beginning of a new era in our history.  Today is a glorious day for all the sons and daughters of Southern Sudan.  It is a glorious day for the people of the Republic of the Sudan.  It is a glorious day for Africa and the world.  You have exercised your inalienable right to self-determination freely, fairly and peacefully.  You have expressed your freewill over your future.  By this official result of 98.83%, the whole world has heard your voice loud and clear!

-President Salva Kiir

Very few experience the kind of jubilation the Southern Sudanese felt when the results of the independence referendum were certified by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) and President Omar al-Bashir this week. Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, they went to the ballot box and at 98.83% of the vote walked away from a ruthless dictator with a knack for not only surviving, but thriving off his country’s misfortunes. The impromptu dance party in the capital of Juba said it all. On July 9th, 2011 Southern Sudan will become the 193rd country in the world and the 57th independent country in Africa. (more…)

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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.