In comparison to the cards that the United States holds and that this administration is not shy about using, I think the Russians are way behind in wielding power.
Power Politics and Diplomacy Archives
April 27, 2007 10:06 AM
June 28, 2007 10:08 AM
I think the first thing that Blair as envoy should do is to travel throughout the occupied Palestinian territories and meet with ordinary people. He should visit the only crossing point out of the West Bank and talk to people leaving or returning, and if he still wants more he can go to Erez and realize the enormity of the tight restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods. By simply going through the Israeli checkpoints, seeing the expanding illegal Jewish settlements and witnessing the absence of any political horizon amid the economic deprivation and hopelessness, he will know what he will need to do if he wants to succeed.
September 4, 2007 7:32 AM
It is very hard for a country to enforce such a policy on all its citizens and all its allies. Imagine that your loved one is next in line to be killed, as the Taliban have shown before that they will do. Would you support such a policy of non-negotiation?
September 19, 2007 10:17 AM
Generals only see things from a security perspective. In periods of transition there is often little choice but to have a general as the overall person in charge. The key is a timetable for returning to civilian rule.
October 2, 2007 11:19 AM
Burma's people deserve to be allowed freedom to decide their future without the heavy hand of an undemocratic military junta. But great care should be exercised when considering involving sports in political issues. For the most part, such attempts backfire and fail to accomplish the desired result.
November 9, 2007 12:50 PM
In a perfect world, it makes sense that a country’s own people know what’s best. However, the current Pakistani issue should be dealt with differently simply because the U.S. has been directly involved in Pakistan since the Musharraf coup. Therefore, it can't just wash its hands – at least not now that the self-appointed president and chief of the Pakistani army had decided to suspend the constitution and declare an emergency. A hands-off U.S. policy now would be tantamount to giving a green light to a dictator to do whatever he wants to do (so long as that includes crushing the kinds of people America wants crushed).
December 27, 2007 4:31 PM
The Question: After Benazir Bhutto's assassination on Thursday, what's next for Pakistan?
This is a sad story. Many rumors and stories will certainly be made about some conspiracy involved. One can't pretend to know the truth when writing from so far away, but some of the issues surrounding the last few months in Pakistan need to be talked about. It is clear that President Musharraf's undemocratic decision to declare emergency rule, to dissolve the court system and to bank independent media was just that: in other words, his attempts at retracting that decision were clearly just window dressing. In fact, the idea that democracy is no more than elections has proven once again to be futile. If democracy doesn't also include a truly independent judiciary, separation of powers, subordination of the army to civilian authority and of course a truly free media, it is not democracy. This has not been the case in Pakistan in the past few months, or in the past years, for that matter.
The U.S. role has to be talked about in all honesty. It isn't something for Washington to be proud of. I am not saying that the Americans have anything to do with what happened to Bhutto, but for sure they put a lot of energy into supporting Ms. Bhutto and pushed her to return to Pakistan when the country was not ready for her. The U.S. commitment to democratic change in Pakistan was never very convincing; there must have been behind-the-scenes dealings. Knowing a lot of that will certainly contribute to a better knowledge of the sad events that preceded and possibly led to this political and personal tragedy.
January 6, 2008 8:56 AM
The Question: The U.S. starts to choose a president this week. If you could send the candidates one message, what would it be?
My advice to the next U.S. president is simple. Run your foreign policy like you run your domestic policy.
You may be the legal president of the United States, but de facto you are also the global leader. Treat the world with the same equality that America attempts to provide to its citizens. Act as the world leader that you are by showing understanding and respect for people of all colors, backgrounds and religions.
Show respect to the UN. Reform it if needed, but then give it the necessary place to resolve international crisis.
End U.S. military interventions around the world. Create a mechanism in which peoples and governments are rewarded for their adherence to universally accepted human rights standards.
Finally, whatever you do, apply the formula of saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
February 19, 2008 2:21 PM
The Current Discussion: With Castro gone, will Cuba become America's 51st state?
It is a shame that Cuban-U.S. relations have taken such a partisan direction, but the future of Cuban-American relations are certainly going to be better than the past. We are sure of one thing this year: whoever wins the White House will certainly not be a radically anti-Cuba conservative. While U.S. policy against Cuba might have had some logic to it years back, there is no logic to it now.
While change is certain to take place in 2009 due to the new president and the absence of Castro, it is unlikely that that change will be major. Cubans will not change their policies quickly and neither will the American establishment. A lot of what will happen after the inauguration in 2009 will depend on the attitudes of the small group of radical American-Cuban Republicans who have been holding Washington hostage to their extremely radical anti-Castro policies.
June 23, 2008 1:50 PM
The question of whether trustworthy leaders are old news assumes that previous leaders were trustworthy. That might have been the case in the West during some crucial historical turning points, but in the Orient a trustworthy leader is more the exception than the rule.
Journalists are taught to be critical of politicians. The general population in many of the Arab countries doesn't need such training, nor do they need to worry about polls to have a position on their leaders. Those who are able to think independently are skeptical of their leaders, most of whom arrived in their position on top of a tank or inherited power because of blood relations to previous rulers. The absence of a rotating electoral process, an aggressive and independent media, or an independent judiciary doesn't help much in creating a sense of support for political leadership.
November 5, 2008 7:49 AM
The Current Discussion: What's the first thing you hope Barack Obama does as President-Elect?
The first thing the new president should do is to close Guantanamo prison. This could easily be the most visible way to restore the United States' standing as a country that respects the rule of law, truly opposes torture, and is willing to abide by international treaties. This can be done quickly and will have clear and visible impact. Any persons still in that awfuljail should either be tried in the U.S. or sent to their home countries, on condition that they be treated in accordance with international law.
November 5, 2008 3:27 PM
The most important aspect of any Israeli-Syrian talks (whether direct or indirect) is ideological. If the Syrians are talking to the Israelis then it is hard to defend Hamas and others from a position of opposing any recognition or legitimacy to the state of Israel. It is also a clear signal to the radical groups in Damascus which will undoubtedly affect their position as they fear to be totally ostracized if the talks bear fruit.
I agree with Professor Oren that it is difficult to compare Sinai with the Golan Heights because of the Syrian-Iranian connection. In recent months, however, one can
sense a certain cool between those two countries. There have been press reports and analysis that relations between Syria and Iran are not as high as they were in the past apparently due to the flirtation going on between Syria and the US on the one hand and the Syrians and the Israelis on the other hand.
Additionally, the Iraqi crisis has dramatically altered the political geography of the region and has actually helped both Iran and Syria whose borders with Iraq force the international community to take it into consideration when designing any post US invasion plan for Iraq.