Foreign Policy

Jimmy Carter: President Obama’s Middle East Policy Sucks

By on 10.8.14 | 3:50PM

Jimmy Carter is not an expert in Middle Eastern foreign policy. Or, at least, he wasn't an expert when Middle East foreign policy was happening to him. But now, after decades away from the limelight, after building countless homes for America's impoverished families and speaking regularly on the scourge of Israel's right to self-defense, Jimmy Carter has, apparently, acquired enough foreign policy acumen to entice CNN to interview him on the current situation with ISIS.

Or they figure if anyone would know how to functionally dismantle an entire region, it would be Jimmy Carter. 

Either way, Jimmy Carter, the man best known for messing up our Middle East foreign policy, cannot begin to explain to you how badly President Obama is messing up our Middle East foreign policy.

Former President Jimmy Carter said President Barack Obama "waited too long" to go after ISIS and criticized what he described as the president's changing foreign policy.

Joe Biden Calls UAE Prince to Apologize for Being Joe Biden

By on 10.6.14 | 12:54PM

President Obama recently collected a loose coalition of Arab states in support of his anti-ISIS bombing campaign in Iraq. Unfortunately for the administration, however, while they may have considered the typical pitfalls to air operations over the Middle East, they failed to consider the cost of deploying their nearest diplomatic weapon: Vice President Joe Biden.

After noting that his own job was something of a "bitch" to manage on Thursday, the Vice President apparently went on a short tirade against several key coalition partners, accusing Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE of funding and arming extremist groups linked to Al Qaeda. Because if there was ever a time to call out friendly Arab nations for their less-than-clandestine support of radical Islamic lunatics hell bent on destroying the last remaining vestiges of civilization on the Arab penninsula, it's when you're reliant on them to call yourself a "global response" to jihad.

America Can’t Continue to Ignore Middle East Christians

By on 7.23.14 | 10:57AM

The cause of religious liberty galvanizes Americans of faith, yet America's foreign policy has ignored religion to the point of harming her interests and moderate allies in the Middle East.

"America is really, by virtue of its foreign policy, distanced from our natural allies," Andrew Doran, one of the founders of the group In Defense of Christians, told TAS. "They've actually been marginalized over the last several years [by our] commitment to procedural democracy." 

Doran described meeting a Christian man in Lebanon who, having never visited America, asked why Americans do not act when Christians face persecution in the Middle East. Doran told him most Americans do not know that any Christians live in the Middle East. 

"He was dumbfounded," Doran said. "You can tell that any sense of solidarity with the broader Christian world is gone, and they suddenly feel very alone."

Polls Give a Nod to Non-Interventionists

By on 7.21.14 | 3:12PM

As politicians across the country continue to fight amongst themselves over wedge issues that the average voter does not care about—specifically birth control—Ukraine, Iraq, Israel, and several other countries are on fire. As foreign policy continues to come to the forefront, a debate is raging over what involvement the United States should have in helping settle these crises. One thing, however, is clear: the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are losing popularity.

According to a poll done by Politico, while Republicans have a seven-point advantage on foreign policy, the hawks are losing their edge by a wide margin:

In the big picture, two-thirds of respondents agreed with the statement that U.S. military actions should be “limited to direct threats to our national security.” Only 22 percent agreed with the statement that as a “moral leader,” the United States “has a responsibility to use its military to protect democracy around the globe."

Bahrain Expels an American Diplomat

By on 7.10.14 | 5:48PM

American diplomacy in the Middle East is starting to resemble a giant game of whack-a-mole. On top of everything else, the government of Bahrain has now expelled an American diplomat.

Bahrain told Tom Malinowski, U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, that he was no longer welcome at their game on Monday. Marlinowski had the gall to set up a meeting with leaders of a Shiite political party. Bahrain is one of the Middle East's rare, majority-Shia nations, so a friendly chat with the leaders of a legal party that has been in dialogue with the government since 2011 seemed natural. The ruling family, however, is Sunni, and they did not take kindly to Malinowski's efforts to be inclusive of the majority of the population.

The government of Bahrain says there are no hard feelings about Marlinowski though. Apparently it says nothing about how they feel about us.

The Curtain Goes Up for Russia in the Middle East

By on 7.1.14 | 4:49PM

Perhaps Americans have forgotten how much of the Cold War was fought in the Middle East, but Russia has not.

Recent events in the Middle East have offered numerous opportunities for greatness in foreign intervention, and Russia, perhaps in a bid to regain the sort of international friend network we now enjoy, has been taking advantage of them.

Syria was Russia's first move. While the chemical smoke cleared and the United States floundered among red lines, Putin benificently arrived with a diplomatic solution. Perhaps it was an atypical role for someone who had spent the last few months supporting Bashar al-Assad's murderous regime; we all know how Russia always hates to see Uncle Sam in a difficult spot. In any case, Putin's plan to remove the chemical weapons from Syria has been largely successful—last week it was hailed as an "unprecedented collaboration" and "success" by the Washington Post and others.

Palestinian Groups Unite to Israel’s Dismay

By on 6.2.14 | 5:54PM

The reunion was highly unexpected, but governments can form quickly in the Middle East. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip are back together for now, at least politically speaking. According to the AP:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a national unity government Monday, formally ending a crippling seven-year split with his Islamic militant Hamas rivals but drawing Israeli threats of retaliation.

The formation of the unity government and Israel's tough response are part of a wider competition between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for international support since the collapse of U.S.-led peace talks between them in April. 

Trying to Outline the Obama Doctrine

By on 5.28.14 | 3:16PM

President Barack Obama outlined a four-point foreign policy plan emphasizing diplomatic leadership over military operations at a West Point Military Academy commencement address today.

The plan focused on moving away from American-led military actions and toward more efforts to support native forces fighting newer, more localized terrorism.

"You are the first class to graduate since 9/11 who may not be sent to combat in Iraq or Afghanistan," he told the 2014 cadets in Annapolis, Maryland.

Obama outlined his vision for American foreign policy after the planned pull-out from Afghanistan at the end of this year. The United States will 1) use military force unilaterally only against direct threats to American lives and livelihoods, 2) continue to fight terrorism as the biggest threat to America without direct invasion, 3) work to strengthen and enforce international order through institutions and alliances, and 4) support human dignity, especially by encouraging democratic and capitalist nations.

Rand Paul and the Foreign Policy Golden Mean

By on 3.10.14 | 5:26PM

On Friday, Senator Rand Paul gave a rousing speech at CPAC in which he repudiated almost the entire Republican foreign policy of the aughts, attacking unlimited government surveillance and calling for a new emphasis on civil liberties. On Saturday, he won the CPAC straw poll.

Few politicians have engendered such a philosophical shift as Paul, whose filibuster alone completely rewrote public opinion on drones. But the decisiveness of that shift can mask the fact that the details of Paul’s foreign policy, while not indecisive, are tough to nail down. Paul knows there’s a golden mean between the extremes of neoconservatism and isolationism, but he often sounds like he’s still searching for it.

Two days after calling for a less hawkish foreign policy at CPAC, Paul released this op-ed in Time magazine:

Liz Cheney Drops Out

By on 1.6.14 | 1:29PM

The 2014 Senate races just got a little less interesting—and perhaps that’s a good thing:

Liz Cheney, whose upstart bid to unseat Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi sparked a round of warfare in the Republican Party and even within her own family, is dropping out of the Senate primary, she said in a prepared statement Monday morning.

"Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign," she said.

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