August 12, 2014 BY: Stephen Schlesinger TOPICS: Foreign Policy, Addressing Challenges in the Afghanistan - Pakistan Region, Responding to Upheaval in the Arab World
Over six years of his presidency, President Obama has pursued a down-sized foreign policy that has mixed diplomacy, sanctions and force in varying measures to protect American national security interests abroad -- without involving US ground forces.
Obama began this approach from Day 1 of his presidency when he negotiated the withdrawal of all American soldiers from Iraq, our second longest running war, and then pulled most of US forces out of Afghanistan, our longest running war.
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The New Republic covers senior fellow Barton Gellman's most recent work for the Washington Post, which reveals the United States's strained relationship with Pakistan.
As the story notes, "Pakistan appears at the top of charts listing critical U.S. intelligence gaps. It is named as a target of newly formed analytic cells. And fears about the security of its nuclear program are so pervasive that a budget section on containing the spread of illicit weapons divides the world into two categories: Pakistan and everybody else." The real importance of the piece, however, is what it indirectly explains: namely, that even if the Pakistanis follow our wish and wholeheartedly pursue terrorist groups and Taliban elements, there is bound to be serious collateral damage, and a host of fresh problems.
The Atlantic covers senior fellow Barton Gellman's latest work published in the Washington Post, which reveals that the U.S. government is highly concerned with Pakistan's nuclear program and human rights violations.
Gellman's report "comes at a critical time for diplomatic relations between the United States and Pakistan. While the covert operation to kill Osama bin Laden ruffled feathers and raised questions of national sovereignty, the incident was just the most prominent example of American fears that the Pakistani government is not fully aware of what is going on inside its borders, which is especially worrisome given the cache of nuclear arms in the country."
TCF fellow Michael Cohen for The Guardian on how taking action against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad would help to further deter others from using chemical weapons. "If President Obama uses the attack as an opportunity to jump-start political negotiations between the Assad regime and the rebels," Cohen writes, "a punitive attack could potentially play a positive even constructive role in ending the conflict. Yet even if that fails, upholding the global set of norms and rules that have contributed to what is probably the least war-like period in the history of the species is not nothing."
July 11, 2013 COMMENTARY BY: TOPICS: Foreign Policy, Addressing Challenges in the Afghanistan - Pakistan Region
President Obama's determination to keep on the table the so-called "zero option" of a complete withdrawal of all American military forces from Afghanistan next year is not simply a bargaining ploy to bring to heel the country's mercurial president, Hamid Karzai, as readers of the New York Times this week might imagine. There are policy reasons for a complete military departure the president could find persuasive.
Yet at this point, he would do well to leave that option on the table. The case for leaving a "residual" military presence in the country, not for combat but for training and emergency back-up, is still the stronger.
Decisions on the size and capabilities of any residual American force remain linked to the successful conclusion of a bilateral security agreement between Washington and Kabul, on which Karzai suspended negotiations in the wake of the debacle over the opening of the Taliban office in Qatar. The Afghan leader's petulance, however, has only reinforced the appeal to Obama of making a clean break, and the failure of the U.S. military campaign over many years to meet the promises of commanders to eradicate the insurgency has understandably made him skeptical about their assessments on force levels.READ MORE
July 8, 2013 COMMENTARY BY: Neil Bhatiya TOPICS: Foreign Policy, Addressing Challenges in the Afghanistan - Pakistan Region
Al-Jazeera released a copy of Abbottabad Commission Report today, and the results don’t make Pakistan look very good. The report, which looks into the 2011 raid into Pakistan by U.S. Navy SEALS that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, charges Pakistani’s government with “culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government.”READ MORE
In the first years of the new century, an assertive foreign policy took a toll on the cultivated role of the U.S. as a responsible global leader. The Century Foundation's work in this area provides perspective on the international difficulties the U.S. is facing today, while providing policy recommendations to promote the nation's security interests. Our research and analysis focuses on effectively responding to challenges in the Middle East and Pakistan, as well as responding to international crime.
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