The Man Between War and Peace.
"As head of U. S. Central Command, Admiral William 'Fox' Fallon is in charge of American military strategy for the most troubled parts of the world. Now, as the White House has been escalating the war of words with Iran, and seeming ever more determined to strike militarily before the end of this presidency, the admiral has urged restraint and diplomacy. Who will prevail, the president or the admiral?" [Via Think Progress.]
posted by homunculus
on Mar 5, 2008 -
The China Factor in Pakistani Politics
"Pakistan’s alliance with China, which supports Islamabad’s confrontation with India and underpins its hopes for economic growth in its populous heartland, is probably a lot more important to Islamabad than the dangerous, destabilizing, and thankless task of pursuing Islamic extremists on its remote and impoverished frontiers at Washington’s behest."
posted by Abiezer
on Nov 8, 2007 -
The man who knew too much.
"He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court."
posted by homunculus
on Oct 13, 2007 -
William Pfaff argues against American utopianism
in foreign policy--a form of "manifest destiny" not limited to the Bush administration. The Bush administration defends its pursuit of this unlikely goal ["ending tyranny in the world"] by means of internationally illegal, unilateralist, and preemptive attacks on other countries, accompanied by arbitrary imprisonments and the practice of torture, and by making the claim that the United States possesses an exceptional status among nations that confers upon it special international responsibilities, and exceptional privileges in meeting those responsibilities. ... Other American leaders before George Bush have made the same claim in matters of less moment. It is something like a national heresy to suggest that the United States does not have a unique moral status and role to play in the history of nations, and therefore in the affairs of the contemporary world. In fact it does not.
Pfaff has been a columnist for the International Herald-Tribune, based in Paris, for the last 25 years. His website
includes an archive
of past columns. Previously
posted by russilwvong
on Jan 31, 2007 -
The Credibility of Power
. Daryl Press
, author of Calculating Credibility: How Leaders Assess Military Threats
, argues that in a crisis, the credibility of threats is primarily determined by the balance of power and the interests of stake; past history is relatively unimportant. As case studies, he examines the decision-making of Hitler and his generals during the crises over Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. "To this day, U.S. leaders ... are loath to reevaluate existing commitments for fear that doing so would signal irresolution. These fears, however, are greatly overblown." An example of US rigidity: Gideon Rose
on the end of the Vietnam War.
posted by russilwvong
on Jan 25, 2007 -
. Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman
of the Heritage Foundation) make a bipartisan attempt at a more realistic foreign policy, based on prudence and an understanding of others' interests, instead of a utopian belief in democratization. "It seemed to us that in [foreign policy] at least, the United States was almost coming to resemble some Latin American countries of the past, where rival hereditary political clans of 'Conservatives' and 'Liberals' clashed bitterly and even launched savage civil wars with each other - but in terms of real policy were virtually indistinguishable and equally wrong." [more inside]
posted by russilwvong
on Nov 5, 2006 -
Foreign Relations of the United States
, 1861-1960. Foreign Relations volumes contain documents from Presidential libraries, Departments of State and Defense, National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency, Agency for International Development, and other foreign affairs agencies as well as the private papers of individuals involved in formulating U.S. foreign policy. In general, the editors choose documentation that illuminates policy formulation and major aspects and repercussions of its execution.
This enormous collection of documents is now available online at the University of Wisconsin
. Example: Kennan's Long Telegram
, February 22, 1946. Some additional volumes are also available online from the State Department
. Via Curt Cardwell, on H-DIPLO.
posted by russilwvong
on May 17, 2006 -
is the name of a recently-launched blog written by the editors of Foreign Policy magazine, covering the same wide range of topics as the magazine itself does. Updated frequently and around the clock, informal and personal — I don't know if it's just because it's new, but they're doing a great job, and if you're a world politics and news junkie like me, it's fantastic.
posted by blacklite
on Apr 12, 2006 -
Cofer Black, Director of the CIA Counterterrorism center until May 2002 said before the 9/11 commission: “All I want to say is that there was ‘before’ 9/11 and ‘after’ 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off… ‘No Limits’ aggressive, relentless, worldwide pursuit of any terrorist who threatens us is the only way to go…”
Since that time there have been allegations of abduction and indefinite detention
in secret prisons abroad
, abuse in prisons within the U.S.
and the suppression of evidence
of coercion overseas in confessions in U.S. courts. (Ahmed Omar Abu Ali
). In addition to Amnesty Int’l, it’s getting the U.S. some UN attention
posted by Smedleyman
on Apr 7, 2006 -
The Israel Lobby.
Writing the London Review of Books, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Harvard University's Stephen Walt argue that American foreign policy in the Middle East has been diverted from the national interest by a powerful domestic Jewish lobby: [T]he thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.
The article is an edited version of a longer working paper (pdf)
. While the authors focus on the potency of the Jewish lobby, including organizations such as AIPAC
and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations
, they also point to the role of evangelical Christians who believe that Israel's existence is a necessary precondition of the Second Coming, a group whose importance has been remarked upon elsewhere
posted by Dasein
on Mar 17, 2006 -
The Utopian Nightmare
: "What is utopianism? It is promising more than you can deliver. It is seeing an easy and sudden answer to long-standing, complex problems. It is trying to solve everything at once through an administrative apparatus headed by “world leaders.” It places too much faith in altruistic cooperation and underestimates self-seeking behavior and conflict. It is expecting great things from schemes designed at the top, but doing nothing to solve the bigger problems at the bottom."
Also, be sure to check out the the 16 ideas, values and institutions that may not be with us 35 years from now written by a variety of interesting people and compiled as part of Foreign Policy's 35th anniversary (although not all are free or available without registration).
posted by loquax
on Aug 31, 2005 -
This paper outlines the major thesis of the larger work... that US foreign policy during the Cold War was not primarily about keeping the USSR out of Western Europe, but rather about promoting the global capitalist system on a worldwide stage... Three themes—strategic, economic, ideological—are introduced in support of this argument, and applied to the 30 case studies. They lead to the conclusion that in many of these interventions the US opposed leftist Third World personalities by supporting more right-wing local clients rather than centrists who were often available. These decisions almost always proved disastrous for the local societies affected, and often even were unfortunate for longer-term American diplomatic interests.U.S. Foreign Policy in the Periphery: A 50-Year Retrospective
. Related: With Our History, Spinning America's Image Isn't Enough
posted by y2karl
on Jul 1, 2005 -
A Spreading Treason
The vagaries of U.S. involvement in the Middle East were surely brought home to First Lady Laura Bush on her recent trip to Israel, on a tour of Jerusalem's holiest sites. At the Wailing Wall, where she placed a note in the Western Wall – as is the custom – she faced surly throngs of protesters shouting "Free Pollard Now!" The Pollardites also showed up earlier that morning, as Mrs. Bush paid a visit to the home of Israeli President Moshe Katsav: "Pollard, the people are with you!" they chanted.
posted by mk1gti
on May 25, 2005 -
For more than two centuries, nationalism in all its various forms—from the high-minded chauvinism of the British Empire to the virulent poison of Nazism—has been a familiar, and often negative, phenomenon. Emerging first in Europe, which it nearly destroyed and which has now apparently learned to control it, extreme nationalism still erupts from time to time in other parts of the world. The word "nationalism" never quite seemed to fit the United States, where continental vastness and enormous power have hitherto been tempered by an often-expressed distaste for empire and by the notion of world leadership by example. In the first years of the twenty-first century, however, in a dramatic departure from traditional policy, the spirit of unilateralism and militant nationalism began to dominate Washington's policies and attitudes toward the outside world.Extreme Makeover
- Brian Urquhart reviews America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism
. And here
is Gerald Rellick's take on the book. From Asia Source, a long and informative interview with Anatol Lievin
. From the Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley's Conversations with History, A Conversation With Anatol Lieven
. Also by Anatol Lieven, A Trap Of Their Own Making
posted by y2karl
on Feb 14, 2005 -
Thanks for the memories
..."I know it’s a fallacy * That grown men never cry
Baby, that’s a lie * We had our bed of roses
But forgot that roses die * And thank you so much..."
posted by growabrain
on Jan 28, 2005 -
The shift from Colin Powell to Condoleeza Rice at the State Department could have important implications for the future of American foreign policy. Some of the commonalities and differences between them are revealed in Powell's essay
, and Rice's essay.
(via Foreign Affairs)
posted by semmi
on Jan 19, 2005 -
If we were having this conversation in 1985, and I had said to you, “Four years from now the Soviet Union will collapse and in six years it will disappear,” you would have thought, “This is not a reliable observer.” But the U.S.S.R. is gone -- disappeared -- and we didn’t predict it. Russia today is a much smaller country than the former Soviet Union. The CIA had all the wrong data. We also made a mistake when we concluded that we had won the Cold War. We had almost nothing to do with what happened in the Soviet Union: there were internal issues and it certainly wasn’t Star Wars. We now know in detail how Gorbachev brought Sakharov out of exile in Gorky to address the Politburo on, “What would you do about a ballistic missile defense?” Sakharov said, “It’s easy to overwhelm it with missiles. I wouldn’t spend a ruble on it.” And they didn’t. But in mistakenly thinking that we won the Cold War, we strongly imply that we did something to cause that. Instead, the Soviet Union collapsed because of overstretch, a case of imperial overstretch. An Empire of More Than 725 Military Bases
An interview with Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback
and The Sorrows Of Empire
posted by y2karl
on Dec 1, 2004 -
Dreams of Empire, by Tony Judt.
Via the indispensable Arts and Letters Daily,
an excellent liberal-left critique of current American thought on foreign policy. In the past I've not been a huge fan of Judt, but events have proven him right more often than not, and these days I take him very seriously indeed. And he's an excellent writer.
posted by mojohand
on Oct 19, 2004 -
The World's Most Dangerous Ideas
: U.S. and European goals on most issues are quite similar. Both want a peaceful world free from terror, with open trade, growing freedom, and civilized codes of conduct. A Europe that charts its own course just to mark its differences from the United States threatens to fracture global efforts—whether on trade, proliferation, or the Middle East. Europe is too disunited to achieve its goals without the United States; it can only ensure that America’s plans don’t succeed. The result will be a world that muddles along, with the constant danger that unattended problems will flare up disastrously. Instead of win-win, it will be lose-lose—for Europe, for the United States, and for the world.
posted by gd779
on Sep 15, 2004 -
Voice of a Superpower
--Foreign Policy magazine puts together an interview with John & Jane Q. Public on us, the world, terror, and stuff--based on our responses to public-opinion polls from a wide variety of sources.
posted by amberglow
on Jun 7, 2004 -
In policy reversal, US signals possible acceptance of theocracy in Iraq
Bringing democracy to the area...Ladies: do we have some surprises in store for you. Is Iran to be the model? "The United States signaled its readiness to put up with an Islamic theocracy in future sovereign Iraq, with Secretary of State Colin Powell saying the US administration "will have to accept" any government created as a result of free and fair elections there. ..."
posted by Postroad
on May 16, 2004 -
Breaking the silence
Last night ITV1 in the UK ran a documentary that is unlikely to be shown in the USA. It is by a respected journalist called John Pilger and amongst other tidbits it shows Colin Powell saying in 1991 that Iraq poses no threat and also Condoleeza Rice confirming the same thing. It also quotes some US officials that the current bunch who seem to be running US foreign policy were known during the administration of Bush senior as "the crazies". Plus much more.
posted by donfactor
on Sep 23, 2003 -
Team B (from Outer Space)
Gordon Mitchell, author of Strategic Deception
, has recently penned a paper that investigates the process by which decisions about the quality of American intelligence are made. He highlights the role of Team B, a group of far-right conservatives who routinely debated against Team A, usually consisting of mid-level intelligence analysts. These debates were a commonplace during the cold war, and through a series of enthymemetic narratives that altered the conditions of proof, Team B was able to successfully beat Team A (time and time again) and move foreign policy further and further to the right. The cold war ended, and Team B ended with it. But now Team B is back in the form of the OSP, and the same movements are happening, this time challenging and compromising moderate foreign policy, including the more moderate portions of the Bush Doctrine. Is this structural device possibly to blame for the Iraq intel snafu, rather than some overt desire to lie and deceive? Your thoughts?
posted by hank_14
on Aug 5, 2003 -