The Arab Winter

Two years after the start of the Arab Spring, no newly formed government has been successful at passing a new constitution. Progress in Tunisia has stalled. In Egypt, opposition groups are protesting what is seen as an Islamic leaning draft constitution. The new Libyan government is making progress but also dealing with internal militant and terrorist threats, such as those responsible for the Benghazi consulate attack. Syria is still embroiled in open civil war. Continue reading “The Arab Winter”

Syria Question Goes Before Congress

The question of whether to take military action against Syria is before Congress and has drawn support from some key members of both parties. On Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry began to make the case for intervention, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey sitting beside him outlining the parameters of the strike. Continue reading “Syria Question Goes Before Congress”

Syria is Unraveling

With reports from Russia coming out that the Syrian rebels have used chemical weapons, a conflict that has claimed over 40,000 lives continues to descend into chaos. All the while the Obama Administration does nothing. All of our policies are reactionary. We see smoke, but we wait for a fire. We can be sure that Iran is not taking such a passive role. Continue reading “Syria is Unraveling”

Syria Assad Uses Chemical Weapons

Secretary of State John Kerry said today that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria against civilians is “inexcusable” and “undeniable”. “This international norm cannot be violated without consequences,” he said. “Chemical weapons were used in Syria. The Syrian regime maintains custody of these weapons.” The most recent use of chemical weapons in Syria, which Kerry alluded to in his speech, claimed the lives of between 1,000 and 1,800 people, according to the U.S. State Department. Continue reading “Syria Assad Uses Chemical Weapons”

Reactions to Obama’s Syria Actions

Yesterday, President Obama spoke on his plan for tackling the Syrian chemical weapons problem. He urged Congress to postpone their vote on authorizing military force (authorization he requested but says he doesn’t need), which looked like it would be voted down. He attempted to make the case for a limited military strike against Assad, which would not be intended to oust Assad. Instead the limited strike would be intended to deter Assad from further chemical weapon use. Obama repeatedly said that such an attack would not involve “boots on the ground”. Continue reading “Reactions to Obama’s Syria Actions”

Nuclear Disarmament

In a speech in Berlin today, President Obama called for another nuclear-arms reduction. This follows the 2010 New START treaty in which the U.S. and Russia agreed to cut strategic nuclear arms to 1,550 warheads by February 5, 2018. Obama’s new proposal called to cut that number by a third, to between 1,000 and 1,000 warheads. Continue reading “Nuclear Disarmament”

North Korean Tensions Escalate

Tensions on the Korean peninsula continue to escalate in the aftermath of the February nuclear tests by North Korea. North Korea has announced plans to restart a nuclear reactor that was shut down in 2007 as part of an international aid deal. In the past week, the U.S. has sent B-52s, B-2s, and F-22s over South Korea in recent annual military drills as a show of force. Additionally, the U.S. has positioned two guided missile destroyers in South Korean waters. Continue reading “North Korean Tensions Escalate”

Mali: Is the U.S. Getting Involved in Another War?

Monday the United States signed a status-of-forces agreement with Niger that would allow the U.S. to fly drones from Nigerian air strips into neighboring Mali. Additionally, the U.S. is letting France use three of its air tankers for troop transport and mid-air refueling. The U.S. role in Mali is currently limited to support and intelligence gathering, with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta indicating that a ground troop presence is unlikely. Continue reading “Mali: Is the U.S. Getting Involved in Another War?”

Negotiating with Iran

New Secretary of State John Kerry is offering the Iranian government the opportunity to hold bilateral talks directly with Washington. This is a strong departure from former multi-nation talks that usually involved the Permanent U.N. Security Council Members plus Germany (P5+1). At the same time, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a statement this week indicating that Iran continues to violate the terms of existing U.N. Security Resolutions in their attempts at enriching uranium to the point that it may be used for military purposes. Continue reading “Negotiating with Iran”