Tag: International Relations

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Lesson(s) of Iraq

 

Iraq-Mp2 Though the situation is still very fluid, there’s a real chance that our efforts at nation building in Iraq will soon come to naught. Given our investment of time, treasure, and blood in the country — to say nothing of the prospect of a wicked and hostile Islamic state taking its place — this is deeply depressing. It’s bad enough for those of us who are simply patriots. I can only imagine how those who fought there must feel.

On the assumption that things don’t turn around, it’s important that we figure out what led to this. As I see it, our failure is likely attributable to one of three causes: 1) That we left too early because we were insufficiently committed; 2) That our humanitarian scruples prevented us from fighting with sufficient violence; or 3) That Iraqis never had it in them to transition to a modern, small-l liberal state.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Saving Ukraine … with Night Vision Goggles

 

shutterstock_31342912President Obama’s National Security Council has announced the allocation of $5 million for Ukraine amid the ongoing armed conflict in the southeastern part of the country, money that’s going to go to the purchase of things like night vision and body armor. This gesture is similar to the announcement after Crimea’s annexation that several hundred U.S. troops would take part in maneuvers in Poland and the Baltic States.

If Ukraine uses the entire $5 million to buy top- of-the-line night vision goggles, its hard-pressed army could get exactly 556 pairs … to fight a Russian mercenary army that numbers in the thousands.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Truth About Ukraine

 

shutterstock_167810666Yesterday, President Obama gave a commencement address to the cadets at West Point. Here’s what he said about Ukraine:

This weekend, Ukrainians voted by the millions. Yesterday, I spoke to their next president. We don’t know how the situation will play out, and there will remain grave challenges ahead, but standing with our allies on behalf of international order, working with international institutions, has given a chance for the Ukrainian people to choose their future — without us firing a shot.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge: Michael McFaul’s Advice for Vladimir Putin

 

In our recent conversation for Uncommon Knowledge, I asked the Hoover Institution’s Michael McFaul — only a few months removed from his tenure as the US Ambassador to Russia — what advice he would give Vladimir Putin if he were guaranteed the Russian president would listen. Here’s how he answered:

 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Podcast: Israel and the Arab Turmoil, with Itamar Rabinovich

 

In a one-off podcast for the Hoover Institution, I recently sat down with Itamar Rabinovich, President of the Israel Institute and former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. (he also spent three years as Israel’s chief negotiator with Syria). In this talk, Ambassador Rabinovich takes us on a guided tour of the Arab Middle East and explains how the situations in Syria, Egypt, Iran, and other countries in the area will affect the future of Israeli security.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. When International Law Doesn’t Work—John Yoo

 

Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its continuing military pressure on Ukraine demonstrates that the United Nations-centered system of international law has failed. The pressing question is not whether Russia has violated norms against aggression – it has – but how the United States and its allies should respond in a way that will strengthen the international system.

It should be clear that Russia has violated the U.N. Charter’s restrictions on the use of force. It has resorted to “the use of force against the territorial integrity” and “political independence” of Ukraine in violation of Article 2(4) of the Charter’s founding principles. Russia has trampled on the fundamental norm that the United States and its allies have built since the end of World War II: that nations cannot use force to change borders unilaterally.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Why Did Anyone Believe That Power Politics Went Away?

 

Be sure to read this piece by Raphael Cohen and Gabriel Scheinmann, which serves to remind us that, even though it is not the 19th century, nation-states still play the Great Game. There is nothing particularly earth-shattering in this revelation, but it has to be emphasized nonetheless because the Obama administration—through the comments of Secretary Kerry—seems to have thought that international power politics were a thing of the past. The Administration ought to have known better than that, but, for a time, it seemed to pretend not to know. If that kind of naïveté doesn’t bother you, you are more laid back than I am.

The following excerpt is especially worth pondering:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Space Invaders — Rob Long

 

This either bothers you or it doesn’t. From Yahoo News:

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the air force to adopt an integrated air and space defence capability, in what state media on Tuesday called a response to the increasing military use of space by the United States and others.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Why “More Freedom” Isn’t the Solution to the Crisis in the Crimea — Rico

 

Fred Cole’s post, “Thoughts on a Libertarian Solution to the Crisis in the Crimea,” posted yesterday, has sparked an energetic conversation in the comments—a success in that regard and well worth reading. But while libertarian thoughts were aired, *SPOILER ALERT* those thoughts were not woven into a solution.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. This Ends With a Moscow Beer Summit

 

The typical conservative criticism of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy — one yours truly has indulged on repeated occasions — is that it fails to account for willful aggression. Under the White House’s reading of the world, there are no animosities, just misunderstandings. Given this line of reasoning, the imperative of international relations is not so much deterring hostility as it is lifting our antagonists out of their false consciousness.

There are two varieties of liberal rejoinders to this proposition. The more forceful rebuttal is that this is nothing more than a caricature, a confusion of diplomatic subtlety with outright weakness. The more guarded version concedes that the president may have been naive in his earlier days, but has developed a more sophisticated reading of the world in office. Evidence for either is hard to find in the interview the president gave to CBS’s Scott Pelley this week, as reported by Politico:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. In Which I Offer Faint-Hearted Praise of Victor Yanukovych, or, A Letter to Dr. Rahe

 

shutterstock_176640020Dear Paul,

Your posts on Ukraine have turned my thinking right around: Either the United States stands up to Vladimir Putin over his invasion of a historically complicated but nevertheless sovereign nation or we’ll find Putin emboldened on the Black Sea and the Baltic, and other bad guys emboldened—well, everywhere from Syria to the inner counsels of the Chinese military in Beijing.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Putin Tightens the Screws — by Judith Levy

 

The always interesting Julia Ioffe has a chilling piece up at The New Republic about what Vladimir Putin and his associates have been getting up to back home while the rest of the world wrings its hands about Crimea.

Their moves include, among many others:

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