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Analysis + Opinion

July 17, 2011

The sacred and the humane

Anat BiletzkiNew York Times

Human Rights are all the rage. They have become, currently, a very popular arena for both political activism and rampant discourse. Human rights, as we all know, are the rights humans are due simply by virtue of being human. But there is nothing simple here, since both “human” and “rights” are concepts in need of investigation. 

Analysis + Opinion

April 20, 2011

Using refugees as weapons

Kelly GreenhillNew York Times

In the early days of what grew into the Libyan uprising, Muammar el-Qaddafi summoned European Union ministers to Tripoli and issued an ultimatum: Stop supporting the protesters, or I’ll suspend cooperation on migration and Europe will be facing a human flood of from North Africa. Given Libya’s history as an attractive transit point for North Africans seeking entry to Europe, it was a credible threat. For one thing, it has worked to varying degrees at least four times in the last decade alone.

Analysis + Opinion

April 8, 2011

When intervention is easy

Harvey Sapolsky & Ben FriedmanPhiladelphia Inquirer

For post-Cold War America, military adventures forever beckon - and their lessons are quickly forgotten.

Analysis + Opinion

October 25, 2010

Wikileaks docs underestimate Iraqi dead

John TirmanAlterNet Online

For all their value, the newly leaked documents will, unfortunately, reinforce the inaccurate lower estimates of Iraqi mortality.

Analysis + Opinion

July 28, 2010

An ancient tool for holding passions captive

Richard SamuelsBoston Globe

FOUR YEARS after a young corporal named Gilad Shalit was abducted by Hamas fighters who tunneled beneath the border from Gaza into southern Israel, the Mideast peace process remains trapped by a complex kidnapping drama. Israel and Hamas have exchanged deadly attacks and negotiated fruitlessly for an exchange of prisoners.

Analysis + Opinion

January 21, 2010

Tokyo and Washington celebrate their alliance — too soon

Richard J. SamuelsForeign Policy

The U.S.-Japan security alliance just had its golden anniversary -- but it isn't time to break out the bubbly just yet.

Analysis + Opinion

January 19, 2010

Playing politics with Japan's money supply

Robert MadsenWall Street Journal Online

The central bank is picking the wrong time and the wrong way to assert its independence.

Analysis + Opinion

October 2, 2009

Putting the ‘I’ in aid

Peter Bergen and Sameer LalwaniNew York Times

The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, is right to warn that efforts to rebuild that country depend on winning the “struggle to gain the support of the people.” And few issues do more to stoke the resentment of ordinary Afghans than the tens of billions of dollars of foreign aid from which they have seen little or no benefit.

Analysis + Opinion

September 25, 2009

Sanctions can’t be the centerpiece

Jim WalshNew York Times

With Iran, the more public the chastisement, the more likely the answer will be resistance, no matter what the cost.

Analysis + Opinion

July 2, 2009

Achieving detente with Iran

John TirmanBulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The apparently fraudulent Iranian presidential election and the domestic unrest have presented President Barack Obama with a problem. Since his own election, Obama slowly has tried to open a diplomatic path to Iran, which, while scarcely consistent or imaginative, had the potential to be productive. However, because of its violent response to the protests that followed the election and the election fraud itself, Iran's current leadership lacks both moral and political legitimacy, making bold U.S. diplomacy difficult.

Analysis + Opinion

May 22, 2009

Post-war Sri Lanka must uphold rights

Balakrishnan RajagopalThe Baltimore Sun

The Sri Lankan government's stunning defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was as swift as it was unusual in world history. Rarely has a government won so decisive a military victory against a long-running domestic armed group. However, this victory has come at a steep price.

Analysis + Opinion

April 19, 2009

Bold action needed on Iran

John TirmanBoston Globe

The reaction in Tehran to President Obama's remarkable video message last month and his speech in Turkey has been cautious, even abrupt, but it conveys something important. It tells us that we need to do more than speak pleasing words to transform 30 years of a bad relationship.

Analysis + Opinion

January 23, 2009

An alliance in need of attention

by Richard J. Samuels and James L. SchoffInternational Herald Tribune

Recently declassified Japanese documents have disclosed that after Beijing's successful nuclear test in October 1964, Japan's prime minister urged the United States to use nuclear weapons against China in the event of hostilities. "If war breaks out [with China], we expect immediate nuclear retaliation from the United States," Prime Minister Eisaku Sato told Defense Secretary Robert MacNamara.

Analysis + Opinion

January 14, 2009

Grieving over Gaza

Anat BiletzkiThe Nation

Some of us, as Israelis, are grieving over what we have become. Blaming the other side with a roster of rehearsed clichés cannot mitigate the grief.

Analysis + Opinion

January 6, 2009

Iran, Iran, Iran

William Luers, Thomas R. Pickering and Jim WalshNew York Times

Three of the most pressing national security problems facing the Obama administration - nuclear proliferation, the war in Iraq and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan - have one thing in common: Iran. All three challenges are, in principle, amenable to diplomatic solution, but only if we give it a try. Success on any of the three will not be possible without serious engagement with Iran.

Analysis + Opinion

August 20, 2008

All the oil we need

Eugene Gholz and Daryl PressNew York Times

While oil prices have declined somewhat of late, the volatility of the market and the political and religious unrest in major oil-producing countries has Americans worrying more than ever about energy security. But they have little to fear — contrary to common understanding, there are robust stockpiles of oil around the globe that could see us through any foreseeable calamities on the world market.

Analysis + Opinion

August 15, 2008

What counts as 'success' in Iraq?

John TirmanBoston Globe

A voluble attempt to describe the Iraq war as a success is widely apparent, and will increase as the Republican National Convention nears. John McCain is staking his campaign on this assertion. There is little doubt that the level of violence in Iraq has subsided noticeably in the last 12 months. But is this “victory”?

Analysis + Opinion

July 20, 2008

Surge protector

William J. FallonNew York Times

The prospect of a long-term security arrangement between the United States and Iraq has become a lightning rod for criticism. Yet such an agreement — which the White House believes could be completed this month now that the two countries have agreed to set a “general time horizon” for reducing the number of American troops in Iraq — would be in the best interests of the governments of both countries, and of the people who live in a region of the world that urgently needs stability.

Analysis + Opinion

June 21, 2008

Awaiting Japan's global vision

Richard J. SamuelsBoston Globe

There were times when Japanese leaders knew exactly what to do. In the late 19th century they knew Japan needed to build a "rich nation and strong army," so they mobilized the population and took them on a forced march to industrialization and international prominence.

Analysis + Opinion

June 19, 2008

What's next for Iraq?

Barry R. PosenBoston Globe

The month of May saw the lowest US casualties in Iraq since early 2004. But counterinsurgencies are not won on points.