Archive for the ‘International’ Category

After Gadhafi, questions for Libya as well as NATO

Libyans will determine whether Moammar Gadhafi’s reported death today ultimately marks a new, more hopeful beginning for their nation, or simply another milepost on the brutal road they’ve been traveling for four decades. Gadhafi’s demise is undoubtedly a gain for them and for the world. But will it be augmented by strides toward democracy and peace, or negated by the rise of a new strong man in his place?

Revolutions keep their own time, whether aided by outsiders or not. Iraq’s future is brighter today than before the American overthrow of Saddam, but there were many, many dark moments along the way. Just next door, and two and a half decades earlier, Iranians’ U.S.-aided rebellion against the shah led to a militant theocracy that puts them in increasing peril. In Egypt, many of us who were encouraged by the uprising in Tahrir Square this spring have been discouraged by events since then. Heck, even the greatest, most enlightened collection of founding fathers the world has …

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Poll Position: Was Iran murder plot an act of war against U.S.?

There have been few assassination plans more outrageous than the one recently prevented in Washington and revealed Tuesday. An Iranian-American man and an officer in the Iranian military’s elite Quds Force are charged with attempting to hire Mexican drug traffickers to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., and perhaps dozens of bystanders, at a Washington restaurant. The plot was foiled because the man the Iranians contacted, believing he was a member of the Zetas drug cartel, was an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Would the assassination of a Saudi diplomat in Washington have constituted an act of war?

  • No (120 Votes)
  • Yes, and we should have retaliated (98 Votes)
  • Only if Terhan was fully behind it (50 Votes)
  • Yes, but deserving of a non-military response (30 Votes)
  • Only if Americans were killed (27 Votes)

Total Voters: 325

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One doesn’t have to be a “truther” about the alleged plot to wonder why the Iranian government — or elements …

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Finally: Some good news from Congress on trade, jobs

Bipartisan actions to boost the economy at minimal cost to taxpayers are possible, after all. From Politico:

Congress on Wednesday approved three long-stalled free-trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

Both the Senate and House sent the free-trade agreements to the White House with large bipartisan majorities…. Advocates say the deals will result in the export of billions of dollars of U.S. goods and boost hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

And the House doubled the pleasure by shooting down the China currency bill that doesn’t address our real trade problems with Beijing and might instead spark a harmful trade war.

Good news, and good news. Let’s just leave it at that for once.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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Georgia will lose if U.S.-China trade is less free, more hostile

We have a trade problem with China. But Georgians will pay dearly if Congress keeps taking the wrong approach to solving it.

That approach is to punish China for currency manipulation. The bill being debated in the U.S. Senate applies to any country that Washington deems to have undervalued its currency and hurt our exports. But China, with which we had a $273 billion trade deficit last year, is the target.

Beijing’s manipulation of its currency, the yuan, has been a favorite bogeyman of members of Congress for years — most notably Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Generally speaking, when politicians from both major parties continue to flog an issue for years on end, it makes for much better politics than policy. The currency bill would not solve our problems with China, real or imagined.

First, the imagined problem: that yuan manipulation contributes to our high unemployment rate.

The yuan was most undervalued versus the dollar from the mid-1990s to …

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Isakson opposes U.N. recognition of Palestinian state outside peace process

We appear to be headed toward a showdown at the United Nations later this week concerning Palestinians’ attempt to bypass the peace process with Israel and win international recognition for a state of their own. Israel’s government has long accepted the principle of a two-state solution to the world’s thorniest conflict. But the Palestinian Authority’s dalliances with Hamas — the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip and refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist — has prevented any progress on the outstanding issues between the two sides, such as the borders of each state. Now, Palestinian leaders are going for broke at the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week.

One person who’s been active in trying to forestall such a development is Georgia’s Johnny Isakson, who serves on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He’s co-signed letters to leaders of African nations asking them to vote against recognition of a Palestinian state (he’s ranking member of …

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Ten years after 9/11, the terrorists have not won

“. . . or the terrorists win.”

In the weeks after That Day — if you’re aware enough to be reading this blog, you know which day I mean — that became the standard by which we judged any action even tangentially tinged by terrorism.

The premise was simple. Given enough time and national will, our military would defeat the Taliban and al-Qaida. A succession of attacks, even on a smaller scale than those of 9/11, seemed possible — but unlikely to bring our nation to its knees. So the thing to guard against was subtle submission to fear.

By Thanksgiving 2001, the Los Angeles Times was lamenting the overuse of “or they win”: from the Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival (in a plea against canceling events due to fears of an attack) to Martha Stewart (”To me,” she wrote in a memo concerning employee Christmas parties, “the terrorists have certainly succeeded if so few of you participate in a companywide effort to ‘get together.’ “).

By New Year’s Eve 2002 in New …

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The continuing European turbulence, and the bad idea for easing it

Europe’s financial and sovereign-debt crises continue to grow, sending stock markets tumbling again Monday as they have been doing off and on for about a month now. What once was only whispered among certain European elites — creating a central taxing and spending authority for the euro currency zone — is now being spoken out loud very plainly. It would mean the birth of what I’ll call a “suprasovereign,” as a New York Times article describes:

The idea is to create a central financial authority — with powers in areas like taxation, bond issuance and budget approval — that could eventually turn the euro zone into something resembling a United States of Europe.

Or, as British lawmaker Sajid Javid writes in the Wall Street Journal Europe:

Let’s be clear what that would mean: a single treasury, tax regime, welfare system and public-borrowing function.

And it would fail spectacularly. Pay attention to this unfolding story, because it could have a huge impact on the 21st-century …

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How WikiLeaks became what it claims to oppose

The latest WikiLeaks outrage — the publication of 250,000 confidential U.S. State Department cables, complete with the names of thousands of U.S. informants living in oppressive regimes — is summarized well in this article by Spiegel International. For more background, a former WikiLeaks employee writes at the Guardian about the corrupt, secretive and unaccountable culture within the organization.

This excerpt about Belarus, otherwise known as Europe’s last dictatorship, illustrates perfectly how the WikiLeaks gang has undermined its own alleged principles:

Dismay mounted, however, with the arrival of Israel Shamir, a self-styled Russian “peace campaigner” with a long history of antisemitic writing. Shamir was introduced to the [WikiLeaks] team under the pseudonym Adam, and it was only several weeks after he had left –- with a huge cache of unredacted cables –- that most of us started to find out who he was.

Press enquiries started to trickle in. A little research revealed …

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With killing of al-Qaida’s No. 2, some good news — finally

For a nation in need of some good news, the killing of perhaps the most important person in al-Qaida’s post-bin Laden leadership certainly qualifies. From the Associated Press:

U.S. and Pakistani officials said Saturday that al-Qaida’s second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, delivering another big blow to a terrorist group that the U.S. believes to be on the verge of defeat.

Al-Rahman was killed Monday in the lawless Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan, according to a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity to discuss intelligence issues. …

A Libyan national, al-Rahman never had the worldwide name recognition of [Osama] bin Laden or bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. But al-Rahman was regarded as an instrumental figure in the terrorist organization, trusted by bin Laden to oversee al-Qaida’s daily operations.

At the Washington Post, David Ignatius explains a bit further why al-Rahman might have been a bigger target than …

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Poll Position: Is Obama getting short shrift for Libya?

The Libyan civil war appears to be reaching its climax, with the rebels having overrun Tripoli and Col. Moammar Gadhafi nowhere to be seen, only heard as he issues desperate calls to arms to extend his 42-year reign. An Associated Press dispatch Thursday began with this gruesome scene:

The streets where rebel fighters bombarded snipers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were strewn with bullet-ridden corpses from both sides Thursday. Streams of blood ran down the gutters and turned sewers red.

At the Washington Post, columnist E.J. Dionne is concerned that President Obama isn’t getting the credit due him:

It’s remarkable how reluctant Obama’s opponents are to acknowledge that despite all the predictions that his policy of limited engagement could never work, it actually did.

Let it be said upfront that the rout of Gaddafi was engineered not by foreign powers but by a brave rebellion organized inside Libya by its own people.

But that is the point. The United States has no troops in …

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