|Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.
New York Times
North Korea's Test
For weeks, North Korea has been talking about plans to launch a rocket sometime between April 4 and 8. Whether it intends to put a satellite in orbit — as it claims — or test a long-range missile, as the Obama administration and many others suspect, Pyongyang has fueled dangerous new tensions in East Asia.
Where's Our Man in Iraq?
A prominent tribal sheik — the top vote-getter in January's Provincial Council election in Anbar Province — recently told me and Marine leaders in Falluja that Iraqis were concerned that no one had heard from or seen the new American ambassador. This influential man wondered aloud if Washington policymakers were purposely and deviously pursuing a strategy of silence.
Israel on Trial
Chilling testimony by Israeli soldiers substantiates charges that Israel's Gaza Strip assault entailed grave violations of international law. The emergence of a predominantly right-wing, nationalist government in Israel suggests that there may be more violations to come. Hamas's indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians also constituted war crimes, but do not excuse Israel's transgressions.
Don't mention the war: Observations on Serbia
Imagine if, ten years ago, your country had been bombed in contravention of international law for 78 days and nights, leading to the death or injury of more than 1,500 people, and that the reasons for the attack had subsequently been exposed as fraudulent. You would reasonably expect your government to mark the anniversary with a series of official events, and to issue a strong denunciation of those who launched the aggression. But in Serbia, the pro-western ruling elite seems more concerned about keeping the US embassy onside than with commemorating the Nato bombing of ten years ago in an appropriate fashion.
In Defense of Genocide
For decades, summit meetings of the Arab League have resounded with rhetoric about the alleged "double standards" of the West in enforcing U.N. resolutions or respecting international law. No communique of the group -- including the one issued from its summit this week in Doha, Qatar -- has been complete without a demand that conflicts be resolved "within the framework of international legitimacy."
New Words for War
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently confirmed that the Obama administration has dropped the phrase "global war on terror." She didn't say why. "I think that speaks for itself. Obviously," was her elaboration. That raised a few obvious questions: Does the new administration believe the fight against al-Qaeda and other extreme Islamist groups doesn't amount to war? Is the threat to the U.S. homeland less, in President Obama's estimation, than that perceived by President George W. Bush? And does the United States still expect its NATO military allies to join in this newly unnamed, speaks-for-itself endeavor?
With a rocket, Obama's hope is shot back down to earth
History may one day record it as a stark irony - and let us hope an amusing one rather than the tragic kind - that on the very day that Barack Obama was sketching out to an adoring throng in Prague his vision of a post-nuclear world, North Korea launched a rocket that may one day give it the capacity to fire a nuclear warhead as far as 3,700 miles. This means, to get down to brass tacks, that it could hit Alaska.
Patience with Pyongyang
It happens that desperadoes hold groups of people hostage - for instance in planes or banks. Sometimes the police or military take some quick action or try some ruse to remove the danger. Sometimes they refrain from moving an inch for fear that hostages will be killed or some disastrous explosion set off. They may seek to talk the desperado out of his corner, perhaps offer to fly a plane hijacker to another destination after releasing his hostage. In many cases, they simply wait. Often - but not always - tiredness and exhaustion bring an end without drama.
Barack Obama can't make rogues like North Korea play by his rules
So the White House got its headlines: "Obama promises nuclear-free world"; "Obama: 'We will put an end to nuclear weapons'." Yes sir, this guy is good. Barack Obama "promised" what it was not in his power to deliver and everybody believed him.
Does he (or anybody else) really think he can persuade India and Pakistan to give up their beloved nuclear capability while they glare at each other over an ever more hostile and terrifying border?
Only Obama can save Iran from Israeli bombs
Tehran's growing nuclear capability mixed with the Netanyahu Cabinet's military experience. It could be a lethal cocktail
The Wall Street Journal
Let NATO Settle the Border Wars
The Obama administration will continue its tour of Europe at the 60th-anniversary celebrations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, where the historic organization finds itself at a crossroads. NATO's struggles in South Asia have shown that it cannot meet its mission requirements there on its own, a fact that the Obama administration has implicitly acknowledged through its recent commitment of U.S. troop increases in Afghanistan. The events in Afghanistan reveal that NATO continues to confront the legacies of strained trans-Atlantic relations, and they have overshadowed the existing debate among NATO members about the organization's future expansion efforts.