Tuesday, September 22, 2009
"We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? ... We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren't just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a 'Liberty' in reverse."
It is very disturbing that Mr. Brzezinski is suggesting we strike an IAF jet, period. And notice his last sentence where he says, "a 'Liberty' in reverse." The USS Liberty was a Navy ship hit by an Israeli jet during the Six-Day War in 1967. An investigation ensued and they came to the conclusion it was a misidentified target. Regardless, simply by saying "in reverse" Mr. Brzezinski is obviously suggesting that the U.S. would fire on an Israeli jet.
We should be thankful that Mr. Brzezinski does not hold a prominent position in the Obama Administration. I hope people don't look at the Carter administration as an example of sound foreign policy; I'd be willing to bet those held for 444 days in Iran don't.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Last month, the Pakistani Taliban suffered a blow when their leader, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed by an American drone on Aug. 5th. Rumors of internal strife and the death of another top leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, pressured the Taliban to dispel these rumors. In a joint call to the media last Tuesday, Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rahman dismissed the rumors and announced that Mr. Mehsud would take over leadership of the Taliban, while Mr. Rahman would command the Taliban in South Waziristan, the Taliban stronghold.
Despite the change in leadership and rumors of internal strife the Taliban have continued to disrupt and spread fear. Last Thursday, a suicide bomber, said to be between fifteen and twenty years old, killed 21 Pakistani security personnel gathering to end their daily Ramadan fast near the border of Afghanistan. Days later, the Taliban killed sixteen cadets at a Pakistani police station and attacked a NATO fuel convoy headed to Afghanistan.
The United States is pressing the Pakistani military to be more aggressive and to find momentum in the blow dealt to the Taliban’s leadership. The military appears to have stepped-up its pressure as it was reported this weekend that they destroyed a terrorist training camp in the Swat Valley and captured 43 militants, including two commanders, yesterday.
But many question the desire of the Pakistani military to fight the Taliban. Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has a long history with the Taliban and has many supporters of the Taliban within their ranks. Amongst Pakistanis, the U.S. led war in Afghanistan is unpopular and many view India as a greater threat than the Taliban. Unfortunately, these are the issues the United States must deal with in their fight against terrorism. We should hope Pakistan’s successes continue and that they recognize the Taliban pose a very serious threat.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Last month, Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso called for general elections to be held on August 30th amid pressure from his own Liberal Democratic Party to step down. Just one day earlier, the LDP lost the majority to the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in the Tokyo assembly; its fifth consecutive loss in a local election. In the lower house, the DPJ currently holds 112 of the 480 seats, but polls suggest that the DPJ may control as many as 300 after the election.
Yukio Hatoyama, the leader of the DPJ and likely Japan’s next prime minister, could take relations with the U.S. in a very different direction than his predecessor. Mr. Hatoyama recently wrote in a Japanese magazine, "The era of U.S.-led globalism is coming to an end and we are moving away from a unipolar world toward an era of multipolarity.” The DPJ has already vowed to stop refueling U.S. military ships in the Indian Ocean and may question the future of the unpopular U.S. military bases in Japan. Since domestic issues have been at the forefront of the DPJ’s campaign many believe they lack real foreign policy experience. While it is hard to decipher what Japan’s new foreign policy direction will be, the U.S. should be concerned that their sphere of influence has shrunk and China’s may grow.
Monday, August 24, 2009
The release last week of convicted terrorist Abdel Baset al-Megrahi by the Scottish government has sparked much criticism from the United States. Al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.
Al-Megrahi was released from prison last Thursday on compassionate grounds – he is diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer - by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Mr. MacAskill decided to release Al-Megrahi to live out his final days in Libya under the condition that he would not receive a hero’s welcome upon his return; a promise the Libyan government broke.
President Obama’s administration has condemned Mr. MacAskill’s decision saying that Al-Megrahi should continue to serve out his sentence in Scotland. Yet, Mr. MacAskill is sticking by his verdict even as Scotland’s Labour Party distances themselves from his decision.
Rumors are on the rise as to what extent the United Kingdom played in persuading the release of Al-Megrahi and the motive behind his pardon. Many are suggesting it was an act to promote a future energy deal with Muammar al-Gaddafi’s oil rich state. Only time will tell if these accusations are true and the United States should hope they are not.
The United Kingdom has been America’s most steadfast ally in the War on Terror, but rumors like these question that allegiance. As for Scotland, their actions are inexcusable. A man responsible for the deaths of 270 innocent people deserves no mercy; he showed none.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Earlier this week, Taliban insurgents vowed to disrupt Afghanistan’s presidential election as roadside bombs went off in Kandahar, armed insurgents stormed a bank in Kabul, and a rocket struck the presidential palace compound. Fearing this violence would lead to low voter turnout, Afghanistan’s government barred the media from reporting on terrorist activity before Thursday’s presidential election.
This is only the second presidential election Afghanistan has seen since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. President Hamid Karzai is widely seen as the frontrunner, but his main opponent, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, has been gaining ground recently and many believe Mr. Karzai lacks the 50.1% majority needed to prevent a runoff.
The fear among Afghans is not only Taliban retaliation, but election fraud as well. It was reported in today’s Wall Street Journal that fraud has ranged from underage voting to fake voter registration cards to the bribing of election workers to support a specific candidate; all of which directly threaten the future of democracy in Afghanistan.
As Afghans take to the polls today, we must hope for a high turnout as a vote of confidence in democracy. But should election fraud rear its ugly head, Afghans will lose their confidence and their outlook will be: damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. -Sir Winston Churchill