Issue Brief posted May 16, 2013
U.N. Human Rights Experts: More Transparency and Accountability Required
Recent statements by United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Richard Falk rekindled a debate over how such experts should be held accountable when their behavior violates the conduct expected of them. Moreover, the scrutiny elicited by Falk’s statements has exposed the fact that funding for special procedures deserves more transparency, especially regarding…
Issue Brief posted May 16, 2013
Syria Crisis: U.S. Leadership Needed to Coordinate Allies
One negative implication of the Obama Administration’s “lead from behind” efforts on the worsening Syria crisis is that U.S. allies have independently stepped forward to advance their own interests by backing various rival groups within the ad hoc Syrian opposition coalition. These external aid efforts, often pursued with little coordination, have bolstered Islamist…
Issue Brief posted May 15, 2013
U.S.–Turkish Relations: Greater Cooperation Should Be Goal of Obama–Erdogan Meeting
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits Washington this week amid escalating and intertwined Middle East crises. Turkey is a key NATO ally that borders Syria, Iran, and Iraq: three major focal points of U.S. Middle East policy. President Obama should consult with Prime Minister Erdogan to coordinate policies on these three fronts and to encourage Turkey to…
Issue Brief posted May 14, 2013
After Pakistan Election, U.S. Should Still Press Counterterrorism Agenda
Pakistanis deserve credit for braving this weekend’s polls in the face of a ruthless campaign of bombings and shootings against candidates, election workers, public rallies and polling booths. With a fairly robust voter turnout of around 60 percent and marking the country’s first successful democratic transition, the elections represent a boost for civilian—over…
Issue Brief posted May 10, 2013
On Hezbollah, the U.S. Should Work Around the EU
The European Union (EU) has repeatedly failed to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. This failure makes Europeans and the Euro-Atlantic region less safe. It also shows the EU’s shortcomings when it comes to agreeing on common positions and demonstrates why individual European countries need to develop their own policies regarding national security.
Issue Brief posted May 10, 2013
In Meeting with Cameron, Obama Should Advance the U.S.–U.K. Special Relationship
President Barack Obama will host British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House on May 13. Publicly, it has been announced that the visit will be dominated by events in Syria, economic cooperation, countering terrorism, and priorities for the next meeting of the G-8.
Privately, David Cameron is likely to raise a number of sensitive issues, such as the U.S.…
Issue Brief posted May 7, 2013
European Court Errs in Decision on Terrorist Suspect Extradition
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has given an interim ruling that Britain cannot extradite Haroon Aswat to the United States. Aswat has been indicted in the U.S. on conspiracy charges related to the establishment of a terrorist training camp for radical Islamists in Bly, Oregon, in 1999.
By this decision, the ECHR, unless its decision is overturned, will have…
Issue Brief posted May 1, 2013
Syria's Chemical Weapons: U.S. Should Engage Syria's Opposition to Defuse Threat
President Obama yesterday backpedaled away from taking immediate action on the Syrian chemical warfare issue. Caution on the chemical warfare issue is warranted, and Washington should clearly establish the facts to rule out the possibility that the chemical warfare reports are misinformation or disinformation.
But as bad as the reported chemical attacks by Syria’s Bashar…
Issue Brief posted April 30, 2013
U.S. Should Oppose Return to U.N. Peace Enforcement
The U.N. Security Council recently adopted resolutions to create an “intervention brigade” to supplement the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and to establish the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
The Security Council’s approval of the Mali mission where there is no peace to…
Special Report posted April 29, 2013
Britain and Europe: Where America’s Interests Really Lie
The United States has a strong and continuing interest in a prosperous and stable Europe, but the policies and pronouncements of President Barack Obama and the U.S. Department of State are making that goal less, not more, attainable. This is especially true as regards current, very public U.S. pressure on Britain to stay inside the European Union, apparently…
Special Report posted April 26, 2013
Beyond the Plateau in U.S. – India Relations
IntroductionIn real terms, there is no denying the extraordinary progress in the engagement between India and the United States over the past two decades. Throughout, and even after, the Cold War, the world's two largest democracies remained estranged. In the first decade after the end of the Cold War, the two countries quarreled over nuclear nonproliferation; the U.S.…
Issue Brief posted April 24, 2013
Steadfast Jazz 2013 and America’s Commitment to NATO
In November 2013, NATO will conduct a military training exercise called Steadfast Jazz 2013. The exercise will be held in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. According to NATO, the primary purpose of the exercise is to certify command and control elements of its NATO Response Force. However, considering the size, timing, and location of the exercise, it will also help…
Backgrounder posted April 18, 2013
U.S. Must Demand Transparency and Accountability in Appointment of Top-Level U.N. Officials
Under the tenure of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the number of the highest-ranking U.N. officials has increased by an average of 35 percent (a 47 percent increase in New York and a 27 percent increase elsewhere). This expansion of top-level officials is troubling for a number of reasons, including lack of transparency in the nominating process,…
Issue Brief posted April 17, 2013
Congress Should Challenge the Administration’s UNESCO and U.N. Peacekeeping Budget Request
Secretary of State John Kerry is testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week concerning the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 request for the international affairs budget.
A number of items deserve scrutiny, but two in particular warrant opposition: (1) a request for changes in law that would allow U.S.…
Issue Brief posted April 9, 2013
Kerry’s First Visit to Asia: Where Is the Pivot?
While testifying before Congress regarding his nomination to be Secretary of State, then-Senator John Kerry indicated that he was uncomfortable with the Administration’s “pivot to Asia” and indicated that, in his view, this was neither necessary nor wise.
Whether then-Senator Kerry was enunciating a new position is unclear, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter…