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  • Issue Brief posted April 16, 2015 by Steven Groves U.N. Conference Debating a Ban on Autonomous Weapons: Understanding Key Issues

    This week, a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) is being debated at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva. The U.S. delegation has been non-committal on such a ban, and U.S. policy currently permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to pursue the development of LAWS in a responsible manner. At the conference, the United States should…

  • Issue Brief posted April 10, 2015 by Olivia Enos North Korea Should Be Held Accountable for Persecuting Christians

    In February 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) confirmed the world’s worst fears: North Korea is guilty of crimes against humanity.[1] In addition to the atrocities committed by the Kim regime, the report found that “there is no effective freedom of religious belief in the…

  • Backgrounder posted April 7, 2015 by Dakota Wood, Charlotte Florance, James Phillips Intervention in Libya: Lessons in Leading

    Weeds of the Arab Spring The Arab Spring undoubtedly changed the political, economic, and security landscape in the Middle East and North Africa. More than four years after the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi and the catalytic explosion of the event on social media among Arab youth populations, authoritarian regimes quickly came under fire,…

  • Issue Brief posted March 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. Needs to Respond to North Korea’s Latest Cyber Attack

    On March 17, Seoul accused Pyongyang of conducting a series of cyber attacks against South Korean nuclear facilities in December 2014.[1] South Korean prosecutors assert that North Korean hackers were responsible for repeated disclosures of information, including blueprints of South Korean nuclear reactors gleaned from cyber attacks, as well as threats to extort money and…

  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2015 by Steven Groves The U.S. Should Oppose the U.N.’s Attempt to Ban Autonomous Weapons

    As many as 40 nations are currently developing military robotics.[1] Indeed, some weapons already in use may be considered “autonomous” (or may be easily modified to be autonomous). These include Raytheon’s Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), a “rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun system” designed to destroy incoming anti-ship missiles;[2] Israel…

  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Time to Reconsider U.S. Support of UNRWA

    The Palestinian Authority (PA), which was created by the Oslo peace process, has turned its back on negotiations with Israel and sought to pressure and delegitimize the Jewish state through the United Nations. Palestinian efforts to secure a one-sided Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the borders that existed before the 1967 Arab–Israeli War…

  • Commentary posted January 15, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. No, Senate Republicans Aren’t Blocking Reasonable Treaties

    Those nasty Republicans are at it again. Dennis Jett, former U.S. ambassador to Mozambique and Peru, writes in The New Republic that GOP senators are blocking “even the most reasonable international treaties.” As opposed, apparently, to that mythical entity, the domestic treaty. The ambassador proclaims the virtues of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which will somehow…

  • Issue Brief posted January 12, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, James Phillips Provocative Palestinian U.N. Actions Require Strong U.S. Response

    The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in assistance to facilitate peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite America’s financial support and its repeated diplomatic efforts, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has demonstrated little serious interest in negotiating a peace agreement that recognizes Israel’s right to exist, commits the Palestinians to…

  • Commentary posted January 2, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Israel Signs the Arms Trade Treaty: Unhelpful Appeasement for Implacable Enemies

    Last Thursday, Israel signed the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a treaty that supposedly prevents nations from arming terrorists and mass murderers. But in reality, the treaty’s advocates spend most of their time vehemently criticizing Israel, and, of course, the United States. Israel is understandably tired of the relentless criticism of the way it defends itself from…

  • Commentary posted December 19, 2014 by Stephen Moore The great Lima climate change shakedown

    The global warming brigades from around the world gathered last week at a United Nations climate change conference in Lima to save the planet. The nations from across the planet were supposed to link hands and all would agree to slash their green house gas emissions. Instead the conference was a complete dud. That might be putting it charitably. The BBC described the…

  • Commentary posted December 12, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. FiveThirtyEight Gets Land Mine Data Wrong and Makes It Look like a Bad Treaty Is Working

    Last week, FiveThirtyEight’s Brittany Lyte wrote that casualties caused by land mines fell 25 percent in 2013, to 3,308, the lowest level on record, supposedly because of increasing compliance with the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. But the decline may not exist – and if it does, that treaty, which President Obama is trying to get the U.S. to comply with, can’t have…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Ambassador Terry Miller Argentina's Debt Crisis: Country Turns to UN to Avoid Accountability

    Defaulting on sovereign debt is never a good strategy.  Just ask Argentina. The South American nation has defaulted 10 times—most recently this summer—on its international obligations and has experienced sharp economic decline as a result. In the early 1900s, Argentina ranked among the world’s top 10 in per capita income. By 2012, it had fallen to 55th. Rather than…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer Who Needs UNIDO?

    The United States did something highly unusual 18 years ago. It withdrew from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The move came after lengthy assessment concluded that UNIDO lacked a clear purpose and was generally ineffective. What made the action all the more remarkable was that it was done at the direction of Democratic President Bill…

  • Issue Brief posted October 29, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Not Rejoin the United Nations Industrial Development Organization

    The United States withdrew from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1996 after concluding that the organization lacked a clear purpose and was generally ineffective. With support from the Clinton Administration, Congress refused to pay arrears that the organization claims are owed by the United States. Since this decision, UNIDO has…

  • Commentary posted September 30, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Obama's UN Speech Reveals Why Arms Trade Treaty is so Dangerous

    Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, President Obama said that all nations “must meet our responsibility to observe and enforce international norms.” What he meant by that wasn’t exactly clear, starting with what those norms are, and who gets to define them. But that kind of thinking on the president’s part is precisely why the United Nations Arms Trade…