The ‘Long War’ May Be Getting Shorter

Posted by , 24th February 2011

Afghan warNathaniel Fick and John Nagl
2/21/2011

There is increasing evidence that Afghanistan is moving in a more positive direction than many analysts think and the country can achieve the stability and self-reliance necessary for a draw-down over the next four years. There are an additional 30,000 troops on the ground, more high-tech intelligence resources, and an increase in the Afghan Army troop strength. Two problems that still exist include the corruption of the Afghan government and the complicity of some Pakistanis with the insurgency, but military and civilian leaders are establishing a task force to investigate and expose corruption and are shoring up the parts of the border that the Taliban uses with Pakistan.

Fick, a former Marine captain, is the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security. Nagl, a former Army lieutenant colonel, is the president of the center.

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Egypt’s revolution to win or lose

Posted by , 9th February 2011

Egyptian RevoltsGeorge Will
2/9/2011

Events in the Middle East have taken the world by surprise. Even Israel’s formidable intelligence services and strong self-interest were unable to predict such a development. As the Egyptians have taken center stage, the protesters’ enduring nationalism must be taken as an encouraging sign: their hope is expressed positively rather than negatively against their national identity. The United States must be careful not to take a paternalistic approach to events in the region so that it does not alienate a new generation of leaders and states.

Will is a twice-weekly columnist for The Post and approximately 400 other newspapers, writing about foreign and domestic politics and policy.

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Up With Egypt

Posted by , 9th February 2011

Egyptian_Army_Soldiers_001Thomas L. Friedman
2/9/2011

The Egyptian army is, for the moment, staying neutral, but Friedman wonders if it will stay loyal to Mubarak or establish the army as the guarantor of a peaceful transition to democracy. In order for the second scenario to unfold, people need to see that the uprising is post-ideological, unlike Iran’s 1979 revolution. In Egypt the protests are about Egypt depriving its people of political rights and being forced to live with a declining standard of living. Rather than asking for Palestine or Allah, Egyptians are asking for the right to their own future.

Friedman is a New York Times columnist.

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Will Cuba Be the Next Egypt?

Posted by , 7th February 2011

Fidel CastroMary Anastasia O’Grady
2/7/2011

Developments in Egypt over the last two weeks have prompted O’Grady to think of Cuba and ask why a similar rebellion against five decades of repression there still appears to be a far-off dream. Part of the answer is in the relationship between the Castro brothers–Fidel and Ra├║l–and the generals. The rest is explained by the regime’s significantly more repressive model. Castro has bought loyalty from the secret police and military by giving them control of the three most profitable sectors of the economy–retail, travel, and services. In Cuba there are no opposition political parties, no access to the Internet, and rapid response brigades enforce the party line. Despite their unceasing efforts, Cubans can only dream about the freedoms Egyptians enjoy as they voice their grievances.

O’Grady writes ‘The Americas’ for the Journal.

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Date With a Revolution

Posted by , 31st January 2011

Egyptian riotMansoura Ez-Eldin
1/31/2011

Ez-Eldin was present during the beginning of the protests in Egypt and says those who began it and organized via Facebook and twitter it are angry at police cruelty and the repression and torture from Mubarak’s regime. He says it is not a plot of the Muslim Brotherhood. He reviews how the government used violence–including live ammunition–against peaceful protestors to prevent an ouster as in Tunisia, and the chaos that has devolved. He says silence is a crime and Egyptians will find a way to have their voices heard to the world to demand freedom and justice.

Mansoura Ez-Eldin is the author of the novels “Maryam’s Maze” and “Beyond Paradise.”

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Myth of the Hero Gunslinger

Posted by , 21st January 2011

GunmanTimothy Egan
1/21/2011

Regarding the Tucson tragedy, Egan looks at the response to arguments that people who are armed can defend themselves against assassins. In fact several people were armed at the scene and one person who thought of firing at the alleged murderer almost fired at the wrong person. In addition, most citizens are not trained well enough to react well in a violent confrontation. This is not enough reason to disarm citizens, but it is enough to discredit the canard that we need more guns in society. He cites studies that show that states with higher rates of gun ownership have much higher gun death rates.

Egan is a New York Times columnist.

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Sharing the Burden of Peace

Posted by , 20th January 2011

PeaceRobert Wright
1/19/2011

Wright says if America wants to actually cut defense spending it should correct the disproportionate role America plays as the world’s police. We not only foot the monetary bill for this role, but we also pay for the ill will as a result of playing this role. The United Nations Security Council is the mechanism through which threats to peace should be recognized, the military action necessary to deal with them authorized, and the burdens of that military action shared. Wright also suggests non-military ways for global governance to share peace. As our days of global hegemony are passing, we should craft instruments of global governance to assure security in a world we don’t dominate that will equitably distribute the costs of that security.

Wright blogs on culture, politics and world affairs for The New York Times.

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Mr. Obama, speak up for human rights in China

Posted by , 19th January 2011

Barack Obama and Hu JintaoYang Jianli
1/19/2011

The author makes an appeal to President Obama to consider human rights and the democratization of China when he meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao this week. He suggests that President Obama politely but pointedly ask President Hu about his father’s denunciation by the Communist Party and draw the parallel between Hu’s father and political prisoners like Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Obama could ask why Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo, remains under house arrest without being accused of any crime (Chinese law makes no provision for imprisonment without cause). Obama could then press Hu toward a more democratic approach to government, which would be in the best interest of the United States, China, and “all humanity,” says Yang Jianli. While the writer understands the potential awkwardness of such an encounter between Obama and Hu, he also recognizes the opportunity.

The writer is president of Initiatives for China and a Harvard fellow. He served a five-year prison term in China, from 2002 to 2007, for attempting to observe labor unrest. He is the liaison to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee on behalf of Liu Xia, the wife of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is serving 11 years in prison for his writings.

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When Congress Was Armed And Dangerous

Posted by , 13th January 2011

CongressJoanne B. Freeman
1/12/2011

From the 1830s-1850s, members of Congress wore weapons on the House and Senate floor and often used them, Freeman says. She looks at the history of violence in Washington, including an incident when Senator Henry Foote of Mississippi pulled a pistol on Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri during a debate. Things began to change after the invention of the telegraph, which promised instant publicity of these deeds. Now politicians are considering carrying weapons again to protect themselves against the public. Freeman says we are reminded that words matter and communication should be fruitful and civil.

Freeman, a professor of history at Yale, is at work on a book about violence in Congress.

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