The irrelevance of START

Posted by , 26th November 2010

new startCharles Krauthammer

Despite more urgent issues on the table (such as unemployment and tax ambiguity), President Obama considers his New START treaty of the utmost importance. But in these post-Soviet days the Russians are no longer a significant threat no matter how many weapons they amass. This is because it is not the number of weapons but the nature of the regime controlling them that is the issue. While much of the New START treaty with Russia is simply an irrelevant distraction, the fact that the president is ignoring the very real threat posed by the nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran is troubling and dangerous.

Krauthammer is a weekly columnist for The Post, writing on foreign and domestic policy and politics.

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What Is Kim Jong Il Up to Now?

Posted by , 24th November 2010

Korea AttackPeter M. Beck

North Korea’s attack on the South yesterday is a sign of internal pressures on the regime in Pyongyang and a warning that America’s current approach isn’t working. Beck considers realistic goals the international community can pursue to maintain stability on the Korean peninsula. He says the problem posed by Pyongyang will only resolve itself permanently once the Kim regime no longer rules. Until then–and despite efforts to destabilize the regime with sanctions, we can’t necessarily assume that day will come soon–the rest of the world needs to adapt to the reality of a North Korean regime in flux and, on yesterday’s evidence, prone to violent outbursts.

Beck is the Council on Foreign Relations-Hitachi research fellow at Keio University in Tokyo.

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Ghailani verdict makes stronger case for military detentions

Posted by , 19th November 2010

Ahmed Khakfan GhailaniBenjamin Wittes and Jack Goldsmith

The conclusion of Ahmed Ghailani’s trial has brought forth considerable criticism of President Obama’s insistence that such cases proceed in civilian federal courts. However, the popular alternative of a military tribunal is equally fraught and problematic; the detractors have not considered the unique difficulties of that venue or the likelihood of a similar result. The real alternative is continued military detention without trial. An acquittal outcome, risked in either venue, would present disastrous alternatives and should not be risked when an acceptable course of action is available.

Wittes is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Goldsmith teaches at Harvard Law School and served as an assistant attorney general in the Bush administration. Both are members of the Hoover Institution’s Task Force on National Security and Law.

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Has Airport Security Gone Too Far?

Posted by , 17th November 2010

Airport SecurityNoah Shachtman

Shachtman considers whether the TSA’s tech-centric approach to security makes any sense at all. The TSA is asking for public cooperation in unduly intrusive and revelatory x-ray images in exchange for incremental, uncertain security improvements against particular kinds of concealed weapons. Now pilots and travelers are rebelling against scanners that douse them with radiation and reveal their private parts. TSA has long hewed to an unthinking, unbending approach to security that prompts Shachtman to cast doubt on both the efficacy of the new measures and the agency.

Shachtman is a contributing editor at Wired magazine and a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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Why Rush to Cut Nukes?

Posted by , 10th November 2010

Nuclear armJohn R. Bolton and John Yoo

The Senate should heed the will of the voters and either reject the New Start arms control treaty or amend it so that it doesn’t weaken America’s national defense. They look at the problems with the treaty, including how the low limits it places on nuclear warheads ignores the disparities between American and Russian global responsibilities and how America’s “nuclear umbrella” maintains international security. The Senate must ignore the resolution of ratification and demand changes to the treaty, which is within the Senate’s powers, because if 34 senators reject a treaty, no president can override them.

Bolton, the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general from 2001 to 2003, is a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

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Time to reboot our push for global Internet freedom

Posted by , 25th October 2010

China Internet CensorshipJackson Diehl

The technology created by UltraReach and its affiliate, Freegate, works as it is intended: it allows internet users in China, Iran, and other countries where the internet is heavily regulated to breach firewalls and surf the web at will. In fact, millions more internet users under dictatorships worldwide could benefit from UltraReach’s software, but at least $30 million in funding is required. That money actually does exist in the form of $50 million in earmarks in the State Department’s budget. Despite rhetoric supporting freedom of the internet, the money sits unused while the “strategy” for its usage is honed. Diehl suggests that the hesitation to act is partially due to a fear of offending China. Regardless, the State Department has a poor record when it comes to promoting freedom of the internet.

Diehl is deputy editorial page editor of The Post.

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Just Knock It Off

Posted by , 20th October 2010

ObamaThomas L. Friedman

Friedman gives several reasons why President Obama is not anti-Israel. These include building a global coalition to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon and trying to advance the peace process in the Middle East to get Europeans and the UN behind tougher sanctions on Iran. It is not an act of hostility to ask Israel to continue its expired 10-month partial moratorium on settlement-building in the West Bank to prevent Palestinians from avoiding peace talks, but Israel’s prime minister has been resisting this request or demanding a payoff from the US for continuing the freeze. Friedman gives two reasons why he is wrong to do so. He says president Obama is doing his job and Palestine and Israel’s leaders should do theirs and work for peace during this process.

Friedman is a New York Times columnist.

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The War on Terror and the Revolt of the Generals

Posted by , 1st October 2010

AfghanistanMackubin Owens

The strain of a prolonged conflict has led some military officers to believe they’re better than the society they’re serving, warns Owens. The lack of trust between the civilian leadership and the military has its most detrimental effect on strategy making and military effectiveness. Success in today’s conflicts requires healthy civil-military relations. The good news is the new military tandem in place in the aftermath of Gen. McChrystal’s sacking–commander of US Central Command Gen. Mattis and Afghanistan commander Gen. Petraeus–understands the importance of professionalism and trust in fostering healthy civil-military relations.

Owens is professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College in Newport, RI, and editor of the journal Orbis.

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Europe and the future of Security

The EU, the United States and Russia in favor of an institutional overhaul

Posted by , 14th May 2009

calduchseguridadeuropaIs it possible to reconstruct the political and military understanding between Europe, the United States and Russia that prevailed in the nineties and fell apart during the last Bush administration, or has the time come to lay the foundation for a new order of European security based on the needs of the twenty-first century?

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