American Diplomacy LinksOctober 2015
"I Got Syria So Wrong"
An ex-State Department official expresses regrets and ponders why he did not foresaw the brutality of the developing civil war in Syria.
By Frederic Hof, Politico Magazine. Hof is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and a former special advisor for transition in Syria at the U.S. Department of State.
"Will Iran Cooperate on Syria?"
Now that the nuclear deal is done, officials in Washington and Tehran are thinking strategically. The top priority for both is Syria, and the USA and Iran have stumbled into an awkward common cause.
By Robin Wright, the New Yorker. Wright, a contributing writer for the New Yorker, is the author of eight books on the Middle East.
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/will-iran-cooperate-on-syria?mbid=nl_100115_Daily&CNDID=26744763& spMailingID=8118903&spUserID=OTQ0Mjk1Nzc1NjMS1&spJobID= 780086692&spReportId=NzgwMDg2NjkyS0
"Putin, Obama, and the Middle East"
President Obama may not have a coherent strategy. But maybe it's too soon to judge how the end result of his contradictory, floundering policies might play outin the Middle East and the world at large.
By Adam Garfinkle, the American Interest. Garfinkle is editor of the American Interest.
"The Middle East in 2015 Is a Lot Like Europe in 1914"
A tinderbox, with plenty of kindling supplied by the combination of weak regimes, millenarian militias, and freelance rebels of various persuasion, each faction backed by larger powers, some engaged in proxy wars, others drawn in for converging motives while trying to resist the centripetal pull of deeper involvement. It doesn't require a wild imagination to envision the lighting of a matchsome contemporary counterpart to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.
By Fred Kaplan, Slate. Kaplan is the author of The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War.
"ISIS De-Demonized: A Review Article"
In his new book, The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State, Brookings scholar William McCants provides a thorough introduction to the Islamic State and explains why he believes its tactics will generate an inner resistance that will eventually crumble the ISIS governments in Iraq and Syria.
By Patrcia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View. Sharpe is a journalist and former Foreign Service Officer with 23 years of public diplomacy experience in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
"The Drone Papers"
Everything you ever wanted to know about the U.S. military's assassination programs in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somaliafrom the criteria for drone strikes and how the White House approves targets to the chronic flaws in intelligence on which the strikes are based. All of it from a secret documents cache provided by a whistleblower.
The Intercept. A Web site launched in 2014 by journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, the Intercept is dedicated "to producing adversarial journalism that brings transparency and accountability to powerful governmental and corporate institutions."
"Obama's Shameful Afghanistan Retreat: This Will Embolden the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS"
U.S. forces are losing in Afghanistan, again. Security is deteriorating. The President recently announced the most irresponsible decision he could have made about Afghanistansecond only to the promise he had made earlier to pull almost all U.S. troops. The right decision would have been to keep forces at current levels, or, better, send reinforcements.
By Frederick W. Kagan, New York Daily News (AEI Publication). Kagan is one of the intellectual architects of the "surge" strategy in Iraq. He is the director of the American Enterprise Institute's Critical Threats Project and a former professor of military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
https://www.aei.org/publication/obamas-shameful-afghanistan-retreat- this-will-embolden-the-taliban-al-qaeda-and-isis/?utm_source=paramount&utm_medium= email&utm_campaign=mediakaganafghanistan&utm_content=oped
"Asia's Winners and Losers from the $30 Trillion Trans-Pacific Partnership"
The TPP will create a long list of winners but also some losers, including possibly the world's second-biggest economy, China.
By Anthony Fensom, the National Interest. Fensom is an Australia-based freelance writer and consultant with more than a decade's experience in Asia-Pacific financial/media industries.
"Big Issues Facing the Internet: Economic Espionage"
China and the USA have agreed "that neither the U.S. or the Chinese government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property"' and that the two countries will cooperate on law enforcement when perpetrators are identified. But the issue is far from resolved. As President Obama put it, "The question now is, are words followed by actions?"
By Fergus Hanson, Brookings Blogs. Hansom is a nonresident fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.
http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2015/10/14-internet-economic-espionage-hanson?utm_campaign= Brookings+Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=22951362&_hsenc= p2ANqtz-_rultkAEPgvRXMtbyqc_zXv0oJeF7qOsq1o3RPz93uggrErPlia3NB-2ag8uuPB-lexfjk0bHc__AwNRKL1FznxQe4Ig&_hsmi=22951362
"Key Takeways from Today's U.S.-China Climate Announcement"
China's decision in September to announce its ambitious new policies in Washington rather than Beijing is likely intended to send a message to both the U.S. Congress and climate negotiators around the world that they can no longer use China as an excuse for inaction.
By Sarah O. Ladislaw and Michelle Patron, CSIS Publications. Ladislaw is director and senior fellow in the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Energy and National Security Program. Patron is an energy policy expert who formerly served on President Obama's National Security staff as senior director for energy and climate change.
"Corruption, Pollution, Inequality Are Top Concerns in China"
A Pew Research Center survey in China, based on face-to-face interviews in spring 2015, shows that many worry about treats to traditions and culture, but corrupt officials are seen as the top problem.
By Richard Wike and Bridget Parker, PEW Survey Report. Wike is director of global attitudes research at Pew Research Center. Parker is a research assistant at PEW.
"Francis 2.0 Emerges in America: Pope and Church Are a Package Deal"
There's been a popular tendency to pit Pope Francis against the institution he leads, and there is some truth to the perception of the pope as a reformer trying to shake up a staid and deeply traditional Church. Yet in the United States, the pope made major speeches offering something for both left and right, all drawn from the wheelhouse of Catholic social doctrine.
By John L. Allen Jr. , Crux. Allen is associate editor of Crux, a Web site specializing in coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church. He has written nine books on the Vatican and Catholic affairs.