National Security Network

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Iran

Conservatives’ Dangerous Iran Response Runs Off the Rails

Report 17 June 2009
American conservatives are showing their true colors in their response to demonstrations in Iran. Despite the almost unanimous opinion of serious Iran experts that it would be very harmful to the demonstrators if the United States were seen as directly supporting them, conservative political leaders - such as Mike Pence, Eric Cantor, and John McCain - and thinkers – such as Robert Kagan – have insisted that the United States do just that. Ascertaining the motives of these conservatives is difficult – are they so blinded by ideology that they actually don’t recognize that U.S. meddling would play into Ahmadinejad’s hands and would potentially further endanger young Iranian demonstrators; or are they simply trying to score cheap political points by attacking Obama. Aggressive sounding talk, threats of force, and an over emphasis on the mere holding of elections served only to strengthen hardliners and undermine the United States.
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Iran

Whatever the Outcome of Iran’s Elections, U.S. Engagement Strategy Must Continue

Report 11 June 2009
Tomorrow, Iranians will head to the polls, in what has been widely billed as a historically unprecedented presidential election.Yet many conservatives are attempting to paint the election as a pivotal moment for Obama’s engagement strategy, asserting that if Ahmedinejad wins Obama will have to abandon his current approach.  Whatever the election’s outcome, its immediate impact on Iranian foreign policy will be limited. Meanwhile, the underlying fundamentals will not change:  eight years of bluster and attempts to isolate Teheran failed.  
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Terrorism & National Security

World Does Not End As Gitmo Detainee Finally Brought to Face Justice

Report 9 June 2009
Today Ahmed Ghailani, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, was brought to the United States to stand trial in the US court system.  Ghailani is facing charges for his role in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed over 224 people, including 12 Americans. Ghailani’s transfer from military custody to the Justice Department marks an important point in the process of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center.  But closing Guantanamo is not simply about restoring the image of America in the world’s eyes.
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Diplomacy

Obama’s Cairo Speech Challenges Myths and Stereotypes at Home and Abroad

Report 4 June 2009
Before 3,000 people in Cairo, in a widely anticipated speech, President Obama sought to dispel misperceptions and stereotypes and to turn the page on decades of misunderstanding and discord between the United States and Muslim-majority countries. Over the last eight years these tensions have worsened and the opinion of the United States plummeted in the region, due to issues such as the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the use of torture, and the war in Iraq. As the President seeks to renew America’s engagement in the Middle East peace process and begins talking to Iran, improving America’s standing in the region is critical to our national security. 
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Energy

Obama to Saudis: U.S. Is Moving on Energy and Climate

Report 3 June 2009
President Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia today against the backdrop of a month straight of rising gas prices. While the economic crisis has pushed oil prices down far below what they were last year, the volatility of energy supplies and the likely increases in demand for energy from the developing world makes decreasing America’s dependence on fossil fuels a top priority.Enacting cap and trade legislation, investing in renewable energy technology, and taking a leadership role on the global stage are not simply important steps – they are vital steps for America’s national security.
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Diplomacy

Obama’s Cairo Speech Hopes to Turn Page on Last 8 Years

Report 2 June 2009
On Thursday President Obama will deliver his much anticipated address to the “Muslim world” in Cairo, Egypt. The principal goal of the speech is to lay a foundation for better relations between the United States and the peoples of the region. Tin eared statements from President Bush – such as saying that America was on a “crusade” following 9-11 – along with the scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and the falsehoods and incompetence that surrounded the invasion of Iraq, all served to tarnish America’s image in the region. The collapse of America’s moral authority under President Bush will not be fixed by a single speech, but the speech is part of a larger comprehensive strategy of engagement that is actively being pursued by the Obama administration.
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Terrorism & National Security

Somalia’s Crisis Owed to Failed Bush Terrorism Legacies

Report 22 May 2009
In recent weeks, international attention has been fixed on the challenge posed by pirates off the coast of Somalia. But on land, a new crisis has been unfolding with far greater ramifications.  A coalition of extremist rebels, including the group al-Shabaab, has all but surrounded the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu, raising the prospect of a rebel government with reported ties to international terrorist groups taking control of Somalia.  It would be easy to write this off as an inevitable addition to the long litany of crises that have plagued Somalia since 1991.  But the policies and approaches of the Bush administration greatly contributed to the current crisis. The faint hope of reversing this situation lies not in the invasion that some have proposed, but in pragmatic support for political solutions that will bring Somalia a lasting respite from nearly two decades of instability. 
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Diplomacy

Netanyahu Meets Obama

Report 18 May 2009
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Washington today to meet with President Obama. There has been much talk of tension and conflict in the run-up to this meeting. President Obama, like Presidents Bush and Clinton before him, has argued forcefully that the only way to create a lasting peace is through the formation of an independent Palestinian state. After witnessing the failure of the Bush administration’s isolation and bluster approach to stem Iran’s nuclear development, as well as the extremely dangerous repercussions military action would have on our troops in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration has sought a new course based on serious diplomatic engagement.
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