National Security Network

diplomacy

diplomacy

Iran

Don’t Impede the Obama Administration’s Approach to Iran

Report 26 April 2010
A report in this Sunday's Washington Post on the increased flow of intelligence on Iran from disaffected government officials highlights the growing split between the Iranian regime and its people.  This information, which has provided valuable insights into both the state of the regime and the country's nuclear program, might not have been possible were it not for the increasing disillusionment with the government following the election turmoil last year.  This intelligence dividend caused by the split between the regime and many of its key people demonstrates the sensitive nature of the political environment inside of Iran.  As Congress steps to the precipice of forwarding on tough sanctions legislation to the President, it would do well to account for how its actions may inadvertently close this split, an outcome that could benefit the regime at the expense both of its opponents and our country's efforts to stop an Iranian bomb.
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Iran

The Obama Administration's Consistency on Iran

Report 19 April 2010
A report from this weekend's New York Times about a leaked classified Iran memo written in January by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates provided an interesting view into the workings of the Obama administration's Iran policy.  What it did not do was contradict the methodical, strategic approach that the Administration has been pursuing towards that country.  As Secretary Gates made clear yesterday in response to the leak, the Administration has been taking consistent steps to prepare for the full-range of possibilities for dealing with Iran, including an engagement policy that has brought more clarity and international focus to the issue.  The combination of an engagement policy, rooted in multilateralism, with the potential for increased pressure on Iran has been the consistent approach of the Administration since it took office.  This record stands in stark contrast to the undisciplined Iran policy of the previous Bush administration.
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Administration's Nuclear Agenda Keeps America Secure

Report 14 April 2010
The Obama administration is taking unprecedented action to protect America and its allies from the dual threats of nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation.  The United States is the only country capable of forging international consensus for taking on these threats, and by reasserting American leadership on these critical issues, the Administration has demonstrated that it can mobilize global actors to confront global threats.  The Administration's comprehensive actions have broad support from across the political spectrum, have generated tangible positive outcomes, and have set the stage for future progress on securing our country from the prospect of nuclear terrorism. 
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Iran

Thinking creatively about Iran policy

News Huffington Post 14 April 2010
Pakistan

Engagement of Pakistan Must Continue

Report 5 April 2010
Two separate attacks took place in Northwest Pakistan this morning, including one against the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar.  Following an attack on a political ceremony held in Lower Dir, militants, believed to be members of the Pakistani Taliban, assaulted the consulate with bombs and rocket launchers.  While there were no reported U.S. casualties, a local police official reported that four militants and three Pakistani security personnel had been killed. The Pakistani Taliban took credit for the attacks, reportedly claiming that they were in reprisal for the wave of drone strikes conducted on militants operating along the country's border with Afghanistan.  These attacks reaffirm the importance of the Obama administration's engagement policy towards Pakistan. 
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Pakistan

Building a Strategic Relationship with Pakistan

Report 24 March 2010
Today marks the commencement of the first ever, ministerial-level strategic dialogue between the United States and Pakistan.  The dialogue - which will unfold over the next two days and will consist of broad-based discussions covering bilateral topics ranging from Afghanistan and terrorism, to development and economic assistance, to energy and water - confirms that the Obama administration is moving the relationship from a state of drift, as characterized by the previous Bush administration's failed policy there, to a state of clear headed action.  The affirmation of the importance that the U.S. places on its relationship with Pakistan, as symbolized by the strategic dialogue, follows more than a year of constructive engagement that is beginning to pay dividends.  However, potential pitfalls looming on the horizon, as well as recent history suggest that trumpeting such accomplishments at this point is premature.  In particular, the Administration would be wise to remember that Pakistan's interests do not always align with those of the U.S.
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Don't Let Them Stop START

Report 22 March 2010
Following Secretary Clinton's two day trip to Moscow, the United States and Russia announced last Friday that both sides are "on the brink" of concluding an agreement aimed at lowering the number of Cold War era nuclear weapons.  Anticipation is high that the successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will likely be signed in early April, close to the one year anniversary of President Obama's historic nonproliferation speech in Prague, when he pledged to seek the "peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."  Concluding such an agreement will not only advance America's national security interests, but will also help to turn a new page in U.S-Russian relations.  
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Afghanistan

Making the Political Strategy in Afghanistan Work

Report 18 March 2010
Reports that the Taliban are waging a campaign of fear in Marjah aimed at undermining efforts to establish good, local governance there in the wake of the NATO military offensive, underscores the point that reaching U.S. objectives in Afghanistan will depend on more than troops.  There is widespread recognition among uniformed and civilian experts that a political campaign - encompassing such initiatives as national and sub-national efforts to improve governance, regional diplomacy to buttress support for the Afghan state, and exploration of the possibility of a negotiated end to the insurgency - must be conducted, if the American strategy is to succeed.
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Energy

National Security is Not a Bunch of Hot Air

Report 15 March 2010
This weekend, Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard CEO who is running for the Republican nomination in California's Senate race, mocked the incumbent, Senator Barbara Boxer for saying that climate change is a "very important national security threat"  -- by portraying her as a zeppelin flying over California.  While Fiorina may not agree with Senator Boxer, America's top national security experts and institutions do.  The Pentagon, the CIA, military leaders, and bipartisan leaders in the Senate - as well as Hewlett Packard, the company Fiorina led -agree that climate change and energy security are serious threats.
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Iran

Consensus Grows: Bombing Iran Not an Option

Report 1 March 2010
Yesterday, Brookings Institution scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Bruce Riedel published a powerful op-ed in the Financial Times opposing a military strike on Iran.  Their arguments against such a policy were based on a clear-headed analysis of the costs versus benefits of such an action.  In their view, not only would military action fail to eliminate Iran's nuclear program, but its mere mention lacks credibility.  The arguments against potential American military action are compelling. 
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