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AfghanistanWednesday, January 7, 2015

Afghanistan at a Crossroads: Preserving Progress with International Support

Afghanistan at a Crossroads: Preserving Progress with International Support January 7, 2015 As the United States ends its combat mission in Afghanistan and President Ashraf Ghani concludes his first hundred days in office, there are reasons for cautious optimism about the country’s future as it enters a new phase of its history. President Obama’s strategic drawdown of forces in Afghanistan has ended the 13-year-long Operation Enduring Freedom while effectively preserving a U.S. security presence in the country and creating the strongest political ties with Kabul in years. Though Afghanistan’s government and people remain under constant threat, the country has made considerable gains in its development, political stability, and security. With continued international support, this progress can be consolidated and maintained. Afghan security can be preserved… Read More ›

AUMFGuantanamoIranRussiaT-TIPTPPMonday, January 5, 2015

Top Five Foreign Policy Challenges for 2015

Top Five Foreign Policy Challenges for 2015 Tomorrow, the new Congress is set to begin its first session amid a flurry of near- and mid-term foreign policy challenges that it will have the ability to affect for better or worse. Issues looming large include negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program as conservatives once again consider new counterproductive sanctions, the war against the Islamic State as American forces are being exposed to increased risk, the fate of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility as the transfer of prisoners picks up pace, managing America’s security interest in sustained nonproliferation cooperation with Russia even as Moscow misbehaves in Eastern Europe, and potentially divisive trade agreements under negotiation. On all of these issues, an effective relationship between Congress and… Read More ›

CIAWednesday, December 24, 2014

Effective Oversight of the CIA Depends on Congress | Tobias Gibson

Effective Oversight of the CIA Depends on Congress By Tobias Gibson, NSN Non-Residential Senior Fellow December 24, 2014 | The Washington Post In a recent piece here on The Monkey Cage,  Michael Colaresi discussed the need for change in oversight of the CIA and by extension the entirety of the intelligence community. He suggests that in the wake of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture issued Dec. 9, “current and former CIA officials, as well as President Obama, seem bent on missing the relevant lessons to improve governance of national security. The CIA needs more, not less, oversight” (my emphasis). He then offers details–based on his recent book Democracy Declassified, which I highly recommend—of the benefits of this additional oversight: …democracies with strong oversight of national security policy… Read More ›

SyriaWednesday, December 24, 2014

CFR Features NSN Brief on Arming Syrian Rebels

Top of the Agenda, Jordanian Fighter Pilot Captured by Islamic State December 24, 2014 | Council on Foreign Relations A Jordanian fighter pilot crashed while flying a mission over northern Syria (BBC) and has been captured by Islamic State militants, the government of Jordan confirmed on Wednesday. It is the first coalition aircraft to be lost in ISIS territory since the beginning of the air campaign in September, and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that ISIS used an anti-aircraft missile (NYT) to down the plane. Analysis “Immersing the United States deeper in Syria’s civil war was a bad idea three years ago, it was a bad idea in August, and it’s a bad idea today. America has one vital interest in Syria: preventing the Islamic State from staging… Read More ›

North KoreaMonday, December 22, 2014

Bill French Quoted on North Korea Cyberattack by IBTimes

Is The North Korea Cyberattack On Sony An Act Of War? By Horward Koplowitz  December 22, 2014 | International Business Times President Barack Obama’s declaration Sunday that the North Korean attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment was an act of “cyber vandalism” and not an act of war has far-reaching implications for the U.S. response to the crippling hack that led Sony to cancel the release of the comedy film “The Interview.” Not only was the president correct in his assessment of the incident, experts said, but characterizing the attack as “cyber vandalism” and not war minimizes the chances of escalation between the two countries. The North Korean cyberattack wasn’t an act of war because no violence was inflicted and Americans’ physical security wasn’t in danger by Sony… Read More ›

CubadiplomacyFriday, December 19, 2014

The Strategic Benefits of Ending the Cold War with Cuba

The decision by President Obama to normalize U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba and set America on a course to end sanctions has brought the Cold War with Cuba to a close – long after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Taking a new approach to Cuba updates American foreign policy toward Latin America for the 21st century and provides important strategic benefits to the United States. America will no longer be isolated internationally by its Cuba policy and has removed a significant roadblock to American leadership in Latin America, where leaders have strongly opposed Washington’s outdated approach to Havana. The move, which is substantially supported by domestic public opinion, including Cuban-Americans, also sets up the United States for modest economic gains. President Obama’s decision further… Read More ›

Cubaprisoner rightsWednesday, December 17, 2014

John Bradshaw Discusses U.S.-Cuba Prisoner Transfer with Thom Hartmann

December 17, 2014 | Thom Hartmann  In the aftermath of President Obama’s announcement that the United States will begin to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba after 53 years, NSN Executive Director John Bradshaw appeared alongside Senior Associate at the Latin America Working Group Mavis Anderson in an interview with Thom Hartmann.  When asked what positive changes could come out of this development, Bradshaw responded that the most positive changes will be for the Cuban people, as well as for the economies of both countries.  Further, he stated that reengagement with Cuba will take away the Castro regime’s ability to blame the U.S. for the nation’s economic woes, which may prompt greater political change in Cuba.  As for the many Republican politicians, particularly of Cuban-American heritage, who have come… Read More ›

CubadiplomacyWednesday, December 17, 2014

NSN Statement: Plans to Normalize Relations with Cuba

National Security Network Statement on Plans to Normalize Relations with Cuba FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2014  Washington, DC — Along with the release of  USAID contractor Alan Gross and an unnamed U.S. intelligence asset, President Obama announced today sweeping changes in U.S. policy with Cuba, normalizing relations after half a century of Cold War isolation. National Security Network’s Executive Director John Bradshaw today issued the following statement: President Obama’s bold action in restoring relations with Cuba is more likely to lead to positive changes in the lives of the Cuban people than current policy. The new opening gets beyond rigid Cold War mindsets of the past and looks at the practical realities of the current situation, recognizing that our estrangement from Cuba is not changing the… Read More ›

AUMFTuesday, December 16, 2014

NSN’s AUMF Paper Discussed in Just Security

The Washington Post Editorial Board’s (Mis)Conception of Congress’s Role in War Authorizations By Ryan Goodman December 16, 2014 | Just Security It is unclear how the Post derives its understanding of the proper role of Congress—but if its assessment is based on a sense of historical practices, that view is deeply misguided. Consider the history of AUMFs. According to a recent study by the National Security Network, “Of the 35 instances that Congress has authorized the use of military force, 60 percent contained geographic limitations, 43 percent named the enemy, 37 percent limited the kinds of military operations or forces authorized to be employed, and 23 percent contained an expiration date.” As one example: in the 1983 AUMF for Lebanon, Congress stated that the force “shall be limited… Read More ›

United NationsMonday, December 15, 2014

U.S. Must Continue Leadership on Climate Security after Lima Talks

Over the weekend, the latest round of talks for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded in Lima, Peru, where an agreement was reached on the outlines of a global climate change accord that could be finalized next year in Paris. While the agreement so far is not perfect, it represents a major potential breakthrough towards the first global climate change reduction agreement, unlike agreements in the past that have not included developing countries. The agreement also highlights the value of American leadership in avoiding ecological catastrophe, with the recent groundbreaking U.S.-China agreement on climate change having made a fully global agreement possible. A number of critical issues still must be resolved, including how much specific countries will contribute to overall reductions in greenhouse… Read More ›

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