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Al QaedaAQAPConservativesFranceIslamic StateMonday, January 12, 2015

What We Know – and What We Don’t – About the Paris Attacks

What We Know – and What We Don’t – About the Paris Attacks As the world gathers to demonstrate its resilience in the face of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris and its commitment to the freedom of expression, European and U.S. policymakers are beginning to respond. Foreign leaders from around the world gathered in Paris for a symbolic march, and U.S. policymakers are pressing forward with practical counterterrorism efforts, including a summit next month to address the threat of terrorism and radicalization. Reports are beginning to illuminate who the terrorists were and how the tragedy occurred. These reports suggest that the attacks were acts of domestic terrorism perpetrated by individuals radicalized in France. The terrorists appear to have been affiliated in some way with… Read More ›

Al QaedaFranceFriday, January 9, 2015

Charlie Hebdo Attack | Brian Katulis

Charlie Hebdo Attack: Can We Sustain a Response to Extremist Ideologies? By Brian Katulis, NSN Board of Directors Chairman January 9, 2015 | Wall Street Journal Remember all the talk after 9/11 about a battle of ideas? The notion that we were in a contest over the values that underpin civilized society? Despite regular wake-up calls–whether it’s scores of school children murdered in Pakistan, mass killings in Syria and Iraq, the atrocities of Boko Haram in Africa–we somehow lost sight of that. From time to time, the inhumanity of extremism stirs our conscience, especially when it is not just on distant shores, as in Boston in 2013. But for the most part we are untouched by the attacks taking place every day. We in the U.S. have somehow become desensitized to the… Read More ›

FranceFriday, January 9, 2015

Conservatives Politicize Paris Attacks with Inaccurate Criticism and Ineffective Policies

Conservatives Politicize Paris Attacks with Inaccurate Criticism and Ineffective Policies Paris and the world are still in shock two days after the horrifying attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. While information about the perpetrators is still being discovered, reports so far have identified the attackers as brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, reportedly killed in a raid this morning, and Mourad Hamyd, who turned himself in. The brothers had long-established ties to terrorist-recruitment efforts and Saïd Kouachi traveled to Yemen to train with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The brothers “have been under scrutiny for years by officials in France and the United States,” the New York Times reports, “and according to an American intelligence official both were in the American database of… Read More ›

EnergyThursday, January 8, 2015

Needed: A Strategy to Remain an Energy Superpower | Brian Katulis

Needed: A Strategy to Remain an Energy Superpower By Brian Katulis January 8, 2015 | Wall Street Journal Energy policy has featured prominently in the nascent debate between the 114th Congress and the Obama administration. Republican leaders vowed to hold a vote on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and the White House announced that the president would not sign the legislation if it passed. But the pipeline is just one of an array of issues that affect energy security, environmental challenges, and foreign-policy priorities. Over the past few years, the United States has emerged as an energy superpower, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. Global energy markets have taken note: Oil prices have fallen more than 50% since summer, a steep drop contributing to uncertainty among investors–and… Read More ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

CIAtortureFriday, December 12, 2014

CIA’s Reaction to Torture Report Demonstrates Need for Accountability

The release of the executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) 6,700-page report on the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush Administration has generated a new flurry of controversy. Yesterday, CIA Director John Brennan gave a rare press conference to address the report. The release has stirred up Bush Administration officials and other conservatives who have come to the defense of the program and claimed that the report is partisan or not thorough enough. These critics fail to engage with the facts of the report, which demonstrate conclusively that torture was ineffective and damaging to U.S. national security. Policymakers now must act to prevent this dangerous lapse in American values from ever occurring again. The CIA torture program damaged U.S. national… Read More ›

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