John Kerry’s visit to Asia this week – like Ashton Carter’s last month – is designed to offer reassurance that America’s commitment to the region remains unwavering in the face of increased Chinese aggression. Yet despite these visits, leaders in the region have profound doubts whether the United States is serious about standing up to China.
According to Iranian-based media, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif appeared on a panel today at Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations where he spoke about the nuclear agreement he negotiated with the P5+1 last month in Vienna. Zarif explained that the so-called snap-back sanctions mechanism was less effective than the Obama administration claims. “Our snap-back is easier than theirs,” is how one Iranian journalist tweeted Zarif’s talk, “because we can resume our work with nuts and bolts, but they should convince countries to resume sanctions.” Also, said Zarif, “doing business with foreigners is a guarantee to make them unable to use snap-back mechanism.”
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, signed this month by the six world powers with Iran lifts a UN arms embargo by 2020, sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile program by 2023, most nuclear restrictions by 2025, and a cap on low-enriched uranium stockpile by 2030. Most sanctions will be lifted immediately, with some residual measures left until 2023.
In a new national poll, Quinnipiac asked the question in as straightforward a way as possible: "Do you support or oppose the nuclear deal with Iran?" And, "Do you think the nuclear deal with Iran would make the world safer or less safe?"
The results are stunning: Americans oppose the deal, 57 percent to 28 percent; and by 58 percent to 30 percent they think it will make the world less safe.
One man was responsible for the deaths or injuries of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq. That same man is responsible for sowing sectarian conflict today in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. And yet, in the nuclear deal with Iran, this man, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, Major General Qassem Suleimani, will have sanctions lifted against him. Indeed, he will receive a large infusion of cash to wreak more havoc and terror. Having served in Iraq, having experienced first-hand his proxy operations against American forces, and having lost men to Gen. Suleimani’s terror operations, I find this offensive.
Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson says that the Islamic State wants to be viewed as Islamic, but they aren't.
During an interview at the Aspen Security Forum, the interviewer asks if Johnson and DHS are missing the religious dimension of the terrorism we face by denying that it's inspired by Islam. "I couldn't disagree more," Johnson says.
Human trafficking is a crime that not only breaks the law but basic human rights. The United States recently released its annual Trafficking in Persons report. Countries are ranked on a scale from Tier 1 to Tier 3.
To paraphrase Lincoln, if we could first know where Iran is and whither Iran is tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. To evaluate the Iran deal, we need, to the degree possible, to understand the Iranian regime, its nature and its history, its past and present behavior.
The bad news is that the Obama administration doesn’t want us to have all the information available to judge that regime and its behavior. The good news is that Congress can insist the information be provided.
Fresh off the triumph of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, there was more big space news this week. And it may turn out to be much bigger than our first look at Pluto—a veritable revolution in physics and space travel.
John Kerry is bullish on the Middle East. He believes that the Iran deal will make it possible for the White House and Tehran to tamp down wars in places like Syria and Yemen. And—who knows?—maybe even solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.