The Senkaku Islands dispute is the first Japan-China security crisis in seven decades of peace. This puzzling contretemps between Asia’s two giants unnerves the region, whose waters host half of global trade, and President Barack Obama faces a test. American power anchors the China-Japan balance in a tripod that is the unsung secret of East Asia’s peace and progress.
After meeting with Syrian opposition figures in Rome today, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States was sending $60 million in non-lethal aid to the opposition. That assistance, according to Kerry, “will strengthen the organizational capacity of the Syrian Opposition Coalition.
On Thursday, February 21, at 10 a.m. local time, Iranian members of the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi Muslim contemplative order celebrated “the day of the Sufi” by protesting outside the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran. The demonstration marked the fourth anniversary of a memorable challenge to the dictatorship of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and “supreme leader” Ali Khamenei.
With the next round of international talks on Iran’s nuclear program scheduled for February 26, the United States needs to understand Iran’s negotiating strategy. Recent Iranian tactics suggest a seemingly contradictory approach: simultaneously slowing down and speeding up their nuclear program. But by buying time now, Iran is shrewdly seeking to evade international pressure while hastening its advance to nuclear weapons capability. The United States should be clear that it sees through this ploy and remains determined to prevent a nuclear Iran.
In an article titled, "Refusal to Lead," Republican senator Marco Rubio writes, "The biggest foreign policy problem facing the United States right now is not too much U.S. engagement, but the danger of a world in which we increasingly refuse to lead. There are few global challenges that can be solved without decisive American leadership."
With the quiet announcement that the United States is earmarking $50 million from the defense budget immediately for France and Niger, two countries in the forefront of the battle for Mali against Islamist hordes and Tuareg secessionists, the Obama administration appears to be indicating that it views with a jaundiced eye the potential of our enemies to burst out of the Sahara, cross the Niger river, and wreak havoc throughout the Sahel and beyond.
The White House left Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and Sean Smith on their own on September 11 in Benghazi. That is the upshot of today’s Capitol Hill hearing featuring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey.
In a farewell speech today at the Council on Foreign Relations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made clear that we, the United States, "welcome China's rise." Clinton is expected to step down from her current perch tomorrow, and John Kerry will take her place.