North America

Kennedy’s low profile to change with rebuttal to Trump state of the union address

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Boston: Joseph Kennedy III, an American politician with a very well-known name but relatively little prominence outside of his home state of Massachusetts, will deliver next week’s Democratic rebuttal to US President Donald Trump’s state of the union address. Scott Malone Brisbane Times Reuters The speech will be the highest profile appearance of the 37-year-old Kennedy’s political career, following his 2016 talk at the Democratic National Convention, where he introduced Senator Elizabeth Warren. He has been a member of the House ... Read More »

Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan

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It was offshore oil drilling deja vu for me—having broken the story about the oil industry seeking to drill in the offshore Atlantic nearly 50 years ago. Karl Grossman CounterPunch But this time offshore drilling would be completely unnecessary with the U.S, awash in petroleum (thus $2.50-a-gallon gas) and oil drilling in the sea ten times more costly than drilling on land. Plus, renewable energy, led by solar and wind, is now well-developed and cheaper than fossil fuels. And although ... Read More »

Salvaging the legacy of the FBI

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The FBI is experiencing its greatest crisis in our history. J. Edgar Hoover may have kept “intel” files on enemies but never attempted a government coup. John Ligato The Washington Times Recent leadership at headquarters allowed politics to seep into our DNA, and field agents were smeared with the same brush. What happened and, what can we do to regain our reputation? The Bureau is about to take some major hits to its legacy and Director Christopher Wray is the only individual who can ... Read More »

Rohingya crisis: US diplomat quits advisory panel

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Veteran US diplomat Bill Richardson has resigned from an international panel set up by Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to advise on the Rohingya crisis He claimed the panel was a “whitewash” and accused Ms Suu Kyi, his long-time friend, of lacking “moral leadership”. BBC Myanmar said he should “review himself” over the “personal attack”. More than 650,000 Rohingya people, from a mostly-Muslim minority in Buddhist Myanmar, fled to Bangladesh last year in the face of a military crackdown. ... Read More »

The problem with Puerto Rico

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Even before being wrecked by hurricane damage, Puerto Rico was a mess. Peter Roff The Washington Times Things were so out of control Congress and President Barack Obama took the extraordinary step of appointing an oversight board to take charge, hoping it would act decisively and prevent the Puerto Rican government from going broke. They’ve failed. What else is one to conclude now that a secret stash of money totaling almost $7 billion has been found, hidden away in private ... Read More »

Nikki Haley says Palestine’s Abbas lacks ‘Courage,’ ‘Insulted’ Trump in a fiery U.N. Speech

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Thursday issued a scathing attack on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, charging that he lacks “courage and the will to seek peace” in the Middle East. Tracy Lee Newsweek “We will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace,” Haley said in a fiery speech at a U.N. Security Council meeting. This comes as U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, ... Read More »

Turkey to U.S.: End support for Syrian Kurd YPG or risk confrontation

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ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkey urged the United States on Thursday to halt its support for Kurdish YPG fighters or risk confronting Turkish forces on the ground in Syria, some of Ankara’s strongest comments yet about a potential clash with its NATO… Tuvan Gumrukcu, Dahlia Nehme Reuters The remarks, from the spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan’s government, underscored the growing bilateral tensions, six days after Turkey launched its air and ground operation, “Olive Branch”, in Syria’s northwestern Afrin… In Washington, the ... Read More »

Where world’s power brokers really meet

MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 18:  General atmosphere during a reception at Munich royal residence during the 2017 Munich Security Conference on February 18, 2017 in Munich, Germany. The 2017 Munich Security Conference, which brings together leading government figures from across the globe to discuss issues of common security concern, is taking place in the wake of the ascendence of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency and the appointment of a new U.S. government cabinet. Trump has repeatedly called for a more isolationist United States, which has caused alarm among many world leaders concerned about the U.S.'s continued commitment to matters of global security.  (Photo by Johannes Simon - Pool /Getty Images)

Another winter gathering has quietly become the venue for smart thinkers to get to grips with geopolitics For true “globalist elites,” it’s a rite of winter. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico Just when the European weather is at its most unwelcoming, the world’s great strategic minds descend on a quaint city at the Continent’s geographic center, crowding into rustic Stuben to debate the state of the world over beer and mulled wine. In recent years, this forum for Big Thought, aka the Munich Security Conference, ... Read More »

Taiwan’s Nightmare: China Seeks to Alter the Cross-Strait Status Quo

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It is in the national interest of the United States and other like-minded democracies to counter Beijing’s crude attempts to bully its neighbors Dennis P. Halpin The National Interest As East Asia and the world continue to turn their attention toward the escalating nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Beijing has taken advantage of the distraction to move forward its agenda of a “China Dream” of regional hegemony. This dream envisions a China restored to what is viewed as Beijing’s ... Read More »

Judy Asks: Is Turkey Damaging NATO?

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A selection of experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world. Judy Dempsey Carnegie Europe Federiga Bindi Yes, it is. In Afrin, Turkish forces have launched a ground offensive against U.S.-backed Syrian-Kurdish militia. In other words, Turkey is indirectly attacking its main NATO ally. It is doing so with Russian support, as Moscow controls the skies in the area—the last act in the rapprochement between the two ... Read More »

How US went from supporting Syrian Kurds, to backing Turkey against them – in just 9 days

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been left flailing as Washington desperately struggles to avoid being shut out of Syria by its own allies – following a crisis it helped provoke just days ago. Igor Ogorodnev for RT For all the backpedaling and reframing the US officials are now doing, the chronology of the volte-face from Afrin to Ankara is startlingly straightforward. January 13 US-led coalition announces a 30,000-strong Kurdish SDF-led Border Security Force (BSF) to stave off a ... Read More »

China to U.S.: It’s your fault we are in the South China Sea

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Trump may be trying a more assertive Pacific policy and China is having none of it By Emily Rauhala – The Washington Post AJC BEIJING — Beijing has a message for the Trump administration: the more ships you send to the contested waters of the South China Sea, the more we will bolster our presence there. The warning, delivered in a People’s Daily commentary published Monday, came days after the USS Hopper sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, ... Read More »

The secret to Henry Kissinger’s success

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29:  Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee January 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the topic of global challenges and U.S. national security strategy.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Many think the retired diplomat’s closeness to one man — Richard Nixon — was the source of his power. That gets Kissinger dangerously wrong. By NIALL FERGUSON Politico About halfway through writing my biography of Henry Kissinger, an interesting hypothesis occurred to me: Did the former secretary of state owe his success, fame and notoriety not just to his powerful intellect and formidable will but also to his exceptional ability to build an eclectic network of relationships, not only to ... Read More »

They Were Bad. He May Be Worse.

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Historians have long looked to a few key criteria in evaluating the beginning of a president’s administration Sean Wilentz The New York Times First and foremost, any new president should execute public duties with a commanding civility and poise befitting the nation’s chief executive, but without appearing aloof or haughty. As George Washington observed at the outset of his presidency in 1789, the president cannot in any way “demean himself in his public character” and must act “in such a ... Read More »

“Don’t let Afrin become another Kobane”

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Academics and international human rights activists launched a petition calling upon world powers to act against Turkish aggression against Afrin ANF The petition, signed by academics and activists like Noam Chomsky, Michael Hardt and Debbi Bookchin, called for prevention of further Turkish attacks on Afrin. The full text of the petition reads as follows: “We, the undersigned academics and human rights activists, insist that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and the U.S. ensure that the sovereignty of Syrian borders is ... Read More »

Is America’s Alliance with Turkey Worth It?

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The most basic feature that the United States should expect from an ally is consistent, reliable behavior that benefits U.S. policy objectives. Ted Galen Carpenter The National Interest  Ideally, since America regards itself as a champion of democracy and freedom, an ally should embody those values as well, but Washington has never been a stickler for that standard. Indeed, the United States has a sordid history of collaboration with undemocratic, even odious, regimes when U.S. leaders believed that the relationship ... Read More »