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October 31, 2014

Posts in "Foreign Policy"

October 29, 2014

With ‘Bibi’ Comments, More Unhelpful Election Season Talk from Anonymous Administration Officials

Just a few weeks ago, some anonymous Obama administration sources floated the notion of bringing Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil by going around Congress. Last week, some more anonymous administration officials floated the notion that they might make a deal with Iran over its nuclear program and avoid dealing with Capitol Hill on sanctions relief.

Both stories gave Republicans campaign fodder as elections neared. Apparently addicted to supplying ammunition to the administration’s critics on the campaign trail, the latest hubbub served up by an anonymous administration official was to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit.” The response has been predictable. Full story

October 28, 2014

No Confusion Over Military, Civilian Quarantine Rules, Obama Says

457996674 2 445x293 No Confusion Over Military, Civilian Quarantine Rules, Obama Says

Obama makes a statement on his administration’s response to the Ebola crisis before departing the White House on Oct. 28. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

To some, the Pentagon has seemed to be at odds with the White House message over quarantines for those fighting Ebola in Africa; while the Defense Department is weighing an expanded quarantine like the one the Army has already used, the White House has emphasized that blanket quarantines for health workers is a bad policy.

On Tuesday, in brief remarks to the media, President Obama explained what he saw as the difference. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:48 p.m.
Army, Foreign Policy

October 27, 2014

Navy Birthday, IAEA & John Kerry in the Week Ahead

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John Negroponte in a 2012 file photo. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Iraq, Iran, ISIS — all of those are the subject of events in Washington, D.C., this week, along with the subjects in the headline, Ukraine and much more. Full story

October 22, 2014

Coburn Wastebook: Iron Man Suit, FEMA Golf Courses, Navy Magazines

coburn 067 011414 445x279 Coburn Wastebook: Iron Man Suit, FEMA Golf Courses, Navy Magazines

Sen. Tom Coburn on Jan. 14. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (@tomcoburn) is out with his final edition of his annual Wastebook of government spending, and besides the massages for rabbits and money to watch grass grow, a variety of Defense Department projects and other national security-related programs get the Oklahoma Republican’s sardonic smack. Full story

October 21, 2014

Iran Nuclear Deal and Congressional Politics

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in New York on Sept. 26. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

This week, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration planned to bypass Congress on sanctions relief resulting from multi-party talks to strike an Iran nuclear deal. Suffice it to say hardly anyone thinks that’s going to go well, if he tries it. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:33 p.m.
Foreign Policy

October 20, 2014

Video: John Oliver Shreds U.S. Over Afghan Translators on ‘Last Week Tonight’

On HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” Sunday, John Oliver ripped into the backlog of Afghan translators awaiting special U.S. visas. The deadly threats against those translators were the subject of what has become the defining trait of Oliver’s show: a 15-minute plus segment where he lays waste to one particular problem. Full story

October 17, 2014

Weekly Recap: Elections, Interrogations, Revolts

The holiday made it a shorter week at Five By Five, so this weekly recap won’t hit as many highlights as usual — and will spend a little more time on what others were up to. Full story

October 16, 2014

National Security (and James Foley) Making a Prominent Appearance in GOP Ads

Just a few months ago, the only time national security or foreign policy came up in political ads was in relation to things like the economy — a candidate hyping his role in keeping a military base open, say. Now, the subjects have become a prominent part of the GOP’s midterm ads in their own right. Full story

October 14, 2014

Six Months After Boko Haram Kidnappings, Hope, Despair

457208332 445x295 Six Months After Boko Haram Kidnappings, Hope, Despair

Protesters with the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign shouts slogans during a demonstration in front of the Nigerian consulate in New York on Tuesday to mark the six month anniversary of the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants. (Jewel Samad /AFP/Getty Images)

There’s been a minor revival in the past couple days on the profile of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, given the six month anniversary of the abductions. There was a time when it was a daily or at least weekly subject of this reporter’s inbox, with news releases from those trying to rile the Obama administration into stronger action. Now, it’s been more than a month since any lawmaker sent a news release with the word “Boko Haram” in it.

Six months from the abductions, the Obama administration has mentioned the kidnappings more frequently than its critics — including Tuesday. Elsewhere, especially in Nigeria, the situation offers a mix of hope and despair. Full story

The Army, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan in the Week Ahead

levin002 033114 445x295 The Army, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan in the Week Ahead

Levin on March 31. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All the hot spots get some attention this week in Washington, D.C., and there is a pair of big multi-day conferences — one of which is already underway. Full story

October 10, 2014

Weekly Recap: Syria Air Strikes, Operation Blue Spoon, Hawk Vs. Drone

This week, we recap the subjects in the headline, plus some Guantanamo, some politics, some cybersecurity, some Iran and more. Full story

Five By Five Friday Q&A: Dan Perez of America’s Impact

dan perez 240x224 Five By Five Friday Q&A: Dan Perez of Americas Impact

How foreign policy/national security is figuring into the midterm elections is something of a preoccupation around these parts. Dan Perez, executive director of America’s Impact, has his own interest in the matter — he’s part of an organization devoted to increasing the topic’s prominence in the 2014 races, and aiding Democrats on the subject.

This week, America’s Impact joined with several other similarly-minded groups as part of a “6 PAC” event to raise funds for a list of Democratic candidates, featuring Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards (@repdonnaedwards), who is heading up the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program. Perez spoke with Five By Five about his group’s goals and how the 2014 elections have evolved with recent world events (and he just might’ve concluded with a less-than-subtle diss of John Bolton [@ambjohnbolton]). Full story

October 9, 2014

#ThrowbackThursday: When Jimmy Carter Brought Down the Soviet Union

CN FILE 20 082008 445x304 #ThrowbackThursday: When Jimmy Carter Brought Down the Soviet Union

Gates at his confirmation hearing to become Defense Secretary. (CQ Roll Call)

The air is thick these days with apparent allies of President Obama slagging him on national security and foreign policy; his former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates kicked it off in his book “Duty” earlier this year, followed by another former Defense Secretary, Leon E. Panetta, in “Worthy Fights.” And now former Democratic president Jimmy Carter has gotten in on the act. The first and last man on that list have a connection that inspired this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 1:08 p.m.
Foreign Policy

Should NATO Offer Its Membership to Russia?

putin 445x312 Should NATO Offer Its Membership to Russia?

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the sixth annual VTB Capital “RUSSIA CALLING!” Investment Forum in Moscow on Oct. 2. (Alexey DruzhininAFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday afternoon, John Wallace –a former NATO consultant — raised an idea that’s rarely mentioned as a solution to NATO-Russian tensions: Should NATO offer Russia its membership? Full story

October 8, 2014

Defense Official Spells Out Limits of Airstrikes-Only in Syria

 Defense Official Spells Out Limits of Airstrikes Only in Syria

Derek Chollet, right, at IISS. (Aisha Chowdry, CQ Roll Call)

Air strikes around Kobani, a key Syrian city bordering Turkey, have reportedly failed to push back ISIS, reflecting earlier doubts about their effectiveness. And a Defense official acknowledged the limitations of air strikes Wednesday. Full story

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