Friday, October 30, 2009
Quotes of the Day
"If peace were manufactured in factories, there would be a lot more Senators in favor of it." (A timely quote given the leak from the Hill about the Congressional probe into members of the defense appropriations committee.)
"There is no such thing as a diplomatic-industrial complex." (Although given the first steps of private military companies to offer humanitarian and development services, might one develop in the future?) And Parag Khanna might have a different view about a future diplomatic-industrial complex (via Diplopundit)
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Focus on Central-east Europe Today ....
But is economics the real determining factor for the future of the region, and the roles of Russia and the West?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire
Several years back, I asked What Would the Byzantines Do?" in addressing contemporary foreign policy challenges. Glad to see the subject interests others. I haven't yet read Luttwak's book, but I certainly hope that Obolensky's and Ostrogorksy's contributions to the field are cited.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Don't Understand the Logic
Why would it? We said missile defense wouldn't work, the technology wasn't there, the plan was a boondogle. We were pretty public about these comments. Why did we think they wouldn't be heard in Moscow? (Psst ... the new administration doesn't want to spend money on a system they don't think works). So why should any rational actor say, You stopped work on something you said wouldn't work, now we are supposed to give you something substantial in return? A working, deployed system is another thing--but that's not what we had in place. And no one should be surprised at the reaction.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Lavrov's Answer ... (And Clinton's Hope)
Also, in passing ... Secretary Clinton held out hope that Boeing will get a major Russia contract. I find it hard to believe that she "has hope" that Boeing will be
selected to provide planes for the new carrier Rosavia given that 51 percent
of the firm is owned by a Russian state company that includes the Russian
arms exporters and U.S. policy works against this companies sales (e.g. to
Iran) and that U.S. policy is working against Russian energy interests.
Unless she is compromising on other things that matter to Moscow ...
UPDATE: Press agencies are reporting that President Medvedev told Secretary Clinton that while he is pleased about the apparent success of the Geneva talks "he expects Iran to implement them and if they don't there should be sanctions," according to another "senior State Department official." It is being cited as proof of a breakthrough.
Again, I am not rushing to celebrate. "Should be" sanctions is not the same as "there will be". Define implementation of the Geneva agreements. As I said earlier, I don't see that the U.S. has gotten a firm commitment that strengthens its position when the talks resume.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
The Vice President Heads East?
A greater conventional U.S. military presence in the region, including stationing forces and a Patriot missile battery in Poland, has been banded about. Will the administration decide that this is what it needs to proffer in order to reassure not only people in the region but its critics here that no new "Yalta" is in the offing?
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Serving the Country?
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
A James Baker Moment
Yes and no. Yes in that the immediate danger of Iranian nuclear proflieration is ended. No in that the infrastructure and know-how remains intact, giving Iran a possible hedge down the road. The U.S. principal intent has always been to deproliferate Iran--with all equipment and facilities dismantled and removed--not to supervise an Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
I talk about the Obama administration facing a "James Baker moment" in this column. What I mean by the term is the extent to which the U.S. limits its own policy preferences in return for getting maximum international support on a key development [e.g. better to have a broad coalition supporting the explusion of Saddam Hussein from Iraq rather than go to Baghdad alone.]
Friday, October 02, 2009
Am I Too Pessimistic About the Iran Breakthrough?
Why, if I have been stressing Russia's reluctance to sanction Iran, would they be instrumental in getting this deal through by being one of the parties involved in supplying Iran with the fuel? Well, to the extent that this "temporary" settlement only delays rather than resolves the Iran issue, then much of the status quo which benefits Russia stays in place--and Russia reaps benefits in Europe for its constructive role.
I assume that the U.S. perspective is one of eventual timing--delay works in our favor if we expect that time is against the current regime.
Just my thoughts--
Thursday, October 01, 2009
An Answer to Takeyh's Question
Reuter's "Snap Analysis"concludes that Iran agreed to limited transparency measures and a promise of a future meeting but that no date has been set for the IAEA inspectors. Meanwhile, "the chances of making harsher sanctions work suffer from a lack of global will to enforce them."