Afghanistan: Remembering a Fallen Soldier

Elements of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division are engaged in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province, southwest of Kabul. The division’s Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry, lost 8 killed and 25 wounded in just three months in mid-2009. Twenty-one-year-old Spc. Justin Pellerin, who was killed by a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan Aug. 20, is one such casualty. In the days following his death, Pellerin’s friends remembered him, and mourned his loss. David Axe and Jason Reich report for World Politics Review.

During the last several weeks, Americans have found themselves back in the middle of a fierce debate over our continuing military effort in Afghanistan. What was Bush’s forgotten war had, until recently, seemed quite safely transformed in public opinion into Obama’s “war of necessity.” Now, because of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for significantly more troops, coming on the heels of his public declaration that the Taliban are essentially “winning,” the ruling Democrats have suddenly been thrust back into “quagmire” mode. Predictably, we are once again awash in feverish Boomer analogies to Vietnam, despite the pronounced absence in Afghanistan of any […]

As adaptive and creative as the United States claims to be, one would think that, eight years after 9/11, the foreign policy establishment would have come up with a workable way to communicate its strategic message to the rest of the world. It hasn’t. Call it the $10 billion bungle, because that’s a reliable estimate of how much the U.S. has spent since 9/11 on the effort. Bringing the dilemma to the fore is a scathing indictment issued by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen in the latest issue of Joint Forces Quarterly. Mullen’s broadside goes […]

TEL AVIV, Israel — The announcement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to approve the construction of more housing for Jewish settlers in the West Bank was interpreted by many Western observers as a snub, in light of Washington’s demands for a settlement freeze. In Israel, however, some see Netanyahu’s move not as a rebuff of American policies, but quite the opposite: a sign that Netanyahu is preparing to give in to pressure from the United States and work with U.S. President Barack Obama. Netanyahu’s decision to approve construction of 455 new settler homes sparked criticism from the Obama […]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, Jan. 16, 2016 ( (Kevin Lamarque/Pool via AP).

The problem with withholding diplomatic relations to punish countries and change their behavior is that it usually doesn't work. In the meantime, the absence of relations robs America of a key diplomatic skill and the ability to intervene in a crisis. In recent years, many American officials have regarded withholding diplomatic relations as a way to punish countries for actions ranging from human rights abuses, to failure to abide by international law, to specific treaty violations and acts of war. But state-to-state relations among nations provide an essential framework for the conduct of foreign relations. Having no relations, and the […]

Note: The following opinion piece was submitted in response to last week’s WPR briefing, “Engaging Iran: An Interview with R. Nicholas Burns.” As both a news and analysis journal, WPR is committed to airing all sides of acontested issue, so long as they are respectfully expressed. Global diplomacy surrounding Iran’s nuclear standoff is very likely to reach a critical fork in the road this fall. In the coming weeks and months, this potentially dangerous crisis could either escalate or veer toward hopeful signs of a mutually satisfactory resolution. Ahead of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg as well as the […]

Here’s a radical proposition: Withdraw from Afghanistan. That’s just what stalwart nationally syndicated columnist George Will called for on Tuesday, setting off a week of stormy debate that culminated in the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff responding to his Washington Post op-ed, titled, “Time to Leave Afghanistan.” With deliberations in Washington set to begin in earnest about a newly delivered strategy by the new commander on the ground, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Will has opened up the most fundamental question the country faces in foreign affairs today: Should the U.S. be in Afghanistan in […]

R. Nicholas Burns, the former under secretary of state for political affairs, says it is unlikely that Iran will make a serious effort to work with the United States in curbing its nuclear program, but that President Barack Obama’s push for diplomatic talks is a necessary step in building international support for harsher sanctions and, in a worst-case scenario, military force. Now a professor of diplomacy and international politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, Burns told World Politics Review, “My guess is the Iranian government will try to resist serious negotiations.” He suggested that Iran will put forward a proposal […]

Last week saw the fourth round of Iran’s Stalinesque show trials, with the broadcast of yet another prominent reformist’s coerced “confession.” As with previous reformists paraded into court proceedings that are widely viewed as illegitimate, Saeed Hajjarian, one of the students involved in the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover, was charged with stirring up unrest at the bidding of Western powers. The charge of “Western interference” has long been the centerpiece of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s propaganda machine, even before the disputed June presidential elections. In addition to the more than 100 reformists who have been put on trial for crimes […]

World Citizen: Mideast Countries Shoot Down Washington’s Iran ‘Trial Balloon’

Concerns in the Middle East about what exactly the United States has in mind for Iran have grown in recent months, partly because of statements from top administration officials about a possible new approach for dealing with Iran’s nuclear aspirations. If the administration intended word of the plan to act as a trial balloon in the Middle East, it is clear that regional players have popped the balloon and sent it hissing to the ground. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heightened the worries during a recent visit to Thailand, when she again spoke of a concept she had raised […]

“Winds of war have begun to blow,” Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said early this month at a meeting in Quito, with his typical flair for the dramatic. Chávez’s rhetoric may be more provocative than those of other South American leaders, but many of them clearly share his concern about an agreement that could grant the United States military greater access to seven Colombian bases. The polemical debate has pitted the majority of Latin America against the United States, highlighting the Obama administration’s failure to deliver on its promise (.pdf) for a “New Partnership for the Americas.” At a Union of […]

Anthony Zinni on a New National Security Strategy

In an interivew with Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation,former CENTCOM Commander Gen. Anthony Zinni discusses the wars in Iraqand Afghanistan, the perils of special envoys, and why Obama needs anational security strategy.

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