The U.S.-UAE 123 Agreement on civil nuclear cooperation is set to come into force now that the mandatory 90-day period of congressional review has passed. The deal has the firm backing of the Obama administration, which sees it as a model for countries looking to introduce nuclear energy to their territories. For the UAE, the deal represents a reaffirmation of its close ties to the West as well as a gateway to developing a source of energy that, for a number of reasons, makes sense for the Emirates. The third-party beneficiary of the agreement, of course, is France, with its […]

As the highly publicized rollout of the new U.S. policy on Sudan made clear, Sudan has become an unlikely foreign policy priority for the Obama administration. For this, the Sudanese can thank the Darfur advocacy movement, which effectively put the nation on the map for the American public over the past six years. Sudan certainly deserves every bit of attention it receives. If Africa’s largest nation again implodes, it threatens to further destabilize what is already an unstable region of the world. But the internal tension hidden within President Barack Obama’s newly formulated Sudan policy is that Darfur is no […]

It is downright striking how little attention the wider American discussion over foreign policy pays to Japan. After all, Japan still claims the title of the world’s second largest economy (even if China is expected to overtake it next year). Its relationship with the U.S. has been as intimate as any other between major powers in the last 50 years. U.S. troops are still stationed there 64 years after the end of World War II. And to complicate matters, experts say there has been a longstanding worry on the Japanese side of being abandoned by the Americans. Past American presidents […]

Almost 30 years ago to the day, the United States broke off relations with Iran in response to the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. In doing so, the U.S. lost its most valuable source of information about the Islamic regime. To fill the void of knowledge resulting from 30 years of diplomatic estrangement, the Obama administration has turned to scholars and experts for insight into the Persian nation. Indeed, President Barack Obama’s policy of outreach toward Tehran has been decisively shaped by the wide array of Iran experts, both within the administration and without, from whom he has […]

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B. Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefed on eastern and southern Africa, focusing on Somalia. “We have to give the people there a real chance,” he said. He continued by saying that without development aid, it will be difficult for the Somali government to show what it can do.

A bipartisan commission last week reiterated its warning that the U.S. government is responding inadequately to the threat of bioterrorism. Shortly before last fall’s national election, the U.S. Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism issued its major report (.pdf), “World at Risk.” It included detailed guidance to the next U.S. presidential administration about what steps to take to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction or their potential use by terrorists. The commission’s latest report (.pdf), affirms that, “Progress has been made, but the clock is ticking.” Like “World at Risk,” the October […]

As part of the recently signed Kerry-Lugar Bill authorizing $7.5 billion in economic assistance for Pakistan over the next five years, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. State Department will be expected to “assist efforts to enhance civilian control and stable constitutional government” in Pakistan, as outlined in the draft metrics for evaluating progress in Pakistan presented by the Obama administration to Congress in September. The goal is to enhance Pakistan’s local capacity for sustainable communal and economic growth so that counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts can be successful. Rebuilding civil society will be even more important as a […]

First there was Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Then there was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran. And now there is Omar al-Bashir in Sudan. In many ways, this is no surprise. President Barack Obama pledged during his campaign that he would, unlike his predecessor, engage in talks with even the country’s most ominous adversaries. In April at the Summit of the Americas, when the president ran into Chavez, the moment made for a remarkably smiley photo opportunity. No such meeting has occurred with the Iranian president, but intense negotiations have resulted in a possible breakthrough in the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program. […]

As the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 60th anniversary, many observers understandably used the occasion to advocate strengthened cooperation between China and the United States. However, the substance of bilateral cooperation depends considerably on the balance of power between the two countries. The ongoing debate over the trend in the Sino-American balance centers primarily on three problematic assessments: – The “G-2” assessment, which argues that China and America are the two powers whose partnership is most needed to address global challenges, discounts the cooperation that they require from Europe and emerging powers to make substantial headway. – The “Chinese […]

When mass protests erupted in Iran following charges of fraud in last June’s presidential election, Western leaders — particularly U.S. President Barack Obama — took pains not to taint those domestic disturbances with foreign fingerprints. To foreigners concerned about Iran’s nuclear aspirations, the sight of muscular internal dissent suddenly presented new and intriguing thoughts: International opposition to the Iranian nuclear program is not the only problem faced by the ruling powers in the Islamic Republic. The disturbances revealed one of Iran’s great weaknesses: widespread discontent with a regime of questionable legitimacy. Now that the regime has suppressed the protests, however, […]

NEW DELHI — The controversy caused in Islamabad by the Kerry-Lugar Bill, which authorizes an annual grant of $1.5 billion to Pakistan for military and non-military purposes over the next five years, is by now well-known. But because of its implications for the entire South Asian region, the bill has also been greeted with alarm in India. The bill’s explicit goal, as stated by the U.S., is to shore up Pakistan’s civilian government under President Asif Ali Zardari by providing monetary assistance to build roads, schools and other infrastructure. The implicit hope is that this will turn widespread Pakistani antipathy […]

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U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and PacificAffairs Kurt Campbell testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committeehearing Oct. 20 on U.S. policy toward Burma, a followup to his Sept. 30 testimony. “Our policy review also was informed by the factthat, for the first time in recent memory, the Burmese leadership hasshown an active interest in engaging with the United States. But, letme be clear: we have decided to engage with Burma because we believe itis in our interest to do so,” Campbell said.

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new U.S.strategy toward Sudan Monday. The new strategy “is the result of anintensive review across the United States government,” Clinton said. A State Department press release characterized it as the “first comprehensive U.S. policy on Sudan that recognizes the linksbetween the Darfur crisisand implementation of the Comprehensive PeaceAgreement.” Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and Presidential Special Envoy to SudanGeneral Scott Gration joined Clinton at the announcement. Related from WPR: Lord’s Resistance Army Threatens South SudanPeacekeeping General’s Dangerous Darfur Pronouncement

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After briefly discussing Afghanistan’s election woes, President Obama turned his attention to progress in Iraq during a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Obama and Maliki celebrated a new dimension of their relationship – the prospect of doing business. The two emphasized a shift in focus from military cooperation to more financial pursuits as Iraq gears up to hold its first business investors conference.

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