Abby Martin goes over the effect of prolonged US military presence in bases all over the world, highlighting the case of Okinawa, Japan, which has hosted over 60 years of US occupation and thousands of young troops who are almost immune from prosecution against crimes committed on the island.
Tag Archives | Foreign Policy
Via Bear Left!, six months before the start of the Iraq War, the New York Times op-ed page featured an advertisement containing a statement signed by 33 leading scholars of international relations from universities across the United States. Dismissed at the time by mainstream pundits, today their points read as prediction of everything that was to come in Iraq:
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WAR WITH IRAQ IS NOT IN AMERICA’S NATIONAL INTEREST
• Saddam Hussein is a murderous despot, but no one has provided credible evidence that Iraq is cooperating with al Qaeda.
• The first Bush administration did not try to conquer Iraq in 1991 because it understood that doing so could spread instability in the Middle East, threatening U.S. interests. This remains a valid concern today.
• The United States would win a war against Iraq, but Iraq has military options—chemical and biological weapons, urban combat—that might impose significant costs on the invading forces and neighboring states.
Who lives and who dies? The drone court will decide. Via Reuters:
During a fresh round of debate this week over President Barack Obama’s claim that he can unilaterally order lethal strikes by unmanned aircraft against U.S. citizens, some lawmakers proposed a middle ground: a special federal “drone court” that would approve suspected militants for targeting. The idea is being actively considered, however, according to a White House official.
At Thursday’s confirmation hearing for CIA director nominee John Brennan, senators discussed establishing a secret court or tribunal to rule on the validity of cases that U.S. intelligence agencies draw up for killing suspected militants using drones.
Senator Angus King, a Maine independent, said during the hearing that he envisioned a scenario in which executive branch officials would go before a drone court “in a confidential and top-secret way, make the case that this American citizen is an enemy combatant.”
Have Bush and Obama ushered in the age of vague, unpublicized, poorly-defined war that never ends? Via Foreign Policy, Micah Zenko writes:
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Since September 11, 2001, the president has been able to threaten or use military force to achieve a range of foreign policy objectives with few checks and balances or sustained media coverage — to an extent unprecedented in U.S. history. It is unlikely that the United States will ever have a peacetime president again.
The primary reason for this stems from how policymakers in Washington perceive the world — a perception that bridges partisan divisions. According to most officials, the international security environment is best characterized by limitless, complex, and imminent threats facing the United States. Those threats require the military to be perpetually on a wartime footing and the president to frequently authorize the use of lethal force. As a Pentagon strategy document first noted in 2010, the United States has entered “a period of persistent conflict.”
In response to this world of grave uncertainty and looming threats, the United States has invested heavily in offensive military capabilities [including drones, special operations forces, and cyberattacks] that the president leverages with speed, secrecy, and minimal oversight.
We are already familiar with Obama’s policies from the last four years, so we should not expect much to change now that he has retained his title as the President of the United States of America. No matter the opinion on his domestic policy both in praise and in criticism, most would agree that his foreign policy has been a dismal failure. Hence, in the grand scheme of things his administration gets a failing grade, especially considering that foreign and domestic policy have become indivisible.
Below you will find four interviews conducted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! The first is a 2008 interview with Gore Vidal about where we’ve come from – up to and including the Bush years. The second, third, and forth are 2012 interviews with Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, and Ralph Nader, respectively, summarizing Obama’s first term and giving us a glimpse of what to expect for the next four years.… Read the rest