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Foreign Policy

Posted By Josh Rogin Tuesday, March 1, 2011 – 12:41 P

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that the administration is actively considering implementing a no-fly zone over Libya and gave a full-throated defense of robust State Department funding.

Clinton testified on Tuesday morning before the House Foreign Affairs Committee led by Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who has been critical of the administration’s response to the unfolding events in the Arab world and has pledged to slash the State Department and foreign aid budgets this year.

Clinton had just returned from Geneva, where she met with other foreign ministers under the auspices of the U.N. Human Rights Council. She said preparations were underway to aid the Libyan opposition, but that there have been no final decisions on whether or how to use the U.S. military to support the ouster of Muammar al-Qaddafi, as world leaders have called for.

“We are working to translate the world’s outrage into action and results,” Clinton said, highlighting that USAID is sending two teams, one each to Egypt and Tunisia, to aid the humanitarian response to the flow of refugees coming from Libya.

The United States has moved the USS Enterprise carrier strike group to the area near Libya. Clinton said that military assets are being repositioned now to support the humanitarian mission there, but that direct military intervention remained a possibility.

“One of those actions under review is a no fly zone… it is under active consideration,” said Clinton.

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Warren I. Cohen | Truthdig | July 17, 2009

inheritancecover_182The Chinese and the Israelis loved George W. Bush, but most Americans and most friends of the United States would judge his foreign policies to have been disastrous. Those of us who came of age during the Cold War cannot remember a time when the prestige of the country was lower or when it had less influence with allies and adversaries. And now, in the midst of a financial crisis approaching the depths of the Great Depression, the new Obama administration’s attention cannot be diverted for long from the economy. But the world has great expectations of Barack Obama. Somehow he will bring peace to Israelis, Palestinians and Afghans, bring American troops home from Iraq without allowing that benighted country to slip back into chaos, persuade the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons program and the North Koreans to surrender their nukes, keep Pakistan’s nuclear material securely in friendly hands, and prevent al-Qaida or its knockoffs from attacking an American city with a weapon of mass destruction. All this he will do without walking on water.

David Sanger is a distinguished, highly knowledgeable foreign affairs reporter for The New York Times. Publication of his book, “The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power,” was timed to have it on the desks of the new administration’s national security mavens their first day on the job. He tells a familiar story of our nation’s tribulations over the last eight years and provides an accurate description of where we stand today, but he is not an analyst of the caliber of Fareed Zakaria or Robert Kagan, Eric Alterman or James Mann. (more…)

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By Ron Paul | Daily Paul, March 10, 2009

Imagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of “keeping us safe” or “promoting democracy” or “protecting their strategic interests.”

Imagine that they operated outside of US law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up check points on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops, and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.

Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed, or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers’ attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed. Imagine if most of the citizens of the foreign land also wanted these troops to return home. Imagine if they elected a leader who promised to bring them home and put an end to this horror.

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For Decades, Right-Wingers Have Pushed Paranoia and Xenophobic Politics and Called It ‘Moral Clarity’

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America’s Future. Posted January 28, 2009.

Conservatives live in a world of seething aggression that most progressives can’t even fathom.

As he was prepared to slink off into the history books as arguably the worst president in American history, I actually sat down and watched George W. Bush speak.

There was one passage, in particular, that rang in my ears long after his final goodbye. It probably went over most Americans’ heads — but it went right to the heart of Our Problem With George:

As we address these challenges — and others we cannot foresee tonight — America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace.

That phrase “moral clarity” — conservatives use it a lot. And it always sounds absurd to progressive ears, coming as it does from members of an administration that shredded the Constitution, deprived people of due process, committed horrific acts of torture and lied the country into the worst military debacle in its history.

It’s always bewildering to listen to such people lecture the rest of us on “moral clarity.” What in the hell are they talking about?

They keep using those words. It turns out that they don’t mean what we think they mean.

This was brought home to me over the holidays, when I devoured J. Peter Scoblic’s U.S. Vs. Them as part of my vacation reading. Scoblic’s book looks at the way the conservative penchant for “othering” (a word I coined to describe their perpetual need for someone to project their own demons onto, and then hate on) has shaped U.S. foreign policy from the beginning of the Cold War through the Bush administration.

Throughout the book, Scoblic traces the roots of this recurring phrase — “moral clarity” — and discusses the very specific and narrowly defined meaning it has to conservatives.

The phrase first appeared in describing the Manichean worldview of the anti-communist right in the 1950s. To William F. Buckley, Frank Meyer, Whittaker Chambers and other National Review writers, “moral clarity” meant fully understanding and accepting the essential good-versus-evil nature of foreign affairs.

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Nasir @13:20 CET

By Jim Lobe | Inter Press Service


WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (IPS) – Speaking before a record crowd estimated at between two and three million people at his inauguration here Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama promised a foreign policy of “humility and restraint” and “greater cooperation and understanding between nations”.

In his first address as president, Obama also said he will take “bold and swift” action to address the deepening economic crisis designed to roll back the excesses of the market and “lay a new foundation for growth,” and to ensure that, in dealing with terrorist threats, he will seek to protect the rule of law and human rights.

“As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals,” he asserted in an implicit rejection of the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush, that received the strongest applause of a 15-minute address delivered shortly after he was sworn into office by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on the balcony of the U.S. Capitol.

“Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generation. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

Obama’s swearing-in, which took place at noon in bright sunshine but frigid temperatures, was preceded by 90 minutes of pomp, music and circumstance, as the nation’s governors, congressmen, senators, past presidents and vice presidents all filed in before Bush himself was announced – to scattered booing and then an embarrassing silence, followed by Obama, who drew waves of cheering.

But most impressive was the immense crowd that gathered for the occasion. It stretched from the base of the Capitol Building down the stately National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial some three kms away. The previous record for an inauguration was 1.5 million in 1965 when Lyndon Johnson was sworn in for his first full term.

The celebration was clouded shortly later Tuesday afternoon as news spread that Sen. Edward Kennedy, who was diagnosed with brain tumor last year, reportedly suffered a seizure during a lunch reception held for Obama in the Capitol by the Congressional leadership after the swearing-in.

Obama’s speech, delivered in the same confident oratorical style that has become his trademark since he first emerged into the national spotlight at his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004, was both grim and determined, noting that Washington is not only “at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred,” but also that the U.S. economy is “badly weakened”.

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