Tag Archives: USA

"Beyond Iraq: A New U.S. Strategy for the Middle East"

Richard N. Haass and Martin Indyk have an essay in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs in which they recommend policies to the new US President’s administration. Here are some of its suggestions:

The improved situation in Iraq will allow the new administration to shift its focus to Iran, where the clock is ticking on a dangerous and destabilizing nuclear program. Obama should offer direct official engagement with the Iranian government, without preconditions, along with other incentives in an attempt to turn Tehran away from developing the capacity to rapidly produce substantial amounts of nuclear-weapons-grade fuel. At the same time, he should lay the groundwork for an international effort to impose harsher sanctions on Iran if it proves unwilling to change course.

… Iran’s challenge has led other actors in the region to begin to work together and look to the United States for help. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have grown deeply disillusioned with U.S. leadership but would welcome an effective U.S. role. Even Syria, Iran’s ally, has launched peace negotiations with Israel partly to improve its relations with Washington and partly to avoid being stuck on the Shiite side of the emerging Sunni-Shiite divide. If the Obama administration could show that there are real payoffs for moderation, reconciliation, negotiation, and political and economic reform, it would recoup considerable U.S. influence throughout the region.

Obama will have to decide what to do about the conundrum posed by Hamas, which won the Palestinian elections in January 2006 and then took control of Gaza through a military putsch in June 2007. Hamas rejects both Israel’s right to exist and the agreements the Palestinians have already entered into with Israel. It also advocates and practices violence and terrorism (which it calls “resistance”) against Israel. Nonetheless, given Hamas’ control of Gaza and its support among at least one-third of Palestinians, a peace process that excludes it could well fail.

The way out of this dilemma is to make it clear that Hamas, and not the United States, is responsible for the Gazans’ fate.

I link to the essay, not because I agree with everything in it—parts of it strike me as over-optimistic—but because it is interesting and timely and it collects a useful list of problems facing the new “leader of the free world” in a region that is more important to World opinion than it is to humanity’s well-being. Indeed, I feel that the Middle East (especially Israel and the Palestinian Territories) generates discussion out of proportion with the number of human beings living there and the economic significance of their activities. Others go even further.

Left Forum: NYC, 9–11 March 2007

Left Forum 2007 will take place March 9-11 at the Cooper Union in New York City. Each spring, Left Forum convenes the largest gathering in North America of the US and international Left. Last year’s conference brought together 1500 participants, speakers, booksellers, and social movement organizations from across the globe for a dynamic three-day event. Conference updates and information about their events appear on their Website. For further information or to volunteer please contact them:

Left Forum,
c/o Ph.D. Program in Sociology
365 5th Avenue, NY, NY 10016

Debate: “The American Era: Why US Power And Primacy Are Desirable”

This Friday 10Nov06 from 14:00 to 17:00, Robert J. Lieber, Professor of Government and International Affairs at Georgetown University will speak to the title “The American Era: Why US power and primacy are desirable” at the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Michael Cox of the London School of Economics, Richard Saull of Queen Mary, and Robert Singh of Birkbeck will respond.

The full address of the (revised) venue is Lecture Theatre, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square London WC1B 5DR. All are welcome. Contact olga.jimenez@sas.ac.uk to attend. The event is being convened by Tim Linch of the ISA, timothy.lynch@sas.ac.uk

American Liberalism and the Euston Manifesto

We are signers or supporters in the United States of the Euston Manifesto and its reassertion of liberal values.