It took three weeks for President Obama to publicly address the crisis of more than 250 Nigerian school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Evidence is mounting that, beyond its strategic self-interest, the US does not have an operating philosophy on defending human rights.
Ukrainian political elites have repeatedly tried to fob off their failures onto Moscow and the West, while extorting maximal support from both. The West must make any cash handouts conditional on meeting protesters' demands for democratic reforms.
The US and international community have run out of other options for addressing Syria’s bloody civil war. Greater humanitarian assistance can have a stabilizing effect, brings factions together, and paves the way for future cooperation. Without it, broken societies never mend.
Rather than pressuring Hamid Karzai to sign the bilateral security agreement now, waiting for the new Afghan president to sign the BSA gives it more legitimacy, may help end the Taliban insurgency, and will secure better US-Afghan relations for the future.
The strategy of the West regarding Russian aggression in Ukraine should be to complicate Vladimir Putin’s planning. He should be given options to avoid conflict. But he should also be made aware of the negative consequences for Russia that would follow armed conflict.
The genocide in Rwanda was an emblematic failure of the international community. The world has since made important strides in acting on those lessons, but this work still faces setbacks. The international community cannot claim to care about atrocity crimes and then shrink from the commitment required to prevent them – whether in the Central African Republic or Syria.
Europe should be working to integrate, not isolate, Russia. Punitive isolation is what the Treaty of Versailles did to post-World War I Germany, leading to Hitler’s rise and World War II. Instead, the West and Russia have everything to gain by Russia’s coming closer to the EU.
Condoleezza Rice states: 'The recent events [in Ukraine and elsewhere] should be a wake-up call to all Americans. I know we are tired and worried about our problems at home, but we cannot eschew the responsibilities of leadership and embolden those who don’t share our values.'
Where is Europe as Vladimir Putin is about to pocket Crimea? Or more to the point: Who is Europe? As Putin’s Crimean gambit unfolds, we don’t hear much from London and Paris. Germany has moved to center stage, touting its responsibility for world order and taking a more active role.
The US can no longer afford to remain mute on the erosion of freedom in these two key Mideast powers. While certain interests may tempt Washington to emphasize stability over democracy, this is a mistake. A look to Russia shows the fallacies of engaging with autocratic regimes.
The following regions and issues are among those critical to both short- and long-term US interests. They should draw greater US attention and diplomatic efforts.
While forging a peace deal that ensures the security of Israel and the dignity of the Palestinians is a worthy goal, it's a long shot. Secretary of State John Kerry's time would be better spent pursuing vital US interests in Africa, Asia, and the broader Middle East region.
The UN must work to prevent the escalation of violence and preserve what progress has been made in the Central African Republic. With key support from the US, the Security Council should increase its efforts to deploy a better equipped, larger UN peacekeeping mission to CAR.
The coming peace talks in Geneva provide hope for setting lines for a cease-fire in Syria. To draw those lines, three separate homelands must be created, with input by outside powers. Some will say this is impossible. Not so.
To achieve a long-term deal with the P5+1, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani must also win the battle against his critics at home. His real challenge is to convince the poor that they stand to gain from a rapprochement with the West. If life gets more difficult for them, this will be a hard sell.