Conflict & Conflict Resolution

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Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

Does the U.S. Have the Wrong Middle East Strategy?

| Dec. 11, 2019

Events in the Middle East tend to have serious policy implications for the United States given the range of important U.S. economic, political, counterterrorism, and broader military interests in the region. Although there is a healthy debate to be had about where the Middle East might fit into a potential recalibration or rebalancing of U.S. global priorities, at this juncture I don’t believe it would be in U.S. interests to turn its back on the region’s crises and just hope for the best. 

A helicopter is seen monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico, December 23, 2018.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza (AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The Boston Globe

Trumpman's Winning Wall

| Jan. 14, 2019

As so often, “South Park” saw it coming. In “The Last of the Meheecans”— which first aired back in October 2011 — the obnoxious Cartman joins the US Border Patrol, only to find himself facing the wrong way as hordes of disillusioned Mexican workers seek to flee the economically depressed United States back to Mexico.

Undaunted, Cartman makes it his business to stop them leaving. After all, without Mexican labor, the US economy would grind to a halt.

Very often the Trump presidency feels as if it’s being written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the comic geniuses who created “South Park” more than 20 years ago. In this week’s episode, Trump/Cartman shuts down the federal government in retaliation for the Democratic Party’s leaders’ refusal to approve the border wall he campaigned for in 2016.

The net result is that the government employees responsible for controlling the vastly larger flow of people into the United States through airports don’t get paid. Desperate to end the shutdown, for which he is being blamed, Trumpman declares a national emergency under legislation that permits redirection of Department of Defense construction funds, provided it’s for purpose of military defense.

Trumpman’s attempt to use Defense money to build his wall is challenged and struck down in the courts, but he goes ahead anyway, only to run into a shortage of construction workers. The episode ends with the arrival of the “caravan” of Central American asylum-seekers (last seen in the November midterms episode), who gratefully accept jobs to build Trumpman’s wall.

Photo of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince bin Salman

(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

The Saudi Engine of Repression Continues to Run at Full Speed

| Jan. 10, 2019

One hundred days after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pressing ahead with anti-dissident campaigns and remains in regular contact with Saud al-Qahtani, the media adviser whom the CIA believes helped organize Khashoggi’s killing, according to U.S. and Saudi sources.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California speaking on Capitol Hill in response to President Donald Trump’s Oval Office address

Screenshot / YouTube

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

A Negotiated Solution to the Shutdown

| Jan. 10, 2019

Normal hard bargaining would transform the wall into some kind of physical barrier to be erected in key places; a compromise on money and other border security measures; and a reopened government. But these are not normal times. The wall is becoming a proxy for who’s right and wrong, who’s tougher, who will back down.

Mounted Israeli police disperse Ultra orthodox protesters

AP/Ariel Schalit

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

For the First Time, Israel Faces an Adversary Too Powerful to Be Defeated

| Jan. 09, 2019

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently outlined a draft version of a vision for Iran for the next fifty years. Chuck Freilich adopts a similar long-term approach for Israel by outlining foreign and defense objectives as well as national objectives in domestic affairs.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meets with his counterpart Turkish Army Gen. Yasar Güler, chief of the Turkish General Staff, at the Turkish General Staff building in Ankara, Turkey, Jan. 8, 2019.

Dominque A. Pineiro/ US Department of Defense

Analysis & Opinions - BBC News

Turkey and the US Clash Over Syria

| Jan. 08, 2019

Turkey and the US have been at loggerheads over Syria in the wake of President Trump's decision to pull US troops out of the country. The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that the US national security adviser, John Bolton, had made a serious mistake in suggesting the withdrawal was conditional on Ankara agreeing to security guarantees for US-backed Kurdish fighters.