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  • Author: Michael Shank, Marwan Kabalan
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) apparently has a penchant for badness. For visiting Syria, the Speaker received a harsh reprimand by Vice President Dick Cheney who thought it “bad behavior.” Though the Speaker remained relatively un-phased by the scolding, Cheney made his point. The warning contained a deeper meaning—one that the Speaker understood immediately and that may explain why she passed on House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Lantos' (D-CA) recommendation to do the same with Iran. Take a closer look at Cheney's criticism and two questions arise. Does bad behavior connote an undermining of U.S. foreign policy, i.e. that U.S. officials should not engage in direct dialogue with adversaries? Or, does bad behavior suggest that the legislative branch should not, under any circumstances, challenge the executive branch? According to Cheney, it's the latter. In a radio appearance, the veep said, “The President is the one who conducts foreign policy, not the speaker of the House.” But before examining the schism widening between legislative and executive branches on foreign policy issues, the former point—i.e. should the U.S. dialogue with adversaries—needs attention.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Stephen Zunes
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Even as American officials reluctantly agreed last month to include Syrian representatives in multiparty talks on Iraqi security issues, the Bush administration continues to block Israel from resuming negotiations with Syria over its security concerns. In 2003, President Bashar al-Assad offered to resume peace talks with Israel where they had left off three years earlier, but Israel, backed by the Bush administration, refused. Assad eventually agreed to reenter peace negotiations without preconditions, but even these overtures were rejected.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Davvid Warszawski
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: On January 15, a Moroccan court gave editor Driss Ksikes and journalist Sanaa al-Adzi three-year suspended sentences for publishing jokes related to Islam. Here, Dawid Warszawski of Poland's leading daily Gazeta Wyborcza comments on the case.
  • Topic: International Relations, Islam, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Author: Jason Yossef Ben-Meir
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The new strategy of the United States in Iraq does not include an extensive overhaul of reconstruction efforts at this critical time. Very little money is now being appropriated for reconstruction. As the Iraq Study Group Report explains, of the $21 billion to date that has been appropriated for the “Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund” (IRRF), $16 billion has been spent and the remaining funds have been committed. The administration requested $750 million for 2007, and President Bush's new proposal is to add $1.2 billion to that.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The latest recruitment brochure from the Central Intelligence Agency, which beckons the uninitiated to be a part of a mission that's larger than all of us, opens to reveal an image of the red-roofed entrance to Beijing's Forbidden City. From an oversized portrait on the ancient wall, Chairman Mao and his Mona Lisa smile behold the vast granite expanse of Tiananmen Square. The Cold War is over, and the Soviet Union is gone. The cloak-and-dagger games of Berlin and Prague have been replaced by business and tourism. But Chinaland of ancient secrets, autocratic leaders, and memories of suppressed uprisingsstill holds out the promise of world-historical struggle that can help the CIA meet its recruitment goals.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Nancy Snow
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Anti-Americanism has emerged as a term that, like “fascism” and “communism” in George Orwell's lexicon, has little meaning beyond “something not desirable.” However it is defined, anti-Americanism has clearly mushroomed over the last six years, as charted in a number of polls. This phenomenon is, everyone agrees, intimately tied to the exercise of U.S. power and perceptions around the world of U.S. actions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Stephen Zunes
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The election of a Democratic majority in the House and Senate is unlikely to result in any serious challenge to the Bush administration's support for Israeli attacks against the civilian populations of its Arab neighbors and the Israeli government's ongoing violations of international humanitarian law.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Humanitarian Aid, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: North Korea's decision to return to the negotiating table is a win-win-win situation, at least temporarily. The United States, China, and even North Korea gain from the announcement. However, the boost given to each country—a modest “October surprise” for the Bush administration, a diplomatic achievement for China, and a stronger negotiating position for North Korea—will not carry over into the negotiations themselves. A decision to talk, after all, does not translate automatically into a decision to compromise.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Five years ago, when George W. Bush took office, North Korea didn't claim membership in the nuclear club. Its plutonium reprocessing facilities were frozen. It was even willing to negotiate away its missile program.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North Korea
10. Oil Trip
  • Author: Emira Woods
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: It is almost impossible to imagine, as we sit in a well-lit, fully functioning gas station on Main Street, USA, that a community blessed with oil riches under its soil could look as impoverished as Yenagoa in the Nigerian state of Bayelsa.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Energy Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States