FROM Fouad Ajami
Obama at the UN: Conflict or Compromise? President Obama addressed the UN General Assembly today, promising the US will stay engaged in the Middle East for the rest of his term. He said there must be "consequences" if Syria fails to give up its chemical weapons. With regard to Iran and its new President, Hassan Rouhani, he said, "diplomacy must be tested," and that agreement on Iran's nuclear program could produce a new and different relationship. He said the two countries have been isolated from each other since the Islamic revolution, and that the mistrust has deep roots, but allowed that there could be an opening. How does that sound to Israel? We hear conflicting reactions.
The Arab League, Iraq and Stopping Violence in Syria This week's Arab League Summit may not be a summit at all without a major figure from Saudi Arabia, and the League may not reach consensus on Syria, its most troubling issue. But it's a big moment for Baghdad, the first such meeting it's hosted since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait more than 20 years ago. Is the League more important in the aftermath of the so-called "Arab Spring?" Can it reach a consensus on how to prevent more civilian bloodshed in Syria?
The Arab League Goes Back to Baghdad This week's Arab League Summit puts Iraq -- a country still torn by political and religious tensions and recent outbreaks of violence -- back in the news. It's a big moment for Baghdad, the first such meeting it's hosted since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait more than 20 years ago. Prime Minister al-Maliki is hosting the meeting, distracting attention from human rights violations, talk of renewed civil war and even partition. But this week's summit may not be a summit at all without a major figure from Saudi Arabia, and the League may not reach consensus on Syria, its most troubling issue. What are their options? What about the influence of Russia and China, Kofi Annan's latest proposal , Iran and the United States?
Iran's Nuclear Development and the Prospects for War The US wants a new resolution from the UN Security Council to increase sanctions against Iran for its continued enrichment of nuclear fuel. In Washington today, officials from France, the UK, Russia, China and Germany are meeting with Nicholas Burns, a top State Department aide. President Bush has threatened "financial isolation and/or economic sanctions" if diplomacy doesn't work. But he's also said that, "Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere" and, "we will confront this danger before it's too late." We look at the pros, cons and possibilities of military action—by choice or by accident.
Post-Iraq Syndrome Defeat in war can have "unintended, seemingly inexplicable consequences." Upset defeats can be especially damaging to a nation's psyche. Thirty years ago, what came to be called Vietnam Syndrome has divided America for decades, with profound consequences for its politics and conduct of foreign policy. Will "Iraq Syndrome" have similar and longer-lasting consequences? What about US prestige and effectiveness in the rest of the world?
Violence and Diplomacy in the Middle East With sectarian violence in Iraq reaching a new scale of brutality, there are multiple warnings that the entire Middle East region may be coming apart. President Bush and Vice President Cheney are engaged in a week of crisis diplomacy aimed at saving Iraq's civilian government. While Cheney has returned from Saudi Arabia , President Bush has left Washington on a trip that will end in meetings with Iraq's Prime Minister al-Maliki. Meantime, Iraqi President Talabani is meeting with Iranian leaders, and Israel's Prime Minister Olmert is making peace offerings to the Palestinians. Both parties in Congress want pressure on the regime with the goal of promoting withdrawal of American troops. Will America's allies try to influence Sunni insurgents? Will the US talk with Iran about controlling Shiite militias? We'll ask a variety of experts, are there any good options left?
Trump's travel ban and the long-term agenda The Trump Administration's revised travel ban may be good news for some visa holders and others, but it's still being challenged as unconstitutional. Some reporters call it the beginning of a long-term effort to change the demographic make-up of the United States.
America's top diplomat faces challenges in Asia Whatever happened to America's "pivot to Asia?" That's just one of the questions left hanging since Rex Tillerson's first trip there as Secretary of State. Is the Trump Administration hoping to change Foreign Policy or maintain the status quo?
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?