FROM James Jeffrey
Diplomacy, Dictators and Double-Speak at the United Nations On the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, Presidents Obama and Putin both said today that diplomacy, not force, is the hope of the future. Each accused the other of making the world more dangerous — at the same time offering to work together to restore order in a violent world. But, while their goals may sound the same, their differences -- on Syria, Ukraine and other places of conflict -- will make agreements difficult, if not impossible. Russia may not be not the superpower the Soviet Union was, but Putin is finding ways to challenge Obama as a world leader.
The Deal May Be Done, but the Grandstanding Continues Efforts to stop the Iran nuclear deal appear to have failed in the Senate, and leaders of Congress have postponed action on the "Resolution of Disapproval." But the opposition won't go away, and today's debate is a measure of how difficult future diplomacy will be for President Obama and his successor. While Hillary Clinton was supporting the deal this morning, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were still rallying opposition. Collin Powell, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin are being heard from on different sides of the issue. We look at the rhetoric and the reality.
Turkey Calls for Emergency NATO Meeting on ISIS, Kurds Turkey called a rare emergency session of the NATO Alliance today as it opens new offensives against both ISIS and Kurdish forces — which are mutually opposed. James Jeffrey, a former US Ambassador to Turkey and Iraq, is currently a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute. Photo: North Atlantic Council meeting following Turkey's request for Article 4 consultations (L-R) NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Special thanks to Paul von Zielbauer for production assistance.
Iran Takes the Lead… in Iraq Iraqi forces are making headway in efforts to re-take Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit from ISIS. The major city of Mosul could be next. Iran is very much part of the action — with advisors to Shiite militias in Iraq's Sunni heartland — which could lead to bloody internal conflicts. There are predictions that Iraq may end up even more divided. Meantime, it's reported that ISIS is destroying ancient monuments and priceless artifacts. But American forces are nowhere to be seen . Is it too late for the US to make any difference?
Protests Put Turkey's Prime Minister on the Defense Whatever President Obama decides to do in Syria, one crucial ally is Turkey, where the US-backed leadership is struggling with an unprecedented popular uprising. After two weeks of unprecedented unrest met with harsh police action, Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan appears to be trying to restore calm. We hear the latest from Istanbul and look at Turkey's crucial role as the US gets more involved in the crisis in Syria.
Iran's Nuclear Program: Does Diplomacy Have a Chance? In Almaty, Kazakhstan this weekend, Iran met with the so-called "PR5+1" — UN Security Council members Russia, China, Britain, France and the US — plus Germany. After talks ended on Saturday, the best US officials could say was there wasn't a "breakthrough," but there wasn't a "breakdown" either. It's the tenth year of the stand-off over Iran's nuclear program, and Israel is threatening attack if Iran gets the capacity to build a nuclear bomb. After President Ahmadinejad is replaced by election ten weeks from now, will Iran be any different? What's the impact of economic sanctions? Can diplomats find an alternative to either the use of force or trying to contain another nation gone nuclear like North Korea?
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.